Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Random Facts

I have been tagged by Raaga to post 8 random facts about myself...hmmm...it got me thinking. What would seem random in my life?? Anyways, without too much thought, here it is:

1. I am passionate about horses and dogs - no, I don't own either
2. I love to cook and am passionate about food photography
3. I once had my house burn down to the ground while I was a student. Lost everything including all my papers, computer...everything. The fire was so bad that a two-storey town home was converted into one big room with no ceiling! Even the refrigerator burnt down to nothing. Needless to say, I started over and in the middle of my final exams.
4. I have a freakish tendency to fracture my bones. I have broken my ribs, arms, ankles, pelvic bone, fingers, spinal cord and toe!
5. I have swum with dolphins, sharks and even a barracuda!
6. I maintained a personal diary (yes, the Dear Diary kind) for 17 years.
7. I love to laugh - the people who make me laugh are my husband, my daughter and Jay Leno.
8. I love learning languages but am no good at speaking them. I have learnt Russian, Sanskrit, Japanese, Spanish, German and Tamil. But I can only speak Tamil fluently. But I still try.

and here's the list of the chosen 8 who shall continue the chain:

Manisha - Indian Food Rocks

Nandita - Saffron Trail

Saffron - Saffron Hut

Meena - Hooked on Heat

Mark - Banker in India

Nupur - One Hot Stove

Sia - Spice Corner

Bee - Jugalbandi

There are rules too

* Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
* At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
* If you fail to do this within eight hours, you will not reach Third Series or attain your most precious goals for at least two more lifetimes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hip Hip Asia

We've been to Hip Asia at the Taj Connemara several times, but last night was the first time we absolutely loved the food. Either the chef has changed or he has started to make stuff that he's comfortable with. The menu has changed and the lovely ambience stays the same. They specialize in most parts of Asian cuisine with parts of their menu devoted to Vietnamese, Malay and Thai food and a separate menu with Teppenyaki specials.

We ordered appetizers recommended by our waiter, who was spot on! He suggested the Lotus Stem Honey Chilli for the vegetarians (ie. me!) which was superb. It was spicy and sweet and crunchy and my phone's camera just doesn't do it justice. It looked orange and red and lovely. We also got some fish and chilli chicken which was much appreciated. I ordered the veitnamese rice paper rolls filled with crunchy vermecelli and vegetables that was also very good.

For our entrees we had teppenyaki fried rice with vegetables and garlic that I always order, and as expected, it was delicious. They are served in small bowls that are meant to be individual portions, but are quite enough for two people. We also ordered some shrimp that my dining companions were left scraping up the sauce.

We were absolutely too stuffed for dessert, but definitely tempted when they rolled out the dessert cart with lots of chocolate stuff that looked delicious. Next time...

Hip Asia
Taj Connemara
Binny Road
Chennai - 600 002
Tel : (91-44) 6600 0000

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chennai Nightlife!

We went for Ocean's 13 last night (it was great, btw - the little dig that Clooney makes at Pitt in the last line was hilarious!).

Anyways, we watched it at the INOX cinemas in the Citicenter. The show started at 10.15pm. We arrived there 10 pm Sunday night to find the Citicenter teeming with people! On a Sunday night - at 10 pm! Chennai has come a long long way! It was filled with people eating, shopping and chatting!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Helmet Law...Well, Almost!

There were almost 600 two-wheeler accidents in Chennai in 2006, according to Chennai traffic police. The Government then issued an order making it mandatory for all two-wheeler riders and their passengers to wear helmets while riding, effective June 1, 2007. So there was Chennai taking a step in the right direction. We finally realized that there were too many deaths caused due to riders not wearing helmets when using their motorcycles.

It was scary to see couples with two kids on a motorbike. One would be scrunched between the parents and the other would either be held by the woman at the back or stand right in front.

People have used all the excuses in the book for not wearing a helmet - some of the more common ones are that it is too hot (especially in chennai), hair-loss (yes, some people actually believe that wearing a helmet caused them to lose hair), neck pain, ear pain, inability to see clearly etc. No one seemed to compare those to losing their lives! Then when the order came from the Government, everyone complained that the helmets were too expensive. I guess they'd rather spend the lakhs in hospital costs for injury than Rs. 1000 for a helmet!

June 1 saw all riders on the road wearing a helmet. It was truly satisfying to see. Finally, people were taking a right step. And then TWO days later, the Government has withdrawn the order making it optional and not mandatory!! Unbelievable. Now, its back to no helmets. Even people who have already bought the helmets aren't using them!

This is a classic Indian case of taking one step forward and two steps back.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Scott Bayman

Scott Bayman (President and CEO, GE India) describes what he feels for India after having lived in India for 14 years.

He talks about changes he has seen in the nation and his point of view of India as one of the major players on the global front (politically and economically). He offers profound insights into present-day and future India.

Here is his bio.

photo courtesy GE website.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Andy Wickett

Whom, you may ask, is Andy Wickett? Well, he's an animation specialist. He was also one of the guitarists in Duran Duran. Now, Duran Duran was by far my most favorite music group growing up (well, Duran Duran and the Doors). I knew all their names, their lives and read everything and listened to everything about them and by them. I loved Duran Duran. I still love their music - especially their early stuff like Hungry Like The Wolf and Wild Boys and Planet Earth. I knew all the words and I could even reel off the ir inspiration for each song!

Andy was definitely not the most well-known of the group, taking a back seat to Simon Le Bon (the lead singer) and John Taylor (the other guitarist). Anyhoo, Andy was in Chennai recently to do two solo performances at the Park hotel. Of course, I figured it was gonna be an evening of Duran Duran nostalgia and so I quickly purchased tickets.

The ambience was lovely - at Aqua, by the poolside. The food was super and there was so much that we were quite stuffed. We had a cabana all to ourselves, where we could recline on the cushions. I was all set to listen to old memories. Well, Andy didn't play or sing a SINGLE song from Duran Duran. He also didn't play or sing a SINGLE song I'd heard before. I think it was mostly his own creations.

The poor chap was sweating from the heat, singing to a crowd that was extremely disappointed there was nothing familiar, in between drinking swigs of Kingfisher beer and smoking his "last cigarette" (in his words). He must've played for about an hour. And it was over. Sigh. Very very disappointing. I had to come home and listen to an old CD of Duran Duran because I had been so looking forward to it!

A very nice evening otherwise - the ambience, company, food - except for the music and of course, the ever-present heat. Well, Andy, I wish you lots of luck in your animation career.


Despite the name, Satsanga is a great little French bistro in Pondicherry. We ventured out there for lunch today (its an easy 2 hour drive along the ECR from Chennai).

The cafe boasts French and Italian food. We stuck to the French. We ordered a mushroom and spinach crepe, some roasted vegetables, chicken in a cream sauce and a chocolate crepe for dessert. The savory crepe was superb - it has been a long time since I had a good crepe after moving back to Chennai, and this was very good. The roasted vegetables were nice but nothing to write home about. My husband loved the chicken and the dessert crepe.

All in all, a very satisfying meal. The staff were pleasant and it was just great to be able to have a cold glass of Foster's at non-five star establishment and really hit the spot this warm afternoon.

13, Bussy Street
Near Law College
Pondicherry Town
Phone: +91-413-224572