Family Favourite Fast Food Chain : Chicking

So it’s the weekend and you have your family & you feeling hungry. You wanna watch a football match on tv or a movie with the family and you don’t want to waste time in cooking. What do you do? You order in food from Chicking. What is Chicking?

Chicking is a fast food restuarant chain very similar to KFC and that was launched in the year 2000 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  since then, the brand has grown to become extremely popular in 23+ countries with more than 180+ outlets.  In India First outlet opened in MG Road and now spread more than 56 outlets including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Mumbai & Delhi, serving families and alternate to KFC and other Southern Fried Chicken outlets.

While their main flagship item is the southern fried or batter fried chicken buckets and the sandwiches or chicken burgers, they do have a lot of other options on their menu. They also have chicken wraps and subs and recently introduced tacos. The Mexita is a good sub sandwich. They have chicken nuggets & popcorn chicken as well as chicken strips. They have a decent veggie section which are mostly based on their chicken counterparts.

Along with their batter fried chicken they also have flame grilled chicken though it isn’t as good as it used to be. They have rice bowls with chicken in them and they also have some decent pizzas. I think I will do a separate post on their pizzas as I am planning a pizza series for various options in Cochin. But they they do have a few. And they mostly have Coke & 7Up as well as a couple of virgin mojitos. Overall, something for the whole family.

Kerala Coronavirus Lockdown Update – August 2021

The Kerala government is mulling to execute a new COVID protocol to regulate crowding and avoid complete lockdown in the state. A health expert committ..committee will prepare recommendations for the new COVID protocol as directed by the Chief Minister. With this, the government will quash the weekend lockdown and restrictions on alternate days. A final decision in this regard will be taken in the review meeting on Tuesday.

The government has been facing harsh criticism over the unscientific restrictions which increase chances of crowding. Observing this, the government has decided to revise the protocol. The expert committee has opined that there is no need to impose restrictions across the state based on COVID Test Positivity Rate and the number of patients. Instead of this, restrictions will be imposed  by identifying micro-containment zones based on TPR. The committee also recommended to cancel the weekend lockdown as observing that it increases the rush on Friday and Monday.

Shops that are allowed to function three days a week will be allowed to open every day. Restriction on working hours of shops will be cancelled. Meanwhile, strict restrictions will be in place for weddings, death and other public gatherings. The government will take strict action to avoid crowding after revising the protocol.Along with intensifying police surveillance, efforts will be taken to increase COVID tests. Though the state has been reporting a surge in COVID cases, the number of people under treatment in hospitals were not increased.

It is hinted that the vaccination helped the patients to avoid complications after contracting the virus infection. Hence, the government is planning to vaccinate more people in the coming days. A high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary will discuss the recommendations of the health expert committee. Following this, the government will enforce the new COVID protocol. As Onam rounds the corner, the government will be more scrupulous in taking the final decision.

No Lockdown Restriction Ease For Weekend

Kerala is learnt to have decided against lifting the weekend lockdown and other restrictions, even as relaxations allowed in view of Bakrid end today (Tuesday). Adverse remarks from the Supreme Court in the morning weighed on the government while arriving at this decision a few hours later.

The Supreme Court had termed the relaxations as ‘wholly uncalled for’ even in areas having a high Covid-19 positivity rate and warned that it will take action if the easing of curbs leads to further spread of the virus. It went on to pull up the government for giving in to pressure from traders and said it represented a ‘sorry state of affairs.’

The three-day relaxations did not apply where the Covid test positivity rate was above 15 per cent and where a triple lockdown was in effect. In local self-government jurisdictions where the TPR is lower across A, B and C categories, shops selling essential goods can open for business today.

The government was under pressure from the trading community, represented by the Kerala Vyapara Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES), which had dared to take it on by openly flouting the lockdown that had caused huge economic loss to them. The KVVES has been arguing with ‘some logic and even more empathy’ that the ‘unscientific’ implementation of the weekend lockdowns had led to avoidable crowding during the rest of the weekdays. It had hardly had any salutary effect on the TPR.

Bars Reopen In Kerala, To Sell Only Beer & Wine

Liquor bars in Kerala have resumed operations from Monday though only beer and wine will be sold for now. They were closed nearly a week ago, soon after the latest Covid unlock had commenced, in protest over the hike in warehouse charges by the Beverages Corporation or Bevco which is the wholesale seller of liquor in the State. Bar owners on Monday said no liquor will be sold at bars till their demands are met. The exception has been made for beer as it cannot be sold after the expiry date.

