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!

RIP Sridevi Kapoor

Veteran actress Sridevi died in Dubai on Saturday after a cardiac arrest. She was 54. Popularly hailed as the first female superstar of Hindi cinema, the actor was in Dubai with her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi to attend nephew and actor Mohit Marwah’s wedding. The actor had married film producer Boney Kapoor with whom she had two daughters. Sridevi, who made her acting debut at the age of four, had many big hits like “Chandni” and was especially noted for her impeccable timing as a comedienne.

She took a 15-year-long break from movies in 1997, a year after her marriage. She returned in 2012’s “English Vinglish”. Sridevi stunned fans with her performance as a villainous queen in “Puli”, which also marked her comeback to Tamil cinema after a gap of more than two decades.

Sridevi started her career as a child artist in M.A. Thirumugham’s devotional Thunaivan at the age of four, and continued to act as a child artist in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films. She made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in the hit Julie (1975) and played her first adult role at age 13 with the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976). Subsequently, Sridevi established herself as one of the leading actresses of Tamil and Telugu cinema, with roles such as 16 Vayathinile (1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (1978 ), Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980 ) Meendum Kokila (1981), Premabhishekam (1981), Moondram Pirai (1982), Aakhari Poratam (1988 ), Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990) and Kshana Kshanam (1991).

In Bollywood, she made her debut as a lead actress in Solva Sawan (1978 ) and gained wide public attention with the movie Himmatwala (1983). She appeared in a string of commercially successful movies such as Mawaali (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985), Nazrana (1987), Mr. India (1987), Waqt Ki Awaz (1988 ) and Chandni (1989). She also received critical acclaim for commercially successful movies such as Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994) and Judaai (1997). Sridevi has won five Filmfare Awards and has been nominated ten times.

IndiBlogger’s Blogger Q&A On Twitter

Recently I’ve been participating in what I’d like to call mini-blogging or mini Q&As on Twitter that Indiblogger has been conducting. It’s been fun participating in it and reading other bloggers answers. Here are 6 (in two tweets) that I answered:

1. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

A. I blog from a personal perspective; anything that I like, love, hate, experienced and have a passion for.

2. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far? 3. Which of your strengths really helped you to #blog?

A. Nothing much: Once I started my blog (started in 2002, regularly blogging since 2007) it became a part of me.

3. Imagination and ideas

4. What language do you prefer to blog in and why?

A. English only. I wish I knew French, Latin or Klingon. English is my first language.

5. English being a foreign language, how did you learn it? Were there challenges?

A. I grew up in Kuwait and the community I was in spoke mostly in English.

6. To be a grammar nazi or not to be and why?

A. Occassionally a Grammar Nazi but I write casually so I don’t mind it too much. #language #Blogging #indiBlogger

Creator Of Old Monk Rum Passes Away

The man behind the most iconic alcoholic beverage of India passed away. Brigadier (retd.) Kapil Mohan, former Chairman and MD of Mohan Meakin Ltd and the man behind the rum Old Monk, passed away on January 6. He was 88 years old.

Old Monk Rum was the very first alcoholic drink that I ever drank, other than beer ofcourse. I was 19 and my much older cousin brother gave me two tall glasses of rum+cokes on ice (or was it rum+coke+lime) and I loved the taste. And ofcourse I got tipsy after the 1st glass. After that first taste, I started drinking rum on a weekly or bi weekly basis and Old Monk was my rum of choice.

The choice of most guys in my age group in Kerala (and it seems a lot other Indians agreed too) was Old Monk rum. Rum was cheaper than most other alcoholic beverages. So many evenings or afternoons spent in a bar drinking 3-4 rum+cokes on ice and deep fried beef. Oh those were the days when drinking out didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Good memories! Cheers to the life of Brigadier (retd.) Kapil Mohan. Thank you, sir.

RIP Shashi Kapoor

Veteran Hindi film actor Shashi Kapoor passed away on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 79. The actor-producer took his last breath at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. He appeared in a large number of Hindi films as well as in various English-language films, notably the films produced by Merchant-Ivory. He was also a film director and assistant director in the Hindi film industry. Born as Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor; 18 March 1938 Kapoor was a member of the Kapoor family, a film dynasty in India’s Bollywood cinema. Kapoor was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) during the British Raj. He was the third and youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, the widower of Jennifer Kendal (sister of actress Felicity Kendal), and the father of Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor.

