The woman that she is

We were on Sardar Patel road heading towards adyar and onwards to LB road when suddenly we felt a jolt while waiting at the signal.

Three head turned. We spotted the motorcyclist struggling to get his bike straight. The driver got out of the car to inspect the damage- bump in the rear bumper.. Ouch!

He biker surprisingly waited and came forward to tell us ” the vehicle backed up and that is why I crashes into it”

“No, we dint and you know it” she said.

Seeing the commotion at the signal the traffic cop made an entry, asking he vehicles to pull over to the side of the road. He walked away leaving us to discuss and sort it out..

“the vehicle backed up and that is why I crashed ma’am. Plus you can claim insurance”

“I don’t buy it, and this damage is not covered by insurance. So give me something, am not asking for the entire amount, just a portion”

By this time the traffic cop on duty had changed and the new cop was amidst us trying to make sense of what was happening.

“I don’t have any money on me, only 120bucks where 100 is for application for and 20for a ciggie” he chuckled sweat dripping from every pore on his body..

The cop made some noise about calling the nearest station so we could file an FIr, but quietly suggested to the biker to sort it out else it was bound to be painful long and expensive.

” ok ma’am, I’ll give you the money on 15th”, the biker said .. My dad works at XYZ, mom is unwell at home and I am a freelance web designer. What more do you want to know? I like at Abc st a my name is advit* ..”

“can’t you call and ask a friend for a loan? I can’t be chasing after you..” she countered..

“hello machan, this is ankid here da… Bla bla bla” he spoke for a minute before hanging up. No luck ma’am. 15th I’ll give it to you ma’am, 1800 bucks..

The cop- call your home, let them speak to your mother.. We can’t believe all this story you are feeding us. Your license has Another city address and you don’t have papers for the bike”

He called, spoke abt the sun, the moon and the accident and hung up before passing it on to her..

” see, I dont mind waiting but what guarantee do I have that you will pay up? Give me something as surety.. Give me your watch.. I shall return the minute you pay” she gave him the ultimatum..

After a few mins of deliberation, realizing he had no choice he gave in.. They exchanged addresses and we went on with the day wondering if anything the biker had said was genuine..

The traffic cop made sure both parties understood they were acting on their own will and he had no hand in their compromise..
And lo behold, within an hour he called our driver and said he had made arrangements and the money was ready!! We met him around 4 and took the money..

He gave my friend’s address back and asked for the paper where we’d noted his down.. Strange character!

I was so proud of my friend for not backing down, or giving up.. She stayed so calm and Infact reasoned with him… Way to go babes!!

No, this is not a piece of fiction.. It happened for real on Tuesday afternoon ..

*names changed

Cafe Chokolade, Egmore, Chennai

Last week, when a friend and i were in Egmore, finishing up some errands, we were tired hungry and thirsty, and the 1st place that came into our horizon was Cafe Chokolade, and since we hadnt been here before, we walked in. 
I guess they were having their daily powercut, as the AC was off, and a fan was keeping the place cool.  Aside from 2 other guys, the place was abandoned. We sat ourselves in the sofa, and that is when i spotted the black plastic bag with JENGA. I promptly began stacking up the wooden blocks while my friend was glancing through the menu card. There was just way too much chocolate there, and lost for choice, we asked the man behind the counter to recommend something cool and refreshing.

When we asked him if they had hot chocolate or something similar, he replied in negative saying they had thick shakes. 
Ok… my next question was do you have something simple and light, he again replied in negative saying “no, you cant drink any of our shakes, you need to eat them”. I was tempted to try one of the dry fruit shakes, but my thoughts were interrupted when
He went to ask – “Is this your first time here?” 
We replied in affirmative
He then continued saying “you should have the Chokolade B”, its the best, made with chocolate, and topped with chocolate pieces, it is thick and really good. We have our own factory, where the chocolate and other bases are made he went on…..
Unsure, we went with his recommendation and ordered a Chokolade B… 
Within seconds, our token number flashed on the little window at the end of the hall, and i picked up our drink, that looked quite sinful. Alas, that was it… The chocolate shavings and pieces were just creamy, and so was the shake.. It was missing any kind of flavour… My friend and I dint have the heart to waste it, but couldnt finish the drink and walked out quite unsatisfied and disappointed…. 
I must confess- I am not a chocolate person, and even if someone wants to lure me with chocolate, they better be talking about Dark chocolate.  But i do know taste, and have had quite a few chocolate based desserts and drinks before….
Well, i shall not strike off this place completely, shall visit once more and then decide! 
Ambiance: 6/10
Food: 3/10
Service: Self Service
Overall: 3/10
Address:
Mr Vivek(Proprietor)
Ph: 044-42126461
Website:www.cafechokolade.com 
No 10/1a3,
Montieth Road,
Egmore,
Chennai – 600008
Directions: It is 2 doors from Cake walk, adj to Alsa Mall..

