Ok, for those of you who want to call it Chennai be my guest. But are Francis Day and Madras Day related? Please answer this one.
The gentleman in the above picture is not Francis Day. That is the Gandhi statue on Marina Beach.
This has been a long pending post. The last quarter usually is an energy Sapper. But this year it is going to be special. Have been meaning to post this for a while now.
The Year End is always a landmark for most mortals. We look forward to the promises that the New Year brings. After the Wipro Chennai Marathon on December 7th this year I decided to keep running and take a days break every week. I would try and run for 25 days in December and the last 10 days I would attempt a 10 kms for 10 days challenge. I did not want to plan for the next day. I had no target time, no target pace. I wanted to do easy run-walk routines and complete the 10km each day. I was trying to KISS (Keep it Simple Silly)
The first five days of the run was nothing special to write about. I just ran, I walked, I took in the sights I was generally happy about how each day was passing by. I have always taken pride in my patience but on the 6th day as I was running with my cousin past Chetpet Bridge I realized I was running out of patience. It was like I wanted the run to end quickly. Ajay and me kept talking and we walked most of the way that day. I am so glad that I had company and who better than a cousin who I had not met in years.
On the 7th day God rested but I had bitten into a Chilli by registering for a Run conducted by a popular Radio Channel in the City and I was running along with another cousin Vikram. Again we pretty much walked the stretch and man, what interesting conversations we had. Towards the end of the run somewhere near the Kanagi Statue a boy who was standing on the side nudged into our conversation. He started talking about how he wanted to cycle and how he could not afford these huge registration fees for Marathons. His father was a tailor. He was studying to be an engineer. But he also wanted to train to be a runner. I was trying to tell him about the Marina Minnals and he kept cutting me off with his stories of how he had proposed to a girl and how he could now lift two water cans and run and how he only had Rs. 200 in his bank account. My Cousin Vikram shot off like his pants were on fire he simply could not bear the conversation I was trying to have with the engineering college kid. I finally managed to tell him about the running group and how he could go train with them. Once that was conveyed I shot off to catch up with my cousin. The two of us burst out laughing and without a care for the world. Maybe not my best run
The 8th day was when I started feeling pain in my shins. I was running with the Tower Twisters group and somewhere near Kilpauk cemetry the pain had become unbearable. I was resting and someone ran past me so I decided to try and run past them and I did but had to stop immediately because of the pain in the shins commanded me to. The person was a lady and she kept running and I was like “Asingapatan Autokaran”. Day 8 was weird because someone asked me for directions to Kelly’s while I was running on Taylors Road. It was a guy, somehow it did not feel right so I turned back and ran back to BV and down 6th Avenue and finished my run.
The 9th day was the “Breaking Point” of my entire 10×10 experience. I decided to run at the Marina starting from Gandhi Statue to RBI and back. I did not have any severe aches or pain till then and the minute I started running my shins decided to speak up. It was windy and it had started raining I had my umbrella and I was in my run – walk mode. I had run-walked upto the statue of Subash Chandra Bose and it was there that I wanted to turn back and end the whole challenge. It was a battle between my mind and body. The mind won and I turned back in the direction of Fort St. George I was going to fight my way to the fort. As I was finishing my 8th km somewhere near Labour statue my shins quietened dow down and I was free to run again. I am still trying to figure out what happened at the 8th km. I had run past my “Breaking Point”. It was the most challenging.
On the 10th day I was running with the Tower Twisters and Clement a runner and a longtime blogger friend had offered to run with me. We ran and I did lag behind at some places but I managed to finish my 10k. As we ran back to BV I was wondering if I felt any different. I hardly felt any pain it had disappeared somewhere at the 5th km. But strangely I did not feel any sense of elation. Somehow it did not feel like “The End”
The 10×10 is a mind and body challenge. Sometimes you will probably have to give up the run and sometimes the pain. Make sure you have been running consistently and also improving your overall strength before you take up this challenge. You don’t want to end up injuring yourself. If you think you are upto it and you are looking for company feel free to get in touch with me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org Would be glad to run with you.
If you are a not a lover of chaat (not Chat) then I would request you to stop reading at this point and move on to other blog posts of mine.
