My Five Favourite Watering Holes In Kochi

Ava Lounge, Radisson Blue 

A vibrant lounge with talented bartenders is as close as it gets to a clubbing atmosphere in Kochi. Though there is no official dance floor, the underground dub music works up the vibe and has people grooving in no time. They have live musicians playing even better music on Saturdays and Sundays making it all the more popular.

Mezzo, Avenue Regent

Situated in the heart of Ernakulam, Mezzo is one of the most popular resto-bars in town. It’s chic, casual and almost always packed. The place has an extensive international selection of liquor and wine along with an exclusive cocktail list. The food too is par excellence. A delectable range of European and Oriental fusion alongside, local seafood delicacies, tapas touchings, and steaks are the perfect companion to your tipple. If you do visit Mezzo, pop by the cafe next door called Coco tree famous for its mouth-watering desserts.

Velocity, Hotel Crystal Plaza

Boy has this place changed. From their decent quiet beginnings as a bar for mostly men to come and hangout and have a few drinks while munching on delicious snacks and lunch, it is now a happening spot with live music, djs and dancing. They expanded the place and I think they have had a huge investment from an actor or two who bought the place. Women days and specials bring in the feminine crowd as well.

Couchyn, Grand Hotel

A nice cool, cozy bar with a quiet sedate ambience. Centrally located with ample parking space, it also helps that it is attached the famous and oldest hotel in the city, The Grand. The food is mostly Indianized western dishes and Indian favourites. They have beer, all kinds of alcohol and some cocktails. Family friendly as well and not that expensive.

Blue Rock Resto Bar, Olive Downtown

An ultimate party destination in the area, Blue Rock Resto Bar in Elamkulam caters to all the needs of its youthful and energetic clients. They know the recipe of having a smashing time and ticks all the items on the checklist including swanky decor, electric ambiance, good variety in booze, delicious food and more. From hand-crafted drinks to savory dishes, flavor always takes center stage here. It offers some of the finest options for a night out in the town. 

Four Romantic Activities To Do In Cochin On Valentine’s Day

Alleppey Houseboat with Candle Light Dinner (Overnight)

Best Houseboat for Honeymoon couples in Alleppey. Cruise with an amazing premium dining experience in fully air-conditioned cabins & rooms. An Alleppey Backwater Cruise In Our Premium Houseboats Is Nothing Short Of Soul Soothing. Dining on Board. Exclusive Check-in. Enjoy a romantic candle light dinner and experience the amazing time while you enjoy the fantastic candle light dinner in backwaters.

2 Days Trip to Athirappilly Falls & Alleppey

Visit the best two experiences in Kerala ‚Äď Alleppey backwater and Athirapally waterfalls. In this short weekend trip, the package covers the biggest waterfall in Kerala and Alleppey‚Äôs backwater experience by a private shikkara trip. Though this package involves a little bit more road travel, this is one of the best packages during monsoon in Kerala when the waterfall is in full swing.

Private Day Trip to Munnar from Cochin

Visit the South Indian hill station of Munnar, known for its tea plantations and fantastic views, with this private day tour from Kochi. Highlights include a tea museum, Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty Dam, and the Munnar Rose Garden, with time to stop for lunch and shopping along the way. Hotel transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle will be provided A professional guide will show you around and answer questions No need to pack food, as lunch is included in the price of the tour Private tour for a flexible, personal experience.

Full Day Cochin Sightseeing Tour

Kochi Taxi offers a top-rated Cochin City Sightseeing Tour for tourists seeking to explore the rich historical land of Kochi. You can start your tour of Kochi with a sunrise at the Fort Kochi Beach. The calm and peaceful atmosphere of the beach is very refreshing.

Miserable Weather As The Rainfall Lashes On The State

It’s been miserable in terms of weather the last few days. The rains, which have been a little less than the previous years, has been in heavy flow since before the weekend, Thursday to be exact, and it has picked up midweek and it’s been a torrential rainfall since. And it is expected to fall heavily till the next Tuesday. In the wake of continuous rains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a yellow alert warning in 10 districts ‚Äď Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.

