Christmas In Covid-19

Not being big on Christmas it has always been just another day. If you are in a school, college or office environment then leading up to the 25th you will see lots of programs, carol singing and being dressed as Santa (with the scary. creepy Indian masks; I dunno why India can’t get better looking masks for Santa) and some stupid contest or the other. They usually have a Secret Santa thing going on which I like.

With this year working from home, I have not had any of that ofcourse. And as usual Christmas is just another day for an atheist. It is a holiday for my department however this year they had wanted one of us to work on Christmas and New Year as a backup / emergency / just in case. I volunteered for the 25th as I knew it would be an easy day at work and I would also get Monday off. On Monday I will be going back to the hospital and when I come back I will be tired and hence will want to take a nap in the afternoon which will be difficult as my shift starts at 3:30 pm.


So today I was working from 3:30 pm till 12:30 am but I would have to say that I was available for work during that time but I hardly got a peep. I even contact some of the service delivery managers informing them that I am here and ready to help out if any issues do come their way and was almost begging them for something to work on. Instead I watched Youtube videos, listened to music and chilled. By 7:15 pm I ordered food for me and the parents. We had butter naan, butter chicken, bbq chicken wings and fish fingers from BBQ Nation. Delicious.

By 11:30 pm I realized that nothing is gonna come up and watched the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery and by 12:30 am I logged off and shut down my work station. I will watch a bit more tv before falling asleep.

Another Rare Day Out

After almost 3 weeks I finally went out. Since I get most of my groceries and other stuff delivered to my apartment building, I rarely do need to go out. But yeah twice a month I do try to go out, get some money out of an ATM, do some other errands if needed, buy some beer and other liquor, check if there any parcels waiting for me at the post office, maybe get some lunch outside and anything else I need to do.

I have a cab driver, who uses Ola & Uber but since he is a nice older guy I call him up and ask him if he can come for my errands twice a month. I enjoy his company and he waits and is fair when he charges me; even giving back some money that I wanted to give him extra because he felt that the total ride wasn’t that long. So I call him up the previous night and then arrange for him to meet me the next afternoon at around 12 or so. Yesterday it was at 1:15pm since I woke up so late.


At 11:40 pm I had a mayo sandwich for breakfast with coffee and then shaved and had a shower. By 12:45 I was ready to get dressed and iron my shirt. By 1:15 pm I got into the cab and before I went out to Palarivattom I needed to check something. An Amazon order from was left along with my packages last Wednesday and it turns out it was for an A Gopalakrishnan in an office nearby. However try as I might I couldn’t find the office and decided to let the post office know. I then went to Palarivattom to drop off some documents.

Then I went to buy some beer and unfortunately Couchyn/Grand Hotel had run out of beer. You see you can buy beer and liquour from bars at the regular price but they had run out. So I bought a bottle of Ceasar brandy for my dad and then went to Lotus Club so I could buy some beer. I bought 3 Beck’s Ice and 4 Budweiser Magnum. Then I went to buy some groceries, get some money outta an ATM and then took a quick lunch of a beef mince burrito at Cafe 17 with a Peace Ice Team and then headed home.

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday and I celebrated it almost the same way that I celebrate most of my birthdays. Initially the plan was that my sister and her kids would come over for dinner but that changed. Instead, since my niece has online school classes starting at 6:30 pm, my sis and niece along with my oldest nephew came over for lunch. My sister decided to make some simple chicken curry with a few potatoes in it to accompany the rice and veggies that my mom had made.


As usual my sister brought along a cake. She has my niece to order one online as long as it isn’t chocolate since my dad doesn’t like chocolate. Funny enough he will eat it if it is ice cream! Anyway, my niece choose red velvet, which to be sure isn’t my fav flavour. Infact I do not like it much but this one was good especially since it had a lot of cream on it. But I can’t more than a thin slice as it still feels quite heavy. My niece managed two!


After that I tried to watch a movie but I fell asleep half way through and took a nice nap. My sister and her kids went back to their apartment and I said that I would be ordering food and called them up in the evening. By then I had managed to get a hot shower (it was a cold day) and shaved. As I toweled my head I got some coffee and snacks and ofcourse more music on Youtube and stuff. By 7 I ordered naan and butter chicken for my sister and her family (2 sons, 1 daughter and her husband) and some Baskin n Robbins. I ordered chicken fried rice, with golden fried prawns and dragon chicken (pictured above) for me and my parents.

By 12 after the good food, a couple of vodkas and the ice cream I was content and watching another movie before sleep caught up with me.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 :)


We ordered shrimp, fried in a tempura batter.


And some chicken satay with that lovely peanut sauce.


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



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

Food & Beer At Olive Downtown’s Bar

Once again, we were at Olive Downtown’s restobar The Blue Note. This is quickly becoming my favourite place to drink deer and hang out with a beautiful girl. The we being me and Alza. Fried cheeseballs, fried chicken, French fries (it’s kinda her favourite snack) and some beer. We ended the afternoon with some pastries as we both have a sweet tooth.





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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.







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.


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.


Honey chilli potato


Dragon chicken


There is me with the lovely lass


Chicken pepperoni pizza


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I had a great time talking and laughing with 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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 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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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