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When I travel, I would like to try out the various cuisines that are available there, for example, Ethiopian when I went to San Francisco or Mexican Gumbo in Los Angeles or Thai restaurant Bai Tong in Bellevue or Mock meat in Hong Kong. Madras, where I live, is conservative in that sense, the only Ethiopian restaurant in Chennai “Abyssinian” closed a few years back, to turn into a dog-friendly eatery! Today, while in Bangalore, my nephew invited me for dinner to a Burmese restaurant and I readily agreed. The restaurant was called Burma, Burma and was purely vegetarian (I…

Today while returning from Terminal 2 International Airport in Mumbai, I noticed a row of planes belonging to Jet Airways standing still almost deserted. I stopped and started to think back my experiences of flying with that airline. From the early 2000s until a few ago, Jet Airways was my favourite airline in the whole world. They shattered the common perception of Indian companies never being able to offer world-class customer service. I had several good experiences of travelling with them, a few examples will be – in 2004 when they promptly acted on a lapse in their service,  in…

For the last few days, I was in Thailand along with friends to celebrate the Thai Songkran Water Festival. Spraying water on passersby and being poured with ice-cold water was super fun – the gamers (a large part were tourists) were all happy playing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same about Thailand’s tourism industry. Right from the Airport (DMK), the Hotels we stayed and the shops we visited, we could clearly see the absence of a “warmth”. Even when you thanked the shopkeeper, in some shops the return smile was missing. It was absent! Initially, I thought it was the…

Today, while returning from Tirumala Tirupati to Chennai, I stopped for lunch at GRT Regency Hotel, Tiruttani. Considering the location, it appeared to be a fine hotel and their restaurant Amudham served a tasty meal and the service was good – I enjoyed the food. While entering the restaurant, I noticed they had a big banner advertising for Ragi Koozh (Finger Millet Porridge, called as கேழ்வரகு  கஞ்சி அல்லது கேப்பை கூழ் in Tamil).  Priced at Rs.99 per cup, they had listed ten health benefits for the same. Reading the list it felt like, if you needed to drink a miracle cure,…

Every trip to Tirumala Tirupati has to begin with a darshan to Goddess Alamelumanga at Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple in Tiruchanur, near Tirupati city. Goddess Padmavathi is the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi and is the consort of Lord Venkateswara. If you leave Tiruchanur and go to the city of Tirupati, near the railway station there are two more well-known Vishnu temples. The first is the Sri Govindaraja Temple, Tirupati (ஸ்ரீ கோவிந்தராஜ சுவாமி கோயில், திருப்பதி), which was built during the 12th Century and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, in reclining posture along with Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi. Right opposite to the above,…