Rain, accompanied by gusty winds, lashed various parts of Kerala since Thursday night. Yellow alert indicates heavy rain between 6 cm-11 cm. Thunderstorms with lightning accompanied by gusty winds were likely in many places for the next two days in Kerala. People have been asked to exercise caution as Cherthala & parts of Alapuzzha had recorded 7-8cm of rainfall, while in Kochi it has been about 6cm.

All this makes me not want to go out to work. I feel like cozying in bed, taking naps and watching a bunch of tv shows or movies. And ofcourse lots and lots of coffee and hot snacks. I do not feel like going into the shower and shave and go to work. But I guess I have to.

Sharjah Shake : A Delicious Delight From Kerala

During one of his experiments, a juice & shake owner in Calicut, Kerala made a drink with banana, frozen milk and sugar. He served it to a bunch of guys watching the Sharjah Cup in an adjacent shop. They obviously loved it and enquired about the name. He hastily cooked up the name ‚Äď Sharjah Shake.

Ingredients

 10 mins  2-serving
  1. 1 packet Milk (1/2 litre) (frozen)
  2. 2 bananas Small (Njalipoovan preferred)
  3. 2 Tablespoons Horlicks or Complan or Boost
  4. as required (normally 3 tbsp) To Taste Sugar
  5. 5 Cashew nuts (good if they are roasted)
  6. 1 Scoop Vanilla ice cream

Cooking Instructions

  1. Step 1 : Take the frozen milk packet, without opening it, crush the frozen milk well with a chappathi roller.
  2. Step 2 : Put in in a mixer. Add the following ingredients, two bananas,sugar as required by you. horicks or boost and  3 pieces of cashew nut
  3. Step 3 : Mix it well in the mixer. Add one table spoon of vanilla icecream and mix for 5 seconds. turn off the mixer after you are satisfied with the thickness of the shake.
  4. Step 4 : Pour it into a glass, add the remaining cashew nuts and place one scoop of vanilla on the top. Cherry or toppings that you like may also be added.
  5. Step 5 : Simple enough – enjoy
  6. Step 6 : Note: to bring a juicy twist to the shake, mix couple of small pineapple slices along with the bananas.

4 Awesome & Delicious Kerala Snacks For The Monsoon

Parippu vada

Lentil or dal fritters is one of the most popular snacks offered at tea stalls across Kerala. This deep-fried dish made of Toor dal has all the ingredients that make it an indulgent snack. It  To make parippu vada, you have to grind Toor dal partially and mix it with chopped green chillies, ginger, shallots, curry leaves and salt. Roll out small portions and deep fry until they become golden brown. Savour the taste with a hot cup of hot tea.

 Pazham pori

Banana fritters or pazham pori is a traditional tea time snack in Kerala. It is simply a slice of ripe banana coated with a batter made of maida or rice flour, and deep fried in coconut oil. Crispy on the outside with sweet and juicy ripe bananas nestled inside, it is the perfect snack with a cup of tea for a rainy evening.

Pakoda

During the monsoon season, one can easily spot pakode made of several vegetables like onion, cauliflower, potato and even brinjal that are dipped in a gram flour batter and fried to perfection. Some hot onion pakoda with coffee is awesome on a rainy day.

Kerala Samosa

Much better than the Punjabi and famous in North India potato filled samosas, Kerala style samosas are way better. They are a bit smaller & crispier than the potato filled ones and for filling you can choose from beef, chicken, onion or veggies. Goes great with tea, coffee or cold drinks.

5 Things That Go Up In Sale During The Kerala Monsoon

1. Raincoat

A raincoat is one of the essential monsoon accessories one needs to buy before the monsoon. You cannot do without a raincoat to battle the heavy showers that pour down your shoulder. Try PVC raincoats that can act as an excellent shield to the heavy downpour. If you want something fashionable, go for the see-through raincoats that don’t hide your outfit and looks trendy on you.

2. Umbrella

A monsoon umbrella is a key accessory to sudden rains and downpours. What if it rains suddenly while going to the office? You cannot go wet and drenched in the morning. Hence it is advisable to keep an umbrella in your handbag the entire monsoon season. Make sure that your umbrella is light in weight and small enough to fit in your handbag.

