Friday, May 29, 2009

My Maggi

The word Maggi takes me back some 20 years when Maggi noodles was almost my staple diet.

It was/is called "Maggi 2 minutes noodle". What fascinated me as a kid towards Maggi was that it was "yummy" when served hot alongside that ketchup. The very idea of taking in those long noodle stripes made it all the more exciting for breakfast.

But the thing that got me totally into Maggi was the Maggi club. Right behind the noodle packet there was a small note that encouraged kids like me to join the Maggi club. All that one had to do was to collect 5 Maggi packets and cut into the shape as shown below and mail it to their address.

In return they used send us amazing gifts and membership cards. Maggi only knows, but as years progressed I had amassed a few dozen cards, each had a small variation of my name. Like Uncle Pai for Tinkle comics, we had Doodle Dee for Maggi.

The sheer number of letters and goodies I used to get from Maggi made my postman very envious. My grandfather actually started calling me "Maggi Balasubramanian". Believe me until the age of 20 I used to get these goodies. Maggie birdhouse and jigsaw puzzle were some priced possessions and among my peers I was an avid collector of Maggi packets and goodies. There have been times when I used to get Maggi packets from my grandmother's place, neighbours, local trash and wherever I could get my hands on. Coming from a strict vegetarian family getting home an empty Maggi Chicken packet was a taboo. But I had to smuggle it in order to post those empty packets in exchange for those goodies.

Maggi was a rage during my early teens. Today Maggi is an emergency and pro-lazy man's food. All it requires is two minutes and that secretive Masala. When you are hungry and in no mood to go out or cook then Maggi is the best bet. This one item you'd find in almost every Indian household. Nowadays you'll find Maggi in various forms, from Atta noodles to Cup noodles but the taste remains the same. Mothers loved it as it was easy on them and they could customize it my adding loads and loads of vegetables to make sure their kids got all the nutrient intake.

This post is dedicated to Maggi and all you Maggi lovers out there. So have you eaten Maggi off late ?

Decision Engine: Bing

So the Microsoft folks are going to launch a better search engine which they call "Decision Engine" will be out soon :-)

We will have to see what Google does now to refine !

Monday, May 25, 2009

Introducing Rampee

Here you go guys !

Rampee comes as this amazing designer whom you want to check out.

He is an interaction design student from NID and can be reached at his website and has his own personal blog as well.

Visit him at

and his blog @

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Farming with folks at Ananya

Borrowed from my original post at Team Asha blog:

To describe what Vinodh, a Team Asha Runner, says about Ananya

Ananya is a Magical place, and has so much to offer.. Today, It taught us farming. George was so enthusiastic to share with us the process/techniques. [Start->Programs->MicroSoft Farming??? - No] We ploughed the field, planted the Ginger/Bean sprouts, manured and watered them. This is the closest, I'll ever get to real-working for a while. Totally fulfilling experience.

Team Asha Rythu (Farming) Sangha: Sriram (Senior scientist), Vinodh, (The real farmer), Narmada (Officer on Spl.duty), Manjula (Female Senior Vice President), Banna (Apprentice), Sucksman Balu(PR)

Indeed it is. Some of Asha runners who have been running with the Ananya kids for over two month now have just been takne over by its sheer beauty and setting. Our beloved George is back and this Saturday we learned how to plant ginger and beans. How to make the ginger sprout a priori, how to plough the area, how to locate a shaded area and then how to place the ginger (spruoted region facing upside-down), and then how and where to place the manure (the manure is actually collected from the organic waste within Ananya) and the how to shade the enitre plouged region with dry leaves which by itself would become a manure in the coming weeks. Then we moved towards beans and our dear George explained on how to use the axe effectively and then how to place the bean seeds.

As Vinodh explains again:
It was only 9 am, and I was already having so much fun..

Shivamma's kitchen beckoned us. Idlies floating in Sambhar and hot masala tea.. Wow.. We discussed various things over breakfast. The group is getting crazier by the day. We'll take over Bangalore one day.

Read more on what Vinodh has to share here:

We are just waiting for all the kids come on 30th May and all set for the 31st Sunfeast run. Make no mistake, this doesn't stop here as this Asha-Ananya initiative is just the beginning and miles to go before we.....

Until then, Keep Miling ! Go Team Asha and Ananya ! All the very best for Sunfeast run on May 31st 2009 !

Canvas Shoe Update
Some of the Asha runners who have been running with Ananya kids have also manged to raise enough funds to give all the kids at Ananya canvas running shoes. I've been talking to the higher-ups at "Bata" and they have agreed to give us canvas shoes at a discounted price. Once a very good discounted price is obtained I'll feature them for their gesture. Keep reading this space to know more !

Pic Courtesy: Vinodh's mobile camera phone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate ! After considerable dilly dallying finally I had my first match with Ultimate Frisbee Bangalore folks. After great swim on Wednesday night getting up on Thursday early morning is a battle. Reached police grounds near cubbon road by 6.15AM and caught up with Naani.

Naani took all the fresher/intro lessons and vroom we settled as teams. By 7AM almost 12 of us were ready to hit the field. I was slowly getting the knack of things and I guess it will take me at least 5-6 matches before I get in the groove.

This sport requires really fast running skills. You'll really start appreciating Rugby and American Football once you start playing Ultimate. Keeping aside the violent streak away from Rugby and American Football, I guess Ultimate is an ultra cool and testing sport. Once you understand and get the feel of Frisbee then all that you have to do is play clever dodging with your defender. Its a wonderful test for endurance as well.

This is a very cool group and you need to be on your toes every time. Check them out in Yahoo Groups:

They generally meet up every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday near Police Grounds, Cubbon Road, Bangalore !

