Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of a decade!

So we all are one day away from celebrating a decade of existence in the 21st century. I still vividly remember 2000. (When you start remembering what you had done 10 years ago, like you did it yesterday it just means one thing – you are old with a Capital ‘O’). The Y2K bug was the talk of the town. Apocalypse was predicted. The world as we knew it, was gonna end. Huh! Nothing happened.

2000 was the year I got my first computer (Ok, technically it was bought for my sister, but I guess I messed around with it more than she did!). And I still remember the specs – A Pentium II 350 MHz (I wasn’t an AMD fan boy then), 32MB SD RAM, a SiS Graphics card with 2 MB on board memory, Creative Sound Blaster 16 bit ISA Soundcard, Creative Infra 32x CD-ROM Drive, a 4.3 GB Seagate HDD, 15” CRT monitor and Windows 98. Thumb drives did not exist then. We had to use floppy discs to transfer data :) !! I had not seen the internet and I did not own a mobile phone! I can’t believe its been a decade already. 10 years of playing with computers. TV was my only source of entertainment other than playing (real games that involved physical activity :) !! outside!)

Anyway before I give you all further dose of my nostalgia, on this day, I hope you reflect on what you have achieved (or not) in the last 10 years. I hope you all have a great 2010! Thank you for being with me all this while :) !!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ants for breakfast

So I have been having ants dipped in warm milk as breakfast for a while. Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. I kinda forgot to close my packet of cornflakes properly one day, and in no time I had an ant colony infestation.

Being from the land of the great Gandhi, I tried to be nice and left the packet open for a while to let the ants get out non-violently. I also displayed a small protest-signboard which read “Please leave my breakfast! Thank you for your cooperation.” But to my utter dismay, that just got more of their relatives in. Now I had more ants to deal with.

My mom has this habit of seeing the National Geographic channel while eating lunch or dinner. So while we are busy eating scrambled egg, a big ugly snake is happily munching away on frog eggs on the television (I had the wicked idea of putting the image right here in my blog, but then I figured it might be disturbing for some people. So here is the link for people who are interested :) !! Have you noticed that frog eggs look like pearl tapioca ;) ).

Pearl Tapioca

I have gotten so used to seeing other species feasting on something gross while I am eating, that I guess I wouldn’t mind sitting across the table while a bunch of hyenas feast on a dead deer. I have also grown immune to seeing dead insects (yeah that includes cockroaches) in my food (thanks to have regularly eaten canteen food in India and abroad) that they have stopped bothering me as well.

All in all, this is my daily routine now -

  1. Warm the milk for 2.5 minutes in the microwave
  2. Open the box of cornflakes and pour the cornflakes along with the ants into the warm milk
  3. Merrily watch the ants die of burns the instant they land in the milk
  4. Have breakfast
  5. Burp!

Ok. I am not that carnivorous. I have discovered that ant corpses float on milk. So you can use the spoon and sieve them out without having to actually eat them. But I hope you get the idea :) !!

Update: I can’t believe this post of mine would have generated so much controversy. Its supposed to be a joke! I do not eat ants, neither do I watch them die. The blog post was a fragment of my imagination when I saw ants entering my cornflakes box!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to hurt your brand?!!

So an international ice-cream brand decided to open its stores in India. It also decided that it will segment itself as “premium” ice-cream brand from a foreign country. Hmm, well that sells, so far so good. Seeing the success of my neighborhood Mc Donald’s over the amazing Udupi Restaurant, I must say it would work. And in their teaser campaign they say “Exclusive preview for International Travelers” and “Access restricted only to holders of international passports”.

The advertisement

That my dear is a sure public relations disaster in India. Its like putting your own foot along with the rest of your body into your own mouth! I can only pity the marketing genius who came up with that idea. I think in any Marketing 101 course in India the first thing that should be taught is – never discriminate in India based on location, language, religion, nationality, sex, age, color, pets, cars, clothes, spectacles, mobile phones or anything that can be remotely thought to hurt our sentiments :) !!

