Oct 29, 2008


While browsing over the newspaper this morning, two contradictory news items struck hard on me that has been disturbing my thoughts ever since I glanced at them. One was the unbelievable rent rates (around 10 lakh rupees a month....you read it right! it's for one month and not for one year) that high flying corporate executives are ready to shell out on exclusive villas in Bangalore. Although newspapers tend to exaggerate the figures, even if I reduce this amount by 50% and consider it as 5 lakhs a month, it's still a huge figure for rent which I'm not able to digest.

I turned a few pages, wondering how people are ready to shell out such monstrous money on rents. Another article caught my fleeting glance. Because of lack of growth hormones, a 22 year old woman in Gulbarga district still has the physical and mental traits of a child. Since her family couldn't even afford a single meal in a day, they couldn't spend on the hospital expenses to get this defect on her pituitary gland rectified. She has to live with this defect all her life.

I face such contradictions often and I keep questioning myself and searching for justifications. I don't want to argue whether capitalistic or socialistic beliefs is the right way to go forward - each has its own positives and negatives. I haven't understood either of them in a deeper sense. But there are lots of questions for which I'm searching for answers. It could be that my inclination towards philosophy is increasing.

Oct 20, 2008

Bon South - a premium menu

Email that I had sent to my Consumer behavior (CB) Professor and my projectmates at PGSEM on Sept 02 2008 below:

While coming to work today, I came across this restaurant "Bon South" in Koramangala which specializes in South Indian veg and non-veg cuisines. This initiated some CB related questions on brand associations and culture in my mind.

1) The exterior ambience of this place somewhat looked like a continental/Italian restaurant. Will someone looking for a South Indian cuisine identify with this exterior?

2) The brand name (Bon South) itself sounds non South Indian. How can consumers relate to it? I feel this is where the restaurant "Malgudi" has touched a chord. The external appearance, the doors resembling traditional Chettinad homes and ofcourse, the brand name has clear associations to South India.

3) Most importantly, the menu offered by Bon South (got this info after some Internet search) has a range of options from all four South Indian states at an exorbitant price (similar to their vegetarian counterpart "South Indies" in Indira Nagar). Typically South Indian cuisine is less expensive than North Indian cuisine. I'm not sure how charging 120 rupees for a plate of Dosa will work. I might be hitting the "people are like US" syndrome. Serving on fancy cutlery with delicate forks and spoons may not work for South Indian menu. Krishna Cafe charges around 100 rupees for a typical South Indian meal on a banana leaf. Though it is expensive, this place is always crowded because the offering strikes a chord with the consumers.

We can say that "Bon South" is trying to offer a different experience. Their success depends on the target segments (upper class and NRIs) as well as their core offerings (menu variety and quality).

But the brand associations, food habits and internal reference prices also play an important role. Isn't it? Something to ponder over.....

After a long Diwali shopping experience, my husband and I decided to have dinner at this new place "Bon South" in Koramangala. Although my initial perceptions of this place was not so great, there was an urge to validate my perceptions. We got our table as soon as we entered (8:30 PM is too early for a weekend dinner, I suppose). To our surprise, we were given wet towels to freshen up. This is the first time I see this kind of service in a restaurant and not inside an airplane. The menu had listings from the four South Indian states though I wish vegetarians were given more options.

While waiting for our starters, a neat bowl of fryums (vaththals) was placed with 3 different kinds of chutneys - coriander, coconut and tomato flavors. I have never tried fryums with chutneys before. It was a new experience which I could try out at home on one of the forthcoming cold evenings.

As expected, the pricing was on the premium end with the starters and mocktails priced 150+ rupees. We ordered a plate of vadas made of plantain flowers. It was good and tasted very much like the typical masala vadas. For the main course, I went for neer dosas and maammidikkai curry (raw mango and lentils curry) while hubby ordered his favorite aapams and some chicken curry. It was a satisfying meal and at the same time not so heavy on our appetites. The best part of the dinner was yet to come. We were in two minds whether to go for a dessert or not. I'm glad we chose the former. The elaneer payasam tasted divine with tiny bits of tender coconut floating in sweetish milk. It was a perfect way to wrap up a good meal.

The service was superior and of high quality. By the time the bill arrived, the waiter promptly took our valet parking receipt to bring our car back to the entrance. As a thank you gift, we were given a small sapling. A nice gesture, I should say. I'm not sure if this attention to little detail, a high quality service and pretty good food will compensate for the exorbitant price they are charging (Meal for two could easily exceed 1000 bucks). I would recommend this place if you don't mind splurging on a South Indian full course meal.

