Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thats a score


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Sizes 16” x 12”

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PP and P

Thats Pleasure, Passion and Purpose.

Most of us, most of the time, seek happiness by pursuing things that give us pleasure. This kind of happiness is short-lived as such happiness cannot be sustained beyond the existence of the stimulus. The next level of happiness comes from pursuing your passion; this tends to last longer. The longest lasting happiness, studies show, comes from a higher purpose – this is about being part of something that is bigger than just your self.

Disclaimer: Part of the soul searching thursday blues bandwagon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dream dream dream, till you are there

Meet Paawaan Kothari, the chaiwalli

Paawan Kothari was a marketing strategist for IBM. Now she drives down the streets of San Francisco on a bicycle converted into a chai cart and sells cups of tea. It sounds like a case study of a recession victim, a sort of pulling-yourself-up-by-thebootstraps (or tea leaves) story. But in reality, Kothari quit IBM because she was burned out. “I wanted to be creative. I wanted to engage with people,” she says. But didn’t the idea of strapping a thermos to a bicycle trailer and cycling around San Francisco’s hilly streets seem rather extreme? It’s not as if she’d always been a chai fanatic. “I am more of a coffee drinker,” Kothari admits. “For tea, I used tea bags. Chai was more of a Sunday thing.”

Street food carts have become quite the culinary trend in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was the crème brulee man, Mexican taco trucks and CurryUpNow for kaathi rolls and pav bhaaji. Fans followed these mobile food vans on Twitter and showed up at street corners where they parked. Kothari noticed that what you couldn’t get was good authentic chai. “You have hot dog stands, taco stands, so why not a chai cart?” she says. She thought it would be a good pastime while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do with her life and career.

Within 10 days she had a bicycle trailer made, got carafes and a thermos, made two flavours of chai — ginger and mint — and showed up at the park. That was in August 2009. “I thought I might do it for a couple of weeks,” she says. She enjoyed it so much she started doing it every weekend. “Now even if I don’t feel like doing it, there is pressure that people are looking for you.”

Her repertoire has expanded. Cardamom , lemongrass, black pepper, Mexican chocolate, malt, even green chilli (“ it has the flavour of green chilli but not the heat.”) Now she’s experimenting with a salty, buttery chai from Bhutan. “It doesn’t sound appealing, but I’ll try it,” she says. That’s the beauty of The Chai Cart ( If it doesn’t work you can toss the batch and just start over again. “Chai is quite forgiving and anything works as long as you can’t taste the bitterness. I make sure I use good milk and good spices,” says Kothari.

She’s also learned quite a bit about teas. She knew she wanted bold flavours — Assam tea or Brooke Bond. She wanted to get organic teas but they were too expensive. But Kothari is a purist about the spices — authentic Indian spices for her masala chai. She also has her own chai masala mix that she wants to patent and sell online. And she also nurtures dreams of a chai franchise — a sort of chai cart in every city. Otherwise, she says, her chai business is only about making pocket money. That’s where the marketing strategy of the MBA kicks in. “One needs to franchise; it should be a unique concept, otherwise the barrier to entry is too high,” she says. It sounds like a business plan with market research, but back in India, her family was a little befuddled. They were indulgent with the chai idea as long as it was a weekend hobby. There were jokes about being a chaiwalli but she says, “there is something romantic about a chai cart in San Francisco. It is picture-postcard romantic.” The hills reaching out to touch the bay, the blue waters speckled with sailboats... On a summer afternoon, the fog will suddenly roll in. But reality is more sobering. “I was caught in a hailstorm once,” remembers Kothari. “My fingers were freezing. I also had a flat tyre. I was so miserable that I wrote a blog about it.”

If the tea was not confusing enough for her family, now she’s branched out into another venture called Green Coriander. It’s healthy, organic Indian food for delivery, a break from the usual cream and oil that have become the staple of desi food in the West. “My folks said you haven’t ever cooked for more than 10 people, what are you doing,” she says. But even with Green Coriander, Kothari does not want a sit-down restaurant with infrastructure costs. She wants it quick, easy and healthy. In the process of running her own chai cart, Kothari has learned the nuts and bolts of a start up in a way she could never have imagined at IBM. She’s learned about street permits and health inspector codes. She’s gone to San Francisco city hall with other street vendors to demand amendments to rules and regulations. But best of all, 15 years after she moved to the US from Hyderabad, Kothari has finally found a community.

“As an immigrant, I always felt this was a place I lived in,” she says. “Now I belong. Now I am part of a street cart movement. We share a Google group. We re-tweet about each other,” she says. Her clientele includes non-Indians curious about chai. It includes Indians who want the nostalgia of hot steaming roadside chai. Some even bring their parents to check it out. Her own parents are proving harder to convert. On a trip back to India, Kothari offered to make chai for her mother. “She said no, let me make it my way. You make yours for the Americans,” she chuckles.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Factling of the day

If you have automatic toilets and the power goes out, they aren’t automatic any more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The blood book

Book with Tendulkar's blood in it for $ 75,000

London: The publishers of Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography 'Tendulkar Opus' has decided to come out with a special edition of the book which will have the iconic batsman's blood on the signature page.

The "blood edition" of Tendulkar's autobiography, which will have pictures of his family not published earlier and thoughts about his career, will be released in February next year to coincide with the Cricket World Cup in the sub-continent.

The book, which will have 852 pages edged in gold leaf, will be sold at a whopping USD 75,000. Only 10 copies of the book, which will weigh 37kg and measure half a metre square, will come out. All the 10 copies have, however, been pre-ordered.

"The signature page will be mixed with Sachin's blood -- mixed into the paper pulp so it's a red resin. It is what it is -- you will have Sachin's blood on the page," publisher Kraken Media's chief executive Karl Fowler was quoted as saying in The Guardian.

"It's not everyone's cup of tea, it's not to everyone's taste and some may think it's a bit weird. But the key thing here is that Sachin Tendulkar to millions of people is a religious icon. And we thought how, in a publishing form, can you get as close to your god as possible," said Fowler.

"We're publishing next February, in time for the cricket World Cup, which is being held in India. It's perfect timing. He's never done anautobiography before and has a great story to tell."

Apart from his blood, Tendulkar has also been asked for a sample of his saliva which would be used to create his DNA profile and would be printed on a two-metre gatefold in the book.

"What you'll be looking at is his genetic makeup," Fowler said. All proceeds from the sale of the 10 copies will go to Tendulkar's charitable foundation to help build a school in Mumbai. Kraken will also publish around 1,000 copies of a cheaper edition of the autobiography at USD 2,000-3,000.

Signed by Tendulkar, this edition will also be a half-metre square in size and will contain around 75 per cent previously unpublished material about the cricketing star, as well as his DNA profile but not his blood. Kraken Media is also releasing a USD 200-300 smaller editionof the book.

Monday, July 19, 2010


What are the five most prominent reasons that lead to sleep disorders?

  • Lack of rest during the day.
  • Poor nutrition -- sugary snacks, caffeine, stimulants and alcohol, dehydration
  • Too much exposure to technology -- mobile phones, computers, (playstation, xbox) etc
  • Worry and inability to let go of control.
  • Lack of inner safety -- this can be related to lack of spiritual practice

Friday, July 16, 2010

Snap snap

Vegas shots, outdoors and at Lake Mead @105F

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The King is dead

Atleast at Cleveland


Friday, July 09, 2010

Vegas' best


1. Viva
2.Lion King
3. Mystere

Disclaimer: Only 3 we watched

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Off to LVegas

.......... Armed with a list of restaurants