Reunion Of The Holy Trinity

After a long gap of 21 months Madhu, Anil & I were meeting up like we used to do for so long. This gap is ofcourse because Madhu had moved to Qatar as he had got a job there in January 2012 and this is the first time he has been able to come back on leave. He is on leave for a few weeks but he has family commitments and a couple of weddings to attend in & around Kerala and we fixed today for the day that the 3 of us would meet for a get-together. Madhu treated us for his job and new life in the Arab nation of Qatar; he has a good job and a nice life there along with his wife.

Here is the man of the hour. We met up at Bay Pride Mall at around 10:45 am and sat there for a couple of hours.

We had a little brunch while we sat at the Food Court of the mall. To drink we had Iced Tea while Anil had a cold coffee.

We ordered some sandwiches from one of the stalls. Not a good sandwich, it felt a bit stale.

We then made out way to the lounge bar Couchyn which is at the Grand hotel and look at Anil all cool & hip.

We started off with Long Island Ice Teas and split 2 bomber bottles between the three of us. Wes at there for about 90 minutes.

We then made our way to Volga Bar and restaurant in Kadavanthara. We ordered a lot of food among and had 3 rounds of drinks each (brandy for them, vodka for me).

Among the many dishes we shared were garlic prawns (which I never eat) and chilly pork (below).

By 6pm we made our way back to Bay Pride Mall and went to the walk way behind Marin Drive. First we had small ice cream cones (they had Spanish Delight while I had Black Currant). We then walked about for a bit, sat at different places to catch our breath.

It was a lovely evening as the sunset and I took a few snaps as the three of us talked and joked and laughed.

By 7pm we went to get cups of coffee and then 20 minutes later we called it a night and left for our respective homes. It was great to see Madhu again after such a long time. We might get to see him next only by April 2014.

Matrimonial Merry-go-round!

Write about a time when you gossiped about someone or something and you got in trouble for it.

Well not really gossiped about it and I didn’t get into any trouble at all but there was this once incident back in 2007 or was it early 2008. At the place where I worked one of my colleagues, who I was good friends with had transferred back to Bangalore (the city he lived in and from where he was temporarily transferred to Cochin when the office here was started) after 6 months here. I kept in touch with him as much as I could (he would do odd stuff like call me at 3 am after he had been drinking all night to shoot the shit!). He had a girlfriend in the Cochin office, a woman who had moved to Cochin from another city. They had an affair going on and everyone thought that they would get married to each other soon (even though they had only seen each for 6 months).

A few months after he had left we began to hear stories about his life and past. He has already been married once and gotten divorced and then was with this other chick for a while before he meet our common colleague. However we still thought that they would still married once she got a transfer to the same city where he lived. And then I got to know from a very reliable source that this guy was currently already married! Since the information was from a reliable source I wasn’t quick to dismiss it as a rumour but I wasn’t sure. He was a friend but how do I ask him? So I did the next best thing – or so I thought at that time! I casually asked a mutual friend if this was true. She said she wasn’t sure but that she had also heard the same thing. And you know what she did – she went and told the other colleague that I was asking everyone around the office if my friend was married!

She came to meet me and said that she was “appreciative” of my concern but that the rumour was not true. I said ok and cursed the other stupid colleague who went and babbled to this colleague. But hey – it turns out that there was some truth to it! The two of the got together and did get married but it turned out that the marriage was declared void as he was still married legally to his second wife!! Holy crap that was a mess. I still reel from all the stuff that went around in their life but it isn’t my shit to be bothered with. I’m still friends with him but lost contact with her after a while – she kept her Facebook relation status as “it’s complicated”! Yeah, no shit genius! Anyway they weren’t a match for each other so all’s well that ends well I guess. He is single now!

Fancy A Blog Switch Mike?

If you could switch blogs with any blogger for a week, with whom would you switch and why?

I don’t really want to switch blogs with anyone, rather I’d want to make mine a lot better, a lot more popular and a lot more glamorous. However if there simply must be an answer, well I guess I’d like to switch blogs with only one blogger and that’d be Mike Boon aka Toronto Mike from www.torontomike.com!