I am glad you are a chaat lover. Are you part of an elite crowd that eats chaat anywhere, even in roadside shops?
My affair with the chaat started when I was in school. I would be taken by amma to Ajnabee in Fountain Plaza and I would order the Bhel Puri everytime. It was my favourite chaat. Well I would rather say it was the only chaat that I had ever tasted until then. The Bhel Puri is such an amazing food item. It is not just a snack it can be a meal by itself. It has chopped vegetables, some chutney, puffed rice, and it gives out lot of joy. Have you ever wondered where that sound comes from when they make the bhel puri, it is from the bhel which gives out such happy noises from the vessel. For some reason I did not consider the Pav Bhaji to be part of the Chaat family. Ok I will come back to the Pav Bhaji in a bit.
It was only while I was in college that I discovered the variety that chaat offered. Dahi Papdi, Dahi Balle, Dahi Puri, Sev Puri, Raj Kachori, Katori Chaat, Samosa Channa, Kachori with mint and tamarind chutney and the list goes on… I would save up money and go eat in Gangotree usually on Saturdays with a few friends (Harsh, Pintoo) mostly for the chat but also for the bird-watching opportunities it presented. The other place we frequented usually on Wednesdays after bunking college was Bombay Lassi, off Ellis Road (Behind Devi Theatre). 1 Samosa, 1 Kachori and one glass Lassi and of course this was usually after fighting to get hold of Rs. 10 ticket at Devi.
After College I managed to go to Delhi for higher studies or “Delhi Return MBA boy” as my cousin calls me. It was only in Delhi that I managed to taste Aloo Tikki, Gol Gappas (It is just Pani Pooris but Delhiites swear that the two are different like the sun and the moon) and now entered Channa Batura into my view. The CB in Khan Market and Chandni Chowk are bleddy out of the world and it is not the same stuff we get in New Woodlands Hotel in Chennai. Also in Delhi they have this thing of adding Chaat Masala to everything. Fruits with Chaat masala, Chaat with Chaat Masala, Nimbu Paani with Chaat Masala, Orange juice with chaat masala. They seemed to be in love with the Chaat which made them Chaaty…
In the mean time I had been tasting Pav Bhaji in Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore to name a few places but nothing appealed to my senses. When I was in Mumbai in 2008 I tried the Pav Bhaji at Chowpatty Beach and it was the most sinful, taste bud tickling, lustful Paav Bhaji that I had ever tasted. No wonder the people of Mumbai are in love with it. I think it has something to do with the speed with which people live the life in Mumbai.
I don’t eat at Gangotree anymore because of the unhygienic way in which the food is kept lying around. Even the roadside Paani Poori guy keeps better hygiene. Shree Mithai is what I am left with in the city and it is not the greatest chaat that I have eaten.
Ofcourse the greatest chaat you get in Chennai is in Mint street. So many roadside vendors and such great taste. What is your favourite chaat and where do you get your chaat fix in your city?
God is a funny fellow and sometimes even the most devout are forced to wonder if there could ever be a Supreme Being.
This post I write for the school children of Pakistan who were massacred in Peshawar.
Why were you born in Pakistan? Why did you listen to your parents and go to school? Why did you have to be mass massacred. Even goats are slaughtered one at a time. But truly it is all your fault. See Children, you
are were young and you committed a lot of mistakes and you had to be killed for all your mistakes. So the Taliban decided to punish you little children for the mistakes that you commited in school and at home. Some of you had refused to do your home-work, some of you back-answered your teachers, some made spelling mistakes and some did not show respect to your fellow students.
It was all your fault. The Taliban was just making an example of you children.
I hope and wish that the Taliban corrects all the children in Pakistan. But I wonder what happens when they have no more children to correct. Will they correct the civilians? What after the civilians? The Government? The Army? How many more people will be made examples of? Will Pakistan, a once fine country cease to exist as you have known it? How can the Taliban’s blood thirst be satiated? How much more blood will appease these demons?
I am so sorry little children I don’t think anyone has the answers to these questions. I definitely do not. I live so very far away from your country. Our cultures are hardly common, our religions are not the same, The children I see here make a lot of mistakes just like you, you children were so happy with the kind of happiness that comes only with childhood. But you are gone and I can’t seem to accept it.
