Monthly Archives: July 2016

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.

    Paniyaram

    Paniyaram

  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.

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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

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 5 – Gleaming Gurdum

Recap from the last post: We were at  Sandakphu witnessing a beautiful sunrise.

As said in the last post, 29-04-2016 (Day 5) started with an amazing sunrise. After near zero degrees temperature last night, all my body wanted was some sunshine on it.  With water scarcity here, taking a bath is completely out of the question. Leave bathing, even rinsing after brushing froze my mouth, that cool it was. After our typical breakfast and the customary group picture, we started to trek further to our next camp around 8.20 am.

The Customary Group Pic @ Sandakphu

The Customary Group Pic @ Sandakphu

What’s more painful than climbing up is getting down too quickly. The same not only applies to the life but also to the trek too. Yes, it’s a 10 km long downhill path with a steep elevation drop of 1300 mt. My heavy backpack and no trekking poles made the trek even more difficult for me. Though I took each and every step with precaution, I did slide and slipped a couple of times. Luckily I could get hold of the shrubs and trees all along the path and save myself. But, the best part is that the route is right through the heart of Singalila National Park. Man, this place is captivating with colorful and pleasant smelling Rhododendron flowers all over.

Going down further, the Rhododendron got replaced by the bamboo forest. They say it’s the home of the red panda, but had no luck in spotting one, they are too shy types it seems. At times, I find myself walking alone on the narrow trails. That solitude and the sweet sound caused by the breeze flowing through the bamboo forest are priceless and soul-elevating. I would say it’s one of the best experiences during the trek. While we were resting near the bamboo forest, few of our guys happily started playing Gilli-Danda with the bamboo sticks there. What’s happiness, if not from these tiny pleasures.

As we walk further, the Bamboo got first replaced by fresh smelling pine trees. I even picked up a few pine leaves and pine flowers as a souvenir. These pine flowers are unique and I like them. Most flowers are appreciated for their fragrance and vivid colors, but I admire these pine flowers for their characteristics to stay strong and beautiful in extreme environments. If you want to compare women with flowers, then pine is my type. We took some rest in a small clearing in the pine forest. One thing we found out was, our guide cute Avinash not only climb mountains effortlessly but also climb trees in the same fashion.

Around 1.20 pm we reached our camp, Himalayan Sherpa Lodge at Gurdum (2400 m). This one is located in the valley, so one could see the beautiful view of mountains covering the place from all sides. Not just that, the sunshine and the warmth of the place felt comforting. As I haven’t taken a bath for straight 4 days, all I wanted after reaching there was to take a shower and I felt too relieved when I took one. While I was relaxing after the lunch, few of us played UNO and it was fun see them play. The lodge people were kind to give us their small hall for the evening. So, we had an eventful fun filled evening that day. Sowmya and Geetha danced classical, kathak and Bharatanatyam respectively. Honey danced folk and our MC Giri’s amazing dance moves made us all go crazy. It’s not just dance, we had Pune guys, Mumbai group, Nilofar and Shubham contributed well for the music department too. After all the fun, we headed back to the lodge for the dinner.

Post dinner, I was relaxing outside a small garden kinda place just opposite to the dining area and just gazed above. OMG, I never saw such a beautiful night sky in all my life. It was densely filled with stars, like millions of them. All I did was, lay myself down in the open and gazed at the eternity with my favorite tracks playing in my ears. In me, repeatedly prompted the below lines from one of my favorite Bharathi’s poem “Suttum vizhi sudar thaan kannamma”, where he compares her beauty in dark blue silk saree and diamond ornaments to the night sky and the stars.

“Pattu karuneela — pudavai
Padhitha nalvayiram
Natta nadunisiyil — theriyum
NatshathirangaLadi”

IMG-20160515-WA0000

That’s quite a lot a lot of stars. PC : Akanksha

star trail 2d

Earth rotates, so do I. Star trail well captured. PC : Akanksha

Wow, what a magical moment that was, the one I wanna cherish all my life. Luckily, Mayur and Akanksha patiently clicked the night sky. Then, Myself, Vihari, Upma, Honey, Rishab and Nilofar spent a while listening to Tamil and Hindi songs. We also did click some scary night pics :D, One can call it low light photography :D.

I went early to bed, while the rest of the Tamil gang enjoyed playing cards. I was woken up by my friends just before the strike of midnight. Then, we all wished our beloved MC Giri a very happy birthday. We gifted him our wishes which were written on a small paper napkin and a wonderful impromptu bouquet which buddy Jai managed to make just with the flowers there. After the celebration, I went back to continue my sleep and that’s an awesome day ended.