In 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contributions to Art-Cinema. In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke Award, making him the third member of his family to receive the highest award in Indian Cinema after Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor. He was admitted for a reported chest infection at Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai on 3 December 2017 and died on 4 December 2017 due to prolonged liver cirrhosis. He made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 film “Dharmputra” and went on to appear in more than 116 films during the ’70s and until the mid ’80s. The veteran actor is well-known for his roles in films like ‘Deewaar’ (1975 ), ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ (1978 ), ‘Junoon’ (1978 ), ‘Shaan’ (1980 ), and ‘Namak Halaal’ (1982).

McDonald’s India Has Some Dumb Menu Items

Went into McDonald’s (Vennala) this evening on the way back from work and saw that they had new stuff on the menu. Sweet! thought I. But nay….I was disappointed soon.

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The Cheesy Italiano Chicken – it is enough for Italy to declare war on India. A dry chicken patty with some melted mozzarella and what looks like Italian dry powdered herbs. Or McD’s stole some oregano and chilli flake packets from Dominos and powered them even further and put it on this patty with a couple of small pieces of onions. Voila – instant Italian classic…NOT!

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It was kinda bland and disappointing. Bun was multigrain or multiseasame or something stolen from Subway. It totally felt like something from Subway without all the options for toppings and sauces. This is part of McDonald’s India’s new “Flavours without Borders” menu – More like Borders without Flavours!! They describe the burger as – “juicy chicken patty, sprinkled with aromatic Italian herbs, layered with a rich and creamy onion-cheese sauce and shredded onions in a square toasted bun.” Seriously??? The preparation looks more like some guy in Bombay who was smoking some fine weed and coming up what he thought was “Italian”.

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They also had a new McFlurry – Phirni McFlurry a rice pudding dessert prepared to perfection with delicate flavours of rich condensed milk along with rice bits. It was ok but not as good as the others that they have!

RIP Tom Alter

Veteran Indian film, television and theatre actor and Padma Shri Tom Alter has died aged 67. The renowned actor and one-time sports writer and author had been battling stage four skin cancer. Alter acted in over 300 movies apart from numerous TV shows, most famously as the gangster Keshav Kalsi in the hit soap opera Junoon which ran for a record five years during the 1990s. In addition to acting, Alter also ventured into direction and was a sports journalist in the 80s and 90s.  Alter has written three books, one non-fiction and two fiction, and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government in recognition for his services to the field of arts and cinema.

Born in the hill station of Mussoorie in 1950, Alter was a third-generation American in India who studied at Woodstock School in the Himalayas and then briefly at Yale University in the USA, before returning to India in the early 70s. In 1972, he was one of three men – the others being Benjamin Gilani and Phunsok Ladakhi – chosen from over 800 applicants across north India to be enrolled in at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India in Pune, where two years later he graduated with a gold medal diploma in acting. Among his notable roles during the first decade of his acting career were Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977), Shyam Benega’s Junoon (1979), Manoj Kumar’s magnum opus Kranti (1981) and Raj Kapoor’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985).

Other notable directors he worked with during the 70s and 80s were V Shantaram, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Subhash Ghai, Chetan Anand – who gave him his first break in the Dev Anand-starrer Saheb Bahadur – and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who gave him the pivotal role of the gangster Musa in the critically acclaimed hit Parinda. n the 90s, Alter was seen in many films, prominent among them Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui, Junoon and Gumrah, Ketan Mehta’s Sardar and Priyadarshan’s Kala Pani. During this time, he also acted in regional cinema – Bengali, Assamese, Telegu, Tamil and Kumaoni films. Among his foreign films are Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and One Night with the King, in which he acted opposite his idol, the legendary Peter O’Toole.

On TV, Alter’s leading work came in Junoon, Zabaan Sambhalke, Jugalbandi, Bharat EK Khoj, Ghutan, Shaktimaan, Captain Vyom, Mere Ghar Aana Zindagi and Yahaan Ke Hum Sikandar. Most recently, he was seen in a pivotal role in the ongoing serial Rishton Ka Chakravyuh on Star Plus. At the time of his death, Alter had approximately 16 unreleased films lined up as well as a web series by Eros Now titled Smoke. He is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie, and daughter Afshaan.

New (For Me) Chips Brand

Have you guys tried these? This is a new brand for me; Kettle Studio gourmet chips. I bought them off Amazon.in and selected the Cheddar & Red Onion as well as the Sharp Jalapenos & Cream Cheese. Lighter and crispier than most brands I have had. The chips did get a bit crumbled in the trip to me but it was alright. The Jalapenos and Cream Cheese ones are really additive.