Even though I have questioned the existence of a supreme power, I will still pray to him and ask him to take care of you children. But remember children forgive the Taliban for they know not what they do.
May Your Souls Rest in Peace,
Just Another Indian
The biggest Marathon in Chennai and I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. So after the Dusk 2 Dawn Night Marathon I had a fortnight to run The Wipro Chennai Marathon ’14 and I was definitely looking forward to it. Running a 10k is just like your regular morning run but it is the crowd which makes all the difference. You are either running with the crowd or running away from the crowd. I belong to the second type only difference being I was far behind the crowd. (No, I am not the Marathon Mama)
I am a newbie run-walker (Will definitely let you folks know when I graduate to being a full time runner.) and was excited to run the Napiers Bridge – Tharamani route. A car drive later I found myself at the start point doing some stretches with some folks from Tower Twisters and Sprinter Navin. I had vowed to start late and avoid the crowd and thats precisely what Mr. GP. Kamath(K) and me ended up doing. K and me crossed the start line at around 7:15am and we continued running together until the 4km mark where I stopped for some rest and water. The Marina stretch had taken it’s toll on my sweat glands and for some reason my legs felt like stone. It usually does till I am 3kms into any run. But here I was resting at the 4km mark and it was still hard as stone. I was looking forward to the Santhome-Greenways Road stretch which is relatively well shaded and would help me cool down.
Funnel a crowd into a bottle neck and they behave like sweaty wild people. Precisely what happened at the 4km water point. People were jostling to get water and gatorade and fruits. I understand why they do it but I hate it. Sweaty people hitting against you when your legs are not co-operating is definitely not my idea of fun on a Sunday morning run. But I had expected much worse crowds. I think that was the only hydration point which was all bottled up with too much sweat and adrenaline. Mr. K did not stop at this point and I asked him to carry on because I knew I was slowing him down.
The next incident happened at the MRC hydration point. It was my biggest and only irritant during the entire run. One of the onlookers on the side of the road was all pumped up and was cheering us on and I was jogging during that point. The bugger literally brought his hands in front of my face and clapped twice I slapped away his hand and continued, though I wanted to slap him too. Bugger if I ever catch him doing that in future I probably might.
Kept running down Greenways Road and when I was running past Dr. MGR Janaki College a policeman was cheering on all the runners. Certainly a happy policeman. Wish we had more such friendly policemen in Madras. But when I saw that policeman cheering on the runners it felt great and it was with that really great feeling I ran over the bridge and finished at the Central Polytechnic Grounds.
But wait, I got the medal but I felt no emotional connect to the run. No joy of having completed a 10k. I realized I was feeling lightheaded and exhausted. Managed to get to the food and down the juice and I surely felt a lot better. After meeting some of the folks from the tower twisters I was headed back home.
It was a good route but the 7am start sure brought in it’s own set of pros and cons. The view of the sunrise from Napier’s Bridge was amazing but the same sun was being cursed by me 30 minutes later. Well I should have probably cursed the organizers for scheduling a 7am start for the 10k run. But It was a good run which was well organized and I brought back some lovely memories and one not so lovely memory and of course the beautiful medal. Will be back to run at the TWCM15 even if they start the 10k at 12 noon. Anything for Running and Chennai.
P.S.: The Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) does a terrific job in re-routing traffic and helping us run safe. A big thanks to them.
If I had told myself last December that I would be running in the second half of 2014 I would have definitely laughed at myself. I don’t remember running ever. Even as a kid. I would never run to field while playing street cricket. So invariably I was made the umpire every time I played.
In fact when I started to run in August I did not aim to run even a 5k. But after the Heritage Run I decided that I could run walk and complete any number of kms. My only worry was ending the race last. Clement Williams a blogger friend had been running with this group called Tower Twisters and one day I decided to go run with them. When I started running with the group I could hardly run. Infact I was the guy everyone left behind when they ran. It felt good to be left behind primarily because I preferred running alone. I wanted to do my own thing. Run at my own pace.
