Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Dummies guide to drive in "Rainy" Chennai!

It is again that time of the year, when Chennai has its uncharacteristic Wet patch! The last few days have been more acute with non-stop rains and as I post there isn't any respite in the last 24hrs - Non-Stop downpour!

It's an irony that the popular sentiments are mixed as people equally love and hate rains. Love for the mercury dropping down by a few inches and hate for everything else... starting from the messy roads, water-logged colonies and the traffic stretching its tail on the roads for endless miles. Well given the bundle of imperfection any Indian city is... here is a take on how to survive while driving in "Chennai" roads on a rainy day!

Disclaimer:All the below content is written with only bikers in mind

Simulation: It has just started raining..
Action advised: Not too bad... worse is yet to come and so rush to your destination ASAP! The rain is just setting in and with Chennai, the clouds keep moving rapidly in, also you may never know.. while the rain vents out its fury in Nungambakkam, it might just be a dull partly cloudy day with intermittent sunshine(!!!) in Tambaram. So never expect it to end before it has actually started.

And here is a hypothesis framed after close observations:
There is an indirect proportionality between the radius of the wheel of a vehicle and the Obtuseness of the arc of splash

For eg., A minimum of 4-5metres of distance is advisable if you have the FZ dude zooming past you, be calm and stay back! Certainly not a day to show him your histrionics on two wheels.

*More than the Pulsars, Hunks and Apaches, you have to take care of the smaller ones.. yeah.. I mean the Scooties...and the other mopeds. Trust me...certainly not a day worth chasing those beauties :-P

* Exercise more caution when you spot the small yellow ones - the omnipresent Auto, can make dotted imprints of slush on your "End of season Sale - heavily discounted" branded clothing! So respect the small lady.

*Also, following a MTC Bus is never safer than on a rainy day. Try if you can, It actually clears off the way!

Driving in Chennai, is an absolute "Playstationesque" experience. You can choose to play different levels based on your proficiency!!!

level 1 - Anna Salai/PH road or any other arterial road where it is kept very simple with a steady flow of heavy traffic - mobility on such roads are defined in a new metric/parameter that is (Pending ratification from The International Bureau of Weights and Measures, France) which is meters per song or m/sg to be short! It is self explanatory - by the time you listen to a 5min song on your ear pieces, a 50m advancement is guaranteed. M/Sg is always denoted with time. So you have different number for different time buckets - like Anna Salai is measured at 50m/Sg at 8PM.... it can peak the scale at 10am when traffic moves at 20m/Sg in and around "Gemini" breaking what is termed "the Snail barrier"!

Or level 2 - ply through the arterial roads take and you will be forced to take an occasional left/right to dodge all major junctions/signal points and ..... surprise..... you might have to wade your bike through the 3ft. stagnant waters. Agile people can still ride the bike by hanging their legs n boots on the handle bar. The stains of the Water levels of previous seasons on the compound walls of the lined up housing area let you know that the situation isn't any worse yet. Ferry services (most service providers head-quatered at Velachery!!!) are operated on a request basis in select localities.

Or level 3 - Requires an Upload of a snapshot of chennai roads at the greatest detail possible from google maps into your cerebrum and face the challenge - make sure you never touch any arterial road... but you still need to be at your place well in time:) However, it has been already observed that even level3 is experiencing jams.

In any of these levels, you might be appropriately challenged by a plethora of U turns/ No-entry boards/barricades that spring up even before the mushrooms pop out.

And yes.. there is this one unwritten rule "As you go up the levels, you may be required to break all rules!!!”

Wishing you that safe / enjoyable ride whatever be the level that you are pl(a)ying in.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cook your way out!!

Starting to earn one's own money gives everyone the deepest sence of independence! Truly a remarkable time in a life of a human being. Time from which he/she is able to support his/her 3 basic needs of life! Food-Shelter-clothing! Add to that the phone and internet bills which turn out to be an essential need if you are one of those social (networking) animals!

Satisfying and supporting oneself on the 3 essentials with one's own money truely gives a sense of self-satisfaction which is often not given a thought about in this busy on-schedule life! Breaking it down how many of us have take time to think on these lines??

I earn and now I pay for my stay/shelter!
I make my own money and I pay for what I wear!
I get paid and am able to pay for what I eat!

The satisfaction of being on your own is one of the lowest common denominator everyone wants to be sure about, however social man might be!

However, a subtle difference that is still possible with regards to earning and eating! How about earning and being able to cook what one eats! Thats a step further down the track... isn't it?

