Tag Archives: Food

Shopclues Diwali Mela 2016

Festivities are in the air!

Shopclues celebrated Diwali in Office on 27th Oct, Thursday. HR Department had organised “Shopclues Diwali Mela” where employees had a chance to set up stalls (food or fun). I participated in the event along with 8 others, to set up a Food and Fun Stall, under the team name “The Fat Boys”.

I had great fun, working with the team, conceptualising and executing our Food and Fun stall. As Head of Marketing and Branding of The Fat Boys, I spammed my Twitter feed with posts about the event (which eventually made 6 people unfollow me :P).

We won the award for “The most innovative and creative Team”, among the 12 participating teams.

Some pics from the event below.

Happy Diwali folks.

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Humans of India #5

Arjun’s food cart in Sector 44 is always busy. All through the day, you could find him busy making Maggi, Bread Omelette, Tea and other snacks with unbridled enthusiasm. I am his camp constant on a daily basis, for my daily cups of Chaai and occasional Maggi.

Today in the evening, surprisingly, his cart was deserted, and I felt I could use this opportunity to know his story.

“I’ve been in this business for close to two years now. I hail from Muzaffarpur (Bihar) where my parents and siblings live. I currently stay at my Mama’s place here in Gurgaon and run this business”, he smiles.

Arjun is 20 years old and is already supporting his dad, who was caught in a debt which he was unable to repay. So Arjun had to leave his education after Class XI to take care of his family.

“I shouldn’t have left my education after Class XI. I was very good in academics in my town. I scored 67% in Class X, one of the highest then. Now, it’s been a two year break. I am writing my Class XII Boards on Feb 24, for which I am travelling home on Feb 21. I will clear the exams, I am sure”, he says with glittering eyes.

Does he find time to study?

“I take care of the shop from 10 am to 10 pm. Your yourself know I don’t have anyone to support. I am kept busy throughout the day, with little rest. When I reach home at 10.30, I am completely exhausted. I try to find some time in the morning for my studies.”

How is the business doing?

“Mondays and Tuesdays are a bit down. People do not generally eat egg on Tuesdays. So Maggi sells. On other days, I sell upto 50 plates each of Maggi and Bread Omelette. Cigarettes, Snacks and Tea sell anyway. When the guy opposite me shuts his shop, obviously my business goes up.”

Arjun

Arjun

What does the future look like?

“My friends who studied Class X with me are now in their BA First year. I want to study too. Let’s see what the future holds. For now, I want to learn basic English and apply for jobs here. I am weak in English”, he blushes.

“Immediate focus is on Class XII boards. Let’s cross the bridge when it comes”, he signs off.

To me, the thing that makes Arjun stand out among his peers (other shopkeepers) is his attitude towards work, his attitude towards life, his confidence in himself and his never fading smile.

Well, all the best Arjun!

Keep inspiring us.

 

 

 

Photo Diaries #8: Fork You Too

Work hard. Party harder!

It’s not just a quote. It’s a way of life!

The pics below were clicked at “Fork You Too”, Sector 29, Gurgaon during a recent company organized party.

With Parkavi Vasan @ Fork You Too!

With Parkavi Vasan @ Fork You Too!

Fork You Too, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Fork You Too, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Restaurant Review: Vaango

“Vaango” literally translated in Tamil means “Please come”. For those new to Vaango, it’s a pretty big restaurant chain across NCR that offers Authentic South Indian food.

The model is similar to the KFCs and McD’s of the world. They have a standardized menu across all outlets and follow a franchise model (I think).

The taste of food is unmatched by any restaurant chain here in NCR. Sagar Ratna will have noticed a lot of their customers being poached by Vaango.

Top 2 reasons why you should dine at Vaango are it’s menu and customer service. They have a number of new and unique combos to offer; Mini Dal Vadas (set of 4) and Poori Thali Combo being my personal favorites. Their staff are very cordial, except for the fact that they try to cross-sell/up-sell every time you place an order. “Would you like to add X as well?”, “Y will go well with this”, “Any drinks you want sir? Filter coffee, juices?”, can get on your nerves, after a point of time.

Will give you an example on the level of their customer service.