The Cupcake journey

Gone are the days when cupcakes were those little plain looking miniature cakes in paper cups, where we would chew up the paper hoping to devour the last piece of cake. Today, these cupcakes have undergone quite the makeover and Chennai seems to be fast becoming a hub for cupcakes.. You never know, one day you might land in Chennai and instead of asking for “idlies” go looking for “cupcakes” πŸ™‚
Anyways, jokes apart.. The 1st cupcake, a cute little cake with pretty icing that i had in the recent years was at our Wednesday meets at Subway, during the F4 days [Face to Face Facebook friends] when Sujaya Rao brought a box of yummy looking treats. They disappeared within minutes of arriving at Subway, and were quite delicious, simple vanilla flavoured with colour icing… Soon after, another friend Preethika began making cupcakes, but alas, i am yet to taste her treats [girl, are you reading? doubt it… bah] and then came the fun part of life that opened doors to the wonderful world of Cupcakes that Chennai had to offer. Am talking about the Chennai Food Guide and the infamous thread that was started innocently by Doc Waz on cupcakes. 
 Sujaya’s cupcakes… Sorry about the photograph quality, taken on Blackberry
The comment section was filled with updates from people who made Cupcakes across the city. The one that stood out was from Adonia, a small store off Harrington Road that i had been to. Why dint i see the cupcakes? well, Maaria added the cafe much after my visit and this was the 1st i was hearing of these delights. I kept telling myself that i should try them, but days just kept flying by. 
During a restaurant review, The Harried cook brought a box of three kinds of Cupcakes- Vanilla, Red velvet and  Lemon, and they were yummilicious. I fell in love with the Red velvet…   Incidently, she has just completed the 2nd workshop in Basics of Baking [ you can check out this post by Chennai Foodie on her 2nd workshop..
 As months passed by, i also got the opportunity to taste the cupcake on display at the French Loaf Cake Buffet. These were tiny chocolate cupcakes with bright colour icing, looked good, but lacked flavour of any kind.,.. big let down… 
Cupcakes at French Loaf
One day last week, mom & i were out on errands when a spur of the moment decision led to us heading to Adonia.. Alas, the cupcakes were all sold out.. I got home, left a message for Maaria saying “came to your store, but there were no cupcakes…” and within a few minutes, we had exchanged a couple of messages and i had placed an order for a Dozen cupcakes [assorted, including red velvet]
The dozen cupcakes from Adonia
Two boxes of 6 delightful looking cupcakes landed home Monday afternoon… Within minutes my family had gorged down a few of them, and i had to literally sneak away a few that i wanted to take for a friend. 
Red velvet… Lindt…. Chocolate.. Vanilla. were few of the flavours in the cupcakes… 
   
There were a few with Chocolate icing, some with white and blue, one that resembled a sunflower with bright yellow icing dolloped with chocolate, and the 2 that had white icing with sprinkles of red.. The most adorable ones were the chocolate cupcakes with 2 tiny butterflies on them, just seeing them sitting in the box made my day [Maaria, almost like telepathy- Butterflies are my favourite :-)] Its Thursday, and there are 2 cupcakes left in the box, actually 1 and a half cupcakes… πŸ˜‰
So,next time you get a cupcake craving, you know where to head…
The Harried Cook – 9884008905
Cafe Adoniya- Maaria Kulsum -9840285950
F-1, 15th Avenue, Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai
Chetpet
Chennai- 31