Once you have checked out his blog a bit, you should know why but if not I’ll spell it out for you….really slowly cause you must be slow (no just kidding). Mike has been blogging at his blog since November 2002. I’m not sure about this but I think he’s also blogged at another blog before this. The reason I say this is because I first started blogging in October of 2002 (using a blogspot account) and I’m pretty sure that Mike’s was one of the first blogs I read which made me want to go start blogging myself. I can’t be sure of that and I guess I just have forgotten to ask him or put a comment in one of his posts.  Anyways as far as I can remember I’ve been following his blog, reading & commenting on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

I will admit to having been inspired by one of his weekly posts – he used to have a Friday Five (top 5 lists of various things) that he used to post earlier but hasn’t in a few years. This was the inspiration for me to start my Roshan’s Eleven (a pun on Ocean’s Eleven) posts that I do from time to time. He blogs a lot about things I like including tv shows, music (Pearl Jam, The Tragically Hip being among his favs), movies, etc etc. Also he gives me a taste of Canadiana in the form of posts, photos & videos from time to time. He also gets to try out different gadgets, a couple of cars as well and gets free tickets for sports events and some other free stuff from companies because of the popularity of his blog and for his reviews. That is awesome. Also I am a big fan of his & Rosie’s banter on The Toronto Mike’d podcasts. Oh yeah – he also does podcasts – he hosts 2 and produces 3.

So if I do get to switch blogs with anyone, it will be him. Because, and big props, I’d get to be in Canada for a week. Yeah I know it’s only Toronto (not Vancouver or Ottawa or Montreal) and also I’d be close friends with his good friend Rosie of My Toronto Scoop! Anyway, thanks Mike for some inspiration, a lot of entertainment and keep blogging & doing podcasts.

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Lady Banana Hits 300 Comments

For those of you who frequent the blog you’d know that I have a regular reader & commenter named Lady Banana. She’s an English lady from London and she is awesome. She blogs at Lady Banana and has been a long time blog, email & twitter friend of mine. She’s always been there for me ever since I’ve known her; whenever I feel down if I reach out to her, I know she will make me feel so good about myself. Not surprising as she is also a longtime nurse, a profession that I have a lot of respect for.

That Diana has stuck with being my friend for this long is something I consider to be cherished. I just love her so much. She is my cheerleader and she is so kind and sweet.

She has two cats Mabel & Freddy and has a daughter and a son and a grandson. Check out her blog when you do get the time.

Q1. State your name, location and what you do for a living?

Name – Diana – better known as Lady Banana

Q2. Do you remember how you came to know about Awake & Dreaming?

I really don’t remember, I seem to have known Roshan forever, in the nicest possible way

Q3. How often do you visit my blog?

I visit 2/3 times a week, sometimes just in my feed reader.. Often I’m too tired, lazy or at work – don’t tell the boss, lol, so I can’t always comment as much as I could/should.

Q4. What is it that you like so much about Awake & Dreaming that you visit frequently and post a lot of comments?

I like the mix of posts, sometimes personal about yourself, some about sport and movies and books.

Q5. What are the kind of posts that you like the most in my blog?

I like your personal posts the best, the ones that help me get to know the real you, your likes and dislikes

Q6. Is there any topic that you would want me to blog about (that I haven’t yet)?

Just keep on doing what you’re doing, you do it so well

Choose the following

Q7. Admit it: you have a big crush on Roshan and that is why you are here a lot : Choices (true/very true/absolutely true/damn right it’s true/hell yeah and I’m proud of it! ) ).

Q8. This is for you; say anything you like and I’ll post it here (cause you deserve it)

Your’s is the blog that makes me happy when I open my reader and see you have posted!

