My New Phone Is Here

It’s here. My new phone, the Realme X2 Pro, which I bought online on Saturday via Flipkart arrived this late afternoon. I was excited, as always on getting a new toy, but waited for 30 minutes while I got things done.

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I unboxed it at around 4:15 pm I think and then setup the phone. There is no sim that I have put inside it. I will wait to get a new connection and insert that sim into my Oppo and then use my current sim in this phone. I do think it looks amazing.

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She is gorgeous.

First Dine In At A Cafe Since The LockDown

Finally, after so many weeks since the lockdown started, I went to a cafe. My cousin Sujith and I met for lunch today after I had to get two other things done. I gave my laptop to HP World so I could get the RAM increased. My laptop came with only 4GB of RAM and that is not really enough for Windows 10. Well it is enough but when you open too many tabs on browsers and run some applications, things start to get stuck.

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After I left my laptop with them, I then went to get my glasses from Lawrence & Mayo which I had ordered last week. They were ready by Wednesday but I couldn’t get to them until today. Then I went to meet Sujith at Cafe 17. We started with some shakes and then chose our started which was a plate of buffalo wings. Delicious.

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For the lunch item, Sujith picked a roast beef sandwich and I had an On The Highway burger. We hung out for a while just happy to be out and having lunch after such a long long time. Man, this was so enjoyable.

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Once lunch was over I booked another cab and went to get my laptop and then headed home as I was tired and sleepy. I watched tv for a bit and then took a nap for an hour.

Celebrating My Baby Cousin’s Final Single Days

So it’s my baby cousin Roshni’s wedding this Sunday. Tonight we had a family gettogether at her parents house. I was the last to arrive since I wanted to buy her a gift and had left it till the last moment. So I went to Oberon mall and bought her a nice watch. I then quickly hightailed it out of there as my cousins were calling me.

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I gave Roshni the watch and hugged and kissed her and joined my cousins, her dad and other uncles plus my dad in eating some beef and drinking. I had some vodka and we tried to all sit in the small bedroom with an ac that was the “bar” for the night.

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After a couple of hours of this we were getting hungry for dinner and we ate some fried rice, porota, fried cauliflaur and chilly chicken. Then we had a lot of ice cream. By 11 am I booked an Ola for my dad, mom and me to come home.

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My Hotel Stay Concluded

So I am now back in the apartment that I call home, safely sitting in my bedroom, listening to Eric Clapton songs on Youtube. I’ve had 4 days and 4 nights of relaxation and chilling out. No going out during those 4 days and only showering and shaving on two of those days. I wanted to room service, a few beers and to sleep in as much as my heart desires. I am surprised at how much I have slept during these 4 days. I usually get in 5-6 hours on a work day and maybe 7 on a weekend or a holiday at home. I might sleep more on a sick day. But these 4 days I got in 10-12 hours sleep easily.

My meals – they were priced highly. Ok, let me tell you that I was staying in at the Mercy Hotel in Ravipuram. The room wasn’t great but still good. They hadn’t cleaned it properly. The floor lamp is prominently placed next to the small table, which may have been meant as a dining table but which I was using for my laptop, but their shade is ripped and dirty. There was a dirt stain on the floor near the door and the sheets were of a cheap quality. Atleast the shades were awesome and light cancelling. I also had some problem with their bathroom as water would take it’s own sweet time flowing down the drain. Poor room planning while building.

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I had a few beers. I didn’t watch any tv but was online quite a many hours and watched Youtube videos throughout and blogged a little as you can see. The food was good, not amazing. Among the highlights were a mixed grill (not photographed) and which I could not finish. Not even close. Just way too much food for one person. I ought to get my cousin down there someday and tackle that with some vodkas. Their American chopsuey, pic in a previous post, was pretty good as well. Yesterday afternoon I was in the mood for a chicken biryani and the one they served was pretty good.