Soup Nazi

I’ve always enjoyed watching Seinfeld, and this one awesome episode involving the Soup Nazi.. About a year or so ago, my cousin V studying in USA got the chance to meet the guy who played the Soup Nazi and he said ” i went up to him and said “No soup for you”….” what fun it was…. Well, if you read so far, had no clues what i was talking about and was ready to shut the window, well, wait up, watch the video below and then shut ;o) 

Skywatch Friday… Heavenly

Through the window, i peered out trying to see if the towering chapel was in view,  my neck was starting to hurt and the lady in adjoining seat was giving me a look “are you ok?, is this your 1st time here?”. I replied in affirmative to both her questions and was just about to get back to my seat when i spotted the Chapel in all its glory.

The sun was blazing as we hopped out of the bus. I quickly made a beeline for the shade, had a sip of water, wiped the sweat and decided to forge ahead to explore the Church. Situated in Nagapattinam District, along the Coromandel Coast. The most famous significant Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to Our lady of Good Health.
This is probably the only church where people across religions visit. With a rich history dating back to the mid 16th century, there is a legend that is attributed to 3 miracles: the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, the apparition of Mary & Jesus to a shepherd boy, and the survival of Portuguese sailors who had been assaulted by a violent storm while out in the sea.

As i walked around the Church, the stark resemblence of Gothic style architecture stood out.It is quite imposing building that almost seems to reach the skies. All the buildings are painted in white, but if you look up, you will notice the roof is made of red tiles.

There is also a replica of this
church in Chennai, at one end of the Besant Nagar beach, where you will
find crowds thronging to say a prayer on Sundays and other special days. My granpa believes in the powers of the Mother Mary hailing at Velankanni Church deeply.. Infact, if anyone at home is ill, including the cow or the dog, he immediately sends a contribution with a letter, and receives a word of thanks along with a photograph of the Mother.. He believes the Mother has helped him tide over quite a few difficult situations. So, it was a special moment for me visiting the church, and being in the main chapel. I lit a few candles, one for each member of the family, and one for friends, said a prayer before moving on. 

I also noticed a row of shops just outside where they sold small metal pieces of eyes, legs, human figure and many others. Apparently, if you have an ailment in the eye, you drop a eye piece in the donation box, and there is one of a couple, meant for those eager to get married πŸ™‚

The church took quite a beating during the 2006 Tsunami, with many devotees being washed away. And that is when they had to rebuild pieces of the church, and today it looks just as amazing as it did before.. [yes, i did manage to do a visit post the Tsunami with friends]

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Where the Jews Live on- Mattancherry, Kochi

Jew Town in Cochin? Are you sure?” was the 1st question that popped in my head. But this was before i did some research and read about Mattancherry and Kochi. We were there for little over 2days and on the last day, decided to make a quick visit to the Jew town, specifically to explore the Synagogue and area around, maybe even try speaking to one of the Jews living there.
The place has a certain charm. Narrow
lanes resembling a beautifully laid out cobbled street, with brightly
painted walls, stores brimming with antiques on either side lead us
towards the  one of the oldest Synagogues, heading to a dead end.   

Vehicles
are not allowed inside, unless it is a two wheeler.  The stores have
items literally spilling out into the streets, which leaves just about
enough space for people to walk on. It feels like we are in a different
country altogether, that is how different the atmosphere here is.

 

As I walked along the lane, I could feel a few eyes on us, probably thinking “ah, more tourists, wonder where they are from” Some smiled, while others just stared, as if looking straight through me.. kinda creepy!

 

Visitors were asked to leave all our
belongings, including mobile phones and cameras with the storage space
provided near the Synagogue and then enter the premises. The hall before
the main synagogue showcases a brief history of the place, through
photographs and content lining the walls. Built in  1568 by the Malabar
Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin, this
is called the Paradesi Synagogue.  Situated in an area called Jew Town,
this is probably the only one of the 7 synagogues that is still in use.
In all, there are about 13 Jew families living in the area, and the
lady we met at the entrance shooed us away saying “we have had enough of
reporters and journalists prying into our lives, please leave us in
peace”  

 

The Synagogue complex in all has 4 buildings and has been built adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace temple, infact they share a common wall.Spent in all about an hour, the main synagogue is beautiful, decked with blue and white tiles, plenty of chandeliers hanging across the ceiling, and pristine… Luckily, there was not much of a crowd, but for a group who had come with a guide… And since i dint have my camera, there was no chance of taking any photographs inside the premises….