You are a good friend, far far away but I know that if I ever need a natter, a cheer up then Roshan is there for me. Long may it last {kiss kiss kiss}

Hope the answers are ok, and here’s to the next 300 comments.. (They are more than ok Diana, they are excellent)

Breaking Apart

A couple of days ago I went to have dinner with a couple of my friends – let’s just say that their names are Guy & Gal. Guy & Gal are married to each other for the past three years, I have known then for 8 years and for most of that time they have loved each other. Until recently it seems.

Along with us for the dinner were Gal’s brother – who I barely knew & their female cousin who was also a friend of mine. The hostility between Guy & Gal was so obvious that it ruined what was supposed to be a reunion of friends. I hadn’t seen any of them in a long time and I was really looking forward to a great evening. I was filled in on the details of the rift between the married couple by their cousin. She has called me from her cell just before I left the house to join them for the dinner and gave me the shock of my life when she told me that it looked like the marriage was heading for a divorce! She told me just so that I wouldn’t feel weird sitting there and seeing two old friends take snipes at each other during the entire meal. Gal’s brother is either not aware or blind to the whole sorry situation or he does not care….or perhaps he is masking his emotions behind a facade. It did seem funny to me that he was very quite throughout the whole evening and just sipped at his two beers. I could barely finish my beer & eat half of my dinner, which was actually quite well prepared.

The sad part is although divorce is nothing uncommon now, I can remember when these two couldn’t bear to be apart. I helped them a bit along the way to their marriage and was happy to bask in their love, which I thought was forever and atleast thought that in the likelyhood that I would never get married I could always depend on my friends being happy.

The 5 People

Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

I have a friend who lives in Bangalore. Not only is she very sweet & a nice person but she makes me feel good about myself. Plus we enjoy a very flirtatious yet totally platonic relationship & friendship. Currently she is one of the few girls who receive – and has even appreciated & asked for – my flirting skills.

I have two friends I used to very close to. Asha & Catherine – both girls and both who I have treated like they were closer than sisters to me. I miss them terribly and I know I was & still could be special in their hearts. Due to circumstances, they both moved away with families a few years ago and we lost touch for a while. And now once in a while I get a comment on Facebook or a “hello” here and there. I wish it were much more. They are really special girls and I wish I could be as close as we were before. Sorry – women!

Anil & Madhu : Madhu is now living / working in Qatar and hence I do not get to see him. When we was here the three of us were a trio (I compare us to Kirk, Spock & McCoy) and get together for drinks & dinner once a month or so. These two are my best friends and I miss the fun we had till January 2012, which is when Madhu left for Qatar. I’d really want to spend a couple of evenings or more with the two of them each week if possible.

There are a whole lot more people, some who I haven’t even met that I want to spend time with too

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My 500th Facebook Friend Gift Giveaway

500th friend give away. I’m at 499 friends on Facebook at the moment. Never thought I’d get that many. So I’m going to give away a gift.

The 500th friend request that I receive and approve (no duplicates please) will get a little gift from me. Whoever it may be (unless it’s someone I already know and do not like the person at all). Ofcourse you will have to send me your address so I can mail it to you. Who will it be?

Update: I went through my Facebook friends list and found 20 dead accounts in it and deleted / de-friended them. No need for that shit. And I’ve only gained one friend since then. The search for the winner is still on.

Boom! Selma Hits 500 Comments

Most of you who regularly visit my humble blog know that there’s someone called Selma who comments quite often. This is Selma. She blogs at Selma In The City. She is a wonderful writer. She lives in Sydney, Australia. But she was born & lived in Scotland for many years. No she is not a cat, although she could be as graceful as one. And – she is my friend.

She is one of my strongest cheerleaders and such a wonderful, positive & vibrant woman that just a comment, email or reading something that she has blogged brings a huge smile to my face. The fact that this awesome person continues to regularly visit me and is my friend boggles my mind but I love that she does and I love her.

Also, she states a great truth in question # 7 that I have suspect for so long

Q1. State your name, location and what you do for a living?

My name is Selma Sergent. I live in Sydney, Australia and I am a freelance writer.

Q2. Do you remember how you came to know about Awake & Dreaming?