Last week, I had ordered a Poori Thali combo and completed the Pooris and 1 bowl of rice. I needed extra sambhar and pappads for the second bowl of rice and asked the server for the same. Even after 5 minutes when I hadn’t received it, I went up to the counter to raise my concern. Apparently, the server had taken the sambhar and pappad to a different table.

Seeing this, the manager immediately rushed to me to apologize for the mishap and gave me sambhar and 2 extra pappads. Apart from this, he also offered 1 plate of Idly Sambhar “from his side”, to appease me. “Extremely sorry for the delay Sir. We’ve kept you waiting for so long. From my side, I’ll offer you a plate of Idly Sambhar. Please don’t refuse it”, he said.  All this when I wasn’t even pissed or something.

Goes to show how much these restaurant chains care about their customers.

Like everything in Delhi-NCR, Vaango too is overpriced. Not every night can you have a Poori Thali Combo and Mini Dal Vadas for 180 rupees.

MSD P55 – Second year diaries: Part 4 – When we made modaks

Our batch of 107 people (Stalwarts, we call ourselves) has a lot of diversity in terms of geography, age and educational background. Having a hotel management grad (Rutwik Dilip Phatak) in our batch came in handy when he decided to make Modaks (Kozhukattai) for both batches, on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi. Of course, he wasn’t going to do it alone; that’s where the help of people like me came into use.

Rutwik took care of the main part of mixing the ingredients in the right proportion. Others helped him around with the easier, repetitive manual work involved in making the modaks. It took the 10-15 of us three full hours to make around 300 modaks.

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The Master Chef, Mr. Phatak

The Master Chef, Mr. Phatak

Saiprasad posing as if he's working

Saiprasad posing as if he’s working

Ofcourse, other than  clicking these pics, I did some of the work too. It felt gratifying when the final product didn’t turn out to be too bad; in fact, it was well received by both the batches, with a few of them (notably Priyankar Pandit :D) sneaking more than their permitted amount of one modak.

That was the day I realized how much effort had to go in by the mess workers to prepare food for 200-300 people, four times a day. That was also the day I stopped complaining about my food. Cooking is tough.

Modaks, ready to eat

Modaks, ready to eat

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It was fun preparing Lord Ganesha’s favorite snack. He must have liked it.

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Bombay Lassi

I stay in Kilpauk (notorious for the “World renowned” Mental Hospital present there). One day during my vacations, when I was engrossed into the world of  Shantaram, I received a call from MP, my school friend. He invited me to have Samosas in a place somewhere near Mount Road.

Anyone who knows Chennai geography would think travelling from Kilpauk to Mount Road is a little too much for having Samosas. But having little else to do, I accompanied MP in his Activa, first to a Hard Disk Service Centre in Greams Road and then to the Samosa shop he was talking about. Thanks to the Chennai Metro work which was going on, we had to travel through the entire stretch of Mount Road and then through some gullies and small lanes that I had never been to before, to finally arrive at the shop beside the parking entrance of Devi Paradise Cinemas.

The shop was a humble 10×10 size and was run by 3-4 North Indians. The lane was too narrow for even a Tata Nano to pass through comfortably. There was a slum settlement just metres away and slum dwellers’ children were playing with each other, oblivious to the happenings around them. One elderly bearded man was frying hot samosas in a big “Anda” just outside the shop. The crowd was pretty huge considering the size of the shop. MP ordered a Samosa initially for me to taste. The piping hot samosa was easily one of the best I’d ever had. The semi solid paste inside the Samosa comprising mashed potatoes and green peas had a taste that was irresistible.

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With the little Hindi I knew, I told the guy in the shop, “Bhaiya, aur ek de deejiye!” (Brother, give me one more!). Even with the bearded man frying 30-40 samosas at a time, the demand far exceeded the supply. Hesitant to stop with 2 Samosas, I heard myself say, “Aur ek, bhaiya!”, and again, and again.  

I could have gone on to have a few more but decided against it.

In a few years from now, I am sure Bombay Lassi will have a number of branches across Chennai, like a Murugan Idli Shop or a HSB. That day, I’ll take credit for writing about Bomaby Lassi first.