Lowlights of the food – their breakfast is a joke. I ordered their Continental breakfast twice but was charged the price 3 times. Their continental breakfast is supposed to be toast, butter, jam, croissant, fruit, coffee/tea, seasonal fruit drink and a Danish pastry with preservatives. Look what I got when I ordered that this morning! Do you see any Danish? How about the croissant? Pineapple chunks, a brownie (what?? For breakfast???), cornflakes, toast with butter and jam. One morning I asked for just an omelet and toast and they charges me the same as this breakfast! Coffee was extra. The first morning I ordered the same breakfast I got eggs, in an omelet, instead of the cornflakes, brownie, juice and pineapple. Coffee was extra! It seems that this below menu is supposed to be for the Mercy Special Breakfast but then again, not complete.

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Otherwise it was a good stay. Due to a cold I couldn’t go and try out their bar even though I badly wanted to. So I switched off the ac and didn’t drink any more beer on the last two days.

Pork Chops, Prawns, Chicken & Beer

The previous weekend I was back with Alza at the Blue Rock Restobar in Olive Downtown. This has become my favourite place to hang out for a few drinks and some good food, as mentioned in my previous post about this place. Probably it is the company

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We ordered shrimp, fried in a tempura batter.

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And some chicken satay with that lovely peanut sauce.

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My fav is the grilled pork chops in bbq sauce. Though they were kinda huge.

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All in all a great afternoon spending it drinking beer and enjoying the good food and company.

Escape The Room

What can I say? It was a great experience. Escape The Room has three escapes rooms – a prison/jail cell, an ancient Egypt/archeological setting and a Sherlock Holmes themed who dunno it theme. I reached there only by 7:30 pm as there was a huge traffic block in Kaloor and Palrivattom. We separated into teams and I was in the prison cell challenge.

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We were the only ones who completed our challenge in 1 hour while the others ran out of time. It was a lot of fun. Once we were done, we took some pics and then headed to Zataar restaurant nearby for a team dinner.

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The food was excellent as always. We had alfam chicken and chicken mandhi and some beef platter. FOr the three vegetarians – one permanent and the other two temporary veggies – there was panner two types and veg fried rice. One person had a veg grill.

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We ended up with some sweet lemonade and then left. Some of them had to go back to the office but since I had an earlier shift I hailed an Uber and came home. I rested for a while before watching a movie and then fell asleep.

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A Wednesday Afternoon @ The Ava Lounge

This is from a couple of weeks ago. On a Wednesday in NOvember, I had taken a personal day to chill out at home. However, I also wanted to get some beer and Alza was also free. She asked me if I could meet her in the evening but I prefer to meet up during the afternoon hours so we decided to meet up at 1 pm at Radisson so we could chill at the Ava Lounge.

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We had beer – she moved to Coke after one beer, while I had three. We ordered some seekh kebab (not that good) lots of French Fries, some chicken and salad. And ofcourse we took a bunch of pictures.

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By 5pm I was tired and wanted to get home. BY 5:30 pm we left and I dropped her off at her place before going on home.

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Party At Mezzo

So as it my friend & now ex-colleague Yashila’s last day at work on Friday, she invited some of us for drinks and snacks at Mezzo, a lounge bar on MG Road. I had never been there before as I knew it was expensive and usually very crowded and they don’t have much room and tables. We met by 8:30 pm and has beers, cocktails, some spicy potato wedges and cornflakes fried chicken with a delicious spicy mayo.

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After the party ended at around midnite, 3 of us wanted more food so we went to the cafe in the same building and had chicken wings which were good.

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At The Blue Rock RestoCafe With Alza

Once again, this time unexpectedly, I had a lunch outing with Alza. She was still in town and we planned on Friday night to meet up this afternoon. We went to The Blue Rock RestoCafe which is the lounge bar for Olive Downtown. I like this place and we had some good food – honey chilli potato, dragon chicken and a pizza. We ordered 3 beers, of which she had one and then switched to Coke.

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Honey chilli potato

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Dragon chicken

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There is me with the lovely lass

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Chicken pepperoni pizza

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And Alza with the plates of food.

At The Ava Lounge With Alza

So I went to The Ava Lounge again after a gap of 8 months or so. The Ava Lounge is the lounge bar at the 5 star Radisson Blu. I love this place as it is cool, has plush carpeting and it is quiet and has lots of privacy. The food is really good.