I came to know about your blog through the wonderful and amazing Meleah Rebeccah from Momma Mia, Mea Culpa.

Q3. How often do you visit my blog?

I visit your blog several times a week when new posts appear in my reader.

Q4. What is it that you like so much about Awake & Dreaming that you visit frequently and post a lot of comments?

I like hearing about life in India, the music and your sense of humour. I also agree with a lot of things you say.

Q5. What are the kind of posts that you like the most in my blog?

I like the ones about your family as well as music and TV shows you like.

Q6. Is there any topic that you would want me to blog about (that I haven’t yet)?

Maybe the local sights of your town, places to visit…stuff like that.

Choose the followingQ7. Admit it: you have a big crush on Roshan and that is why you are here a lot : Choices (true/very true/absolutely true/damn right it’s true/hell yeah and I’m proud of it).

Yes. It’s true. The real reason I visit Awake & Dreaming is because I have a HUGE crush on Roshan. But doesn’t everyone????

Q8. This is for you; say anything you like and I’ll post it here (cause you deserve it)

8. You have become a really good friend to me, Roshan (even though we have never met.) I enjoy hanging out with you in the blogosphere and hope we continue to do so for many years to come. Hope I hit 1,000 comments someday.

Thank you Selma – I hope you do hit 1000 someday. I really consider myself lucky to call you a friend even if I have never met you. But if do get the chance I will visit Sydney and pop in and say hi. I hope 2013 is your year and I will be cheering from the sidelines in full team Selma colours all along!

A Dream Come True For Two

I met a former colleague & friend this evening. It was purely by chance that we met, both of us having decided on our own to go to the Abad Food Court in Bay Pride mall to get a burger, fries and pepsi each. Chance meeting – in my case because my lunch sucked and after eating it I was still hungry and was craving for a burger. So after work I took the bus to Menaka and got down there at around 6:15pm and went to Bay Pride and strolled in and using my card bought a classic chicken with fries and a pepsi. I sat down and dug in as soon as my order got ready and I went to get my tray from the counter at Mary Browns. In a few minutes a familiar face came and joined me.

His name is Prince (can’t remember his last name) and we worked together in Aspin Wall back in 2003 for a little over 7 months. After that he has worked for a couple of HR Sourcing companies and now he is a working for the Indian branch of a US based company that deals in ERP, SAP and stuff like that which I don’t have much information about. Ok so, back in 2oo3 he has told us that he was planning to go to the US along with his brother. His mother & father had migrated to the US a couple of years earlier and his maternal uncles were already based in the US, both engineers and they had gone around 25-30 years back. With her brothers being well settled, having gained citizenship there, Prince’s mom was being badgered by them to join them in the US along with her family. Since her husband had a really good job in India they did not want to leave for many years but once their sons both finished college they decided to take the plunge and migrate. Unfortunately this was just before September 2001! Yeah and immigration for their sons became a big headache.

Prince and his brother have been trying for many years to go to the US and it is finally happening. This May their mother had applied for and received citizenship. Yay for her! The dad will apply soon as well. So now, all the paper work is done and things are cleared for a go. Prince & his brother will both be leaving for Chicago in 2 weeks. And Prince is also luckier since he gets to work for the same company that he is currently working for. I think he said that the main office is in Seattle but he will work out of Chicago for a while, working from home for the time being. His brother will have to start searching & applying once they reach there. But still, its awesome for them. I’m happy, jealous ofcourse and envious but still happy for them. All the success, is my wish for the two of them.

The Ugly Head Of Divorce

I just back after spending the evening with a friend and former colleague. I had known that something was not all right with him, having heard some rumours a few weeks back. I still didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle but was still was hopeful that things were not as bad as I had heard it out to be. I tried to contact him as soon as I heard that but he kept saying that he was busy and stuff. Finally two days ago, we chatted online and made arrangements to meet up today evening post work. But by then I had already got confirmation of what he was about to tell me.

