The Demise Of An Idol

It was supposed to be a good evening, me playing with my newborn niece. But, it didn’t. We were all terribly shocked when the news of her death reached us. All we could do now is to bid her farewell in her funeral.

For all that I know and heard about her, she is one awesome strong woman. She is my Idol, I admire her a lot but never told this straight to her and now it’s too late for it. She was very sincere and proud of what she did. She was a person of professional integrity. Every day she would start from home at 6 am in a crisp cotton Saree with a big wire bag in her hand, just like an office goer. Then, goes to the nearby temple to offer her prayers before starting to the market to sell fishes. She sold fish for more than 55 years in the biggest fish market in the town and was unanimously elected as the head of the same market for more than 27 years until she got retired due to bad health. People there say she a is kind woman and took decisions considering the situation of others. She didn’t go to school but learned a bit of English and French to communicate with her customers. I still remember, she used to occupy the first stall, nearby the entrance and whenever I visited her there, she never leaves me to return empty-handed. Either it’s some fish or some snacks or some little money to spend on the way. She was also a well-disciplined woman who wants things clean and to be in place. I have never seen her using foul language, which is said to be one of the traits of fisherman here. Even Once I heard her advising her daughter to address the children with respect so that they reciprocate the same respect. Though like every other common woman of those days, she also feared the society and the norms around it. But, she very much insisted on educating the girl children. In fact, her youngest daughter is the first girl from the fishing village to go and study in a college. Isn’t she awesome?

Though she was an awesome woman, unfortunately, her personal life wasn’t great. She got married early, gave birth to 7 kids, 4 females, and 3 males. Her husband married two other women and stopped supporting the family. Singlehandedly worked hard to raise her kids, educated them and got all of them married. After their marriage, her sons started fighting for the properties which she brought out of her hard earned money. All she wanted was peace in the family, so she signed off the properties over to them with no clauses attached. But, when she started getting old, her unfaithful sons threw her out of their home and stopped supporting her. Her helper at the market who cuts and clean fishes along with her for many years took her into her family and took care of her with lots of gratitude. Then, her sons took her back to the family just for the sake of societal pressure and failed to take good care of her. Now she is no more, free from her tough life and sufferings.

If you are wondering about the relation between myself and the deceased. She is my maternal grandmother Mrs. Vanasegari and my mom is her youngest daughter. She is the one who seeded the bit of broad-mindedness into the family and I could see a lot of her traits being reflected in my mom. I pray for her beautiful soul to Rest In Peace. Will miss you, Grandma.

Where To Look Out For Best Things In Life

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” once said, Shakespeare and I agree with him. I would also like to add my own words to his, “All the world’s a school, And all the men and women merely students”. Because in life, it’s not just school or colleges where one learns his lessons. Lessons are out there everywhere, all one has to do is to keep their mind broad and open, to learn out of it. They say Buddha got enlightenment under a Banyan tree, just like him, we too get enlightened at unlikely places by unlikely people. Below is one such incident.

“All the world’s a school, And all the men and women merely students”

One thing my mom appreciates is my expertise in buying vegetables and that’s the only shopping I enjoy. I always believe that good and fresh ingredients are the basis of yummy food, that’s why I take my own time to pick them from the local market. We usually stock the vegetables for the week on the weekends. Likewise, last Sunday my mom gave me a list and asked me to get them from the market. In the market, when I tried to pick some tomatoes, I found most of them overripe and rotten. Then, I complained about the same to the shopkeeper and asked him to add some fresh stock. Next to me was an old grandma and she said: “If you don’t know to choose properly, why complain the shopkeeper” in a sarcastic tone. Those words not only touched my ego but also put a sword straight into it. Cos, All my life, that’s one of my skills I am very proud of. For a minute I let my ego settle and politely asked her to look at those tomatoes herself. Within a few minutes, she picked more than a kg of good firm tomatoes from the same pile which I complained about. I kind of feel embarrassed as the shopkeeper kinda laughed at me looking at my skills put to shame by her. But, what actually hit me like a hammer is what she said next.


“Your generation wants everything at arm’s length and too lazy to reach for anything beyond that. You must have the patience and put some effort to search beyond other’s arm’s reach and that’s where you find good things. You people have no patience at all and easily judge on what’s outside.” She complained as she walked away. Initially, it felt like usual grumbling by elders on the current generation, but later every word made sense.

“Your generation wants everything at arm’s length and too lazy to reach for anything beyond that. You must have the patience and put some effort to search beyond other’s arm’s reach and that’s where you find good things. You people have no patience at all and easily judge on what’s outside.”