The president of the Federation of Kerala Hotels Associations, V Sunil Kumar, said private bars could resume parcel service only if the government took a decision favourable to them. More than 800 bars and 40 liquor outlets of the Consumerfed across Kerala had shut operations this month citing financial loss. The outlets turned sick as the Bevco increased its warehouse rate and slashed the profit margin of retailers. Bevco had raised the warehouse charge for bars from 8% to 25% and for Consumerfed from 8% to 20%.

Bevco justified the move saying that the increase was needed to recoup the loss it faced during the COVID lockdowns. Following the move, the bars and Consumerfed liquor outlets decided to cease operations from June 21, three days after the sale of liquor had resumed in the state. The profit margin of retail outlets fell to three per cent from 20% after Bevco increased its warehouse rate. Private bar owners said they would incur a loss of Rs 9,000 while selling liquor worth Rs 1 lakh under the revised Bevco rate.

Bars In Kerala Shut In Protest

All bars in Kerala will remain indefinitely shut starting from Monday, in protest against a decision by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation Limiter or Bevco to increase their wholesale profit margin on the sale of liquor provided to consumerfed and bar hotels from its warehouses. The profit margin has been increased from 8% to 20% and 25% on the sale of liquor from Bevco’s warehouses to bars and the consumerfed. However, the bars have not been allowed to increase retail prices on sale of liquor, despite this increase in profit margin. This has led the bar owners to protest, as the move will eat into their profits.

According to reports, the government had allowed bars to sell liquor as take away since June 17. However the purchase rate of alcohol for bars was higher than its MRP, forcing bars to sell their liquor at a loss. For the lowest priced rum, the purchase rate for the bar is Rs 611 per bottle while it’s MRP is fixed at Rs 600. Pointing out that it is the buyer who eventually pays the high tab, an office bearer said that Bevco buys the liquor at a much lower rate and sells it to bars at a wholesale price including taxes and profits.

Speaking to the media, office bearers of the Federation of Kerala Hotels Association said that Bevco’s decision will negatively affect hotel bars as it will lead to a significant drop in their profit margins. They also said that it would be tough to run the bars with these profit margins in a scenario where the bars are already hit hard by the pandemic. The federation has approached the state government, which has assured that it will look into the concerns of bar owners. Until the government takes action on the issue, the federation has decided to stop the sale of liquor from bars in Kerala.

Kerala Pandemic Lockdown Eased

Ah it’s some good news! Kerala will get to see more relaxations starting today as the state government decided to ease lockdown restrictions that were placed to check the spread of Covid-19. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there would be relaxation on curbs in the state, based on the average weekly Test Positivity Rate in Local Self Government bodies. He also said that strict restrictions will continue in the state during the weekend.

  • Shops selling essential goods to open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM
  • State-run beverages outlets will reopen in a restricted manner.
  • Activities in the industrial and agricultural sectors will be allowed in all local bodies. Transportation will be provided to workers in these areas.
  • Akshaya Kendras will be open from Monday to Friday.
  • Central and state government offices, Public Sector Undertakings, government companies, Commissions, corporations and autonomous institutions will be allowed to operate with 25 per cent staff on a rotation basis
  • Private companies will be allowed to operate with 50 per cent of employees.
  • The Secretariat would function with up to 50 per cent of the staff on a rotation basis.
  • Public transport would be allowed on a limited basis
  • Banks would continue to operate only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • The number of those participating in weddings and funeral services will continue to be limited to 20.
  • No social gatherings or public events will be allowed.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to offer only home deliveries and takeaways.
  • Tourism, recreation and indoor activities in crowded areas, including malls, would not be allowed.
  • BEVCO outlets and bars can open from 9 AM to 7 PM and slots should be booked through the app.

Lockdown Extended Till 16th June

The lockdown in Kerala, which was to have ended on June 9, has been extended by a week till June 16. There will be a complete lockdown with no movement allowed on June 12 and 13, an order by the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office said. Stores selling essential commodities, raw materials for industries (including packaging), construction materials and banks will continue to function as they are doing now, it added.

The Covid death toll in the state crossed the 10,000 mark on Monday. In a statement issued here, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that 9,313 people turned positive after 70,569 samples were sent for testing in the past 24 hours, taking the total active cases to 1,47,830. The day saw 221 Covid deaths, taking the total death toll to 10,157. Vijayan had, last month, warned that the death rate has every chance to go up as the number of daily cases last month had crossed 40,000. The lockdown extension came though last week indicating that the stringent restrictions would be withdrawn if the test positivity rate for three successive days comes below 15 per cent and the total number of active case drops below two lakh.

