Building Basement Collapses During Piling Work

Last night as I passed by Kaloor on my way home from work, I saw the commotion on the streets. Tension gripped the city on Thursday night when the basement of a building under construction at Kaloor collapsed, threatening the structural stability of nearby buildings and roads, besides forcing the suspension of the Kochi metro services. The incident happened around 8.30 p.m. when the two-storey deep basement parking area of the building of an upcoming textile major caved in during the course of piling work being undertaken using excavators.

Following the incident, occupants of a section of Gokulam Park Hotel and another three-storey commercial building, which reportedly developed a slant to either side of the upcoming building were evacuated as a precautionary measure. As a crack appeared near the road in the impact of the collapse, traffic between Kaloor and Kacherippady was also fully suspended. At least three Kochi metro services were suspended midway through following the incident. The last train from Aluva to Maharaja’s terminated service at Palarivattom, while a train bound for Aluva from Maharaja’s suspended service at MG Road. Another train bound for Aluva never took off from Maharaja’s station.

Track experts of the Kochi metro are already at work, and the service up to Maharaja’s will be resumed only after their assessment as the incident took place close to the metro pillars. The site identified for the third extension of the culvert in front of PVS Hospital had developed a crack, and that if it had already been constructed, it would have collapsed in the impact. A Kerala Water Authority (KWA) pipeline also burst in the impact of the collapse, and the thick jet of water further worsened the situation.

What’s Your Favorite Neighbourhood Joint?

My favourite joint – it’s not really in my immediate neighbourhood but a quick 20 minutes away – is the original Golden Dragon restaurant which is located in Mercy Estate, Ravipuram. So it’s an old joint and it’s been a favourite for quite a few years. I love Chinese food and my family and I have ordered it several 100 times over the years.

We used to love to go with uncles, aunts and my cousins to Chinese Garden but as I turned into my 20s, I started loving Golden Dragon. Mostly because it’s more authentic and it’s also more tasty. Plus – and this is very important – they have license for beer and alcoholic drinks. I love sitting there for a few hours, tasting some awesome pork, beef, seafood and chicken while downing a few beers or drinking vodka.

My cousin and I go once every couple of months and sit there for 4-5 hours and drink a few and eat a lot and chat quite a bit. I also go there with friends. I love this place.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Humid & Hot

I hear all this talk about snow melting and the onset spring in my timeline and on Youtube because of my friends from the West. Meanwhile over here, it’s March and it’s fucking hot. It is humid and sweaty and unless you are in an air-conditioned environment you will suffer. It is so humid right now that immediately after you take a shower and come out after wiping yourself down with a towel, you will start to sweat.

It’s 3:47 pm and 33 degrees Celsius and around 91 degree Fahrenheit. I just went to the bathroom a few minutes ago to wash my hands with soap before I went to make some coffee. The water from the tap was boiling hot. I will take a shower in about 45 minutes and I am not looking forward to the heat in the shower. No wonder I feel like drinking a few cold milkshakes in a day though I don’t actually do that.

I would like to look at getting an ac in my bedroom – the outlet is there and I only just need to buy the unit but when I think of the electricity bills I am hesitant. I guess I will sweat it out.

NO BROADBAND INTERNET FOR THREE DAYS – ASIANET

My internet connection has been down for three days! It went down early Friday morning – I reached home at 2am and wanted to stream a football match but the connection went down and so I called and complained. This is day THREE and I still don’t have a solution. Congratulations Asianet Broadband, this is a new low performance in customer care for you.

This is despite two technicians coming to my apartment and who told me that the problem was fixed. The internet then worked for 45 mins after they left and then went dead again. When I asked them what was the issue for me not getting internet since early Friday morning, they told me that after a fibre cut in the area they were upgrading the system here which is why I had no connectivity. So this is a known problem and yet no one in Asianet bothered to inform me about this!

Also wonderful fixing of the solution – they come here, it works for 45 mins and then it goes down again. Terrible service. 3 whole days and you STILL have no solution to the problem. I have called up one of the technicians and informed them that it is still down. You have no answer. I just spoke to someone at your call center and he told me that as it is a Sunday they have less technicians which is why there is a delay in solving my problem. When I reminded him that I raised the complaint on Friday and Friday and Saturday this should not have been a problem, he had no answer. “Sir tomorrow morning you issue with me solved – for certain”. He has no clue as to what is going on!

What are you planning to do about my problem? No internet service for 3 days other than a bit here and there (in total maybe 3 hours). THREE DAYS AND YOU CANNOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM!! Fibre Cut or System upgrade, I don’t know what is the real issue. I only hear excuses. Even before these three days I was having regular outages for over a month (PLEASE CHECK MY CALL HISTORY TO YOUR CUSTOMER CARE CENTER and the COMPLAINT HISTORY) – is this all a fibre cut and gross incompetence on your technicians part?