I can’t imagine how they are gonna recover from this. It will be interesting to see how the company tries to apologize and cover this thing up. Will make a good marketing disaster case study in B-schools all around the world.

This also reminds me of a famous designer’s rumored comment “If I knew that blacks and Asians were going to wear my clothes, I would have never designed them”. To verify whether it was correct, I looked this thing upon Snopes, and apparently it is false.

And then today, in the world of YouTube, you can verify whatever you want .. so here is the video which lays to rest all speculations about it..

I don’t know what took him 10 years to come on her show and confess that. His publicist should have tried to cover this up like a decade ago. Cause when I had heard it way back in 2000, my young impressionable mind resolved to never use the brand ever in my life (Unlike some other very expensive designer brands, this particular brand potentially has people like me in their target market). Now, that I bet was the resolve of many other impressionable minds like me. Well, frankly speaking, I don’t think we really make a big market to actually affect the sales of such big brands. But still its a disaster I must say.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Have been feasting on a lot of sushi in my life lately and I thought I dedicate a blog post to the wonder herb “Wasabi”. Being an Indian used to eating Medu Vada (Vadai for the Singaporeans) dipped in a bowl full of coriander chutney, I had to specially adapt to eating a tiny morsel of wasabi elegantly stirred in soy sauce considering that wasabi can be easily mistook for the yummy chutney. However, that is where the similarity ends.

Wasabi Coriander Chutney

Three of my friends I bet can still recall the horror of gulping down a mouthful of wasabi in the friendly neighborhood Benihana only to be snickered at by the helpful waiters while they were crying and grasping for breath. Wasabi is something that can easily give you the feeling of seeing stars in front of your eyes, and I have experienced it many times when I eagerly dip sushi in the soy sauce only to later realize that I hadn’t stirred the wasabi that well.

For me, sushi has been an acquired taste. I couldn’t stand the taste of seaweed for a long while but now somehow I have started liking the odd taste that it got. I still however haven’t graduated to eating raw fish and sashimi. So I guess some of you veteran sushi eaters still look down upon me :)

Update (01/19/2010): I came across this website that has made a nice info graphic for people to eat sushi the “right” way. May be this might help you in your quest to eat sushi the next time around….

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Songs

Singapore has already started celebrating the arrival of Christmas for close to a month now. The streets have been decorated, the malls are having fake snow-falls, Christmas trees and East-Asian Santas every where (I bet most sport a six-pack below that pillow they stuff over their stomach) and the atmosphere generally is festive and happy. So I have been trying to get into the “happy” mood lately by listening to Christmas songs :) !!

Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree Another Christmas Tree And another! Reindeer's back

Christmas songs always give me that “holiday” feeling even though I don’t really have a vacation in sight. Anyways, I have been digging through my Christmas songs collection and came across the song “Santa Baby” as covered by various artists. I think this is one song that I have heard covered by most number of people (of course after Unchained Melody, which I have lost count of number of cover versions it has!). My favorite rendition is the one done by Kylie Minogue. She makes it more naughty than the others (yeah and that was my opinion even before I saw the video!). So here are the lyrics and here is the song for your listening pleasure…

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alternative Medicine

It all started with a sore throat. All my sore throats result in a full blown flu which then refuses to go away for a while. So I press the panic button the day I get a sore throat. Over the period of several years, I have figured that the easiest way to get over your sore throat is to have hot & hot – hot (as in warm) drinks and hot (as in chilly spice hot) food. Top it up with a gargle of a mouth-wash before you go off to sleep, and more often than not you are good to go the next day.

So off I went on my quest to cure myself of the sore throat. A friend of mine suggested that having the hottest noodles in the local Thai Express should do the trick. The noodles were as close to eating raw chilies as we could get. I cried through the ordeal and drank like a gallon of water. Not only did my entire throat burn, but so did my stomach (for hours later).

And then next day morning, my body setup a super efficient supply chain, the one in which there was no wait-time between input and output. The digestive system started giving output even without any input. And in all this mess, I also cut my foot while running around.

So now I am in bed with my foot resting over my body with a grumbling stomach which is not happy about the chilies I put in it yesterday. And the sore throat remains….