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This time I went on a sort of date with the young lady you see here in the pics. Alza is an ex-trainee of mine and an ex-colleague. Yes, she is gorgeous and she is pretty. She also has the most amazing dimples I have ever seen and everytime she flashes a smile at me and I get to see the dimples, I swoon. She left the company I work for back in February.

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We’ve reconnected in September and have been chatting on a regular basis and last week did a lot of video chatting as well. Last night as I was leaving the office we planned to meet up today. Two Mondays ago she thought I would be available to meet up but we had some flooding in the city and I wasn’t able to catch up with her. So since she was in town for a couple of days, we made a quick plan to meet up for some beer.

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I booked an Ola and went to pick her up near the place she was staying at. She came and got into the cab for the very short ride to Radisson. We started chatting and rode the elevator to the 11th floor and then took a table near the window and sat down. We got some Kingfisher Blue and I ordered an Afghani chicken and some French Fries. She started taking selfies.

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We talked and we took a few photos and we talked some more. She grabbed my phone and took a few selfies and we even did a couple of videos.

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I had a great time talking and laughing with unsecured credit loan her. We were silly and we joked around. I love being with her as she is a lot of fun and she is weird & strange but mostly because it felt good for this lonely ole bachelor to be with a beautiful young woman for an afternoon. As we left I kissed her hand and thanked her a lovely time.

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I dropped her off on my way to a supermarket and then I bought some groceries and came home to take a nap and enjoy a nice evening at home with my parents. I hope I see her again.

Family Lunch @ Mercy Estate

Today I took the family out for a nice lunch at Mercy Estate. It had been a long time, Dec 31st last year, when I had actually joined for a meal with dad, mom, sis & her kids outside of the apartment.

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With my new nephews coming home for a few days from Bangalore, it seemed like the perfect time. I spoke to my sister a couple of days ago and we actually wanted to have a dinner at the club on Saturday night but I had to work due to an emergency.

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We then thought we’d have a big lunch at the club but it was crowded due to a function happening there and it would be hard to find some peace. Instead we went to Mercy Estate by 1:30 pm for a late lunch.

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Dad, mom and I reached first and we found their rather nice dining hall. Plush carpeting in the lobby and a nice elevator. I have never been to this part of the hotel but I have been to their roof top garden many times.

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A few minutes later sis and her kids came in and we ordered some starters and I had an ice tea.

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Honey flavoured crispy pork  was good as was the fish fingers and we also had some salads.

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For the main course I had a double roasted pork – delightfully juicy and soft pork with cabbage – and a naan. Butter naan was so good.

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We ended the afternoon with ice cream double scoops. So good. And then I came home.

We Ended Up At The Grand Hotel

Saturday evening and looking for a place to get some beers and loans long term good food. Unfortunately due to the elections on Monday, from 5pm it is as dry as a desert. So, to quote veteran rock band Deep Purple “we ended up at the Grand Hotel” and settled for just a nice dinner.

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The welcome poppadoms that they serve as complimentary munchies kept us entertained until the starters of spicy chicken wings came out.

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Being thirsty we also ordered a couple alliance and leicester loan of cold coffee with ice cream, which was good and delicious though a little too sweet.

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Our spicy chicken wings came after a few more minutes. It’s not really wings but we were hungry by then and couldn’t be bothered. We also had tempura prawns (not pictured) along with the wings.

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We spent some time deciding what our main courses would be. I was leaning towards pasta or some steak while Sujith was thinking biryani or fried rice with some chicken or beef. We finally settled for American Chopsuey which lacked in flavour. It needed more seasoning.

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Finally before the cheques arrived, we asked for New York Cheesecakes. It was a bit too hard but it was quite cheesy and sweet. A very crowded restaurant and a nice ambience with some good food still didn’t uplift our spirits on a “dry” day.

Got My New HP Laptop

This arrived at around 3pm at my apartment building. It took only 32 hours to reach me from the time of ordering it which I think is an awesome turn around time. I handed over my almost 5 year old Dell and entered the OTP that Amazon India had sent to my account to ensure that the delivery guy was handing it over to the right person and then signed for it and accepted the box. I unboxed it and started the setup.