Oct 14, 2008

First experience at Chinnaswamy Stadium

My first tryst with watching a cricket match live from a stadium occurred long time back in Chennai. It's been more than six years since I shifted to Bangalore but never got a chance to experience live cricket from Chinnaswamy stadium. This indeed came true last Sunday on the fourth day of India v/s Australia test match. With tickets being booked online, all we had to do was reach the stadium on time. I was expecting a huge crowd on a Sunday morning but people started thronging the stadium only after 11 AM. As I entered the stadium, I realized that this is the last series for Ganguly. Although I am not a big fan of him, I felt a little sad because Sachin's last series may not be that far. My childhood hero (he still is!!) has started to play lesser number of matches due to injury concerns.

When the players were busy with their net practice, we settled for good seats in our stand. After a while, the stadium started to erupt in loud cheer. While I was wondering what the fuss is all about, the two umpires were walking down the pavilion. I guess only in India the umpires get such a warm welcome! The innings progressed slowly with occasional fours from Zaheer. It was rather a slow day compared to my previous experience in the Chennai test match. We expected India to wrap up second innings of Aussies by the end of fourth day but to our disappointment, Australia stuck there and ensured India didn't get an upper hand. At one point, the innings went too slow that we started to play UNO cards. The occasional Mexican wave and the few wickets gave us a chance to cheer and shout from the top of our voices.

It's been a long time since I followed a cricket match the whole day. During college, I didn't mind sitting in front of the TV and watching cricket for eight hours. Those days, I used to watch the county matches when no other international matches were scheduled. My interest levels have dipped in the past two years but these one-off experiences seem to revive my interest.

Oct 8, 2008

The first drizzle

My contribution to Cafe Writing - Sept & Oct Project

dark clouds beckoning to pour down
mist traveling from distant mountains
Cool breeze adding to the glory
I stood there contemplating

A tiny droplet caressing my palm
announcing the arrival of monsoon
injecting a fresh stream of energy
I stood there motionless

glad to have caught the first splash,
the murmurs of threatening thunder
passing cryptic message from the heavens
I stood there in awe

hot cup of tea awakening my pallid senses
rivulets flowing swiftly by my side,
swooned by this magical evening
I stood there feeling blessed

Oct 6, 2008

அலையும் நானும்

Rambled this piece during a quiet evening date with the sea and the waves at Marari Beach

கரையை தொட்டுச் செல்லும் அலையே
என்ன சேதி கொண்டு வந்தாய் எனக்கு

என்னை ரசிக்கும் உனக்கு பரிசுகள்
பல கொண்டு வந்தேன் தொலைதூரத்திலிருந்து

உன்னிடம் எதையும் எதிர்பார்க்கவில்லை
உன் புதிர் மொழியின் அர்த்தம் தேடும் வேளையில்

எதிர்பாரா நேரத்தில் உன் கண்களின் பிரகாசத்தை
உணர இதோ கொண்டு வந்தேன் ஆழ்கடல் சிற்பிகள்

எத்தனை அழகு எத்தனை வடிவம்
என் சமர்ப்பணம் இந்த அதிசய சிற்பிகளுக்கு

வெள்ளை கூடை கொண்டு சேர்த்த
பல வண்ண பூக்கள்
தொட்டு எடுத்த என் கைகளும்
நிறம் மாறிய அற்புதங்கள்

ஆதவன் மறையும் வேளையில்
மேகக்கூட்டம் ஆடும் நடனங்கள்
அமைதியான இந்த தருணத்தை
எடுத்து செல்ல முயலும் வார்த்தைகள்

தென்றல் தீண்டிய என் கூந்தல்
கவிதை எழுத துடிக்கிறதே
அதை கட்டுப்படுத்தும் என் கைகளும்
போராடி களைக்கிறதே

காற்று திசை நோக்கிச் செல்ல
கால்கள் இரண்டும் பறக்கிறதே
மேகத்தின் உள்ளே நீந்திட
என் மனமும் அலை பாய்கிறதே

Oct 4, 2008

Word clicking this moment

With the clock striking midnight and my fingers busy typing a case analysis (and one more case to read for another course), the stress that's building up is automatically cooled down by this brilliant romantic yesteryear melody "Gazab kaa ye din" from Qayamat se Qayamat Tak. What a superb classic! This perfect moment has to be recorded in my dear blog. Music can be a coolant, a refresher, whatever you might want to call it. Sometimes I wonder if my iPod (and iTunes) has some artificial intelligence abilities. Because the songs it picks up in shuffle mode suits my mood so nicely (thanks to Apple!).

This song reflects my fantasy in some way - getting lost in an isolated forest with my loved one where no laptops, TVs or mobile phones will ever work. The innocence and fresh feelings the two characters portray in this song is just amazing. When I listened to this song first time in Doordarshan long time ago (remember Rangoli on Sunday mornings!), it brought a smile to my face. Aamir was so cute and I don't think anyone would have made a better pair to Aamir than Juhi.

And guess what....the next song that's playing now is "Shauk hai" from Guru. I'm telling you, iTunes has a way to read my mind :-) Now I can get back to my case with no complaints.

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