But despite the two parameters being accomplished and Monday’s TPR at 13.20 per cent, the high-level official meeting here decided to extend the lockdown till June 16. The day, however, saw 21,921 people turn negative, taking the total cured to 24,83,992. Across the state there were 6,32,868 people under observation which included 39,061 people in hospitals, while the state had 889 hotspots.

Heavy Rainfall In Kerala Due To Cyclone Tauktae

We been having continuous rain, heavy rain for the most part, non-stop since yesterday evening. It’s been 24 hours now since the rain started. We are experiencing this following cyclonic storm prediction by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The storm is expected to hit Kerala in the next 18-22 hours. For Kerala, the department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with extremely heavy falls at isolated places on May 14-15 and heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on May 16 and 17.  

Sea conditions will be rough to very rough over Comorin area and along and off Kerala coast on 14th and 15th, very rough to High over east central Arabian Sea along and off Karnataka coast on 15th May and Maharashtra – Goa coasts on 15th & 16th May. It is very likely to be very rough to High over northeast Arabian Sea along & off south Gujarat coast from 17th May morning. The IMD has also issued a red alert in five other districts for Saturday– Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod. Located near Lakshadweep, the low pressure will move in a north-westerly direction gaining enough speed by Sunday.

Many areas in south Kerala have been witnessing heavy rainfall and strong winds since morning and high tide has been reported in several coastal areas. The Kerala Disaster Management Authority has also advised people to remain indoors and take enough safeguard against lightning, thunder, strong winds and heavy downpour. Many low-lying areas in Thiruvananthapuram have been submerged due to incessant rain, revenue authorities said.

10 Day Lockdown

With Kerala reporting nearly 42,000 cases on Wednesday, the highest-ever single day spike, the state government announced a nine-day complete lockdown in the state from 8 May morning to curb the spread of the virus. The lockdown will come into force on 8 May morning and extend up to 16 May, according to official sources. Strict lockdown-like restrictions are already in place in the southern state and the Pinarayi Vijayan government decided to clamp the complete shutdown in the wake of a severe spike in the positive cases.

According to a report in Mathurbhoomi, the govt announced the complete lockdown after the state police department reported that restrictions which came to effect on Tuesday, was not as effective as expected. Earlier on Wednesday, after Kerala reported the highest-ever single day spurt in positive cases adding 41,953 infections, Vijayan had described the situation as serious and said stringent measures will have to be taken to curb the surge. The government  also announced several other decisions to strengthen the anti-COVID measures by deploying medical students and government officials to tackle the situation on the ground.

He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the state should be allotted 50 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 25 lakh doses of Covaxin. The Centre should take into account the number of people waiting for the second dose and those who have registered for the first dose while allocating vaccines to the states.

Current Restrictions In The State

Kerala has announced that the state will not see a total lockdown, but strict restrictions will remain in place to control Covid spread. The Kerala government will press ahead with restrictions on non-essential activities and weekend curfews to curb the spread of coronavirus, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Monday after a virtual all-party meeting earlier in the day. The political party representatives unanimously agreed that no celebrations or victory processions should be allowed on May 2, when the state counts its votes of the recently held Assembly elections.

Only officials in charge of counting, counting agents of political parties and journalists will have access to counting centres across the state. It will be mandatory for such persons to either take two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or carry a negative RT-PCR result certificate obtained within 72 hours to get access to the counting centres. General public will not be allowed near the counting premises. Meanwhile, the 9 pm-5 am night curfews and the weekend curfews, during which only essential activities will be allowed, shall continue, the CM added. Public transport will carry on unhindered. For private transport during curfews, people will have to state reasons for stepping out.

Cinema theatres, shopping malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes, clubs, swimming pools, tourism parks, bars and outlets selling foreign liquor will be temporarily shut down across the state. Religious places, especially mosques during the ongoing Ramzan, must control crowds to less than 50 at a time. The faithful should be advised to bring their own mats for prayers and use pipe-water to wash hands and feet instead of common tanks. Government offices will function with 50% of staff capacity. No more than 50 people can attend weddings while the same for funerals is 20. All such functions shall be held after registering on the Covid-19 jagratha portal.

What’s The Beef, India?

Long long ago, long before any religion ever existed, there lived a civilization in the Indian sub-continent who were primarily farmers. They settled in the banks of major rivers, concentrated on agriculture and cattle farming. 

Cattle became an integral part of their existence because they

  • provide nutritious milk for children on a daily basis,
  • provide manure which was turned into a fertilizer to support agriculture, and
  • actively got involved in physical labor like land tilling, grinding rice etc.