Beware Parents Of The Blue Whale Game

Just came to know about this online game called Blue Whale challenge. What an uproar on this! Parents, do some damage control and talk to your kids! This seems ridiculous to me that a teenager could actually do this but I forget that the teenaged years are filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and hormones. They are also easily influenced. I would say parents also have a part to play in this – teach your kids right versus wrong. School teachers also take heed. Let your friends, neighbours and relatives know that their kids can reach out to talk to anyone rather than get absorbed in completing the ridiculous challenges and tasks that the game gives you and then commit suicide at the end.

The list of 50 challenges has been translated from Russian and can be found here. Please be safe, please do not attempt anything from this. Parents and other adults, if you have teens and young adults in your family please ensure that you are approchable and that they can come and talk to you about anything. You could prevent more unnecessary and meaningless deaths.

RIP Vinod Khanna

Veteran actor and Gurudaspur MP Vinod Khanna passed away on Thursday in Mumbai after battling cancer. The actor had been ailing for long recently. Vinod Khanna acted in lead roles in many superhit films and is best remembered for his performance in films like Mere Apne, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Gaddaar (1973 film), Jail Yatra, Imitihaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Inkaar, Kuchhe Dhaage, Amar Akbar Anthony, Rajput, Qurbani, Kudrat, Dayavan, Kaarnama,Suryaa: An Awakening and Jurm. After making his debut in 1968, Khanna first acted in small second lead roles or negative roles. His angry young man role in the superhit movie Mere Apne, his negative role as the main villain in the superhit movie Mera Gaon Mera Desh and his role in the crtically acclaimed movie Achanak as the military officer turned fugitive received tremendous applause from both- the film industry and his fans.

Khanna was born in a Punjabi family to Kamla and Kishanchand Khanna, a textiles, dyes and chemicals businessman, on 6 October 1946, in Peshawar, British India (now in Pakistan). He has three sisters and one brother. Shortly after his birth, India was partitioned and the family left Peshawar and reached Mumbai. In 1982, at the peak of his film career, Khanna temporarily quit the film industry to follow his spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh. After a 5 year hiatus, he returned to the Hindi film industry giving two back to back hit films Insaaf and Satyamev Jayate. Khanna is popularly hailed as one of the most handsome lead actors ever in Bollywood, along with Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor.

Between 1973 and 1982, Khanna played the lead role in solo hero movies which include Farebi and Hatyara with Moushumi Chatterjee; Qaid in 1975 and Zalim in 1980, both with Leena Chandavarkar; and Inkaar in 1978 opposite Vidya Sinha. He did successful movies like Gaddaar with Yogita Bali, Aap Ki Khatir and Raajmahal opposite Rekha, Main Tulsi Tere Angan Ki with Neeta Mehta, Khoon Ki Pukar , Shaque and Adha Din Aadhi Raat with Shabana Azmi,Aarop with Saira Banu, Taaqat with Rakhee and Parveen Babi, Jail Yatra opposite Reena Roy, Daulat with Zeenat Aman, The Burning Train with Praveen Babi. In 1980, he starred in Feroz Khan’s Qurbani (1980) which became the highest-grossing film of that year. He accepted supporting roles in films with Rajesh Khanna as the lead hero through out his career – Aan Milo Sajna had Vinod in antagonist role, Sachcha Jhoota, Kudrat, Rajput and Prem Kahani had Vinod in character roles.

Vinod also starred in 47 multi hero films. In Shankar Shambhu, Chor Sipahee and Ek Aur Ek Gyarah he co-starred with Shashi Kapoor, in Hera Pheri, Khoon Pasina, Amar Akbar Anthony, Zameer, Parvarish and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar Khanna appeared with Amitabh Bacchan; and in Haath Ki Safai and Aakhri Daku he co-starred with Randhir Kapoor. He appeared with Sunil Dutt in Daku Aur Jawan.He acted with Jeetendra in Ek Haseena Do Diwane, Ek Bechara, Parichay,Insaan, Anokhi Ada and Janam Kundali. He did Rakhwala,Paththar Aur Payal, The Burning Train, Batwara and Farishtey with Dharmendra.

In period 1974-1982 Vinod Khanna was paid more than Jeetendra in the film Insaan and more than Amitabh Bachchan in 4 films like Parvarish, Hera Pheri, Khoon Pasina, Amar Akbar Anthony. In post 1987 period, Vinod Khanna was paid more than Rishi Kapoor, Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, Rajnikanth, Salman Khan in the films he did with them from 1987-1995. Only in the films he co-starred with Shashi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt, Raajkumar and Randhir Kapoor in period 1968-1982, Vinod was paid lesser than them.