New Burger Hut @ Ravipuram

Last night after work, I wanted to go to Dominos in Ravipuram but they were already closed (it was just after 10pm) and I was starving. I happened to see that there was a new, barely one month old, Burger Hut on the opposite side of the road. Alright, I’ll go in for their cheap and simple burgers. While I placed my order I also asked them what the deal was with this whole Burger Hut vs Burger Hutz thing. The guy there said that they were one franchise originally and then later they split up though their menu, logo and overall look was quite similar. Those Hutz do not seem to have fried chicken and wings while Hut does not have momos. Weird!

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Anyways, I had the double cheesy burger with a mango shake and medium french fries. The shake was a very generic almost vanilla shake with mango syrup squeezed in. Tasted very bland. It was just about ok. The fries were fresh and hot and I liked them. It comes with a little mayo. Burger was ok, decent and not something you’d tolerate in one of the bigger places like TBJ or Cocoa Tree but still satisfying in a way. I hate that they add lots of ketchup in their burgers – I don’t like ketchup with burgers! Odd since I normally add ketchup with anything and everything. Fried rice, noodles, sandwiches, heck once I even added ketchup to a biryani (I know, kill me).

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Light on the wallet and a good choice when you stuck to get something to eat late at night. They have delivery too!

ChicKing India VS KFC India

So, off the bat let me tell you that this is a comparison or atleast this post is only about the Indian versions of both these franchises. KFC is an American giant which has a global franchise and reach while Chicking is an Indian owned, Dubai based company that has outlets in India and the UAE but no where else that I know off. They also outgun KFC in the number of outlets in Kochi & Kerala overall. I think KFC has four franchisees in Kochi while ChicKing may have 5 to 6.

Now what matters is the taste. Head to head having had their flagship style batter fried chicken buckets in the last 2 weeks – Chicking two weekends ago and KFC last weekend – I must say that taste wise and even option wise, Chicking seems to be the outright winner. Along with the various options for buckets, they also give you buns, coleslaw, garlic sauce dips and buns. KFC will give you buns & French fries but neither of the other two. Both will give you packets of ketchup. I just feel like as a meal, KFC have to start getting you sauces and coleslaw to make it a real meal especially for family size buckets.

And taste wise Chicking seems to have the edge too. KFC has a bit of a metallic taste in their meat; not too pronounced but just there. Chicking’s chicken meat feels more juicy and fresher compared to KFC. I think they are clear winners!

Movie Theatre Fuel

What three snacks do you always get at the movie theater?

What do you usually get? I always go for the classics – especially since last year (remember, I stopped going to movie theatres from 2005-2016). That’s popcorn and Coke/Pepsi. The popcorn options in Cinepolis and Lulu;s PVR are the same – classic salted, cheese and caramel. I love the flavoured kind so I usually go for either cheese or caramel.

Cinepolis (though they are closed at the moment due to building violations in the mall that they are located in) has a deal with Coke, so when I go there I get Coke. Lulu PVR has Pepsi so I usually get a Pepsi there. There are other soft drinks, cold frappes and coffees too but this what I usually get to drink there and I usually go with the medium size and once in a while I take large.

The third one is obviously candy. Chocolate balls or bars of any kind, though it has been ages since I have bought one in. I would also say that nachos are another option. They offer nachos with dips like salsa and others at these two multiplexes. There are sandwiches and other stuff as well.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MARCH at The SitsGirls

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN: Food Joints In Cochin

So these are my current favourite non-large chain food joints that I like visiting on a regular basis. I’m sure this list will change over time especially since I haven’t been to a few places like The Grill Lab which I am dying to visit. Anyways, for now this is where I love to chow!

  • 360 Degree Pizzeria
  • The Burger Junction
  • Cocoa Tree
  • Lil America
  • French Toast
  • Cafe 17
  • Burgeria
  • Chai Kofi
  • Kashi Art Cafe
  • Bloomsbury
  • Mash 24

My Favourite Street

What Is Your Favorite Street?

My favourite street in my hometown is Panampilly Nagar Avenue, the main street of Panampily Nagar which is one of the most happening places in Kochi. This long stretch of road has amazing stuff from the beginning to the end stretch. First of all the road is wide so we have plenty of cars that can pass by, the road is decent in it self and we have plenty of walking space.

We have lots of stores and shops and banks and mobile showrooms, computers and laptop showrooms and plenty of eateries and hotels. The side roads too have these amazing food joints that will tickle your taste buds and keep you wanting more. This place has so many banks, it’s crazy but it’s a prime location as most of the really rich people of Kochi have homes there, including several actors.

This avenue has my favourite hot dog place (Lil America), my favourite burger joint (The Burger Junction), my fav doner place (Doner Kebab), my fav pizza place (360 Degree Pizzeria), my favourite French toast place (French Toast) and ofcourse there is Subway, Ming’s Wok, Zataar and the always good cafe and eatery Cocoa Tree. There’s more but I haven’t been to any of them yet. What more could you want in a street?

