As mentioned in my last place I am an ardent lover of coffee. To add to that I have a hobby of collecting authentic cafe mugs. I generally try and obtain a mug from the cafes I visit regularly and they have nice mugs. I have resorted to beg & borrow techniques to have an elaborate collection over 12 mugs. Here is a sneak into a part of my collection which I have carried with me till here.
I am a huge coffee lover, and I believe that coffee is one of the important aspect of my life. Though I won’t say I am addicted but then a cup of good coffee actually makes my day. Circumstantially coffee has been very closely associated with my life but then my understanding of what all goes into making of my cup of coffee came only when I did a consulting assignment with one of the biggest coffee retailers of the world.
There has been so much already said about coffee, but I love a dialogue from the movie Shaurya which is said about the single malt scotch. However I feel the dialogue is so appropriate for coffee too. “Is Duniya main do hi anubhav sache hai, ek Single Malt aur ek Shaurya”.
I love my coffee pure, not conditioned with the milk or sugar for that matter. My coffee needs to be just rightly brewed and served hot.
So here I say “Is duniya main do hi anubhav sache hai ek shaurya aur doosra single brew black coffee”
How do you like your cup of coffee?
Here I leave you with some of the coffee quotes I have loved-
“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” – Turkish proverbs
“I like my coffee hot and strong, like I like my women; hot and strong” – Eddie Izzard
“Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.” -Alex Levine
“Life is just one cup of coffee after another, and don’t look for anything else.” – said to be Bertrand Russell’s last words
“Blacker than a moonless night. Hotter and more bitter than Hell itself… That is coffee.” – Godot, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
One of the fabulous movies I have seen, Dasvidaniya would make it to the list for sure. The concept was simple and message penetrating. A perfectly healthy and hearty Vinay Pathak comes to know he is about to die in 3 months of an ailment. There on he tries to live reclaim his life and makes a 10 points to-do list as targets to achieve in next 3 months to feel his life satisfied. It was entertaining as well as emotionally connecting at a deeper level on what he made as the list. I could find myself relating to a lot of points on that list, one of them was getting his photograph being printed on the newspaper.
Though I belong to the new age media and read most of my newspapers and magazines online, still there is no feeling like seeing your name and photograph in the traditional real newspaper. I discovered this recently, this is how?
Article Mentioning Ginger & Cardamom With Me in Pic
As you would know I was invited to be a panelist at this book reading event. It was an entertaining day where I shared the stage with Ahmed, the author of Love Life & All That Jazz, Paritosh, the author of Dream in Prussian Blue, and Priya, who runs Chrysalis Counseling. The event was an absolutely fun event and an engaging one too, where we discussed myriads of topics including relationships, careers, youths, marriages, books, Indian publications and Indian authors.
We had a meaningful discussion being constantly engaged by the audience with pointing question, insightful observations, and some delight experiences. I would say that day when I got off that stage, I did after being a more learned person than who had actually stepped on it. With the panel so distinct in areas of expertise and an audience with a great interest and understanding, the event didn’t seem to end at all.
It was a big day for Ahmed who was reading out his second edition of his book. And for Paritosh whose book The Dreams in Prussian Blue was being launched. I had a lot of fun being with the entire panel. Ahmed, who is a brilliant & eloquent speaker, actually managed & steered the whole show with constantly involving the panel and audience. On the other hand Paritosh, provided brilliant insights on what goes inside writing a book and how it actually works out in the publication industry. Priya, brought a note of vibrancy to the entire discussion with her quick and enriched comments with years of counseling experience behind them.
The pictures from the event are as following.
Ps. All those who would like to point out that I have gained weight after wedding, I already know and the plans to shed it already in the forming 😀
I would be on a panel for a book reading event of Love Life and All That Jazz. The event is being organized at the Landmark Book Store at Forum Mall in Koramangla, Bangalore on May 12, 2010 6:30 PM. I would like invite you for attending the event for interesting discussions and more insight on the books & the world around us. If you happen to be around or planning to visit the event, I would love to meet you in person.
