"Maami Samayal"

Christened a Tamil Brahmin for some time now has made my ear quite perceptive to anything that has a tag of "Iyer", my caste and community. It has also made my taste buds dance to the tunes of the food that is typical of a Brahmin household. There are times, when I have searched high and low for a meal that reminds me of home when I am far away from it, but I found only North Indian dishes closest to what is made at home(mine or a north Indian's home).South Indian food was largely left unexplored, often culminating in the quickie that Saravana Bhavan or Ratna cafe fed me. But these 2 hotels were frequented more by me for their "closer -to -home" status and the ubiquitous sambhar they served.

But since change is the only thing that’s constant in life, my southie foodie habits took a better turn last Friday in Chennai when the "MAAMI SAMAYAL" food festival was inaugurated. With the enthusiasm of the weekend setting in on Friday evening, I quickly found my way to the DaysInnDeccanfoodPlaza. The Olives restaurant was decked up with a pandal giving it a festive mood

I sat in my chair, waiting for the waiters, nattily dressed in white with the traditional Veshti to add to the authenticity of the place. Lady Chef Gowri Mami, from Mayiladutharai, showed up, from nowhere and I was introduced to her and found that this was her first such culinary expedition outside Mayiladutharai, and at that point I quite didn’t realize what an awesome debut she has made.

The wide array of the spread had my attention and the hospitable gesture of the chef prompetd me to taste, shunning all inhibitions of social eating.

It started off with the Neer Moar Panagam, which is a welcome drink, that had the pleasure
being gulped down thrice my throat, after which my tongues wagged towards the Podis and pickles. The Podis had the Paruppupodi and the ellu podi, and the pickles had the vepilai kati. Once the starters started to allay the fears of a stomach revolt, I proceeded to the main course. Porichakootu and Araithavitta sambhar, entertained my taste buds, before the Maami from Mylai, informed me that it was one of her favourites. Also in the main course and worth a nibble were the Kathirika Podi satham and the kuzhambu vada, which elicit memories of marriage functions and festivals at home.

Another mouth watering dish that I encountered was a special made by the "Mylai Maami", having meshed bananas with Dosa. It may seem a little out of place to have bananas with dosai, but I have tried this out at home some time back, but considering that this was professionally made, my mouth had a mind of its own, as long as it could take enough of banana dosai, until the deserts came to the scene. I am informed that the menu here changes daily in terms of the specialty dish that the "Maami" cooks during the 10 day festival.

The sweet tooth in me was waiting to explore the viands on display and the "Akkara Adisil,Gothumai Halwa and Kunja laddo add to the experience of savouring a lovely lip exercise, even as the mild instrumental carnatic music wafts you away releasing all the pressures of a hectic week.

I also happened to meet up with the executive chef of the Days Inn restaurant, Mr Shankara Subramanian and got to know about his work style. He spends his time researching on the web for newer recipes and wants to explore a food connoisseur corner on the internet to share his experiences with like minded people. A major chunk of his time, is spent on hunting for people /cooks from the "Real India" to add more authenticity to his food festivals. Sometimes its a "maami" fest or a "Rajasthan ka Khaana" or a Andhra food fest, all year long at his restaurant, for which he does the planning and execution of the food festivals.

He is of the opinion that working in a bigger hotel allows a chef to experiment with more cuisines as compared to a smaller hotel chain which is too busy poaching commercial interests as against exploring the nuances and researching of some more viands.

Wait a minute, I am not yet done!!. The Chef asked me to wash down my stomach with a kumbakonam digiri coffee, and guess what? They gave all diners a pack of goodies, the same traditional way goodies are packed at the end of a marriage and given to the guests. I was more than impressed with the finesse with which the food festival was conducted and professionally managed giving that all important personalised home touch.