Catch you there on Thursday mornings ! Time out for now !

Friday, May 1, 2009

Coorg, Kukke and Horandu: A Family Sojourn

The summer has been blazing this time and what better place to be in with family than Coorg. My folks came down here to beat the summers at Hyderabad. Initially we were planning to spend at a village supported by an NGO but because of logistics we decided to make it a much more pleasured trip and it turned out to be a great one.


This is a Tibbetian resettlement place and houses the Golden Temple (a Buddhist Monastery). A must see place for the first timers and I suggest you must reach here just before 1PM. Exactly at 1PM the monks start their daily prayers here.

It is really soothing to hear their prayers and hymns. Take an empty Tea cup and they will serve you Tea for free during this time.

Destination Coorg:
Coorg (Madekeri) is around 260KM from Bangalore. Three main stations form the critical sections of Coorg. Somwarpet, Virajpet and Madekeri. Generally Coorg refers to Madekeri colloquially. Coorg or Kodagu is a south-eastern district of Karnataka which borders with Wayand district of Kerala towards south.

How to reach:
Bangalore - Maddur - Mandya - Srirangapatana - (take the bypass, don't go to Mysore) - (get onto Mysore - Mangalore road) Hunsur - Bylakuppe - Khushal Nagar - Madkeri

If you are planning to reach towards Virajpet, then you need to take a deviation at Hunsur. this is also the route to reach Nagarahole National Park (aka Rajiv Gandhi National Park) and Irupu falls.

Where to stay:
Coorg has this wonderful concept of "home stays". Generally a bungalow is rented out to you with all the facilities including breakfast, lunch and dinner (and of course unlimited Coffee and Tea). There these home stays located right in the middle of Coffee estates and one such home stay I'll recommend here is the "Estate Stay" run by Indu and Mary Pooviah.

Estate Stay:

This is located at a distance of 8KM from Madekeri.
How to reach: Just take the Madekri-Mangalore road and try to reach this place called "Madenad". You'll find this on your left.

The idea is rent out the entire place for 5000 rupees for 10 people (500 per head) and additionally 250 per person extra thereafter per day (24 hours). I guess the all three meals of a day are included.

They charge Rs 1250 for a double-bed room. Call them up for the latest charges.

Contact: Indu Pooivah: 08272 236545

My Indu Pooviah is an amazing charming person who is fighting fit at his age. The hospitality which they show is truly overwhelming and humbling. Both Mr Indu and his wife Mary aunti are amazing people. They will take care of you very well.

At the Estate Stay you can go on trekking to never visited places (Trekking charges may be extra) and also cycling locally. There are enough tents also available just in case you want to campfire outside in between the coffee plantations. This home stay is spread across a very wide area and its a must see and live place, at least for city dwellers like us.

No mobile signal at all, so no annoying calls. Luckily they have a BSNL landline which you use in case of emergency. Some of the areas in Coorg only have BSNL movile signals.


Coorg is known for non-vegetarian food. Pork is the most popular of all. But though do have a quite a lot varieties of vegetarian as well mostly rice balls, puttu and others.

They arranged a camp fire for all of us and we had a great Antyakshari competition between the sobers and not-so-sobers. There are lots of fire-flies (jugno) which you'll love to watch. Mr Indu Pooviah will also take you to a small trek up and down hill to show his estate and fields. You name a fruit he has a tree for it and he is very knowledgeable and can give you amazing minute details about Coorg and its people. He is a big encyclopedia and you can learn a lot from him.

There are four very well trained dogs that you'll find here and you can play with them as well. And for all those not-so-sober people do take in a wine bottle with you to have it over camp fire and you'll enjoy the setting. There is plenty of coffee for the sobers !

Surprisingly they offered a place for our driver to sleep and gave me food for free. It seems they don't charge for the drivers which was very accommodating of them.

Tala Cauvery
This is the place from where river Cauvery originates and as the rain waters fill in it reaches all the way to Tamil Nadu until it meets in Bay of Bengal.

This one is just 35KM from Madekeri.

Kukke Subramanya:

This was one temple we missed last time. At the backdrop is the famous KP - Kumara Paravatha, a favourite among trekkers. Kukke Subramanya is at a distance of 80KM from Madekeri. We did not know that it was so near and our friendly neighbours at the Estate Stay told us about this.

How To reach:
From Madekeri take the Mangalore route and go towards Sulia. From Sulia you can reach Kukke.

The temple is closed from 1.30-3.30PM. You can have the temple free food there during this time as well. Most of these temples have free food and really very tasty.

This temple is famous for the "Sarpa Dosha" or the "Manglik" related stuff.


This is my family's most favourite place and we wanted to be here next time for sure when we visited it first two years ago.

Horanadu houses goddess Annapoorneshwari. This is a unique temple where one gets to see the goddess after having a free temple meal. Everyone gets to eat here and nothing more gratifying than this temple. The 9.30PM aarthi is the most awaited.

This place is also known as "Male Nadu", meaning that this place is always raining.

Aval Akki (Rice flakes) is the most popular breakfast in the temple and is my favourite these days. The day we were there it was "Akshaya Trithiya" and considerable crowd presence.

To reach here from Kukke, you'll have to reach Dharmasthala (62KM from Kukke Subramanya) and pass through KudreMukh and then reach Horanadu. The temple accommodation costs just Rs80 for a double bed room.

Sringeri is very close by from Dharmasthala and Horanadu as well (guess close to 40KM).

You can catch up with some Neeru Dosa and udupi Bunse in and around here.

Take a photo tour here:

Feel free to drop in a line or two if you need help in route or places.