3. Waterproof Phone Covers And Pouch

Protective phone covers and pouches are again necessary monsoon accessories as they protect your expensive mobile phones from getting wet and corrupted due to water. Don’t forget to place your chargers and earphones also in a waterproof pouch to avoid damage due to rain.

4. Waterproof Bags

Waterproof monsoon handbags are the perfect choice to carry to your workplace when it’s raining cats and dogs. These bags look cool and can hold all your stuff. Waterproof bags include backpacks, laptop bags, duffle bags, messenger bags etc. You can also opt for monsoon purses that protect your wallet, cash, cards etc., as they are waterproof and at the same time easy to carry around.

5. Medicines

There are a lot of chances of falling sick during the monsoons. Virus spread is common during this time. Hence it would be safe to buy basic medicines for cold, cough or fever. If your illness prolongs, it is advisable to visit the doctor. Monsoon accessories can be an essential item that you require most during the monsoon. So make a list of things that you must have at home before the monsoon. Equipping yourself for the monsoon avoids chaos and confusion at the last minute. Moreover, you won’t find it comfortable to go out and shop during the rainy season. So be prepared and enjoy the climate as much as possible.

RIP Veteran Malayalam Comedian Actor Mammukkoya

Veteran Malayalam actor Mamukkoya, who was admitted to a hospital after suffering a heart attack, has passed away. The actor collapsed during the inauguration of a football tournament at Wandoor in Malappuram district of Kerala, where he was presiding as the chief guest. He was later moved to a private hospital in Kozhikode. It was said that the veteran actor was in stable condition and responding to the treatment. However, he reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest followed by a hemorrhage, and passed away on Wednesday afternoon at the age of 76.

In a career spanning over four decades, Mamukkoya acted in more than 450¬†Malayalam films¬†and was the first winner of the¬†State award for best comedian in Malayalam cinema. Mamukkoya started his career as a theatre actor. He got his chance in the film industry through¬†Anyarude Bhoomi¬†(1979). His second entry to Malayalam cinema was through S. Konnanatt’s¬†Surumaitta Kannukal. Mamukkoya appeared in¬†Siby Malayil’s¬†Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam, written by¬†Sreenivasan. In the film, he played an Arabic teacher. He then landed a role in¬†Gandhinagar Second Street, which was also written by Sreenivasan, hie first notable role.

It was in the director’s Nadodikattu (1987) that he played the character of Gafoor, which found immense fame. He also acted in Ramji Rao Speaking, Vadakku Nokkiyanthram, Thalayanamanthram, Sandesham and His Highness Abdulla. Apart from films, Mamukkoya also had a keen interest in literature and theatre. He is also known for voicing strong opinions on religion and politics. He has won Kerala State Award for the films 2004 Perumazhakkalam and Innathe Chintha Vishayam. He was recently seen in the films Payali, Theerpu, and Peace. The Malayalam actor also played a role in Vikram’s Tamil film Cobra. Minnal Murali, Ustad Hotel, and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham are other notable films in his career. Mamukkoya was married to Suhara. The couple had four children; Muhammed Nisar, Shahitha, Nadiya and Abdul Rasheed.He was residing in Kozhikode near Beypore.

Actor Innocent Passes Away

Veteran Malayalam actor and former MP Innocent Vareed Thekkethala passed away at VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi on Sunday. He was 75. He was under the care and treatment of Lakeshore Hospital since March 3, 2023 and Covid related respiratory issues along with multiple organ failure and a cardiac arrest led to his death. Innocent, a cancer survivor, was admitted to VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi on March 3 after he complained of breathing issues and uneasiness. The 75-year-old actor had reportedly not been well for some time.

He predominantly worked in Malayalam films in addition to few Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and English films, mostly in comedic roles. In a career spanning more than five decades, he has acted in more than 750 films and is considered one of the best comedians in Malayalam cinema. Innocent has won several awards, including three Kerala State Film Awards. He served as the Member of Parliament in the 16th Lok Sabha of India representing Chalakudy constituency. In a career spanning five decades, he featured in over 750 films, including Akkare Ninnoru Maran, Gandhinagar 2nd Street, Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam, Nadodikkattu, Mukunthetta Sumitra Vilikkunnu, Vadakkunokkiyantram, Ramji Rao Speaking, Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal and Mazhavil Kavadi, Thoovalsparsham, Gajakesariyogam, Dr Pasupathy, No.20 Madras Mail, Kottayam Kunjachan, Kilukkam, Sandesham, Keli, Adhwaytham, Kabooliwala, Vietnam Colony and Devaasuram.