He had gotten married sometime back in June/July of last year. Yes, just 2011. We last met in January of that year when he quit the company we both worked for and I haven’t seen him since. I chatted with him on & off for a few weeks but hadn’t spoken to him in 3 months when I first heard that he had gotten married and saw pics of him and his new bride on Facebook. He had labeled them as “Starting a new life” and I was happy for him as were the rest of us. I didn’t speak to him then either but sent him my heartiest congratulations and best wishes. And then I haven’t heard from him or about him until last month. While chatting with another colleague I came to know about this fellow’s situation and when we met him today for a drink or two, he opened up and told me the same thing.

The marriage was a mismatch from day one, a disaster that unfurled after a  few weeks. She was more outgoing, wanted more material things and wanted to go out more and enjoy the good life. He prefers a quite life, walking back home from work even when it takes 45 minutes or so, stopping to only buy groceries and once in a week have a couple of drinks in a bar. She created a fuss and they  fought regularly because of it. He preferred to stay at home most of his free time – she wanted to go out. Plus she didn’t want to work but wanted to spend a lot of money hence she had to get a job and resented him for the same. He didn’t earn enough for her lifestyle. To make matters worse her mother interfered in their fights and egged her daughter on. Also he didn’t get any support from his family, as his mother and relatives kept to the sidelines.

And now they are headed for a divorce. The case has been files and she wants a huge chunk of his money for her “troubles”. He is not contesting it, he just wants to get it over with although he can’t believe what has happened. He hired a lawyer to take care of his side of the case and hopefully in a few weeks things can be sorted out. I feel bad for the guy.

It Sparkles

Had an unplanned & unexpected evening out drinking with my best buddy Anil. I was about to go into a coffeeshop in Shenoy’s Junction after work when he called me up and said that he was nearby and wanted to have some drinks and was I ready to join in. I said yes and I met him at Velocity 20 minutes later. We had 3 orange flavoured vodkas + sprite (for me) and 3 JDF brandy (for him), he had garlic chicken, I had some chilly chicken and soup and we shared a salad. He was going back to his uncle’s place and have a little dinner with them while I was basically done. Good evening with a long discussion.

Look at my vodka + sprite – it’s alive!

Ex-FS Training Team September Reunion

Today was a special day for me. I hadn’t met up with my second team members from Firstsource in a very long while. Not since I left there last year. I only got to meet some of them here and there. And I haven’t met any of them this year with the exception of my older team members in two different places. It was a long awaited reunion and I was so happy that it finally happened. We made arrangements to meet up a few days ago and agreed on the date and by this morning we agreed on the time.

I suggested the Salt n Pepper restaurant on SRM near Lisie Junction as it has been the reunion place for some of us earlier. Unfortunately 3 of the girls couldn’t join us. Anusha is in Palakkad with her baby, Rekha was in Kottayam with her husband’s family and Ajeeba couldn’t find a babysitter for the evening. So it was just Roopa, Firdous, Wasim, Rajeesh and myself. We met at 7pm and made our way to the restaurant, which was almost empty and kind of like set up just for us. We ordered some Pepsi and then food which was quite good. We finished off with ice cream and then went back to our respective homes. I hope next time everyone can join in. Thanks guys for a lovely evening.

Drinks & Tandoor Chicken With Anil

Anil and I made plans to meet this evening for a few drinks and dinner. We plan to have a similar meeting every month if possible. Anyways, we met for drinks at Couchyn this evening, made an early evening of it, and sat back on one of their lounge couches. We ordered a brandy and a vodka each before moving onto Kingfisher Ultras. Very poor tasting beer this Ultra. It’s also lighter than the usual stuff we drink here. We chatted for a long time as we relaxed there.

Post that we went to have dinner at Tandoor Restaurant. It’s mostly a family place and I remember going there with my dad, mom, sister and several other relatives many many years ago. I dunno why I haven’t gone there is so long, almost 12 years. I dunno if any f my cousins go there either. Anyway, we chose a table and asked for the menu. The waiter serves us water in this funny shaped glasses. Very cool no?