The only major investment was fodder, which anyway came from agriculture. People never hurt cows because they treated it with respect, love and faith. In short, the ancient strategy for preservation worked for thousands of years! Protecting such an asset became vital to the society and its economic stability. It became a tradition, slowly crept into religion and holy books, and thus began the tale of cow worship.

Liberal Hindus: Some people realized why cows were important at one time, understood why it was worshiped, understood why it doesn’t make sense anymore in the modern society. They accepted on eating beef. Few of them chose not to eat it out of respect towards old traditions.

Conservative Hindus: They still believe that cows are sacred and worship them. They don’t eat beef. Some of them understand that it is a personal choice and are okay with others eating beef. While some of the extreme conservative Hindus can’t really stand the idea of others eating beef.

Legislation against cattle slaughter is in place throughout most states of India except Kerala, Goa, West Bengal, and states of Northeast India. In short, it mostly depends on where you live in India, if you do eat beef or not. At the end, roughly 25% of Hindus eat beef. 

Theatres To Re-open On Jan 5th

Word is out that movie theatres in Kerala will reopen from January 5 but only with 50 per cent capacity. Theaters in the state are reopening nine months after the lockdown forced cinema halls to shut down. Theatre operators must ensure that all COVID-19 protocols, including masks, social distancing and sanitisation are followed while functioning. Cinema halls in several parts of the country started reopening from October, months in the shadow of the pandemic. Theatres and multiplexes had been shut down since March because of the coronavirus crisis.

As per the guidelines under the phased lifting of restrictions under ‘Unlock 5’ the government had directed several measures. Fifty per cent occupancy, staggered show timings, social distancing, thermal screening, adequate protection gear for the staff, and compulsorily providing phone numbers for “contact tracing” were some of the changes that were called for. The announcement comes as a big relief to the Malayalam film industry, which has suffered due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. According to reports, top executives of the Kerala film chambers have planned to meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday to seek the government’s support, including tax exemption and concession on the electricity bill.

While it is great that the theatres are reopening, I am not going to go for a movie anytime soon. I will wait, check with people’s experiences and see how it goes. Same for bars and I haven’t been in the inside of a mall in months either. I am gonna wait it out for a while. I don’t think I am missing out on too much but I do miss watching a movie on the big screen. That is an experience that cannot be beat at home, not with a 32 inch tv.

Instagram Models

What do you use Instagram for? Sharing your selfies, pics of your loved ones, maybe your latest toys and clothes purchased recently? I use it for the same. Mainly some selfies, pics of food since I am a foodie, drinks, maybe my latest purchase of dvds or something else. I even might share images of a movie poster that I love or a musician/band who I follow. Maybe a funny image or two. That’s it.

What I find so funny is the horde of Instagram model wannabes. Mostly young women. Buying clothes so they can pose in many pics. Make up done even when sitting at home. Lighting setup. Mood lights setup. Getting friends with cameras to shoot a bunch of pics. A lot of girls I know from work have started their accounts and started putting on their makeup professionally just for this. Ofcourse with a filter added to some of the photos. They even go to some hotels, cafes and resorts so they can pose for pics in beautiful locations – against a tree line or a lake or river or a lawn etc etc.

And ofcourse the quotes. You cannot forget the quote. A pseudo-spiritual quote? Seemingly meaningful quote about a women (presumably them) – that’s one small pose for a woman but a giant roll of pics for all womankind. Oh the quotes. Giving off such complicated thoughts and musings! Yuck, yuck!

6 Months!

It has now officially been 6 months since we went into lockdown here in my area. March 20th was the last day I went to work at the office and after several discussions of when and if we would go into a lockdown, it was declared that India would go into a complete lockdown, other than essential services, 3 days from then. Kerala declared that we would go into lockdown on the next day, which gave a lot of people enough time to get arrangements made after the weekend. I went into the weekend not knowing if we would go into lockdown and on Monday morning we got the info that we will be effective that same day.

Since then I have been working at home, using the client/windows system provided to me by the company. We are working outsourced for a large, large company. I have been working steadily at home (sometimes a little too much for my taste) and I have only gone out for a few times since then. Usually just to the main post office (to collect packages), some grocery shopping (it’s nice to go out to a store once in a while even if we do most of our shopping online via delivery apps), go to an ATM, some other errands and to get a bite to eat from one of the restaurants or cafes that are allowing dine in options.