Mami Samayal is from 24th November to 8th December 2006 at "Olives" the multi cuisine restaurants for Lunch and for dinner. Check out www.deccanhotels.com and you could contact the assistant F&B manager, Mr Suresh at 09840987713


Back in action

I am feeling relatively better now, though the proper reason of headaches and recurrent fever, is not yet sorted out. Doctor says, too much strain, lack of excercise, eye power increase and improper bowel habits may be a reason, which to an extent is true, but I am not really sure whether that is the only reason for recurrent headaches. I still have not got an appintment with the neccesary doc, but I guess over the course of the next few days, things should be sorted out.

Started the weekend in a lovely fashion, went to a lovely "Tam brahm Maami food festival" in Mylapore at the Deccan Inn and came back at about 11 pm last night. Then watched American Pie 4 and "The Guru" till about 2 30 in the morning with a couple of close friends and zeroed in our respective lives and our goals... till about 4, after which each of us fell asleep and got up at 8 am. It was one heck of a night watching and laughing laudly at both the movies, which could be described as the -sex comedy- genre of movies. I actually watched a full movie after a long time...and boy it was like reliving college day gang movie watching with friends in the wee hours.

I do plan to put up some photographs of the food festival, by the weekend.


Service Tax ?

The Indian goverment certainly, knows where to position the message, so that the message is "loud and clear" to the consumer...ahem the male half of the population.Now lets see an ad from the goverment that entices the female population too :-) .


Kartik C headache B fever 6(8)

The past 6 days have been quite puzzling, in the sense that both headache and fever have played truant with my health for an all important week, and show no signs of abating.A local doctor initially called it normal fever, then some one else said viral fever, and I actually dont know whom to belive. If the fever abates the headache doesnt, and a slight increase in headache starts to trigger the fever. I was feeling better on tuesday, but a trip out to ashok nagar in the evening chill(I know Chennai aint all that chill, but ...) seemed to have worked inimically against me.

Lying in the bed whole day long, seems actually pretty boring, as it makes me even lazier.It'a yucky phase of life that must be endured till a solution is found.Some time back,when I was studying my final year of engineering, similar bouts of uneasiness came by, with excessive stomach ache and headaches as symptoms.After a year and 6 doctors whom I consulted, I finally found the right doctor in Mr Rajkumar of Lifeline Clinic,Adayar, who diagnosed my problem as Tubercolosis of the colon,and I had to endure a rather painful laser operation which put me off for about three drugged months.

I am a little hesitant to move anywhere outside as the chillness in the air seems to affect me immideately and the last thing I would want is a headache while writing the all important CAT exam in a matter of 40 hours from now. I just hope I find the right doctor who is able to isolate the problem and free me from this tyranny of a headache, which makes me so paralysed, that I cant even bend my head down.

Hoping to get better...


I hear India has just lost a warm up game in Benoni. I think the team needs a dose of inspiration from Sandy Gordon, to psyche them up for the series that is getting under way in some time.The team is totally a pale shadow of what it was 9 months back after back to back series victories against England and Pakistan.


What does it take to the beat the Aussies

Ashes-What the Poms should do?

The Poms have just started their tour down under and have been just thrashed by a second string Australian XI by 186 runs. Will the Poms be thrashed severely in the Ashes? My take on the Poms is that as long as they are able to have a steady bowling attack that can unsettle and dishevell a few aussies, who knows the Aussies can be given a run for their money.

England needs to settle into a strategy where their batsmen need to dominate the Aussies at more than 3 an over and not to try to match the high Aussie run rate.Sometimes the advantage that Australia gives the opposition by their fast run scoring is, the time it gives the opponents to strategise against the aussies.Thats how India almost knoocked the wind out of the Aussie sails in 04.The Aussie strength lies in their mental mien that they exude, while that is just what England lack.Performance under testing conditions makes you belive in yourslf and since the aussies have done that quite consistently for some time, I presume hiccups for the aussies would be quite minimal and what England need to ensure is that they strategise well on and off the field.

10 Tips for England to keep the urn.

1) Dont give up on Verbal Banter.Give the aussies as good as they get.