We ordered tandoor chicken, a full plate which is 4 big pieces and 2 butter naans. What you see on my plate in the pic below is one half of my naan and one of the two pieces of tandoor chicken I ate. Amazingly delicious and well done. I love tandoor styled food. Its not too oily and does not sit too heavy in your belly once you are done. We sipped lime juice and ate our food gratefully.

Once that was done, we left to our respective homes. I am satisfied and full. Good night and sleep tight!

Cats Or Dogs?

I don’t know how many times I have mentioned this before but I’m gonna state it again – I love dogs and cats. If I had to choose I’d pick dogs any day of the week but I’d prefer if I could keep a couple of dogs and a couple of cats as well. Cause I love both and I have had both as pets. More cats than dogs because obviously cats are smaller and easier to maintain. Plus growing up my mom didn’t have much of a problems with cats but she didn’t like dogs and was scared of dogs a lot.

I’ve had a puppy, half Pomeranian-half Alsatian named Lassie but she died 4 days later as she had a worm infection and she also knocked down a can of petrol and lapped it up. I was 12 years old and she broke my heart when that happened. A few months later a mom cat dropped off her 4 kittens in a carton of old clothes in a store room of ours as she sneaked in through a slightly open window. She must have given birth to them there or perhaps sneaked them in to protect them from the rain. My sister and I kept them and feed them milk through an ink filler and they were with us for a few days. 2 weeks later the mom cat took the kittens away. So the next year we got two kittens – Lollipop who was a mostly white with brown spots female and her brother Chocolate who was a mostly brown with some white patches male – and we had them for 3 and 5 years each. They were quite fun to have around and it was so funny how each night my dad placed them outside the front door and the next morning, I would wake up to find that the two had sneaked in somehow and found their way into my bed.

Lollipop died when I was 16 and Chocolate a few months later. Then ofcourse when I was 18 I got Shawny, my Golden Retriever and best friend ever. I’ve never been the same after she died 11 years later and I still miss her every day. I think about her everyday and you can read about her in this blog, where I have a page dedicated to her. What a good friend she was! I don’t believe in an afterlife but if I am wrong and there is one, I’m sure that she’d be the first to greet me with plenty of licks and puppy kisses. She has a starring role in my dreams where Shawny and I travel in a spaceship and fight off the evil aliens.

And Junior, named Shawny Junior, who belongs to my sister, brother-in-law and their kids. I raised Junior for a year until she went to my sister’s then new house in Chalakudy but Junior will always have a special place in my heart. So I consider her to be mine as well. I’d want all these pets to be with me at all times.

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Evening Out In The Rain With Anil

Saturday nights are meant for having a few drinks and enjoying yourself. That was exactly on my agenda when I left the office and headed towards the city. Despite the heavy traffic jams across the city and the rains I made it to Velocity bar at around 6:50 pm. Just in time to greet my buddy Anil who also was just stepping into the bar. We said hello and shook hands as it had been almost 2 months since our last meeting. We comparing balding heads (hahahaha) and went in to grab the usual booth. We had the usuals – I had Romanov Vodka + sprite while he switched to JDF brandy, as his favourite 8PM wasn’t available, with club soda. We ordered some dragon chicken and podimeen (tiny anchovies) fry. We settled back in our seats and yakked like two old housewives from the country.

We talked about my new job, his new role as a dad and how he & his wife were settling down as new parents. He was shuttling between his home in Thrissur, his mother’s ancestral home in Ernakulam and his wife’s parents house in Aluva. I asked him about nappy changing duties and waking up in the middle of the night as the baby boy cries. Man this is good to discuss. After we were done with drinks we were wondering whether to have dinner there itself or go to have steaks or a biryani each or something else. We remembered that there was a Trivandrum Chicken Corner right next to the bar and thought we’d go there and have some.