How things have changed! I never thought I would ever get some work from home opportunity other than the freelance thing that I do. Never thought this job would be allowed to get done from home but here we are. And I still don’t plan on going back for a while. If I do quit and leave for another job I will be looking for another work from home option as well. Life as we know has certainly changed!

Kerala Coronavirus Numbers Growing Faster

Kerala, once the most successful state in containing the spread of the novel Coronavirus epidemic, has been adding relatively large number of cases for several weeks now. On Wednesday, the state detected more than 2,000 cases in a day for the first time, and simultaneously reached 50,000-figure for confirmed cases. In the last one month, the number of confirmed cases has grown by almost four times, at a rate which is among the fastest in India. Even now, at 4.01 per cent per day it is growing much faster than the national rate. In fact, amongst the states with high caseloads, those with more than 20,000 confirmed cases, only Punjab has higher growth rate than Kerala right now.

The death count has also increased substantially in the last few weeks, though the state still has one of the lowest fatality rates in the country, at least amongst the major states. So far, deaths of 225 Coronavirus positive patients have been recorded but, the state says, 43 of these had happened due to other reasons, and are not being counted as Covid-19 deaths. Coronavirus cases in Kerala had begun to grow after the travel restrictions had been eased for the first time in the first week of May. Most of the new cases at that time were those coming back from other states or foreign countries.

Nearly half a million people are estimated to have returned to Kerala in the last two months. Even now, about one fourth of the total confirmed cases in the state are those who have a history of inter-state or international travel. But the infection has spread amongst the local population as well, and Kerala was one of the first states to acknowledge community transmission, at least in the coastal districts which are the worst affected. Besides Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh also recorded their single day highs on Wednesday. Uttar Pradesh crossed the 5000-mark for the first time, while Maharashtra breached the 13,000-figure.

Kakkanad & Office Visit Post Lockdown

I went to the office today for the first time since March 20th. I didn’t realize that I missed it so much and was happy to see the premises. I was only there to get a replacement for a small device that I need to access the client tools. I woke up at 1:30 pm, after my 10:30 pm to 7:30 am shift and then waited for about 30 minutes before taking a shower and a shave. I then had my lunch and got ready. I had booked a cab and called him as he was nearby and went down, mask in hand.

We went to Kakkanad and I was passing by areas that I haven’t been to since the lockdown started. Kaloor, Palarivattom and Kakkanad areas. Happy to pass by with less traffic, not happy because of the reason. On the way I saw several taxi cabs and some are Uber and Ola drivers in them, seller chips and other snacks items out of their cars, which were parked by the side of the roads. That is a sad thing to see. Some of the snacks were cheaper than usual. They gotta make a living.

In 30 minutes we reached the office andI was only there for about 25 minutes or so, spoke to a couple of colleagues and then left. Still felt nice to see the place. I left soon after and bought some medicines on my way home. I came home, ordered some hot chocolate and had a light snack and then fell asleep after watching a couple of episodes of The X-Files.

Heavy Rainfall In Kerala

Following a red alert issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD)- of heavy to very heavy rainfall in parts of Kerala, torrential rains pounded Idukki district, resulting in a major landslide. Fifteen others have been rescued so far and are undergoing treatment at the Tata General Hospital in Munnar. Cost of treatment will be borne by the state, the Chief Minister said, announcing ? 5 lakh as compensation for the families of those killed.

As heavy rains continues in Kerala, the IMD has once again issued a red alert for Thrissur, predicting severe spells of rains in the coming days. Meanwhile, latest reports say 10 people have died in the landslide. Rescue workers at the landslide site in Rajamala, Idukki district (Munnar) shift bodies on make-shift slings.

On Thursday heavy rains caused a temporary bridge in the district to collapse, state authorities said. The entire district was on red alert for likely extremely heavy rainfall today. Idukki district also saw floods in low-lying areas like Munnar, which is a popular tourist destination near Rajamalai, because of rising water levels of a nearby river. Heavy rain also lashed Ernakulam district, with a Shiva temple in Aluva flooded after significantly increased water levels in the Periyar River. Rain and landslides also disrupted life in Wayanad district’s Kurichiyarmala area, where two houses have been damaged so far, according to ANI. Wayanad district’s Panamaram area has also reported floods after continuous rainfall over the last three days, news agency ANI reported.

A red alert has been issued for tomorrow (August 8 ) for Idukki, Thrissur, Wayanad and Palakkad districts, while an orange alert has been sounded for all other districts except Thiruvananthapura. Here in Kochi it’s been really heavy rains since early morning and it has affected power in some areas and internet in some (including mine).