Just outside, in the path around the synagogue i spotted a few stones and pieces of wall with Jewish inscriptions on them. Wish i knew what they meant, there was no one around or no board that explained the words. And before i knew it, the lady at the entrance was beckoning me with her head, it was time to leave. I walked out with so many questions in my mind, but alas, they remain there…..

Photo courtesy: keralavillagehomestay.com
After gathering my bags and belongings from the storage locker, i strolled out of the street, wondering what history was hidden within these walls. As i reached the junction, i noticed that there were 2 paths ahead of me- one that takes me back to the palace, while the other heads towards the spice market and the Jew cemetery. And the latter is what i chose, keeping a watch on the time… πŸ™‚

Lego Imagine!

I grew up playing with Lego, building houses and train trucks, infact still have a few pieces around at home.. So, while browsing through Facebook, I came upon this and knew instantly that it was by none other than LEGO….

The German agency Jung Von Matt has created this cool ad campaign called the β€˜Imagine’ . The print advertising campaign plays with your imagination. With such simple pieces, and design, the agency has created quite an ad campaign. 

Only when you spend a few minutes on the ad will you know what am referring to and why am so impressed with Lego… So, go ahead, give it a shot, see if you can guess em all…
Hint: Each of them is a family, a group or a community… πŸ˜‰

I could guess all but the last one, off i go to stare at the image to see if i can guess that as well πŸ™‚

Here are the answers
The Simpsons
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltles
 Ernie & Bert
The Smurfs
Asterix & Obelix
South park
Donald Duck 
Lucky Luke

Nivedhanam, Mylapore, Chennai

Nivedhanam is pure veg restaurant that is a few months old. It has been promoted by Amithra Hotels and Restaurants, and the 1st of its kind started by an Indian living in Japan.  As you walk in, the mix of culture is quite obvious. There is a small curio of sorts displaying various objects most commonly associated with Japan and the people there. 
They serve Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisines.The first thing that struck us were the 2 women at the door, welcoming us with a big broad smile. There is a comfortable sofa to wait, else people can sit outside in the chairs while waiting their turn. Trust me, it does get packed, so make sure to reach early. 
There is a small play pen for children to play in, and a lady who applies Mehndi for free.. The decor is quite bright, with red dominating the ambiance. The tables are quite packed tight, with very little space between them, but all said and done, it is a lovely place, especially if you are looking for good Veggie delights. 
We ordered tomato soup and chappati for my friend’s son, while others had roti and quite a few different side dishes.Each of them were served piping hot and delicious. There is no overpowering masala, or oil in the dishes. They also serve the traditional Japanese noodles, which have been cooked with a few vegetables. For dessert, we decided to try the banana split, 2 slices of bananas enveloping 3 different ice cream scoops.

 The walls have been decorated with elaborate Tanjore art pieces, and the table place mats are the ones with puzzles and word games on them. The waiters take down the orders on iPod Touches, which i thought was damn cool and they are accommodating to special requests.

I have been here twice and both times came out smiling, and happy!  A meal for 3.5 hungry souls worked out to about Rs840, which i thought was quite reasonable, going by Chennai standards.

Food – 8/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Price- 8/10
Service – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10
Cuisine-Across Indian, Chinese, Japanese & Continental – Pure Veg
Car park- On the street [secluded and so no fear or getting towed]

Value add: There is a play pen for children, a Mehndi lady and a man who performs simple magic tricks/ventriloquism
 
Address:
VM Street, Mylapore  Chennai, Tamil Nadu
 Turn right next to Yellow pages when approaching from Gemini flyover and you will see the restaurant few doors down on right hand side.
Phone: +(91)-(44)-42054881, 42054882, +(91)-44-66598988