Yes! The pleasure and the sense of cooking one's own food in its own way installs a sense of independence. Or, rather than independence should I rephrase it as a "marginal decrease" in dependence as Man for centuries has been social enough not to rule out dependency totally! And I said "Marginal decrease" - as I still don't match a farmer - some one blessed - one who can sow & raise his own grain and crop and prepare his own meal for the day!

Cooking for self has its own pleasures! You are able to know for a fact what goes into making a meal and appreciate little things that you wouldn't care about otherwise! Moreover, you are able to add that little extra care to make it a wholesome and healthy diet! All for a better "You" totally done by you!

On the funny side, You are the best critic for the food that you make - A critic who takes that extra bit of miscalculated pinch of salt or a double dosage of chilly with pleasure that end up bringing an obvious tear in the eye! But no matter what, the critic will still have good things to say about a dish that at the least can be classified edible!

Cooking for self, can bring in
*a sense of responsible eating as in avoiding transfat/ or too much of fried stuff as all such things can be avoided @ source!
*a sense of duty/cleanliness with that add on work of doing the dishes!

And at last - Isn't that another cool way to lose some calories in the very act of getting ready to consume more of them! Irony that works better!

For now, my cullinary skills are limited but it is a beginning for sure. The day starts either with a oat meal breakfast(the flavour of which is totally random!) or noodles, a cup of rice along with boiled vegetables for lunch while the third meal of the day (thankfully!!) happens at a cafeteria in my work place.
Hope it gets better with every passing day!

And for those who haven't yet tried it - Start Cooking your way out! Its real fun!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Treat UR taste buds: Onasadhya!

Onasadhya is the most delicious part of Kerala's very own Onam. It is considered to be the most elaborate and grand meal prepared by any civilisation or cultures in the world. It's a feast which if enjoyed once is relished for years.

Memories of treating my friends to a grand Onasadhya at my home...three years ago are still afresh! Thanks to my mother, who prepared the authentic dishes! Onam for the last two years have been at college, with fun, frolic and food!

However this time I am stranded in chennai, still looking for that eluding OnaSadhya! So, wats so special in it?

Onasadhya is prepared on the last day of Onam, called Thiruonam. People of Kerala wish to depict that they are happy and prosperous to their dear King Mahabali whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.

Legend goes that Mahabali who was so attached to his people that he requested Gods to allow him to visit Kerala every year. People of Kerala wish to convey that they are enjoying the same age of prosperity as was witnessed during the reign of King Mahabali by preparing a grand Onasadhya.

Rich and the poor, everybody prepares Onasadya in a grand fashion as people of Kerala are extremely devotional and passionate when it comes to Onasadya. So much so that, it has lead to saying, 'Kaanam Vittum Onam Unnanam'. Meaning - men go to the extend of selling all their possessions for one Onam Sathya.

The Meals
Rice is the essential ingredient of this Nine Course Strictly Vegetarian Meals. All together there are 11 essential dishes which have to prepared for Onasadya. Number of dishes may at times also go upto 13.

Hold on...Be a little patient....you need to wait a little before you start gorging the lip smacking meal. There are some rituals which need to be followed. First full course meal is served for Lord Ganapathi in front of a lighted oil lamp (Nila Vilakku). This is in accordance with the Malayalese trend of starting everything in the name and presence of God.

More About the Meal: The Exhaustive List of Dishes:
For a better understanding of the Onasadhya meal let us now go through all the dishes in a little more detail.

:Prepared from pumpkins/red beans or from yam and raw bananas cubes.
Kalan or Pulisseri: Prepared from buttermilk, ingredients consist of sliced plantains called nenthra-kaya and yams or chena. These are boiled in water with salt and chillies.
Olan: Olan is prepared from sliced cucumber and brinjal. Sometimes pulse is also added. They are boiled in water with salt and no chillies.
This is kind of a mixed vegetable as all sorts of available vegetables are added to it. All vegetables are first boiled in water with salt and chillies. Tamarind and well ground pulp are added at proper time. Aviyal is flavoured with coconut oil and Kariveppila.
Thoran Prepared by slicing beetroot and several other vegetables into very small pieces. These are then boiled in water with some salt and chillies till all the water dries up. Water can also be strained away. For seasoning, ground coconut pulp and mustard fried in coconut oil is used.
Mulakoshyam:Resembles olan. It is a special Onam delicacy from the state of Kerala and has been recently added to Onam Sadhya.
Koottukari: This is a curry consisting of a variety of vegetables and some Bengal gram. It differs from Aviyal as it does not contain tamarind.
Pachchati, Kichchati These are types of curry consisting chiefly of cucumber, mustard and sour butter milk or curds. In Kichchatim, young and tender cucumber is added
There is a whole variety of Prathamans such as ada, pazham, parippu and palata prathamans.
A special drink is prepared for Onam in which water is boiled with a combination of cumin and dried ginger (chukku). This is beneficial from health point of view.
Upperi or Chips: Upperi is prepared from various things like raw bananas (kaaya), yam (chena), jack fruit (chakka), bitter gourd (pavayka) and egg plant fruit (vazhuthanga). Slices of the ingredient are fried in coconut oil to a crisp condition.
Pickles (Achaar), Pappads (Pappadam), Fruits
Chiefly plantain fruits of various kinds are served along with other articles of food at meals.