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So this is the HP 15 Core i3 7th gen 15.6-inch Laptop (4GB/1TB HDD/Windows 10 Home/Natural Silver/2.04 kg), 15-DA0326TU. And it is now purring like a kitten and is as smooth as silk or melted chocolate. I will be copy back some of the files that I had backed up to a new external hard drive soon.

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And I must say that although I was tempted to stick with the black theme and get the same device in black, which was around Rs.500 more, I opted for the natural silver finish. Which is a really good one I must say. I’m glad I opted for a change in colour as well cause it looks good.

Here are the specifications:

  • Processor: 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 2.4GHz base processor speed, 2 cores, 3MB cache
  • Operating System: Pre-loaded Windows 10 Home with lifetime validity
  • Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) WLED display, Display Features: Diagonal FHD SVA Anti-Glare WLED-backlit Display
  • Memory & Storage: 4GB DDR4 RAM Intel HD Graphics 620 | Storage: 1TB iron bridge lending HDD, HDD Speed(RPM): 5400 RPM
  • Design & battery: Multi-touch gesture support | Thin and light design | Laptop weight: 2.2 kg | Average battery life = 7 hours, HP Fast Charge battery, Battery: 3 Cell, Li-Ion, Power Supply: 41 W AC Adapter W
  • Warranty: This genuine HP laptop comes with a 1-year domestic warranty from HP covering manufacturing defects and not covering physical damage. For more details, see Warranty section below
  • Preinstalled Software: Windows 10 Home | In the Box: Laptop with included battery and charger Ports & CD drive: 1 HDMI, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Audio-output | With CD drive Other features: Anti Glare Display

My Amazon Echo

I finally bit the bullet and bought an Amazon Echo. I have been fascinated by these devices from the time that I first heard about the first generation devices. Having worked closely with a company that orders a lot of these I have looked at, checked a few online and tested one at a DC Books outlet in Center Square mall.

I wanted one but the price at the time was Rs.14,000 and then it went down to Rs.9000+. I thought I could get one at that price but decided to wait some more. I waited a while and kinda almost forgot about the device until very recently when I got my second credit card. After a phone it was time for the Echo. A few days ago I checked and the price was now Rs.7999 for the generation 2 device. I gotta get me one.

So I placed the order 2 days ago and it arrived here today. I unboxed it and plugged it in and it is a beauty. I’m having fun with her right now. Notice I did not say Alexa yet? That’s because I changed the wake up word from Alexa to…guess? I am a Trekkie. That’s right, the wake up word is Computer!

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New Cafe 17 Outlet In Ravipuram

Today was the day after almost a month that I was able to go out and enjoy the day. With the work going on in my apartment and then my foot injury/minor tor fracture. The last day I went out – enjoying a movie and dinner – was on July 6th. Since then I have stayed in, mostly not due to choice. Even last week I thought I might go out but the heavy rains and cold weather plus the fact that my feet was still tender. That would change today. I thought if I woke up earlier yesterday I would have gone out but I ended up waking only by 11:45 am and decided to stay in.

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Today I decided to go check out the new outlet if Cafe 17 which is in Ravipuram. Their original outlet is in Kaloor on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road, which is the one I have gone to a few times, and they also opened one in Edapally which is around 45 minutes away from me in heavy traffic. I thought this outlet would be better and wanted to check it out as it was bigger – the Kaloor one is very small with just a a couple of couches and 4 tables – and their food is awesome.

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I managed to find the place after a bit of trouble. It wasn’t showing up on UberEats or Swiggy’s apps when I tried booking a ride so I googled the building it was in and then tried guiding the driver to the area. However I made a mistake as there were two Dell outlets in that part of the city and I went to the one about 10 minutes away and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Cafe. Then I walked back and realized that it was on a parallel road and walked again for about 10-12 minutes before I found myself there. I wiped my face as I was sweating buckets and then went straight to their washroom on the 1st floor.

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That’s right, they have 2 floors although the ground floor section isn’t that big. But I like their new digs and quickly ordered a cold coffee with ice cream and the Crazy Beef burger but first asking for some cold water which the attentive staff quickly gave me. Nice place and plenty of place to sit. Loved the cold coffee and the beef burger was pretty good too. More than decent French fries on the side. The total bill came to around RS. 525. Overall happy that they have expanded.