Sunday, November 23, 2014

All You Can Eat for Rs. 179

From Amma Unavagam to ID in 24 hours.. Read on..

I am generally a sucker for combo offers.  I go for mini-tiffin, Thali, buffet types as I believe you can do paisa-vasool for the money you shell out.

It is customary for us to go to iD whenever we go for movies at Sathyam complex.  We particularly like the coffee and onion rava dosa at this Restaurant.  Raghav noticed this tent on our table and I couldn't resist.  This 'Eat all you can!' had almost everything from their main menu, barring my favorites Onion Rava Dosa and coffee.

But at Rs. 179, it was a good deal and we gobbled all we could and ended up missing the first 5 minutes of the movie, Interstellar.

Not sure, how long this offer lasts.. but if you go to Sathyam movie complex.. do check this out...:-)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunch at Amma Unavagam

Lunch at Amma Unavagam (அம்மா உணவகம்)

Between errands, I had sometime to spare and ended up having lunch at the Amma Unavagam on CP Ramaswamy Road.  I was mildly surprised by what I saw.. You would be surprised as well.. if you read on..
First thing that stuck me was, the place was clean.  In fact, it was cleaner than some of the private eateries I have been to.  Also, another striking thing was the gender of the employees.  From cash to kitchen, it was all managed by females.

Line Please - Unlike other places, entire experience was orderly.  People actually stood in line to get the coupons and again formed a line to get the food.  Both the serving lady and cashier was very polite and helped folks who didn't speak Tamil.  They helped customers who spoke only Hindi and ensured there needs were met.

Cheap - I asked for Sambar sadam and Thayir sadam.  Not knowing the price, but knowing it would cheap, gave only Rs.20 and to my surprise got Rs. 12 back.  In other places, one would not get Rs 2 changes but that was not the case here.

Hygiene -  The entire place was clean.  From kitchen to serving table to eating hall,  the entire place was clean and well maintained.

Food Quantity - Lots.  You get served two generous servings of each rice.  This would be a perfect for pre marathon carb loading.  Seeing the food piles that were being served,  I asked for one small serving of each sadam.  The serving lady didn't understand first but even after she understood, she wasn't convinced.  She not only served me generous portions of Sambar sadam and Thayir Sadam, but also gave me one bonus serving for lemon rice.

Food Quality - Food was piping hot.  Sambar sadam was little spicy for me and Thayir sadam (தயிர் சாதம்) was actually More sadam (மோர் சாதம் ). But the Lemon rice I got as bonus was good and I enjoyed it.

My only crib is that it was all rice fare and wish it was little balanced in terms of nutrition.  Having said that, I also saw a small vendor ecosystem mushrooming outside.  Few vendors, all ladies again were seen selling pickles, vadai and sides.

I went to Amma Unavagam out of curiosity and with low expectations.  But was thoroughly surprised by the overall efficiency and cleanliness and experience.  Keeping the commercial viability of these Unavagams aside, I do feel these places fill a vacuum and serves a critical segment of the society.  I only hope this model thrives and survives changes in governments.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Want directions to Office in a new city? - Simply look for turning torso..

Recently, I travelled to our offices in a different city with the Turning Torso as the only landmark.  Wonder how?  Read on..

Earlier this week, I was asked to come to Office in a different city.  When asked for directions, I was simply told "Really easy, Look for the white tower and our office is right across from that'.  Besides the printed directions in Swedish, this all the directions I got for visiting our offices in Malmo, Sweden.  Though, I was a little skeptical, it wasn't all that difficult.

Took a train from Helsingborg to Malmo.  I looked up the schedule on net, knew the time, price & platform.  Armed with this information, getting to comfortable confines of the train was a breeze.  Though free wifi was available, it was spotty at best.  But that was enough for me to catch up with whatsapp messages and FB.

Malmo is a small little town, in the southern most tip of Sweden.  Besides housing the tallest building in Nordics, it also boasts of the longest bridge linking Sweden to Denmark across Oresund Strait.  My colleagues tell me that, the bridge has given a new lease of life to the city.  Since the bridge opened, more Danish folks started moving to Malmo due to cheaper real estate.  Live in one country and work in another.. what a concept.  I seen similar phenomenon between Evian, France and Lausanne, Swiss as well.  This must be happening all across Schengen countries.

Looking at this no hassle travel across most of the EU countries, I wonder what it would take to have open borders with of India's neighbors... That would be quite something isn't it?  But I also know the reality that, that quite something that would not happen in my lifetime.  (Enough of dreaming.. Get back to blog!!!)

As I stepped out of the Malmo station, there it was, the tallest tower in Nordics in its all twisted glory, standing tall.  With the Twisted Tower as my beacon, I walked for about 20 minutes and voila, landed where I needed to go.  More on the Twisted Tower here.

More pictures of Malmo here

A short clip

Tags - Travel, Sweden, travelogue #66

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three Amigos, Thirty Years Later

When a bunch of Chennai Runners were talking about running the 2014 Chicago Marathon, I didn't give it a serious consideration.  I have run it in 2010 and there was no business travel in the horizon, so why bother was my thinking.  But, when my college friend now in US casually mentioned about running Chicago for charity, I pulled two other college friends (and first time marathoners) made a pact that four amigos would run Chicago.

Even after the Amigo pact, I wasn't in two minds and to make it harder, I said to myself, 'would go only if I win the lottery'.  So, I entered the lottery and was hoping wouldn't get thru but as luck would have won it.  After that, I had no other escape routes and committed myself..

Four Amigos got to three as the Mumbai amigo couldn't make it.  The guy to my right in the top is Laks and pretty much has the entire alphabet soup after his name.  Prasad, to my right is doing some high funda research in MRI and one day would get that famous early morning call from Stockholm.  Of the three, I am the least 'qualified' but coming to think of it, it was written in big bold letters even during our college days but then I was oblivious to it then, like now.   But, this illiterate is quite happy to have gotten the two academic elites to take running and enjoy it.

To be candid, I was little worried about Laks.  He kept talking about his lack of preparation and I wondered if I had done the right thing by getting him to sign up for the big thing.  What I had forgotten was that he is like Dr. Ram Rajagopalan and works smarter and not harder.  Laks surprised me once again to have finished comfortably with juice to spare.  I keep asking him to teach me that trick and he has been trying for 30 years.  I am yet to learn and it is a surprise that he hasn't given up on me yet.

I was little bit more comfortable with Prasad as he is local and has run the same course last year.  He also comfortably finished the race.

Laks & Prasad - I am proud of you guys.. but then we go to do it again, don't we?  This doesn't count as Srini couldn't join us.  Let us ensure we do this again as Four Amigos... Do I hear Big Apple calling?

Some snaps from my album here

Tags - Running, Marathon, USA