Friday, December 28, 2007

Wrong gate

Ever wondered what happens to a intruder who came in through the wrong entrance ? Ask me. It was a normal day and a normal routine, but this time my BMTC bus turned right before reaching the ITPL main gate. This meant, I have a rather long walk to the main gate. It could be easy to just walk through one of the side gate, I thought. At least , we did come out for evening tea by another gate on this side.

There stood the first gate full open without a security person in sight. Good for me, though I did have my identity card hanging down my neck just in case. A couple of strides into ITPL and here comes our dear guard asking me to walk back and take the main gate. No way mate..I don't want to take the long route now that I am quite 'in' ITPL. Guard not amused, while I walk ahead to my office building.

In an instant , here comes another guard (backup I believe) walking just behind me. He asks about my company , my name and the identity card. But he does not want to leave me. The escort continues until the building lobby at which point I did thank him for his escort. Not over yet. Someone on the other end of his walkie-talkie want to talk with me. Sure.

The new guy (must be a manager - no uniform noted) wants me to detail things until now , my name, company etc etc.. I provide him my identity card so that it would easy for both of us. Another security guy walks in and wants the details. No mate, I don't want to repeat the story again. Which is exactly what I told him.

Oh no...its the walkie-talkie of the manager this time that is cracking. The supervisor (one level up) want to meet me! Oh God. After a brisk walk with the manager, we meet the supervisor. He doesn't initially want stories, but talks about the security in place at ITPL and finally asks me what happened. While the stories move slowly with me filling in the gaps, the first guard too join us. I ask this guard where exactly he stopped me - outside the gate or while I was inside ITPL. Must be the two tier of managers standing next to him which made him answer "outside". Sadly, that was not right. Anyways, our dear supervisor takes control of the discussion and summarises that I should have walked back when the guard asked me to. Perhaps yes. For counter argument , I ask him to either put up a no-entry sign or put a guard AT the gate. Team Dispersed.

Whats observed:
1.) Security, just like any other Indian firm is hierarchically organised, while the top managers do not wear uniforms.
2.) The process is not too smooth. There is haste while too many fellows try to take control of the situation.
3.) Do what the guard ask you to do. Unless, you want to blog the experience.
4.) The guards do not understand English, which could frustrate you.
5.) Overall though, the security team appears to do their job effectively.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Recipe - Fish curry (Kerala)

Thought I should start blogging few of my experiments in the kitchen which went right (things that tell me it went right - tongue says its good, the vessels get empty soon , the stomach doesnt complain even 8 hrs after consumption and most importantly, I live to blog this)

All good. Now for one of my recent experiment which I had wanted to perform since long - Kerala style fish curry (red) with tamarind. The one which every mallu should be familiar with - the one your mom or wife cooked each day and you ate. This time, I took over the kitchen with much anguish to my wife. Its a different story that the taste of these dishes cool her down ;)

Things you need:

Sliced fish pieces (preferably seer or pomfret) with the skin removed - 1/2kg
Red chilli powder - 3 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tablespoon
Pepper powder - 1/4 tablespoon
Fenugreek powder - 1/4 tablespoon
Ginger garlic paste
(dabur works for me) - 4 tablespoon
Curry leaves - around 8 leaves chopped
Mustard - 1 tablespoon
Cooking oil (coconut oil preferably) - 4 tablespoon
Dry tamarind - 4 or 5 medium pieces
Salt - to taste
Water - 5 cups (we need to sink the fish the first time we put them in)

Getting there:

Though its best to cook this in an earthenware which appears to change the taste tremendously, you might as well cook it in any of the medium sized kadai/vessel you have. Heat the oil till it smokes a bit before you put the mustard in. Mustard usually burst quick if the oil is hot enough and all of them turn silent once they are done with their bit of bursting. Its now time for the ginger garlic paste to make their sounds and they take around 3 minutes to calm down. They usually turns light brown at this point.

Put the red chilli powder , fenugreek powder, turmeric powder and pepper powder into the mustard+garlic paste while bringing the flame a notch down. Once you get the smell of the hot chilli powder in a few moments, its time to pour in the water and up the flame. Layer the fish pieces into this water base and let it come to a boil.

When the water is boiling good, put the tamarind pieces, curry leaves and salt. Leave the vessel closed and on medium flame for another 10 mins.

Once you start to get the smell of the cooked fish across the room, you would want to lower the flame such that the gravy thickens to your liking. Be careful not to overcook the fish in this case - you definitely want the fish to retain its shape while serving.

All good. Its time to experiment your food on anyone around. If you did follow until here, you have in vessel an authentic Kerala fish curry. Simple ain't it?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bangalore BMTC - A different route

Travelling by the local bus is not what anyone might want to do in Bangalore. But, the hectic car drives and the resulting frustration everyday led me to try the bus experience first hand and it definitely was different from the expected.

The dents, the rather frequent verbal fights, the unstopping honks and the resulting agony every day had reached the peak last week when I decided it was best to try the local buses. This meant making sure I got off the house with my wife each morning such that she could drop me off at the nearest bus stop (about 2 kms away). All good; she didn't appear to mind.

'305' BMTC was the first bus which came around in under 5 minutes of the wait. Hai! empty seats all the way! Surely, it could not be this easy a travel? In fact it got better. Once you made yourself comfortable, you had around 30 mins of total free time which could be spent on anything from reading books, more sleep or just watch the fanatic car owners drive by. Peace reigns while thoughts take a different route when thinking about the rather active life around you. You start to observe the fellow passengers and the local life you see outside. You start getting the odd feeling of being one among them, though the language still appear to be a barrier. A smile appeared to bring down the strangeness before you kicked off your local language skill with the youngster beside you.

It was still better when you travelled after the days work. This appeared to be one great place to unwind each day. Thankfully, I appeared to find a free seat each time and settle down soon. The only cause of worry was the 2 km walk from the bus stop to home in case my wife had left her office earlier (could she not wait a bit longer ?!). But then, I could always take the auto-rickshaw if the walk got too tiring.

This travel has got more to offer while bringing down the traffic & pollution and peace at home & work. In total, you are exposed to a new world of life which you would have never imagined during your ritual honks and curses. This bus travel has a lot to teach everyone and think.