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Fort Kochi Beach Visit Pics – 2

It had been several years – more than 18 I think – since I had visited Fort Kochi beach. I haven’t been to Fort Kochi since 2003 when I worked near the beach at a company called Aspin Wall. Having been a frequent visitor for most of my childhood and teenage years, a gap so large just cannot do. I decided to go to Fort Kochi with a cousin and we spent sometime at the beach and went for a little walk. Here are the second set of five pics!

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Fort Kochi Beach Visit Pics – 1

It had been several years – more than 18 I think – since I had visited Fort Kochi beach. I haven’t been to Fort Kochi since 2003 when I worked near the beach at a company called Aspin Wall. Having been a frequent visitor for most of my childhood and teenage years, a gap so large just cannot do. I decided to go to Fort Kochi with a cousin and we spent sometime at the beach and went for a little walk. Here are the first five pics!

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Rude, Loud & Idiotic!

I am a bit concerned about the current generation of young boys and girls. I was at a small internet cafe that is located about less than a minute’s walk away from my building. The cafe owner also has digital scanning, photo copying and DTP in the shop plus he also has a few new connections for mobile companies like Airtel and Reliance as well as recharge options for their prepaid customers. As I had a requirement for getting some documents scanned I walked over this morning at around 10 am.

While I was there I waited in line for the scanning as there was a young lady in front of me as well as an older gentleman who had handed over some files to be photocopied and left for a while. After the girl left it was my turn and just then 4 lads of about 17-18 walked in. They must be 17-18 in my opinion though they looked kinda immature for that age as well but one of them had a full scruffy beard so I am guessing they were around 18. And they were loud and obnoxious and talked way too much for anyone’s liking. From their loud talk I got the idea that they were in town to right some exams (perhaps an entrance exam or something) and they wanted to check something online.

These guys have no sense of personal space or any decency or manners! Fucking hell parents in Kerala, what the fuck are you teaching your kids these days? I was never the “perfect gentleman” and neither were my friends but at that age and younger or even older, we knew how to behave in public. I would never be so rude enough to stand at the table and bend over to check what the owner of the cafe was typing. The rudeness is shocking! They can’t stand at a respectful distance from someone else. They won’t know how! They can’t wait their turn and start loudly asking for what they want even if there are people in front of them. And no one else wants to hear your conversation so speak at a lower level you assholes!

Kochi Metro Flags Off

Ever since the construction of Kochi Metro began in June 7, 2013 the Kochi residents had a tough time commuting through the city. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) barricaded roads and diverted traffic which resulted in traffic blocks and congestions. People had to travel long hours to reach their destinations. The dirt and dust from the construction sites made them sick. Often water and power supply were disrupted when underground pipelines and cables were damaged. There were people who lost their livelihood and businesses due to metro works. Some lost land as the government carried out land acquisition.

It was not easy living in a city which massive construction works took place. However, Kochi Metro Rail Limited is the country’s first government agency to hire transgender people. The PM commended the Kochi Metro’s ‘Make in India’ vision. He also spoke about the importance of a “people-centric approach” to infrastructure development. Nearly 1000 women and 23 transgenders are being selected to work in Kochi Metro rail system. It took 45 months to complete phase 1 – 13kms, 11 stations and the total time it takes from Aluva to Palarivattom is reduced from 45 minutes (in usual traffic) on road to 23.

The full plan for the Metro is to cover 25kms. Each station of the Kochi Metro will showcase a theme, such as maritime history, western ghats as well as the local history of the city, among others. Each station will also have solar panels, which will focus on producing 35 per cent of the total power usage. The construction of the Kochi Metro began in 2013 and was tasked to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The DMRC which was once headed by Mr E Sreedharan, who also acted as an advisor in the new project. According to the Kochi Metro website, the project cost an estimated Rs. 5,180 crore. The fare will vary from a minimum of Rs. 15 to a maximum of Rs. 30.

Apart from the regular tickets, it has also adopted a single card, single timetable and a singular command and control. This debit card along with the Kochi One Mobile App will allow passengers to access all modes of public transportation as well as be utilized for mercantile and internet transactions and will introduce the ‘click and collect’ feature in the near future where goods ordered online can be collected in the metro stations. In November 2016, KMRL began the land acquisition process for an extension of the metro up to Infopark. KMRL will widen the Kakkanad-Infopark corridor to a 22-metre-wide stretch, and construct metro pillars in the centre of the stretch. Palarivattom Junction, Palarivattom Bypass Junction and Collectorate Junction will also be widened. The 11.2 km extension will link Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium to Infopark via Kakkanad, and is estimated to cost ?2,024 crore (US$310 million).