2) Try to bounce out the Australians like the English summer of 05.

3) Attack the Aussies to make them lose 2o wickets.

4) England for heavens sake, please get out of your slumber and start performing from Test 1, as the first 2 tests have always been warm up games for England, as seen in the 94,98 and 03 series, the English performances start to peak only after the Sydney test matches.

5) Have the Barmy army in full force to vociferously support you.

6) Dont prepare Tactics against warne, just learn to hold on for dear life.

7)Learn to defend Mcgrath and Co and negate them and then attack after being settled.

8) If you are in a winning position, dont try harakiri against the Aussies, they are getting too bored.

9).Dont do foolish things and have your players injured.If I remember right the 93 or 94 series against the Aussies had 34 different English players playing in 5 test matches and the one day series.

10) Remind the Aussies hard that they lost the ashes last time and let Ponting and Warne only be spectators


In Search of life....

I am right now filling up an application form, for my Masters in business administration and when these questions stare at me, I just seem to copy it and stare blankly at life

Do I have a life?

Am I living the life I want?

Do I know what I want to do?

Do I know where I am heading in Life?

Do I know the right people to trust in life ?

My answers to most of the questions vacillate between a yes and a no and seem more inclined towards a NO. These questions are hitting me a week before CAT, and ya the timing couldnt have been better. My CAT scores havent really looked up, but humankind has invented something called hope, and I seem to subscribe to that more often than not. Life actually seems a rat race day by day and the added pressures of life, seem to take the sheen of life, and add it to the hedonism factor that my brain loves being pampered with, you just want to ask me " why the hell do you want to do management? ".

I guess life wouldn't ask me such questions If I was getting 14% ile higher than the current mock cat scores and if I had a seat at a premier business school by now.I would have cool'ly assumed that life was taken care of and not even recognize that my soul cant answer 5 basic questions that the conundrum called life put to me.

Its not a linear world, and nobody is out to give you sweets.They give you a box of sweets if you indirectly gave them a ton of sweets.Everybody is running, so am I, but when I take breather...I ask myself why am I running,where am I running, will running in this direction help me?even as someone running along with me lies to me that, this is the best path to run,since he needs company to accomplish the running task Sometimes the breather or the break extends a little too much into overtime and I again start running. While running there are rogues that push mud on filth on you, or make you trip, as they need to overtake you and even as you overcome all this, you still are wondering what a great leveller life is, it pulls you up only to be pushed down.

While you just relax and mull, there comes a comment that "X's daugher has gone onsite, Y's son got admission into IIM A, Z who got a lesser grades than you, somehow managed to become a program lead and hajaar such comments that keep reverberating in your mind to mindlessly push yourself against the wall to expand your horizons. Not that you dont appreciate their success, just that you ask yourself, why not me? and even if you didn't what are families there for?

Life for the last 3 years has been like trying to walk across a slimy surface and slipping time and again.The end seems near, but the 7th class lesson of Optical illusion seems to only seems to give you bad memories.Sometimes honesty gets you nowhere, while you see incompetent fools, avoiding the slimy path, as they get the "divine exemption". Does that mean, I change myself? I probably would'nt , but I would prefer to rely on persistence to get through the slimy surface inch by inch and then take on the injustice.Sometimes, you feel like getting all charged up and fighting back, but its always safe to not challenge the power of the waves, just allow the waves to hit and you,while you stand firm..and just wait for the waves to abate and rubbish the advice of a 100 " well wishers" who'd advice you to fight the tide.

43 minutes past this post I still have not found the answer to those questions.But since I need a fat pay cheque and a good life, I will eventually go back to lying about 5 questions and prove to the B schools that I am applying that

"You know what, I am the guy, whom your program desparately needs to add the diversity to the MBA Program, and .....blah blah blah........".

So give me examples of how you have handled crisis situations ?