Trivandrum Chicken Corner is a specialty style restaurant where they mostly serve dry fried chicken with chappathy or porotta. I haven’t been to one of the outlets in 15-17 years but I remember that my family & relatives used to there once in a while and we all loved the delicious and juicy chicken that they made. They had a few outlets in the state and were popular. And also whenever I got to Couchyn bar near the Grand Hotel, I like ordering their Trivandrum style chicken fry (a similar style) and it is amazing. So Anil and I decided to finish our evening over there, paid our tab at Velocity and went to the next building. we went in and asked for the menu. We ordered a 4 piece plate with 4 chappathies and I also ordered one for my mom to take it to her when I went home.

The waiter came back with some water and complimentary glasses of  lime juice, which went down very well. I rather enjoyed the new look of the hotel, their chairs and tables and the overall decor, which was somewhat modest but still neat looking. And then the food came. Tiny pieces of chicken with the fried powder surrounding it! The four pieces looked like they were from a chicken that was starving to death after a famine! We both looked at the tiny portions and knew that we would need another plate to satisfy ourselves and so ordered another 4 piece without the chappathies. I didn’t bother to take a picture of the chicken as I was so disappointed with them. We both grumbled and complained and didn’t enjoy the dry tasting food either. They had served us bowls of gravy which I told Anil not to touch as it looked to be too spicy and filled with oil.

Disgusted – the food wasn’t that bad but the portions left a lot to be desired after all the high hopes and disappointed we finished our dinner quite quickly. We paid our bill without much of a tip and left the place. We got into an auto and after I got down at my place, Anil went on to his mom’s parents place. Thus ended an evening which was mostly great, started with a bang but ended with a whimper so to say. Never again Trivandrum Chicken Corner, never again!

A Grand Buffet Lunch With Tweeple

Today was the long awaited meeting (and eating) of three of us who have self-titled our little group as the ‘Cochin Foodies Group’ aka the ‘Three Foodkateers’ and, one I just come up with now, ‘The Three Foodiots’. Three of us who initially met online on Twitter and in a couple of tweetups here in Cochin and have since been communicating regularly online. Over the last couple of years in the case of Ranjith and last few months in the case of Antoinette.

Today was planned to be our first official lunch out as a trio and inauguration of the Cochin Foodies Group. This was decided last Monday and on Friday the venue was chosen to be Hotel International which is quite close to where I live.

Having said that I still haven’t been to this restaurant since late 1995 – my sister & brother-in-law had taken my cousins & me for a dinner just after they got married. I remember we have beers and awesome sizzler steaks there. Since then I haven’t been to this place. Anyways, the three of us arrived at 12:30 pm, met outside and made our way into the buffet area. I started off with a beer first, just a normal Kingfisher gold. The other two don’t drink and so they ordered pineapple juice.

We were also busy on Twitter & Facebook, announcing to several friends that we were currently sitting down for a nice lunch. This is Antoinette on one of her two phones.

Ranjith proudly uses his new BlackBerry Curve 9320. However dude you should take better care of it and used a pouch or a case from day one. Rough useage – well it’s a lower end phone so I guess ok.

First round of food from the buffet. This is what I took – two pieces of porota, a super soft & delicious plain croissant type bun, butter chicken, pork, some salad & a dressing.

Round two was fried rice with more pork & butter chicken, a plain pappodom, a spicy pappodom, dragon chicken & dragon cauliflower and some salad. Amazingly delicious food and the best was the dragon chicken, which was not on the buffet menu but we ordered separately. Fantastic food.

Nothing like desert to finish off a great meal. Only Ranjith & I had desert as Antoinette started getting a headache. On my plate is an assortment – some kind of a pudding, a flan, two kinds of soft cakes, a fruit salad, nuts & chocolate syrup. I could not go back for ice cream as I was full!

What a grand meal fit for a king no a kingdom itself! Hope to go there again some day.

No Secs Please, I Want To Work

(I posted this on Facebook this morning)

This happened a long time ago, 2005?, a conversation between me and a lady colleague/friend of mine, while we were both in the office. I won’t say who, let’ see if she remembers and if you do remember please message me

Me to my female colleague who wants to use the same system : Hey, just wait a while until I finish this.
She : No. I need it now
Me: Just a sec!
She (loudly) : No, no SECS (sex)!!

