I believe I can eat

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My love for food, eating, cooking begins and ends at home. Mostly with paati’s (grandmom) and amma’s (mother) samayal.

But, if I am allowed to explain further about my gourmet skills, I would like to give some context. We as a family moved our base to Chennai in 1994 and I moved in and out of Madras aka Chennai for various reasons in the past.

Currently, I am a happy resident here – pursuing music and working at a tech-based company. Chennai is home and became an integral part of me for two key reasons – music and food – necessarily in that order.

Rewind 20 years back, I was sent to classes to learn Carnatic vocal and violin. As a kid, every time I identified a raga, I got rewarded with some mouth-watering food. It didn’t stop with just raga identification. In a four-walled room, my gurus became compelling narrators and this gave birth to fascinating stories. As a pampered student in many ways, my gurus, while weaving stories, made me relish a few home-made delicacies. Some include thenkuzhal, javarasi payasam, vazhaipoo vadai, kandathippili rasam, rava kesari, panankalkandu pal, rava idlis, puliyodarai, adai-aviyal, so on and so forth. These experiences enriched my taste – music as well as food.

However, the epicure in me grew because of appa. He is a connoisseur of food and loves to experiment. Together, we embraced places like – the Woodlands drive-inRathna CafeRayar’s MessJannal kadai near Kapali koil, Mami KadaiKarpagambal Mess, all the bhavans (especially in and around Mint/ Broadway area), Gnanambika Mess during December season to name a few.

Today, times have changed, I have changed too. Thanks to my friends and exposure to many a place outside Madras, I enjoy eating / cooking, anything and everything vegetarian. And, this translated into exploration for vast variety of food options in Chennai – Namma CafeOrchardsDewberrysOx & TomatoFood pointKolkata Chat CornerID at Sathyam CinemasFruitshop on Greams RoadWontonKobe SizzlersKryptosLittle ItalyPindRajdhaniLloyd’s Tea House.

I do believe I can eat.

Telegram Messenger

Decide if you would like to use Telegram or not after reading this.

Telegram, by Pavel Durov is a whatsapp look-alike messenger – which makes it super simple for users to adopt and get started.

Why is Telegram better than WhatsApp?

  • Now, you can communicate across devices. Start your conversation on phone, switch to laptop and continue from where you left. Or, maybe use it on your tablet device too, fancy no?
    [Thanks to the synchronise feature. This feature is familiar amongst Apple fan boys and girls. Now, non-apple folks can also benefit from Telegram]
  • Store all your media – favourite pictures, videos and parts of conversation – no need to lose any of them, anymore.
    [All your media gets stored in cloud]
  • Fast. Like speed of light. Okay kidding. But, this is super fast. Really.
    [Servers spread across the globe]
  • Did I tell you that there are no blue tick marks? [Seriously, that’s the last best thing about Telegram. But to those who are obsessed about that green tick mark, Telegram is all of that. Just, take it and go]

Telegram’s similar features to WhatsApp

  • Chat with all your mobile contacts
  • Converse in groups
  • Share wishes/news/ important messages using broadcast feature
  • Share voice messages
  • Share photographs
  • Share videos
  • Share contact details
  • Shares images from the web
  • Share current location
  • Share any other document
  • Change chat background theme
  • Edit/Delete profile picture

Some interesting features available

  • Create a secret chat with your loved ones [To those who want to encrypt messages and send to the receiver, good luck]

Potential features Telegram could include in the next version

  • Voice calls across devices
  • Video Chats across devices
  • Ability to add email addresses as contacts – and not restrict users only with phone number to use Telegram [solution : Create username@telegram.org for this. And for creating this, you could capture their real phone number]
  • When links are shared within chats, a snapshot view of the same would help.

Telegram Messenger could give brands WhatsAppFacebook MessengerViberSkypeSlack and similar other communication tools a tough competition.

55 years of togetherness

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Thatha, usually comes across as a stern person to many who don’t know him very well. I, for instance, had experienced only that side of his, for he was more of a guru than a grandfather. But, his alter side will explain that he is very child-like at heart and wishes only good for others. 

Patti, to me is undoubtedly the best cook in this entire world. I have always believed that she would have become a scientist – if she got the kind of exposure the present generation gets.

Both of them are outwardly frank, sometimes blunt but genuine with their intentions.

To me, my values, belief system, and other useful skills stems from their influences and upbringing.

I can’t stop myself from admiring both of them for being there for each other – although their expression of love is only understood by each other.

Happy 55th anniversary – Thatha and Patti :)

The beautiful Madras I belong to.

Madras is a place. Tamilians are its people. And, we really don’t address ourselves as Madrasis. For god’s forbidden sake, Madrasi is not our language. Tamil is what we call it and converse in.

Idli, dosa, pongal, vadai, getti chutney, sambar, and a brewing cup of filter kaapi is our familiar gastronomy. We also have koththu parottas, vadaicurry, biriyani, elai saapadu and the like to expand our taste buds. We make ways to accommodate and relish pani-pooris as much as we salivate on greek food.

29C, 41D, 21, 27D, 1A, 21H, 21G, 24C has seen travel diaries across all walks of life and can run into endless scripts if one begins to document all of these.

Sivaji/MGR, Rajni/Kamal, Vijay/Ajith are superheroes of Tamil Cinema. End of discussion.

Most of us grew up laughing at Senthil & Goundamani more than Tom & Jerry.

We love our Marina, Elliot’s, Kovalam beach as much as we love the kadalai there.

Amma vs. Karuna is an endless political debate topic for most of us here.

The Stella queens and the Loyola kings are the essence of youth. They are the reason that, we haven’t seen a economic breakdown yet. Such ambassadors of consumerism.

We listen to Michael Jackson as much as we are absorbed to M S Subbulakshmi. Although, when we sing english songs, we are proud to have a strong sense of tamil accent. Because, we are too cool like that.

Last time we checked, the record says that there are as many kabadi lovers as soccer fans. Any sports along beach side or road side is our favorite sport.

Top Gear should seriously consider conducting a special edition in singaara chennai and star all of us for surviving after driving along the bus and auto annas.

If Mint and Mylapore are crowd pullers, what do we describe T Nagar and Tambaram? If Kodambakam and Vadapalani are film maker’s paradise, what will they shoot without Besant Nagar and Boat Club? If Royapettah and Mount Road didn’t exist, where will the city ‘hang-out’?

The city Madras, is all of this and has more to offer too.

Being far away from Madras has only made me grow fonder of the place and realize its worthiness.

Lastly, sweating it out is our way of life. Of course we are epitome of hardwork, intelligence, perseverance, upholding our cultural values. And, we have this great sense of humour that just makes it a huge bumper package – like a perfect pongal/diwali sale offer.

This article is inspired from a video published by Madras Photo Factory

dear mama..

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dear mama,

you taught me so much that I don’t know where to begin from.

you lived with great principles and displayed highest artistic integrity.

you influenced me to live in my own terms. and not seek others opinion when it came to important decisions I had to take.

you taught me to make peace with my own mistakes.

you illustrated to me what perseverance feels like.

you pampered me like a kid and treated me equal at several instances.

you taught me what simplicity is all about.

you shared a part of your soul which till date I cherish.

and, the best thing was, you taught me all of this through music. and by being the person you were.

i miss you mama aka kutty paiyya.

| Chingleput Ranganathan (June 3,1938 – July 12, 2011)