"Once My friend threw cowdung on my face during a discussion and I immideately said "you know what, You dont know how much of protein and vitamin supplements you have given my face, I may now not want to use that "fair and lovely" cream for the face vitamins, as the shit that you have accorded my face, seems to be glowing my skin.but it seems to have hit only one part of my face, would you wanna paint the other part brown?"

The Result:: My other friend who was "networking" (flirting) close by, got convinced of my crisis management capabilities and gave me a job in his company.

Give some details of awards won

Award for the most "out-standing" student in college, as I passed all exams without actually being in the class.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in the Corporate World ?

I learnt that Pareto, didn't actually waste his time creating theorems, Infact one of his theorems was so practically followed at the places where I used to work.
The 80-20 rule does apply, with a slight deviation though :-
80% of the work is done by 20% of the people
The remaining 20% ask 80% of the questions *

How useful was the 6 Sigma concept ?

Well, according to popular management folklore experienced by friends of mine at various companies the concept is Indianised into6 Nagma concept:

6 Nagma's is what it takes to ruin your career.The 6 females laugh aloud at the workplace, get all the promotions, get to assign work to you, get to screw you in the "zor ka jhatka dheerey sey laga " way , get to laugh at you, get to leave at 5 15 before the honcho leaves and get to "network" in the female restrooms the time you spend on your machine staring at code.

Get three evaluators to write about you ?

First Person: Kartik...was an extremely intelligent ...

Second Person: Kartik is a potential L.N.Mittal .....

Third Person: Kartik is an immaculate guy .......

After three long praising essays I get happy at seeing so many good things written about me, but later concience pricks me, as I have done this mono acting of me being all the three reviewers, partially exhausted the word list and lied so much, that depression and grief puts me to sleep before the alarm raises its ugly head early next morning.

What are the three things you expect at your "ideal" job ? **

Better Pay
Better Pay
Better work atmosphere ( Better Chicks)

But, that’s not what you can say on your B School application now, can you ?
So, you come up with illuminating reasons. Some of them being:

Looking for higher exponential learning across various verticals.

Looking to increase exposure, for personal enrichment.

-------Its a vague rant alright.... but somehow I feel all this crap of "management selling" is a false way of life to project yourself and even a career progression depends on how you suck up sometimes and how you beg for the extra increment,every quarter....over a period of time.

MBA Schools know this, but still expect you to say lies in a smiling armour. Dont get me wrong,I may have not seen much of the world, but get a strange feeling that all the glitz and glamour that the corporate world promises...is only a false screen where puppets like you and me get that extra second of coverage.

* , ** Concept inspired from (: Sudhir)


Clash of the Titans

The ICC Champions trophy final is all set for a grand finale between the Aussies and the Windies. The Carribeans have been the most improved team since April, after their rather stunning turnaround in the one day series against India. I guess playing Zimbabwe at home, and beating them hollow 5-0 did a real favour to the West Indies as they found ways of winning which seemed almost non existent in recent years. As I was having my lunch, I picked up an old issue of The Sportstar dating to 1995,which talked about how Richie Richardson, the erstwhile WestIndies captain, made jarring comments about the Australian team calling them the "weakest team to tour the carribean", even after losing the series 1-2 to the Aussies.

That was the beginning of the end, in terms of WestIndian cricket, as victories have been few and far in between happening only versus India,England and Zimbabwe (1998 vs England 4-3 ,1999 Coca Cola Trophy,2001 Coca Cola Trophy, 2002 India TVS Cup and the 2004 Champions trophy). In between we got to see the worst of Carribean cricket,even though individual performances by Lara,Sarwan or Chanderpaul still shone through. So Will this Aussie match again be the turnaround in fortunes for the Windies? I belive so,atleast, as I see a ceratin hunger and a method in madness,in theirgame,which sadly has been lacking for a good part of 10 years.A victory at the ICC Champions trophy again can do a world of good to the Carribeans,in terms of reinstating their position back at the helm.