A few years ago, Innocent had been diagnosed with cancer. However, in 2015, the actor announced that he was cancer-free. He chronicled his battle with the illness in the book titled Laughter in the Cancer Ward. Innocent married Alice on 26 September 1976, and had a son, Sonnet. Sonnet was married, with two children, Innocent Jr. and Anna. Innocent Jr. acted in a documentary as Innocent in childhood.

Have You Ever Had A Vegan Dish Or Meal?

November 1st is also World Vegan Day. Have you ever had a vegan dish or meal? If so, what was the best part of the meal/dish?

November 1st is also World Vegan Day. Have you ever had a vegan dish or meal? If so, what was the best part of the meal/dish? There are a lot of Indian dishes that are vegan. What I have here is the top 8 dishes according to a couple of websites and then I added 3 Kerala dishes as well which are equally great. This doesn’t mean that I am becoming vegan – I love my meat & fish dishes!

  • Masala Dosa
  • Dal Makhani
  • Chole Masala
  • Veg Pulao
  • Aloo Puri
  • Kashmiri Dum Aloo
  • Rajma
  • Chole Bhature
  • Puttu & Black kadala (chana)
  • Pineapple Pachadi
  • Ghee Rice

Prompt from November Writing Prompts at Night Zookeeper Blog

3 Most Haunted Places In The State Of Kerala

1. Lakkidi Gateway, Wayanad

Wayanad district in Kerala witnesses flocks of trekkers who turn up in large numbers to explore the peaks and enjoy the soothing weather during peak tourist season. Lakkidi Gateway is a route through which you can pass the Tamarasseri pass which gives you the entry to the hilly district of Kerala, Wayanad. The place is known for its thick forests and cold temperatures. Lakkidi gateway remains the shortest route to cross Tamarasseri pass but it is unknown to many travelers. The people who know the route prefer not to use it because of the different haunting stories related to this place. A few of the locals know the route and the frightening stories associated with the place.

2. Bonacaud Bungalow, Trivandrum

In the capital city of Kerala lies the dilapidated and forgottenBonacaud bungalow. The cottage has a very old construction and is supposed to have been built during the colonial era. Spread over the mystic hills, waterfalls and streams, the place gives you the perfect picture of the haunted and overlooked lodgings that you have always read about in horror stories. The broken windows, decrepit walls, and hangings are bound to stun your senses.

3. Kariavattom, Trivandrum

Although Technopark is the IT hub of Kerala where several multinational giants have their offices, Kariavattom campus road from Technopark back gate is the location where several enigmatic rumors have been reported. The place gets hushed at night and a walk through the campus is a daring journey. Many stories have been described by passengers about odd happenings taking place here. The noises and squeals that break the silence will give you chills and thrills.

Kodinhi – The Village Of Twins

Kodinhi ‚Äď Kerala‚Äôs village of twins : By any metric, conceiving twins and triplets is a rare natural occurrence around the world. In fact, on average only 16 out of 1,000 successful pregnancies in the world result in twins and this average is even lower in India at just 9. However, this ratio is heavily skewed in the sleepy hamlet of Kodinhi in Kerala, which has a record 400 pairs of twins in a population of just over 2,000 families! Geneticists and scientists have long tried to explain this rare phenomenon but are only now making some headway.

While experts have pointed to genetics as an obvious factor, what’s even more mysterious is that irrespective of religion, lineage or their original heritage, all families living in the village have conceived more than the average pairs of twins over the last few generations, and the number is consistently growing. Though initial estimates put the instance of multiple births at 100 pairs, follow-up surveys found the figure to be closer to 204 pairs (408 individuals) of twins, and two sets of triplets.

Women from Kodinhi married off to far away places are also known to give birth to twins. According to some doctors this phenomenon is due to chemicals present in water in the Kodinhi area. According to locals, the oldest known twin pair in the village was born in 1949. The number of twin births in Kodinhi has been increasing over the years, with surveys showing over 79 pairs of twins within the age group of 0‚Äď10 years.