In the mean time I had registered for the 10k at Dusk to Dawn and I just wanted to finish it. So in November I ran in the night to Metallica’s ONE in loop. I did finish that run in 93 mins while acknowledging claps from some people who I had met while running with the tower twisters. I finished the run looking at the skies and when I finished and had the medal around my neck I had to literally hold back my tears It was a feeling I am still trying to comprehend. It was not joy, it was not sadness it was something beyond that. It was like a connection with a higher power.
While theTerry Fox Run had me running for a cause, The Heritage Run got me running for Madras. It was at the Dusk to Dawn that I realized that I need to keep running.
I went to the booth where they were giving out the munchies (pun unintended) and I told the droopy eyed fellow manning that stall that I did not want food but 3 bottles of water. I downed all three and headed home, heated up the food that Nandy had ordered for me and went to sleep. It was a lovely night. No one finished last and I had finished a 10k run with a group of about 7000 people.
But it was not until next morning when I figured out what chaffing was.
Yes I let it go. The goatee which I have been sporting for the last 14 years and odd months. It was such an integral part of me. I remember my niece going to sleep on my lap rubbing my goatee as a baby. Lots of memories associated with that small piece of hair on my chin.
During my life in Delhi a goatee friend and me decided to shave off our goatees and our moustaches. But before we did that we wanted to get a picture of us with a BRUSH Moustache (Hitler and Chaplin sported them). So the two of us shaved up and started taking photos on my Zenith Film SLR. I loaded the film and in all the excitement I loaded the film upside down so 36 snap minutes, 36 poses and a few days later we paid up for the film to negative development only. Someone at the photo lab realised our error and did not print the copies. But we guys had a pretty good laugh about it.
When I joined work in Delhi I decided to shave my hair regularly and I used to keep my goatee trimmed and all neat. I was nicknamed “GOATEE” by my team mates and some people even thought that was my real name. One girl asked me ” Can I feel your head, goatee?” Well, I could never understand why girls wanted to feel a bald head. I realised recently that I had the supply and it was causing demand. Economics at work.
I removed my goatee in September “Beardember” I call that month now. I removed it because I could hardly maintain it. Also it was extremely irritating to get sweat into the beard while running. Yes, I have been running since August and I think I have partly figured out where I am going.
I don’t shave my head completely these days and well I have lost the goatee too. Should I now say that an era has passed.
For those of you who think that a sale is genuine here is why you never, NEVER, EVER buy during a sale or offer.
What is the motive of a business? To let customers save on bucks. If that is your answer then please think again. Any business is here to make a profit. Ok let’s forget the business for a while. What is the purpose of an individual living in this world? The real reason for an individual living in this world is benefit or profit.
When you were born your parents and family benefited with the cute smiles you gave away. How did you benefit? They cleaned after you and fed you so you could repeat the cute smiles. If you got grumpy your parents were not happy because they did not benefit.
Then you grew up and went to school, the school benefited by the fees you pay them, You benefited by making great friends, learning absolutely nothing and getting whacked by your teachers.
Then you go to college and you benefited by looking and teasing girls and they in turn benefit with all the attention and sometimes they demand that the police give you some extra attention.
Then you get married. Well, this is one point in life where the woman is benefited and the man is at a loss, especially with words. But come, on you were mean to girls before that.
So when an individual life is all about benefit then a business is all about profit. So there is no business out there which will not want you sell at lower profits. No Not even Saravana Stores.
So my dear thondargaley, when some business announces a sale please be aware that the tag prices could be raised and then discounted, the business is trying to push old stock, the place is pushing damaged stock.
By the way all those offers from Pizza places offering Buy one Get one free or some brilliant offer of Garlic bread and pizza and Coke and dessert is probably the company pushing old stock real quick.
CAVEAT EMPTOR… If you actually expected me to give you a billion reasons not to shop during a sale, Well, Stop handling money.
Flipkart naamam Vaazhga, Amazon Naamam Vaazhga, Vaazhga e-Shopping, Valarga Tamilagam, Valarga Tamil Makkal.
Also I love this video clip… simply brilliant!!!
Decided to get some pizza love this evening. Have been hearing about Sam’s Pizza for a while now so headed right there with Nandy. I don’t have any pictures to post because of this new rule that Nandy and me have implemented. No phone, social media, photographs while eating. Whoever does it first will have to pay for dinner. Have not won even once until now. Hope to soon.
