Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jakarta Trip - Highlights

I was in Jakarta on a business trip last week - my first time in the city. Here are some observations:

a) I liked the airport. It was quite spacious and resembled a resort with ethnic architecture and a luxurious timelessness.

b) Once you are outside the airport, the encounter with real Jakarta begins. The cab driver was very shy but the topic of " Bollywood" loosened him up. He was a big fan of Kareena Kapoor and asked me to pass his regards to her next time I meet her ( hehe, as if I bump into these stars on a daily basis !).

c) You start, commute and end your journey in traffic jams with little respite. Jakarta is a great place to learn patience and drivers there are quite adept at it.

d) Like most developing cities, cosy flyovers rub shoulders with shanty slums.

e) I traveled by Garuda Airlines ( the national carrier) and the " Veg" food was terrific with Puri Aloo and pulao rice.

f) Indonesia is renowned for its handicrafts - amazing craftmanship and creativity. Unfortunately, I had no time for real shopping and could only do "window shopping" at the airport.


Friday, May 29, 2009

The "Megaserial" in TN

Well, the "will" is written. The Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu seems to have written his political will. One son gets a Cabinet portfolio while the other son ( Head of the DMK Youth Wing - Don't ask me why he heads the Youth wing at an "young" age of 55) gets to become the Dy.CM.

The once foe turned now friend grandnephew gets back a cabinet portfolio again. Its quite unfortunate that the daughter could not become a minister.

If anyone even utters the word "Dynasty", be prepared for lengthy lectures by the "Paguthuarivu ( Rationality)" crowd.

Afterall, whose nation is it anyway?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Khana Khazana, Wanchai , Hong Kong - Review

I was on a business trip to Hong Kong last week and arrived at this restaurant famished ( for dinner), having not eaten much food since morning ( Well, technically, I did eat a Macaroni soup for Lunch but it was more soup and less macaroni).

Khana Khazana is a Vegetarian Indian restaurant in Wanchai ( right next to Luk Kok Hotel). It is 5-10 mins walk from Central Plaza, Renaissance harbourview hotel. Being extremely hungry, I ordered for a Thali ( Set meal) that costs around HK$150 (with service charge). The Thali includes a starter, soup, Naan, rice, 4-5 sabjis, Dal, raitha and a Drink.

I started with a Spinach Lentil soup which tasted heavenly and reminded me of the " Melagu Keerai" that I used to make sans coconut.I was then served the tasty hara bhara kebab and then the main course. The main course had Naan, rice served with Jeera Allo, yellow dal, shahi paneer, vegetable jaipuri, Mix veg raitha.

I ordered Badam Lassi ( still inclusive in the Thali) to cap off an excellent dinner. I am reviewing a restaurant for the first time, perhaps the result of a hungry stomach that went back very satisfied.

P.S : Here is the Website of Khana Khazana.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Great Indian Elections

By any standards, the Indian elections is a mammoth exercise. The greatest collective "sound" of millions of voices - of cherished dreams, earnest expectations, hope for a better future.

The moment the counting begins, the great "Tamsha" commences too. The " Tamasha" of false humility, pretense of the highest order, naked greed and more greed. The media goes overboard too with how accurately they predicted the results and journalists who probably ate adrenaline for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Today is such a day. Looks like the UPA might be set to form the next government, amidst all the clamour and noise. The only reassurance amidst all this is one man, a man of highest integrityand care for the nation, who might , thankfully, become the PM again.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tata Home

The Tatas seem to be the saviors of Indian middle class. Close on the heels of the Nano launch, Tatas have unveiled budget apartments from Rs.4 Lakh-7 Lakh , targeting the Indian middle class. The smallest units start from 218 sq.ft and the community would have its own amenities - Garden, post office, schools and hospital.

In a city like Mumbai where land is a premium,this is definitely welcome news. One could argue that the apartments are too small, but not so much by Mumbai standards. With owning a house being one of the most aspirational thing for the middle class, Tatas have hit the right note at the right time.

There is a Fortune , not just at the bottom, but in the middle of the pyramid too.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hariharan - Improvisations

It was a welcome change to see Hariharan as a judge in the Super singer contest. The voice that mesmerized a whole " Gen X" , worked its magic on the show with an impromptu " Hai rama" rendition. His rich and deep voice is unmatched with a distinctive style of its own.

I happened to catch this " Suttum Vizhi" rendition by Hariji in Youtube. That was one heck of quick thinking to equate the baby's cry to raag Yaman. A true on-the-spot improvisation!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan, that wonderful astrochemist, who gave the world " Cosmos" & " Contact" explores the subject of theology through science. Atheism has been and will remain a controversial topic in a world full of religions. Apart from challenging the traditional view and displaying lack of belief in the " invisible faith", the atheists have never had a true champion to further the cause with modesty ( This is where someone like Dawkins fails) and forbearance.

The magnificence of Carl Sagan is not just in his ideas but in his humbleness and simplicity in conveying those ideas. If you really care about theology & science , then look no beyond this book which is a collection of his celebrated " Gifford Lectures". In a world of squabblers and half-baked truths, Sagan stands tall with his intellect and deep analysis.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 03, 2009

South Chennai Candidate

Add Sarath Babu to the list of independent candidates wanting to make a difference. The IIM-A grad and CEO of Foodking is contesting the elections from the South Chennai constituency. His rags-to-riches story is quite well known and widely reported in the press.

There is definitely some salvation for those disillusioned with the Dravidian politics.

Labels: ,