In 2008, around 30 pairs of twins from Kodinhi, along with their parents, got together to form The Twins and Kins Association, the first such association of twins in India. The forum, according to its founders, aims to bring to wider attention problems peculiar to people of multiple births, such as those concerning their education and health.

It’s A 4 Cup Coffee Kinda Weather

Since the last couple of weeks, it has been raining quite a lot. The weather has become very cool, dare I say kinda cold by our standards. It wouldn’t be cold when you compare it to temperatures in places that get snow but it is cold by Kerala standards as we are a tropical climate place. The current temperature is 27 degrees Centigrade but with winds at 10km/hr and the sun staying partly hidden, it is very cool.

This kind of weather is perfect for hot or grilled food. Evenings are for hot samosas, egg/chicken/meat puffs like the ones I ordered in yesterday. Hot puffs with minced meat inside or drier masala and half a boiled egg inside it. Delicious and goes down well with a hot latte. It is so warming for the body at the time I tell ya. Or you can have some pakoda or banana fritters which we make at home using ripe Nendran bananas. If you have a tea shop close to you, like we do, you can instead go and ask for hot vadas for your evening snacks.

These days are multiple cups of coffee days. Not that I drink less coffee on other days but yes these days it’s more of the 4 cups of coffee a day variety rather than the 2 or 3 cups a day version. If not more. Now it’s getting to be close to 4 pm and I usually start craving my coffee at that time. Off to the kitchen!

Adding Colour To Your Home During The Monsoon

In case of heavy rains, simply sitting at home and doing nothing might make you feel dull. Similarly, brighten up your mood by changing the colours of your interiors.

Psychologically speaking, bright colours do brighten up your mood and bring a lot of happiness. So, use pops of brighter colours to highlight certain corners of your home. If painting the house seems challenging, you can use brightly coloured cushions or throw in some colourful rugs to liven up your space. It’s believed that if you dress yourself in bright and happy colours, you tend to feel the same way. It would be totally recommended to get all those bright yellows and hot pinks out and flaunt them in all the ways you can. You can also go for those colours which you thought are just too over the top. This is exactly the time to ditch on your dull clothes and experiment a bit.

Fun colours you could try this monsoon season:

Orange and Yellow ‚Äď Creates a lively ambience.
Mint and Green ‚Äď Soothes and calms the soul.
Turquoise ‚Äď Is a luxurious choice for the monsoon.
Purple and Pink ‚Äď Represents royalty and luxury.

Give your interiors a fresh vibe by adding colourful cushions, paintings, table lamps, vases, and other items. Use colour therapy to take away those monsoon blues.

My Favourite Bars In Cochin

Couchyn at The Grand is a restaurant on Grand Hotel, MG Road Ernakulam in Kochi. It is a preferred destination for several old timers in the city as it is attached to one of the oldest & famous family restaurants in Cochin. A perfect place for wining and dining, drop into enjoy your favorite beverages, cocktails & mocktails. Recommended food pairings are their Trivandrum style chicken, fish fingers, tandoori chicken and French fries.

Blue Rock Resto Bar at Olive Downtown – very cool and awesome location at Kadavanthara. They mix fine dining dishes with fast food and snacks. They have happy hours and offers as well. A tad more expensive than Couchyn. Best pro is that you can get burgers & pizza from the hotel’s cafe downstairs to pair with your beer while you sit in the bar. Recommended is the crispy fried prawns, pork chops & their pizzas.

The Ava Lounge & Bar is hotel Raddison Blu’s bar which is on the 6th floor. Comfy chairs and Couches, thoughtful and polite staff, variety of beer, wine and liquor with a great ambience & service. Decent prices for 5 star hotel however you must go during their happy hours from 11am-4pm. Afghani chicken, tempura prawns and French fries are the only food I have tried from there and I highly recommend them. It tends to get crowded during the evenings and on weekends.