I was recently saw a video on CNN IBN featuring twitter. I have been using twitter since quite some time and I have my own set of experiences some good some bad. The thing which has kept me on twitter and addicted to it is my good experiences outnumber the bad ones by huge margins. Courtesy twitter, I have had some amazing experiences in the virtual world and I thought that I have got far more to share about my experiences on twitter and my journey on it. As I wrote here that my twitter experience have been enriched by the people I have met. I have started this series called TweetPals where I am going to document my moments (Pal in Hindi) of twitter and my friends (Pals in English, thankfully for the pun) of twitter.
The TweetPals Series #1 undoubtedly goes to @Fraands
In the initial days of tweeting, when twitter was still a very new phenomenon in India. Almost none of the high profile Indian celebs were there, there were some enthusiasts like me who were there vociferously tweeting. Generally despite the conversations being on an open time line on twitter, there are silos are created based on conversations, locations, interests, ethnicity, sports, News and what not. I too had a a set of people I interacted most with, our silo was basically what we can call as YUP (Young Urban Professional) and we had common taste in humor and satire. Primarily the group consisted of @brainstuck@CruciFire@crazytwism @Tweepak@fossiloflife@radha_@prateekgupta@keeda @rush_me
We used to mark each with @replies when we were talking as a group. Eventually we reached a point that marking all of us consumed more than half of the 140 character limit on twitter, leaving us almost no character space to write anything. This was when @brainstuck came with this brilliant idea of having an id for us. The name of the id was decided when @Rush_me suggested friends @crucifire orkutised it as @fraands and then @tweepak RTed it and finally @brainstuck used it in the id which we could all relate to.
I can still remember the string of conversation/events after which we actually formed the entire @fraands group-
1- @Crucifire was our top contender for a contest called Yaymen organized on twitter. He was tweeting for people to vote for him in the contest.
2- @Crazytwism with his satire jumped in with an Idea that he should be distributing sarees as done by some politician who was in the news.
3- The laugh riot started with @brainstuck started taking case of @crazytwism that he wanted to wear a saree.
4- The conversationw as soon joined in by yours truly, @radha_ where we took to such an extent that the simple saree turned into suhaag ka joda for @crazytwism and @crucifire
5- Then somehow the direction shifted to @Radha_ and who mentioned about her stilettos, which comfortably turned by @brainstuck to Weapons of A** Destruction.
6- The situation was out of control everybody had joined and we actually had no space to name everyone and have our jibe too.
7- It was then @fraands was created.
A lot of things have changed since then, Twitter grew leaps and bounds. The users increased, and with them came the consciousness of too many people watching, it also grew new silos with more specific area of interests. Also a lot of change in companies where twitter got blocked and the bosses joined twitter, that the common leg pulling and satire mellowed down a lot. But still the bonds formed and the moments of tweeting then remain unparalleled in my hearts. All said and done we all tweet, discuss things and still laugh over the jokes often obvious and sometime hidden subtly beneath the tweets.
I must say that was my first and the most remarkable experience on twitter, I can proudly say till date my best on the Virtual Social media experience. 8 people who I have never met in my real life, but know them as if I have been friends with them for ages, I call that the Power of Social Media, my Tweetpals.
The bachelorhood of yours truly is heading for an expiry date with a speed faster than the ball being hit by Sehwag for the boundary, you can safely tag these times as a desperate times. As the old adage goes, desperate times call for desperate measures; yours truly has developed a tendency to lap up anything that has delicious food, hawt babes, and awesome fun around. Now from my past experiences that has been honestly mentioned here, was that you get all this and more (Disclaimer: More here can be read as watching drunk friends acting crazy, weird and funny) when there is a Fosters’ Art of Chilling Party.
So this time when I get an invite again from Indiblogger and Fosters, I knew this was like my pre-bachelors party. Now being the narcissist I am, was thinking the bachelor would be the key word there but as it turned out to be later it was party.
So basically, what happens when you leave some blogger friends in a party where there is spicy barbeque, spicier models in the pool, and spiciest beer in the town, all free flowing? Well its all conversations, jokes & jibes, formation of beer can towers and some memories. Sitting by the pool, at the rooftop looking out to the Pune skyline, you know some moments in life cannot get better, and the Fosters’ AOC party was one of them.