Effects Of Demonitization

Not that some section of Indian society will believe it but the effects of demonetization has not been good at all for the country. I was reading an article in the NY Times the economy is suffering. The manufacturing sector is contracting; real estate and car sales are down; and farm workers, shopkeepers and other Indians report that a shortage of cash has made life increasingly difficult. This has been noted earlier as well.

Indians had to line up for hours outside banks to deposit and withdraw cash. New notes have been in short supply because the government did not print enough of them in advance. The cash crunch has been worst in small towns and rural areas. The amount of cash in circulation fell by nearly half, from 17.7 trillion rupees ($260 billion) on Nov. 4 to 9.2 trillion ($135 billion) on Dec. 23, according to the Reserve Bank of India. No economy can lose that much currency in a few weeks without creating major hardship — certainly not one like that of India, where cash is used for about 98 percent of consumer transactions by volume. And while a growing number of people have debit cards and cellphones that can be used to transfer money, most merchants are not set up to accept such electronic payments.

There is little evidence that the currency swap has succeeded in combating corruption or that it will forestall future bad behavior once more cash becomes available. The government had said that people bringing more than 250,000 rupees ($3,660) of the old notes to banks would have to show that they had paid taxes owed on the money. Because of those rules, officials had expected that a lot of black money would never make it back to banks. Yet local news outlets are reporting that Indians have successfully deposited the vast majority of old notes. That suggests that either there wasn’t as much black money out there as the government claimed or that tax cheats found a way to deposit their hoards of cash without attracting the government’s attention, perhaps with the help of money launderers.

Hopefully things will get better as the weeks go by.

RIP Om Puri

Veteran actor Om Prakesh Puri OBE, 66, has passed away after a massive heart attack early on Friday morning. He was an Indian actor who appeared in mainstream commercial Indian, British, Pakistani and Hollywood, independent films and art films. His credits also include appearances in American films. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. Om Puri’s friends and colleagues from Bollywood reached his Andheri residence to pay their last respects to the actor. Puri’s body was taken to Cooper hospital for postmortem, following which the funeral will take place. His close associates confirmed that he had a massive heart attack.

Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana, to a Punjabi family. Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student. Puri was on the forefront of what was called art films movement in the 70s. He has worked in acclaimed films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992). Among his other roles are Maachis, Wolf, Chachi 420, City of Joy, The Reluctant Fundamentalist etc.

Puri married Nandita Puri in the year 1993. The couple had a son named Ishaan. They separated in 2013.

RIP Jayalalithaa

Jayalalithaa Jayaraman (24 February 1948 – 5 December 2016) was an Indian politician who served five terms as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, from 1991 to 1996, in 2001, from 2002 to 2006, from 2011 to 2014, and finally from 2015 to 2016. She was a leading actress before her entry into politics and appeared in 140 films from 1961 to 1980 in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi industries. She was re-elected as Chief Minister on 19 May 2016 and took the oath as Chief Minister for the sixth time on 23 May 2016. She died on 5 December 2016 after 75 days of illness and subsequent hospitalisation, where multiple attempts to resuscitate her after she suffered a cardiac arrest failed.

On 22 September 2016, Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, Greame’s Road, Chennai, for infection and acute dehydration. Over the next 74 days, she was treated by a team of specialist doctors from Apollo, AIIMS and from the UK. Her condition slowly improved. Her official duties were handed over to her aide O. Panneerselvam on October 12. She was also said to be suffering from severe pulmonary infection and septicaemia, which were cured. During the course of treatment, her right arm was said to be swollen, as indicated by her inability to affix her signature on the November bye-election nomination papers for three of her party members who were standing for the elections. On 4 December, specialist doctors at AIIMS declared her “fit” and ready to be shifted to her house in Poes Garden whenever ready, indicating that she was well, conscious and aware of events around her since her first signs of major improvement in November. The next day, however, she was re-admitted to the CCU after she suffered a cardiac arrest around 16:45.

The hospital’s Executive Director Sangita Reddy said that she was in a critical state. The hospital also released a press statement saying that the chief minister’s condition was “very critical” and that she was on life support. According to India Today, AIADMK MLAs were summoned to the hospital to sign a declaration naming Panneerselvam as her successor. In the afternoon of 5 December, Tamil channels issued premature reports of Jayalalithaa’s death, which were swiftly rejected by the hospital. The hospital officially announced the death of the chief minister on 5 December 2016 at 11:30 PM.