That’s my enlightenment point, at an unlikely local market by from an unlikely old grandma whom I have never met before. If I have to look back, all the great things in my life have happened beyond my comfort zone. Maybe, I should stop being impulsive and hold a bit of patience and think through while making decisions.

Keep your mind broad and open, you will have no idea when and where you will stumble upon your source of enlightenment.

Claps To UrbanClap

Unfortunately, not all of us are super skilled like my dad. He is someone who can fix electrical, plumbing and carpentry issues to an extent all by himself. At times he even mocks me by saying “You are an engineer just for namesake, you don’t know how to fix this simple thing”. All they thought me in the engineering was how to fix a bug in the code and arrest memory leak but not how to fix a fused bulb and stop the water leak. Fixing these small household issues becomes a big headache for the current generation who doesn’t want to move their a** to get things done and somehow never gets time for anything in life. The problem lies in finding skillful workers to do the job, even if we find one, they are never ready to do petty jobs.

Nowadays we got apps for almost anything and everything from booking movie tickets to ordering food home. Luckily there are a few service aggregators who can help with the above problems, but unfortunately, all of them are not trustworthy. Then there is UrbanClap (UC) which is successfully providing services since 2014. It’s been one of the trusted marketplaces to hire 80,000+ professionals for 80+ home services such as Beauty, Photography, Electricians, Plumbers and Fitness . Though I have a Rs. 200 credit to try their service, I didn’t have any requirement for the same. So, as far now, I decided to review their app.

Before jumping to their app, I played around their website for a while. The website is simple, modern and straightforward with a big services search right in the middle of their home page. The site also lists the most trending services and service listed category wise.

Home Page

Home Page

Trending Services

Trending Services

Now coming to the mobile app, the app is available for both iPhone and Android platforms. I tried the app on my android phone and it worked without any issues. The signup process was fairly simple, the users can also signup with their Google+ or Facebook too. The services can be searched directly or browsed based on the categories. The best thing is it suggests the services and professionals based on the proximity and the ratings. The app also allows the user to chat directly with the professionals for clarification and request a quote from them. The app is simple, user-friendly and provides a better experience.

I would definitely try using this app when the need arises.

This blog post is a part of the Chennai Bloggers Club campaign in association with UrbanClap.

Embarrassed – Braced – Embraced


“Hey, can you help scrap some coconut for me, that’s the best way you can put your teeth to use”. I have heard many say this to me cos of my protruding teeth, some even had a nickname for me as Thenga Turuvi (Coconut Scraper). If you ask me if I am embarrassed about it, actually a big no. Scraping coconut is one of the few things I am really good at and even my mom would agree to the same. Some even ask me if I chew tobacco or do smoke cos of the hard stains on the tooth in my lower jaw. I did brush properly, but they being misaligned and crooked made it much more difficult. Again, I am not embarrassed about this either and I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.  If you are wondering why the hell it’s in the title, it’s for no other reason than it rhymes with the next two words😀 .

“I don’t feel embarrassed about anything that’s not an outcome of my conscience decision.”


I never intended to wear braces to correct my looks. One of my friends who’s a doctor saw me sleep with my mouth wide open and strongly advised me to have a check on it, as it might cause respiratory problems in the future. Then I consulted another doctor who advised me to see a dentist, as my teeth were obstructing my mouth from closing properly. I did consult a couple of dentists, they all recommended dental braces and it also required 4 of my teeth to be extracted. For a while, I was very skeptical about the teeth extraction and had a huge dilemma in proceeding further.  At the same time, my ex-colleague Mr. Balaji Rajashekar also encouraged me to wear dental braces, he even went ahead and recommended his dentist. I am mentioning his name cos his encouraging words played a major role in breaking the dilemma. But, somewhere I missed the confidence in going ahead. One big problem was most of these nearby dental clinic had a general dentist and not an Orthodontist, the one who specialized in the correction of malpositioned teeth and the jaws. After a bit of searching, I found Dr. Sanjay Jacob an Orthodontist who runs Dr. Jacobs Dentacare which is quite near to my home. When I consulted him, he said the same that the other doctors did. But he somehow gave me the confidence to get started.

It all started with tooth extraction and it was really a painful process. You don’t feel a thing when the teeth are extracted. But it slightly pains for the next couple of days and you can’t even eat the spicy food you like. The only comfort was the ice cream, which I must have after every extraction. I bet the clinic wouldn’t have seen such a notorious patient like me. When Dr. extracted my tooth, Instead of acting like being in extreme pain, I was busy clicking the extracted tooth. I even went to the extent of keeping one of my extracted teeth as a souvenir. I know that sounds really strange.