I spent a gala time playing with beer cans, hobbling starters and joking away to glory, with Alps, Gaurav Saha, and Doc. I think we stepped down from the party only when the music was closed beers were over and in the glass elevator of the hotel when the Doc cracked the jibe on the water flowing on the glass wall, “Is it the beer on me or the wall is really pissing” we were ROFL quite literally.
Long after the party was over we were still in the hotel lobby trying the cake shop, sitting with each other and cracking jokes, none of us actually wanted to go. I being the teetotaler, could sense a difference, it was four blogger friends who went in the party but it was like it was four friends who were bloggers that came out of it.
Thanks to Fosters for the Art of Chilling and giving me a unforgettable story of the Barbeque, Bloggers and the Beer. Cheers to new friendships.
Now the pick of the week this time is a Bangalore based concept Restaurant “Grasshoppers”. The closest analogies I find for this restaurants are, “The Rich Desi’s” which fly abroad for a holiday for a week and return back with a fake foreign accent, and suddenly they find everything in India a problem. You know they try too hard to belong elsewhere. Same is the thing with Grasshoppers, they have tried extra hard to be Exotic and different from the rest.
The place has some weird rules/customs/processes they have a reservation system; walk-in guests are generally not entertained, the stag entries are discouraged, the menu is predecided by the restaurant and the guests do not have a say in it. The most remarkable feature of the place is a they follow a single reservation per table for the entire evening, so you don’t have to hurry or be bothered about waiting and hustle bustle. Basically this is what makes the restaurant entirely different from the others and when I heard the idea it was simply breathtaking and I so knew this is going to be awesome. Basically to try out this one you need to have a date and a special occasion which you can plan in advance. So when I got an opportunity I ensured we had a reservation two weeks in advance.
The place is on the outskirts on Bannerghatta road, we reached the placed around 8:30. As we entered the place, the entrance was a small iron door which in no way resembled the restaurant. We entered by climbing one flight of stairs up and another flight of stairs down to reach a boutique which had some nice stuff on display. Already being hungry we decided to hit the table first, coming in the restaurant the first look of the place suggested the desperate attempt to look exotic. They had tables which were cement casted and unfinished with legs in cross reducing the leg room in all the four seats. The chairs were Iron and plastic of the kinds you might find in the food courts of every mall/IT Company. The floor was decently done with grey gravels giving it a theme which looked good but I could not be related to any of the natural textures except for a road in making.
We started with a food which was supposed to be a 7-Course European Cuisine, we were first served breads, which suggested we were in for either a Greece or Lebanese touch in the cuisine where its customary to serve the Carbs at the start of the meal, unlike other countries where they start with a protein prior to the meals. However, both of them were ruled out as there was no Humus or the various butters. The breads were accompanied by two oils one of them was Olive. Now this left me really surprised as this was kind of mid-Italian meal but again they missed the spread with balsamic vinegar, herbs, fresh basil, thyme oregano and rosemary which actually adds the real taste to the bread.
However ignoring the breads we moved on to the next course, which consisted of some dish with Boiled Beetroot with Sesame seeds. Looked exotic but lacked the taste, and once again I failed to identify it to any of the cuisine. After that it was primarily a culinary disaster one after another. The menu never adhered to a single cuisine, if it did seemed like the Idea was to deprive the guests of the energy/carbs and keep them on diet as no other dish was rich in cereal content. The spread seemed to be very weirdly planned in terms of buildup of the courses one after the other; as they didn’t relate to the previous dish. However three of the dishes were very well made, one being a salad (I think it was Greek Salad, with lettuce, basil, tomatoes, capsicum), another being bell pepper filled with Tofu (though garnishing were very dry and needed a drink with them) and finally a dish with Mushrooms (I again couldn’t identify the name and cuisine) which was the best in terms of preparation and taste. The final course was the deserts and had a fine assortment to choose from.
The area where place actually lacked was service, I have never been to a place which is so lame in service. The service offering was so pathetic that this makes the place a strict No. I faced the following issues in terms of service-
1- The place was in Open and when there was a mild drizzle, they had nothing to offer us or an umbrella or anything for the cover. We actually had to sit in the drizzle or come and stand in the porch.