Ordered a plate of Salad from the salad bar. OD’d on the salads. Liked the soya chunky salad, kimchi, carrot and raisin salad.
Ordered the thin crust Hawaiian Pizza 9incher. Toppings were some chunks of pineapple and some chunks of paneer on a Cheese Pizza. The crust was crunchy at the edges and soft on top just the way I like it. Cheese was not up to the mark, too chewy and tasted quite bland. Pizza was way too greasy for my liking.
Service was OK. Water was served in a dirty plastic glass I asked for a replacement and it was done quickly. Had to wait for the salad bar to be refilled. Also the tables and chairs look really worn out from regular use.
They have a wall painting with the nutritional value of pizza. But no mention on what basis.
Bill came to Rs. 670. Will definitely go back for their salad bar. Will give the pizza a miss. For more info please visit : lovecustomwaterbottles.com
In a country with a shortage of toilets it is no wonder that Times of India is the highest selling newspaper supposedly. They cover the news, news which fills pages and pages but is hardly of use to anyone. I would have preferred if TOI was called a tabloid. Anyhow that is not what this is all about.
Times of India wrote an article about Deepika Padukone’s Cleavage to which Deepika Padukone responded and to which TOI has responded again.
Dei, stop it both of you. Wasting precious time of so many people. Deepika if TOI thinks your cleavage is news hit them hard where it really matters. Stop attending events which has TOI as sponsors cut TOI out of your life. Also Read The Hindu. They are a much more South Indian paper and they cover sensible news.
And Times of India, shame on you. Why don’t you come up with a gallery of Man Boobs? Feature men with moobs. Do something worthwhile for your readers and also please read The Hindu.
I dedicate this post to Prabhu Jayachandran he is in love with both Times of India and Deepika Padukone and exactly in that order.
Stop fighting there are enough wars being fought and enough journalists being killed.
PEACE OUT FOLKS!
This is Part Two of my Pizza Tale. Go read part one HERE
The first time I really tried Italian food at an italia restaurant in Chennai was at Bella Ciao. Nope not the one in Kottivakkam but the one which was on the top floor of Chotabhai Center. A few friends told me that they even served wine on the sly. So there I was looking for Pizzas and finding a ton of other confusing names staring at me from the menu. Pasta, Fusili, Arrabiatta well so many weird sounding names and the worst was how to pronounce them? I prayed to St. John Bosco and his mother Mamma Margaret and they told me to just ask the person taking my order.
So I pointed to the stuff on the menu and asked them about the pizzas. (I was not a fan of the pastas then). So the guy was explaining to me about the Pizzas and he mentioned Jalapeno which he pronounced as “Halapeno” I had to stop and ask him what it was and he described “JALAPEENOS” to me. He figured that he had to teach me to say it like them Italians and he made me repeat Halapeno atleast 10 times before I think I got the first part of it right. I did ask him about the wine but the poor fellow just shook his head and walked away having failed in his attempts to make me pronounce Jalapenos.
The pizza arrived 20 minutes later and it was one of the best pizzas I have ever had. Bottom of the base was crunchy, top of the base was slightly soft and man there were toppings which I really loved Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, Jalapenos and some cheese. Up until that day I had thought that the pizza was about the cheese. But it was that day that I realized that the Pizza is much more. Grain Base, the Pizza sauce, Vegetables/Meat and cheese for that flavour. Since then I have tried not to eat from the Pizza Huts or the Dominos or the Pizza Corners. These places had just one option for the base and it was chewy and they always over did the cheese. Each time I would eat a pizza from the Pizza chains it would look like a cheese flood on top.
Since then I have been to a bunch of Italian places which serve Pizzas and Pastas and I have learnt to cook the pizza and pasta. But my favourite pizza will always be the first one that I really tasted at Bella Ciao. Tuscana and Darios serve good pizzas too. But nothing like your first love, right? Pizzas were like The Godfather to me. My love for Pastas came much later. But nothing to beat the Godfather right?
If you are a pizza lover or a foodie remember to always ask what ingredients go into making your pizza dough. You would be surprised by the number of ingredients you would have to google for.
Which is the best pizza you have tasted? and if you love to make a pizza, will you make one for me?