A tweet from the past😀

Then begin the other orthodontic procedures like bonding the dental brackets and connecting them with archwire and all. I must be the most talkative and curious patient too. Whenever the Dr. begin to do something with my teeth, I never failed to ask him questions about it and he never failed to answer me patiently. There’s one thing I really hated about going to the clinic, it’s the oral lamp above the dentist chair. Most of my appointments are in the evening after my work hours and by then, my eyes are dead tired staring at the screen since morning. Now imagine a bright light above my head and what could be more irritating than staring at it for another half an hour or more with my mouth open. Yeah, I can close my eyes, but as I said I was always curious to see what he does.

I even came up with a few dentist jokes

My dentis is the only person who is capable of keeping my mouth open with out uttering a single word.

Dentist : Bi(y)te Please
Me: Bit my teeth 8 times


Once the braces were put on my tooth, I started embracing 2 things.

First one is my SMILE, yeah, my iconic smile. To be honest, in the beginning, I was a bit hesitant to smile with my braces. But the thing is, even I didn’t like my face without a smile on it, it even felt like not being myself. So, I threw out those fit for nothing hesitation and started to smile just like myself. As I always say, Smile is all that I have got and the following pics would tell how much I embrace my lovely smile (It’s ok if you’re not ok with the “lovely” part).

The second one is PAIN. It reminds me of one of my fav quotes, “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”. Being a foodie, It pains when you can’t eat your favorite food. It pains for 2-3 days when the braces are adjusted every 3 weeks for around 2 years. It pains when kids get scared of seeing those. It pains when people make fun of it. They say “Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”. So, I smiled and embraced it for my own glory to come.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”

“Pain is temporary, Glory is forever”

My teeth move slowly said my dentist, probably deep down they are also as stubborn as me. It took almost 2 years to finally take them off. I still remember the day when the braces were put on my teeth, it was painful and felt too weird. That day Dr.Rachel Cherian (dentist & wife of my  dentist) comforted me that it’s gonna feel so good when they are removed. I realized her words on 7th July 2016, the day when the braces are finally removed. As she said, It felt so good and worth all the pain.

The following are some of the weight reduction style, before and after pics clicked by my dentist.




If “What a change over mama” is what you feel, you got a company, I too feel the same😀 .

I dedicate this post to the man behind the smile, my awesome dentist Dr.Sanjay Jacob and my sincere thanks to him.

The story ends here, not my smiles. Be Happy, Keep Smiling.

Yet Another Souvenir : Prayer Flag

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 6 – Refreshing Rimbik And The Rest

Recap from the last post: We were at Gurdum celebrating Giri’s Bday at midnight.

30-04-2016 (Day 6) Started as usual with tea, breakfast, and our customary group pic. Just before we start to our next destination, Sowmya thought us all a lovely good night song as tonight will be the last one we all will be spending together. So, we all learned to sing the same tonight.

“The time has come to say good night, to say sleep tight till the morning light.
We’ve had so much fun today, tomorrow is just a dream away.
The time has come to say good night, it’s the end of the lovely light.”

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

To Be Memorized. Ordered by Sowmya Teacher

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

Customary Group Pic. PC: Sowmya

I thought the last leg of the trek gonna feel tiring rather to the contrary, it felt energetic. The route was down the valley, almost flat, narrow and exciting. Since the start, we heard the flow of the water and that sound was very refreshing. Later, on our way, we saw water flow through. As it’s an unmotorable road, we saw a worker carrying a huge tank over his head. Life is not easy here and these kinda scenes make me realize that life is not easy here. After 6 km of trekking, we stopped by SriKhola (1938 m) for lunch. After our lunch, we spent some time playing with water in the nearby stream. We also did play UNO for a while before resuming our trek. It was fun crossing the iconic SriKhola Bridge. As it’s an old wooden bridge in not so good condition,only one or two persons were allowed to cross it simultaneously. After yet another 7km trek, by late noon we reached Rimbick (1917 m), our last camp. Finally, we got mobile network after 6 long days and the calls and emails began to flow. Believe me, days were much better without the network. As we saw a few MOMO shops on the way, myself and Upma planned to have some. But, all our glorious plan went in vain as the shops shut down as early ar 5 pm here. At the end, we had to console ourselves with some chocolates. To celebrate our MC Giri’s birthday, Manali & Co. surprisingly baked a yummy pressure cooker cake topped with melted Dairy Milk chocolate and Gems. The best part is that they pulled it off with limited ingredients available there. Lavanya and Lakshmi also made a yummy Paal Payasam (Kheer) to top up the celebration. After Giri’s cake cutting followed the grand dinner which officially marked the end of this awesome trek. As planned, the day got ended with Sowmya’s good night song. While my sleepy head went to bed early and dozed off, the other guys DJed and danced along with cool and awesome landlord aunt. Seems I missed so much fun.

