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.

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!

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).

TV Tamasha In Mallu Land

I don’t watch Malayalam serials on tv but now and then I catch a few scenes or two as my parents watch them and when I am at home and have lunch, the tv is usually on as they watch these incredibly mind-numbing shows with plots and dialogues that will lower your IQ just by watching them. Now I have ranted on in the past about the ridiculous stuff that goes on in the Mallu tv land but here’s some more for fun.

The Malayalam serials equivalent of violins playing for sad scenes is a man or woman singing “ahhhha aaahhhhhhha aaahhhh” in tune! Every episode of every single soap in Malayalam has a woman crying for ……anything under the sun. And this “aahhh aaahhhh aaahhhhhh” sung in tune goes on and on. And the kid – in of these shows I have seen this kid who has got to be the most annoying kid in the entire country. He acts like an idiot and makes fuss for things that no kid his age should be doing. And the dialogues he says is so beyond anything any kid his age would say. And it almost feels like the sky is falling when he does his ridiculous tirade.

Dear Malayalam serials, if your character has some mental issues, she is PYSCHO — NOT PSYCHIC! Please stop saying rubbish. Get your facts right! Funny thing is even my parents think that the shows are terrible but they won’t stop watching them. Thousands of people their age or younger agree. And therein lies the victory of those who make these shows.

Cochin Is A Burger Town

I have posted about this before, in fact just over a year ago, and I still don’t get it. When did this sudden craze for burgers engulf my city? Ffor decades we had restaurants that served you a small cutlet type patty and called it a burger. Yes they would add some lettuce and onions and tomatoes but that was it. Now – it’s like you are spoiled for choices.

In the last few years many burger joints have popped up in the city and it’s crazy that we have so many choices for really good burgers. And more are coming up all the time. Ok, so let’s go with the fast food chains and the ones that don’t serve any beef products first. We have 3 McDonald’s, 2 Burger Kings (they have mutton instead of beef), 4 KFCs (yes they do serve burgers), 2 MarryBrown (a Malaysia based KFC style food chain that also serves burgers) & 7 Chickings (a Dubai based KFC styled fast food restaurant that also serves burgers). A few cafes like the now defunct Coffee Beanz, Coffee Cube & Fort Cafe serve decent beef & chicken burgers. But now – we have a plethora of burger joints and cafes that serve burgers.

2 x Burger Junction, Mash 24, The Grill Lab, Burger Lab, Burgeria, 3 x Burger Spot and 5 – yes make that 5 – Burger Huts. Really good cafes like Cafe Papaya, 2 x Cocoa Tree, Tonico Cafe etc. have excellent burgers in their menu. Even Cafe Coffee Day, the largest coffee shop chain / giant, who have fallen from grace since their heady days of being the biggest names in town, have resorted to tiny burgers (only chicken or paneer) in their menu but are far from good. So we do not have a lack of options when it comes to burgers beef, chicken or otherwise. But how and why did this phenomenon happen. And why couldn’t it have happened in the 90s?

Kerala’s Burger Hut

I went to a Burger Hut for the first time yesterday afternoon. I had heard of this little chain of burger joints for a few months now. Apparently they have 4 outlets in Cochin if I am not mistaken. Kaloor stadium, Ayyappankavu, Padivattom & Kakkanad. That’s 4 outlets that have sprung up in quick time. How have they managed to open 4 outlets, granted that these are small places with minimal seating – the one I went to have 4 tables inside and a couple more outside in their patio.

I chose to go and check them out for a late lunch yesterday on my way to work. The prices are very good, down right cheap if you compare them to almost every place that serves burgers. I ordered the Jumbo cheesy beef, a medium fries and a Pepsi. The burger and fries came to less than Rs.200! Seriously? Ok, but the proof as they say is in the pudding. How will the burgers look and taste? The takeaway menu looks great but when have burgers looked like they way that they are shown in the ads and in paper menus?

15 minutes after I ordered a server brought my red tray with a Pepsi can, a styrofoam bowl filled with fries that came with a small cup of mayo. French fries and mayo? Why not and it was ok, fries were decent but nothing great and the mayo tasted a bit like butter. 2 minutes later came the burger which looked nothing like the menu one. I did not like the bun which was hard on the outside and the burger patties weren’t anything great. They looked a bit too overdone as well though there was plenty of cheese. Overall I’d say it was a 7 maybe a 7.5 outta 10. But wait! For that price? Jumbo cheesy beef is just Rs. 120 and a medium fries comes to Rs.55. Less than 200??? For that rate I will give it a 9. They have a variety of burgers and a few subs. And they deliver. I will frequent them and I hope they do well and their burgers improve in quality. Ignore the menu pics as you know….photoshopped and all that!