Followed by loud laughing by me and a deeply embarrassed look on her face!!!

A Friend Starts Life Afresh

I had posted in Facebook (in both an Atheist group as well as the regular Timeline) a couple of days ago and thought I’d follow it up with a post on this person. This is what I posted:

A muslim friend of mine is coming out as Atheist to her family. She wants to remove herself from the religion and is moving to Australia in fear of retaliation from family & community. She’s been planning the move & job in Australia for 3 years now and has only revealed her plans to 4 friends and 1 cousin. Says she lost belief in Islam & Allah, and religions in general, several years ago but was fearful of her family. Her story is quite sad, she’s had a lot of pain & suffering. I hope she finally finds some peace and can live a good life. She is getting help & support from some friends who have helped her get a place to stay in Australia and arranged the job.

Ok now let  me tell you how I know her. I think I first met Nazreen through mutual friends back when I was 16-17. Nazreen had lived in Dubai for a few years before her family resettled in Cochin. I would often see her on the way to computer classes and we did share many common interests and hence became close friends. Like me she was into science fiction; Star Trek TNG & the X-Files would later become our common favourite tv series and the center point of our phone calls. She also liked some of the same rock bands that I did but preferred the ballads more. I remember an incident that happened one late afternoon : usually it would be Nazreen who called to talk to me and we had certain times that we assigned for said calls. This one day I was bored and thought I’d give her a call. Her mother took the call and said that Nazreen wasn’t home. I was about to keep after saying thank you and that I would try later, when she said that her husband would want to talk to me. I was surprised but said ‘ok’. So Nazreen’s dad come on the line and asked me who I was and how I knew his daughter. I thought ‘Oh oh” but told him how and asked if there was a problem. Sounding a bit confused and hesitant, he said that his daughter was not “allowed” to have male friends or talk to boys over the phone! Not knowing what to say I said sorry and we closed the call.

Afterwards I thought about it for a while and then called back. Her mother took the phone and I asked to speak to Nazreen’s father. They were both surprised but she handed the phone to him and I apologized once again, said I wasn’t one to cause trouble. We were just friends who share similar tastes in fiction & music and I didn’t want Nazreen to get into any trouble because I had called. I wish them both a good day and said goodbye knowing that if they had any decency they would be embarrassed about the whole incident. Well they were – a couple of days later Nazreen called me up and said that she came to know everything from her parents and that she had a fight with them over it and called to say sorry to me. I stopped her and said that no apologies were necessary because her folks were never mean or rude to me. However we still remained friends and continued to talk over the phone but I knew that it was in secret for her.

Years passed and we still remained friends although I rarely got to see her. Then we started keeping touch via email and on cell phones when I finally got one in 2003. After a year or so I completely lost touch with her but heard about her from mutual friends. Her parents & family had become increasingly orthodox and she was even forbidden to have non-Islamic friends!! She contacted me on Facebook a few years ago – but guess what? It’s under a fake name so her relatives can’t find out that it’s actually her. So after a gap of a few years, we renewed our friendship. She told me about the restrictions – no music that’s in English in her house (she later moved due to work and was living with friends sharing an apartment in Bangalore), mandatory wearing of the hijab, no friends who weren’t Muslims, forced prayers etc. They tried to get her married off against her will but she revolted and it was only because of an uncle that she remained single. They wanted her to stay at home and not work, despite her education, and stay at home if she wasn’t going to get married.

Finally she agreed to move back home to Cochin, provided she could continue working. But she faced some physical abuse from her family because she did not believe in Islam and refused to pray. For the last 3 years she planned her move to Australia with the help of 4 friends and a cousin. And she’s gone – yesterday was her flight, her escape from her family & relatives. Her job had been arranged through her friends and she’s gonna share a house with 2 friends – and get this her family – who are lesbians! That oughta get the men in her family pissed off and their knickers in a twist! I hope she’s gonna be happy and finally live in some peace and start life afresh.