Memories Of June Months Gone By

The first week of June always brings about the start of the school year. From the ages of 11 to 15 I studied in a school called Hill Valley High School, grades 6th to 10th. It was a quick walk away from my home and so I didn’t used the school bus or the van that they used for picking up kids who lived more close by. But since I had a couple of friends who also lived near my house, we would meet up at one common point and then walk together to our school, go up the small hilly road and then walk down the mud and stone ridden path to the valley below where our school was built.

Now the problem with this is that the beginning of June also coincides with the start of the monsoon season in our state. Unlike this year where the 1st & the 2nd of June (yesterday & today) has seen sunshine and humidity, the rains are usually in full force in previous years. So usually you see kids huddling under umbrellas and just hoping to make it into the school bus before getting drenched with rain water. Umbrella sales also go up during time as do raincoats. And ofcourse, kids and people do catch colds during this time.

One of my biggest memories of the start of the monsoon season and June is probably when I was in the 8th grade. The first day of school, June 1st was a Tuesday and we were all geared up for going back to school, seeing our friends and the new grade. But the rains gods had other plans and it was pouring down rain from Sunday. And I mean, cats and dogs, someone call Noah, that kind of rain. Now since I walked to school, I took my umbrella and walked under it and braved the winds as I made my way to the school. On the way up, I saw a friend & classmate of mine walking with his younger brother who was in the 6th grade. We walked up and then down to the valley only to be told by the caretaker/security guy that the school would be closed for 2 days. The rains were so heavy that the school got flooded and that it would take a day or two to clean it up.

So the three of us walked back to the main road, having got wet for no reason. As the buses did not go and pick the rest of the kids, they got to know that the school was off for a couple of day. Remember this was back in 1989 and we had no Whatsapp or email to share this info. But yeah, summer vacay got extended for a couple of days for us.

Heavy Rainfall Lashes The State Of Kerala

Flooding rains have been lashing the state of Kerala for the past few days which light breaks in between. Some parts of the state have seen some disruption regarding these heavy rainfall activities that have been over the state for quite a while. During the last 48 hours from 8:30 AM on Tuesday, some parts of Kerala recorded three digit rain as well including the cities of Kozhikode where 115 mm of rains were seen and Kannur where 120 mm rainfall was recorded.

Other parts that saw significant rains include Wayanad 63 mm, Karipur 56 mm, Alappuzha 44 mm, and Thiruvananthapuram 31 mm. Cities of Kannur, Kozhikode, Thallasarry, Kasargode, Wayanad, even going down to Thrissur and Palakkad saw some flooding rainfall activities yesterday as well as today. The Cyclonic Cicrulation over the Southern region is still persisting and the offshore vortex has moved a little inside. Thereafter, some relief can be expected only around May 20. Before that, weather conditions will remain rainy and cause some disruption to the residents of North Kerala.

For us here in Kochi, it has rained so heavily throughout the day and especially at night. It is so cold that I am now sitting in my room starting work and drinking hot black coffee without the ceiling fan switched on. I usually cannot even think of switching the fan off while I am in the room, unless the ac is on full blast. But it is that cool.

Some Facts About The Festival Of Vishu

Significance of Vishu

Vishu is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in Kerala which marks the astrological new year of the Malayalis. On the day of Vishu, the farmers in Kerala begin the ploughing of land and other agricultural activities.

Traditional outfits are a must on Vishu

People usually wear their best outfits on the day of Vishu and women love to adorn themselves with gold ornaments. Men wear the traditional ‘mundu’ along with khadi shirts. The handwoven off-white Kerala saree with golden border is the most preferred outfit for women on Vishu. The saree can be paired with a similar off white and golden border blouse or with any other colored blouse.

Shop for Vishu festival

All the shops in Kerala keep a wide collection of traditional clothes for the occasion of Vishu festival. The online shopping platforms also offer a variety of products ranging from kids clothing, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, home décor, and food items for Vishu festival.

The Preparation:

Women spend an entire day before the festival on decoration and preparation of auspicious food items. This is the first thing that devotes see on Vishu. Vishukkani setting includes various items like rice, cucumber, jack fruit, coconut, etc. The most important ingredient is the Konna flower which blooms during the Vishu season. This is followed by one interesting tradition where one member of the family, usually the elderly lights the lamp at dawn, blindfolds other members of the family, and brings them to see the setting of Vishu.