2- I failed to understand why a dog needs to by my table when I am trying to have a conversation and food with my date. Is he there to eavesdrop, tell me how to eat my food, or enjoy the view, or I am supposed to pull him on the table slice it off and start eating. It’s a great idea to have dogs to keep the kids entertained but I do not get entertained when the play area for them is around my table.
3- Why on earth would prepare dishes which would make you stink of Garlic in a concept restaurant where you are supposed to arrive with a date? Why? Because it is a custom in Europe to smell like a piece of garlic on a date? Because scientific study suggests that dates yield positive results when the partners are stinking garlic? And the icing on the cake they did not have a condiment or mint to offer for refreshment.
4- The worst part was the dessert when they handed us the choice of deserts and we wanted a chocolate dessert. The reply was sorry it is finished; now this is something which really blew the lid off me as I had booked the place 2 weeks back and I am supposed to have choices as per all other consumers.
5- There is no second line of command above stewards to listen to this. I actually had to be rude and ask them to keep the water jug on my table as the glasses of water were not being refilled despite asking. I really believe a restaurant which cannot serve water promptly is great place to go. Because serving water is one of the most unskilled job, all you need to do is to be observant on what your customer needs. A place failing to do this can never be a good customer delight place. So was the case with grasshoppers.
6- Finally after the dessert fiasco, where I really wanted to someone to talk sense the stewards hardly had any advice to offer. We end up calling the person who had done our bookings of the mismanagement. Instead of being concerned about the mishap she was rude and arrogant. Trying to tell us that her husband is a chef, and how much of effort he puts in every dish. Now firstly, I never doubted your husband’s/chefs’ efforts and secondly you are not doing some god damn charity by putting in effort. It’s a capitalist market you charge more than handsomely for the efforts you put in. So if you think your husband is putting in more effort hike the price, don’t use it as a pathetic excuse of not catering to customers well.
Well what could have been a perfect evening, we left with a foul mood and swearing never to advise that place to anyone.
So finally the summary- Upsides-
1- Good Ambiance
2- Delightfully Private for intimate conversations
3- Food close to the authentic taste will be preferred by foreign nationals and connoisseurs of European food.
4- Awesome concept of single reservation per table for a day.
1- Pathetic service levels
2- Food varying in cuisine and theme lacking the flow of a 7-course meal
3- Very expensive, priced at Rs.1500/person +Taxes.
Rating- 1.5/5 (A place to avoid unless you are okay for a very lousy service and treatment)
Sri tagged me with this tag about how I actually spent holidays, and had gala times during my good Old-Days. My holidays have never been very happening, I was way different from the normal kids of my age (not that I was any abnormal, just that I had different interests). I was never too much into sports until a year back when I discovered my love for Squash; I particularly sucked at playing cricket which rest of my friends thoroughly enjoyed. Being an only child, and no people in the neighborhood of my age, so my holidays were mostly alone and self indulging. I would categorize my holidays into five different phases in life.
1- Books, Television and Some more– The earliest phase of my life the holidays were primarily concentrated with visits of cousins either me visiting them or they visiting my place for some days. Apart from the time when they were here and I had company to play all sorts of games etc, I used to watch television most of the time. Specially the DD was the only channel available an it used to specially telecast a holiday special series for children (I think it was called Chutti Chutti, the title score went something like Ha Ha Hi Hi aa gayi Chutti….). A huge part of my holidays went into reading and every year in holidays my reading lists included all the literature (Hindi & English) prescribed in my syllabus for the coming year, Misha, Suman Saurabh, Chacha Choudhary, Billu, Pinki, Nagraj, Dhruva, and sometime Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew or Agatha Christie.
2- Life of a Samurai– Then came the advent of Video Games, I was first exposed to video games through some shop which used to give out the 16 & 32 bit video games on rent which could be connected to TV and played with the joysticks. We used to rent that console for overnight and used play the whole night just to ensure not a single penny of the rent is not wasted. The video games came big time in my life when I got my first Samurai video game and the trade of 64-KB cartridges 64-in-one, 1200-in-One started. The holidays were spent on the countless hours of practice of Mario Bros., Contra, Arkanoid, Bomber Man, Load Runner, Tetris.