The semi final line up, pretty much were the most adaptable and improved teams since the last world cup.New Zealand and South Africa,in my opinion would continue to be on the top, since they are a team of 11 players , than being 3 or 4 star studded individuals making the team. Pakistan and India continue to show glimpses of brilliance, mainly bordering on inconsistency,while the lankans lag behind,when facing quality attacks and pressure.

The Poms, are going through an extended horrible run since 1995,and dont really seem to have set the Thames on fire since then(Victories include 97 Texaco trophy,Champions Trophy(Sharjah) and the Ashes Test series in 05).Otherwise ODI cricket wise, they have had a bad time, even though they did show some promise under Nasser Hussain.The Poms lack the ideal elements of a one day team.They just have 3 worldclass batsmen in Strauss,Flintoff and Pieterson,while the others fire once in twenty games(with the consistency of an Agarkar).Their bowling looks propped up in terms of pace, but lacks the momentum in the middle overs to complement Harmison and Sajid Mahmood. No Allrounders means, the death knell and all England can do is to compete fiercely with the likes of Zimbabwe or India to get some confidence before the World Cup.

So as they say, the new order changeth... I foresee the same semifinal line up in the World cup too(depending on the draws). I would be cheering for the Windies though...its time the bajans celebrated their existence in ODI Cricket


Whats up with the CAT?

The Common Admission Test(CAT) is one of India's most hyped up tests, in terms of media attention and in terms of adrenaline. I prefer to call it that way,even though I have been plain bulldozed twice before by the CAT, but this time around, though I dont really have any ammunition in terms of performance on the mock cats, I am just hoping for d-day to light up.My Percentiles in the mock tests are consistently hovering between 75 and 90 and I dont seem to be getting further at all. After work,coming and prepping is the hardest thing to do, but ya, that can be the lamest excuse. I have realised that CAT is not just about prep,but largely strategy oriented to help you sail through and thats one thing that I am banking on, to make me sail through. I guess just to test my ego, I would attend IMS's much hyped National Open Free Simcat Challenge.I really liked the way,Webchutney went about marketing it for IMS, given the fact that some of its earlier ad campaigns for Makemytrip was such an instant hit.

Sometimes the lack of prep helps you in a better position to solve only questions that you would bloody well know for sure. My GMAT flopped badly with a rather poor Verbal ability and a rather high quant score.I plan to revise some of my mock papers for the next week or so and ten get back to preparing hard for the verbal part for GMAT,which I plan to schedule it for the 3rd or the 4th week of November and also simultaneously take an honest call on the recco letters that i can honestly prepare from colleagues at work, as time for that is pretty less, given the fact that 2nd round admissions of most imminent B schools end in November December.

These are times, when you cling on to hope and smile all along.I feel like David walking up with a sling and stone in hand, as Goliath comes nearer day by day. Watch this space to know what happens next in a couple of weeks.


Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking, seems a relatively new phenomenon to have hit the on line world that seems to have hit the on line world by storm.Social bookmarking involves a user voting for a post, signifying his approval for the article.Lets say I read an article written on the " Indian Cricket team selection",by a user, and to elicit my approval for the story, I click the "vote button" near the story, the story gets an increment in the number of votes, proportionate to the number of people who liked reading that post. Its very similar to the model that is present in the Sulekha News, where users and commenter's help other readers read what would be only the best news or blog items.

So when a mass community helps you as an isolated reader, select the best news items to read, it saves you the time to sift through all the posts,and as the wont is, you to would not mind spreading the goodwill gesture by sifting through some of the articles.This in its true avatar is the changing face of citizen participatory media which is of immense value considering the dynamic nature of the content on the web.I am doing a small documented research on Social Bookmarking sites. If any body has a few ideas,examples to share, please do feel free to get in touch with me. For starters, I just see

as 3 sites to start of from.

I am contactable at kartik (dot) kannan (at) gmail (dot)com and my research is more so on how the social Bookmarking phenomenon has revolutionized the Indian News reading sites and the influence of such sites on increasing the traffic on one's blogs.

Statcounter Tracker