Unusually on 1-05-2016 (Day 7) everyone woke up early and got done with our tea and toast as we had to leave early to avoid traffic on our way back to Darjeeling. It was a tiring 60 km Van ride from Rimbik to Darjeeling. Luckily we had a pitstop at Dhotrey, yeah exactly the same place where the trek started. I had one of the best chicken MOMOs of my life in a small shop there just for Rs. 30 for a plate of 8. I had 3 plates plus an Omelet, that yummy it was. The rest of the ride was spent discussing Sambar and Chennai with Sachin who hails from Mumbai. Finally, by afternoon, we reached our base camp at Darjeeling. After refreshing and collecting our certificates, we decided to spare the little time we got on shopping. All I could get was a small prayer flag and some good black tea leaves in the limited time we got.  Then, we packed our bags, bid goodbye to the beautiful Darjeeling and took a Van back to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). It is like Win Rar on vans with high compression rate, 11 of us went in the same van which usually carry 7-8 people max. All I witnessed during this ride was my favorite Thirukkural, “Anbirkum Undo Adaikkuntaal Arrvalar Punkaneer Pusal Tharum”. Which means, Is there any fastening that can shut in love? Tears of the affectionate will publish the love that is within.  We reached NJP well in advance, so we relaxingly had our dinner and boarded the Padatik Express back to Kolkatta. As they say, history repeats itself, this time also a family requested me and nigilan to take the upper berth as they got women and children, and as usual, we happily agreed.

I woke up on Day 8 (2-05-2016) and not so soon I realized that we are running late. As out train was delayed for more than an hour, we had to skip our breakfast and rush to the airport to catch our flight back to Chennai. The sad part is that we didn’t even have time to buy Rasagulla which I promised to many. After munching some MOMOs at the airport, we boarded our flight by 11ish and landed back in Chennai by the afternoon. Once I was out of the airport I could feel the harsh Sun rays on my skin and could hear it whisper “Welcome home my boy”. This is what I have been missing for the past 10 days and nothing feels like home. As I was too hungry then and as Sudhakaran a.k.a puppy decided to give me some company, we hit our favorite Biryani place before returning back home.


To be preserved. ID sealed and signed by all camp in charge. PC: Jai



Now don’t ask me where is the Prologue or search for it, it’s not there.
This trip was a super awesome one. It still feels like a dream, cos it’s something I did much out of my comfort zone. The high altitudes, the harsh cold temperature, the language and the food, all those are really out of my league, but somehow I managed. What makes travel more interesting than the places are the people. The whole group along with our guides made this trek a memorable one. I should really thank Buddy Jai, Nigilan, and Puppy who urged me to join this trek in the first place.

I recommend each one of you to travel. For me, traveling is not going on a tour with everything planned. It’s an adventure where you aren’t planned for everything. Traveling gives you lots of exciting experiences, open your taste buds to awesome food, befriend strangers and at the end, you will have quite a lot of interesting stories to narrate, just like this. All you must do is shed your comfort a little bit and there’s a lot of adventure out there to last you a lifetime.

The End.

Click By Vinod Velayudhan

Walking Down The OMR Food Street

One awesome thing being part of an awesome group like The Chennai Bloggers Club is you get invited to interesting events. This time, it’s a food tasting event at OMR Food Street. Situated near Thoraipakkam, OMR Food Street is the Chennai’s first organized food street. This place not only hosts a variety of eateries but also gives you a unique experience apart from the typical food court and street food. One could see this place buzzing with people even by 5 in the eve. Though I have been here before, being with blogging buddies is yet another different experience. I am not a food critic and reviewer and all, I am a simple foodie who enjoys food like any other. So, all I am gonna share about is what I had there in chronological order.

That 6pm crowd @ OMR Food Street

That 6pm crowd @ OMR Food Street

With Blogging Buddies PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

With Blogging Buddies PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

  1. Paniyaram
    It was Sindhu’s idea to start with Paniyaram first. There was a small shop named C-Tasty which sells a variety of Paniyarams such as Cheese, Mushroom, Paneer and Carrot Paniyarams. But we decided to go for the classic plain Paniyaram. It was soft and tasted good. The chutneys they gave accompanied the dish well, especially the Kara (Spicy) Chutney.