3- C for Coding & C for Computers– Then after that I got my favorite toy, My first computer which was an age old 386 and I developed a keen interest in programming and computer hardware. After that most of my holidays were spent sitting glued to the computer screen or reading something on the topic and trying out things I had learnt. I learnt Gwbasic (if people still remember what it as), Dbase 3 plus and databases, C, C++, HTML by myself (this is till year 1999, and Web was not evident in India, only a lucky few had access to what websites are, and Java was a distant dream).
4- End of Holidays– Once I got into engineering Holidays became more of Internships, preparing for CAT and other serious stuff. The only fun part we did in holidays was preparing ideas for the organizing the Fests in the college. We started making biking trips to whatever nearby areas we got near Jhansi. After coming to MBA there was hardly a thing called holidays in a span of two years. But whatever small breaks we got we totally explored areas and weekend hangouts in and around Pune.
5- Holidays Now– Sometimes I wish that even work had a concept of long summer holidays where you can take a month off just without any agenda. The only holidays I get now are in terms of leaves and they are availed in case of sickness or visiting family. The weekends are consumed in an endless struggle to get some rest and manage the chores. Sometimes when I look back, I think there were a lot of things I should have done when I had a chance and I had holidays but something deep down tells me the holidays are not coming back any soon.
So friends this was my take on how I had good times on my holidays, now comes my turn to tag people and I tag-
Serendipity– Would like to know how she spent her holidays Meera– I am sure she would come up with Hillarious Cartoons on Holidays Thenewbnb– Well Holiday Breakfasts were one things I wanted to mention but let the Breakfast specialist do it .
What happens when a blogger goes to one of the spiciest parties in the town, he takes pictures and he blogs about it. Now what happens when two bloggers go to the same party they discuss, take pictures and blog about it. Now Imagine 10 bloggers in the party and you have fun, drama, humor, satire, comments, and obviously the pictures and the blog. The Pictures you can see above and blog you are reading right now. So I got a chance to attend one of the exclusive party from Fosters called the Art of Chilling, the invitation was courtesy Indiblogger and man I am more than thankful to them not only because it was a great party and I had a time of my life, but also because I met so many people and had an amazing time and conversations with them.
So now here I put in 5 steps to throw a great party which I learned at the Fosters Art of Chilling Party-
1- Venue & Music – Choose the venue in one of the most happening locations in the city with a huge pool. In our case the venue was Koregaon Park, Club Solaris (If you are from Pune and wondering where the heck is a club solaris in KP, don’t worry I was asking the same question. Club Solaris is right near the HRC). Get a great DJ who knows how to play for a pool party, and people we had amazing music for our ears, though in brief moment I felt a number of times he was going to play “Saat Samundar Paar….” But every time he managed to save the sanity, I am sure one of the Muscle Shops (read Boxers at the party) was standing right behind him.
2- Attraction- Now step two you get a pool, no don’t expect the people invited in the party to dive right in. Get eye candy models from the Firangi land throw then in. Oh and also ensure the swim suits are nice. Now for the early arrivals would do nothing but at least would keep their attention in the pool. Now ask these models to come out and actually hand over the can of beer. Make sure there is a Fosters logo at the right places, guys would be guys they are bound to stare that’s called promotional placement yam bee yay people right?
3- Beer & Food- Now the major attraction unlimited beer and a pool side barbeque on the house. Well an amazing spread of barbeques covering varieties of vegetarian and non vegetarian eateries with beer and drinks, by the pool side with beautiful people all around you and in the pool. And you get everyone hooked.
4- The Glitterati- Invite everyone who has the taste for the party and may be the dresses and figure to enhance the spice in the party, if you know what I mean. I mean the crowd of the party was one of the best combinations of Pune’s glitterati.