Searching for Onam dishes...I hit upon something...wierd!! called Non-veg SADHYA!! Take a look....

Hope Mahabali is fine with the mutations the festival and its dishes have undergone!
I would advise him to Google for the latest dishes before he finalises his travel plans(wud suggest him www.MAKEMYTRIP.com)and embarks on that annual trip to his very own KERALA!

Happy Onam!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Clicked @ West Mambalam, Chennai

Hope English isn't one of the subjects taught hear... oops... here!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Source : Sukumar @ User comments in rediff.com!

This was a user comment posted under an IT related topic in Rediff.com. I felt the comparison sooo amusing that I decided to post it here!!

TCS Offshore and Onsite Life style

Offshore Lifestyle:

Role : Project Lead
Project Type : Support Mission Critical

Life Style :
*Call at 7 AM Status meeting conducted by US client. Silent spectator and most of the times scapegoat.
*Reaches Office at 9 AM. Jump into TCS internal politics and coordinating with all freshers, personal work, project work.
*Leave office by 6.30 PM. Late night call for a critical support issue
*The routine goes on..

Saturday, national holiday support coverage
Pay : Based on the experience 6 - 10 lakhs

Onsite Lifestyle:

Role : Project Lead
Project Type : Support Mission Critical
Life style:

*Living in a small 1 bed room apartment near Indian Street in USA
*Afraid of black americans all the time. No car
*Call at 7 AM EST status meeting , cover all the offshore folks, take the blame and again scapegoat.
*Reaches office by 7 AM. Client politics, TCS politics, Project,Personal work.
*Leave office by 6 PM. coordinate with offshore and delegate work from 9 PM - 11 PM EST.
*The routine goes on

Saturday and sunday - Releases, Maintenance etc.national holiday support coverage.

Further he goes on to say.....
In the both scenarios you will be given 3 or 4 rating(appraisal). Sometimes 2 as per the curve fitting. Pay : 65k after tax 48 K. visit to India 10k gone. No savings, no luxory etc.
The person who sits next to you having H1 B will work for 7.5 hrs and earn 140k / annum. our TCS guy will work for 10-12 hrs and earn 48k after tax!

Well that was straight from the heart of a not-so-happy Indian software guy!
Wat's ur take now??? Offshore or Onsite??

Tail piece: Assessing the economic situation, be happy if you are ashore regardless of workin offshore/onsite!


Sunday, May 31, 2009


I often visit rediff.com. May be you can call that the most frequented site nxt only to the ubiquotous Google by yours truly! I love it just for its content and the good coverage that is often pan-indian! yeah... PAN-INDIAN! I mean every bit of the word!

Often, I feel that southern content dont get much of space in other general content websites. Why is it so???

*Politics is by default New Delhi and other northern states (The content might get as dumb as chasing the Gandhi family wherever they are or as hilarious as the activities of Lalu or Mayawati... hey.. we do have some comedians down here!)

*Movies by default mean Bollywood!

*Songs(Most of such sites allow you to hear songs online!) are often is some Himesh reshmaiyya Crap (with due respect for his nasal talent!!)

*Sports fortunately for some reason is covered across the length and breadth of the country... and so seems pretty O.K!

I even felt the same with News channels on TV! NDTV went to the extent of lauching a half-hour show called 'Southern Edition' thus validating the fact that southern states werent given their due! TV 18 went a step ahead - they introduced a show called "UP SOUTH"(felt lik it was a dig at the often used phrase - DOWN SOUTH!)

Recently though that's changing! The reason behind that is the stark fact that more than 50-60% of the viewers of such news channels are from the 4 southern states(TN, KER, AP & KAR)! So these media houses are forced to provide southern content!

The fact remains that India is a pluralist nation and so you need to give a wide range of content that can please everyone (may sound utopian....but strive for it!)

Tail Piece :
Because of its pan-indian content rediff user comments section often has heated argument over issues discussed often with a regional bias! Though it sometimes is thought provoking.. it ends up nasty most of the time!