  2. Atho
    Being brought up in North Chennai, Atho needs no introduction to me. Actually, I was very surprised to see Burma Square, an Atho joint there. I am happy that this Burmese dish which is quite prominent in Noth Chennai areas has spread to other parts of the city. This is one of the things that I really missed after moving to South Chennai. Not only Atho, they also sell other Burmese food such as Sejo, Mohinga, Bejo Soup, Etc. The Atho was good but little spicier than authentic ones. The soup was good too but was slightly on the thinner side than the usual.


  3. Thattu Vadai
    I was really surprised to see one of Salem’s signature food being sold here. Once I enjoyed having it in Salem itself and thanks to Thattu Vadai Touch shop for bringing similar experience back. We ordered Thattu Vadai Set, Norukku Mix, and Panagam. Thattu Vadai was really awesome, Norukku was bit mushy and the Panagam  was perfect. It’s been years since I had Panagam, it used to be one of my favorite drink during my school days and remember preparing it even during one of my work experience cooking classes.


  4. Adai
    There is a shop here, that sells traditional Millet based food, the same way they do it in good old times even before rice and wheat were cultivated in large scale. So, to go with the kind of food they serve, they must have named it Ki Mu 200 (200 BC). We had Thinai Adai with Aviyal and Thinai Sweet Pongal. The Adai tasted a bit different, but the Sweet Pongal tasted
    quite typical.


  5. Paratha
    After munching South Indian dishes, it’s time for some North Indian ones. “Stuf-fed” sells all kinda stuffed parathas here. Out of all their options, we opted for Pyas Paratha. You know why? according to Sindhu, that’s the one which sounded cool😀 . The Parata was typical, but the accompaniments pickle and mint chutney took it to the next level.

    Pyas Ka Paratha

    Pyas Ka Paratha

  6. Crepe
    Friend: Bro, what’s Crepe?
    Me: It’s a thin dessert masala Dosa, where they stuff in fruits and ice cream instead of mashed potato, they also top it with maple syrup, honey, chocolate sauce etc.
    This conversation might not sound funny now, but it sounded then. We ordered Crepe Classic at Zuki&Co. Though it was delivered late, it’s worth the wait. The Crepe was soft, thin and had yummy fresh strawberry fillings. They also sell Nanari sarbat which is a must try.

    Crepe Classic

    Crepe Classic

  7. Ice cream Fruit Salad
    All I thought of was having some juice before entering “Oasis” the juice shop there, but I quickly made up my mind when I saw few others having Icecream Fruit Salad. It was not only eye-catching but tasted yummy too. Their selection of fruits in the salad was good and the syrup over the ice cream elevated its taste.

    Ice cream fruit salad

    Ice cream fruit salad

Just like the way I did If you also like to taste a variety of food under your budget, OMR Food Street is the place.

Look what a good food can do to me, it puts a big smile on my face. Awesome candid click my Mahesh Anna

Look what a good food can do to me, it puts a big smile on my face. Awesome candid click.  PC: Mahesh Lakshmanan

My sincere thanks to CBC for organizing and OMR Food Street for hosting us. It was a great experience to indulge in a variety of food and will definitely visit again.

Featured banner image courtesy Vinod Velayudhan.

Spirituality & The Spirit’s Duality

I am a person who lives on simple ideas about life and SPIRITUALITY is a sophisticated concept for my lean and mean brain to comprehend. So, after some Googling and Wikipediaing, I just realized one thing. For all these time we have been mixing up Spirituality and Religious Devotionality. But, I am not here to tell the difference, hope you can figure that out just like I did.

When I hear people talk about spirituality, they talk about the meaning, purpose of life and all. I tell them, I would better live mine and learn its meaning on the go, rather than just waste time thinking about the same. For me, spirituality is simple, it’s understanding and balancing the duality of the soul. By soul, I mean one’s spirit, one’s character and by duality I mean the coexistence of extremes.

This reminds me of Yin and Yang, one of my favourite symbols. It symbolizes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another (courtesy: Wikipedia). I feel the very first step in spirituality is to understand oneself in depth. Like the Yin and Yang, there is always a co-existence of good & bad and strengths & weaknesses in us. So, it’s highly critical to have a self-appraisal to figure these things out. The next step is learning to balance them, yes as you think it’s easier said than done. The art of channelizing one’s energy is a tough art to master and that’s where techniques like meditation help. If you ask me what’s the end result? It’s the feeling content, fulfillment, and peace within oneself. Those are the most valuable intangible asset one can gift himself.

My Yin Yang Pendant

My Yin Yang Pendant

If even the above feels bit complex and philosophical thing to you, I will try decoding it much further.

  • Be happy
  • Live and let live
  • Try to understand and be true to yourself
  • What you seed is what you reap and the rest you don’t get to keep.

This entry is a part of the Songs of the Mist contest run by The Chennai Bloggers Club and The Monk Key