5- Bartender Repeat- Well the step 5 is to repeat the above 4 steps at regular interval. So basically this is the point where I tell Fosters to ensure the party keeps happening again and again (and yes I am hoping to get my invites other times too)
So this is basically what was the party about or as the fosters might call it, The Art of Chilling. Now I come to the part of what the bloggers do, basically 10 bloggers were invited from Pune, and what fun we had. As a matter of fact none of us had an idea what this party is going to be like so a lot of us were not dressed according to the mood (which by the way closer to being undressed :-D). We all met and commented on how we guys are going to have fun except for the girls who were asking a relevant question.
You know as they say guys enjoy easily in life throw a couple of beers and a women in a swimsuit and we have our Nirvana and in this case we were over drafting our enjoyment account by twice of the size of debt which Lehman had when it went down under be it beer or the women.
Within the first few minutes of the party we decided it would be a futile effort to discuss the effect of social media vis-à-vis traditional media or the emerging trends in search engine optimization. Though Kiran made a very genuine effort to pull in the blogging based conversations when he asked one of the swimsuit clad models if she blogged. She gave him a look as if he just had dissent from the Mars, I am sure she would be aware of men are from mars thingie but Kiran’s Direct dissent was a tad too much for her and she eloped back in the safe haven of swimsuits, pool and beer.
Then we had a lot of pointless but hilarious conversations and actually I came up with a whole new section of Bhavya’s joke of the day, a joke reflecting the contrast between two sides of her as a Java programmer and her as a person-
Now I have death threat issued against me by her if I am sharing any of my jokes. To start with I am trying to share one and if I am found dead, missing you know who to find-
So basically in the party we found Bhavya was really averse to her pictures being taken, ironically she was carrying her own camera. So I came with the following jokes-
Why is Bhavya averse to getting her snaps clicked in a poolside party? – Because by orientation she OBJECTS. (For non Java programmers Objects are an important part of the Java Programming)
So the bottom line is all of us had a lot of fun and it was really awesome to meet a lot of fellow bloggers.As I said when ten bloggers meet at the party all they do is have fun, conversations and everything to make a great day.
I met the following blogger at the party (I am missing some names would update as soon as I get their blog links)
Srivats did this tag on his blog and it was supposedly on one of the most interesting subjects in my life, Books. So I decided it would be fun to do it. So here I share with you my take on one of my passions, books-
One book that changed my life:
Every book we read affects us in one way or the other. But the books which have had the most impact on me are-
Richard Bach- One
Select Essays by Bertrand Russel
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Autobiographies of Lee Iococa & Carly Fiorina
The book you have read more than once:
All the books mentioned in the point above and
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Atlas Shrugged- Ayn Rand
Q&A- Vikas Swarup
Five Point Someone- Chetan Bhagat
Snapshots from Hell: The making of an MBA Peter Robinson
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull & Illusions – Richard Bach
Arthashastra by – Kautiliya
One book you would want on dessert island:
Harry Potter Series
Ayn Rand Series
One book that made you laugh:
Calvin & Hobes
Haven’t read much in Humor though
One book that made me cry:
None though Oliver Twist & Tuesdays with Morry made me very emotional
One book you wish you had written:
None I wish I would write my own book
One book that you wish had never been written:
Coffee Table Books, I never am able to understand the purpose of Obnoxiously high priced books with fancy pictures. It actually spoils all the purpose of the books existence rather focuses on the kind of money people have.
One book you are currently reading:
The great Secret- Talks on Kabir by Osho
Words of Kabir- Sam Kerwal
Another book on Kabir which just has the title as Kabir
One book you have been meaning to read:
Shivaji: A Hindu Ruler in Mughal India (I can’t read it as it is not available in India, as it is banned)
In the Company of Women – I have read it now, but I actually waited for it so long. The book was in news and controversies and our school library had a copy. I asked to issue it (was in class XII then) and I was refused that it was not meant for us, I actually took it up with the principal that how can a school library has a book which is not fit for class XII students after all it was the senior most class. Anyways was not able to get my hands on it and when I actually got an opportunity to read it, it was 3.5 years later.
So this has been my journey with the books till now. So hows your journey to the wonderful world of books has been? If you are into reading and love your books and find this tag interesting, please feel free to do it.