Saturday, 5 January 2019

Keep those documents updated and handy!

Man was born to explore himself and around him. As the human kind progressed, we started drifting away from both exploring ourselves and the surrounding. We got caught in improving the materialistic quality of life rather than experiential journey to grow oneself.

Though the realisation is coming back now and modern beings are embracing the "tips and tricks" that our forefather use to share. Often, we have rubbished the learnings shared by our father's generation as being too old and calling it a "generation gap". Honestly, wisdom is the key to survival and that grows with sharing. I love to sit and listen if a grand pa or a grand ma is opening up their life experiences; outside any temple, park or school. What they will share would be their rich learnings that we could use in our journey.

I believe that our father should be the go-to man for any kind of issues - personal or professional - you face in life. One, he would advice only what is best in your interest. Two, he knows you and your perspective the best. Three, he is the most sound person around; much more than your friend, relative or teacher. But in the journey, somewhere we distance ourselves, knowing or unknowingly and assume that our father may not understand us.

One of those wisdoms that my father gave me long back came handy today. He has a habit of keeping all the legal documents to date in terms of address, number so on and so forth. He has a briefcase full of files with records of insurance bills, warranty cards, etc. I am sure he would be having landline connection invoice dating back to the year 1994, though little older and pale yellow in colour now.

I have kept most of my documents updated. As an IT professional, our life is like a nomad. We travel, and travel to places that we may not have thought at the onset. It becomes all the way imperative to keep documentations correct and handy. As we moved to Hyderabad, to do anything, we need a local address and an address proof. If I have to buy a vehicle, I need address proof to get it registered with Vehicle registration office (RTO). For updating address in banks, I need address proof. So suddenly life stops and all you have to do is get a house and an address proof at the earliest. I must thank Adhaar card, more on Adhaar card in a separate post, to make life easier. We found a place to make our home and we got the agreement Notarised, a legal document accepted locally but not necessarily by all. This document is not acceptable in my private bank and also in RTO but is commonly made in Hyderabad as it cost less and generally accepted with exceptions. At these two places, private bank and RTO, a registered rental agreement; which requires few thousand buck and length process is one of the required document.

Since it is not a mandatory document and requiring time and money; the house owner was not agreeable to do it. He is to fly outside country soon. I still visited registration office to find exact details and time required to execute the document. At the same time, I called sales agent from where I bought vehicle and told him the story. I asked him, "what to do?". He already expressed his helplessness but just before disconnecting the call, he mentioned that I can open a new bank account in PSU (Public Sector Unit) bank as they accept notarised agreement to update the address in their records.

I kick started my Activa, actually I just did a self-start, and went to the nearest State Bank of India bank. The serving officer replied to my query, "Yes, we accept a notarised document and it would take two minutes to update in our system." And then I could generate bank statement with new address and submit it in private bank and RTO; both accepts bank statement of another bank to update address.

The saviour here is having an account in State Bank of India. I opened this account twelve years ago, in Hyderabad, during my college days. I did not use it for 10 years and it became dormant. I have only made it active 2 weeks back at my native place, all because I had time to do and that inactive account was bothering me at the back of my mind. May be because I followed my father's wisdom till now and this account was an deviation which I wanted to fix.

foodforthought: Listen to the experienced people and learn their life lessons. It is not necessary to travel same path and learn same lessons again yourself. And yes, keep all your documents updated and handy!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

First haircut at Videsh!

As a kid, it was my grandfather who use to take me for haircuts. It use to be a Sunday when he also needed a haircut. The hairdresser shop was fixed and he use to greet and give special place on the bench to sit to my grandpa. There use to be a television at one of the top corner of the saloon and I used to get glued to 'Rangoli' or 'Mogli' tele-serials. My grandpa use to read newspaper as we use to wait for our turn. Sunday mornings use to be the 'peak' time for the saloon as it was public holiday and there use to be few of such shops in a particular area.

As I grew I realized my grandpa also use to get preference over others already waiting because of his age and also as he was accompanied with a small kid! The barber use to put a wooden plank on the two arm rest of the chair so that the seating height is higher for kids like me and my head could pop out of the seat back rest. (How I wish I had a photo of that shop and chair, now!) There use to be two boards hanging in the shop with different hair styles and I always to ponder which one I would keep when I grow up! Miss those carefree time!

Fast forward to my first haircut episode away from my home country -

When I came to Singapore and after a month or so, it was time to go for a haircut, I was a little hesitant. The hesitance was because I have heard so many stories from my friends and cousins staying abroad, some good and some mixed experience.

I have enquired about haircut to few of my colleagues in office because I was knowing just them. They shared their own different experiences. They suggested to go to Little India for a haircut by Indian barber or go to any local hair saloon near by. It did not help me much to make up my mind.

I took a stroll infront of few hair saloons in my then residential area but somehow I could not muster enough courage. Two more weeks passed and it was time that I needed an haircut badly. Same week a new shop had open near to the place I use to stay. I premeditated myself to just walk-in and get the haircut done.

As I entered, the shop was full of a pungent smell. It was similar to what I experienced in one of the food-courts earlier in a week. (Food courts are common food joint for general public, serves food at a cheap price on a comparative basis, a separate post on that). Later I figured out that it was from shop owner's breakfast/ brunch. Since I am a vegetarian, probably it just hit me a little harder.

As I entered, I encountered multiple cultural shocks at the same time. First, the barber was a lady, henceforth will be referred as hairdresser. Till that day, I had encountered only male barber for male haircuts- that is the common trend back in India. Second, she was Chinese. Well this was not a shock but I was kind of puzzled if I will be able to explain her how I wanted to cut my hairs.

She glanced at me and gave me a kind of puzzled look. Probably she was encountering first Indian since she had opened the shop. She asked few questions to check if I sure that I wanted to cut my hairs there only. I affirmed her because I was in no mood of exploring any further.

The third observation was that in Singapore, there is a concept of Unisex saloons, something which was not that common in India at-least for adults.

Side shave Haircut - source: google and picked up from mens-hairstyle website, just to make your imaginations better as to what I meant!

It was my turn next then, trust me, I was a bit scared, or I would say that I was a bit more than scared! I explained her that I wanted medium hair size which is uniform all over my head. I somehow managed to explain her because she wasn't as good in English. Chinese in general prefer to have side shaved or smaller hairs at the sides and back of the head. Atleast that was what I have observed till that time and men who had haircuts before me in that shop also had similar style.

As she started my haircut, I prayed hard because I didn't want to take leaves from the office due to bad haircut. But it all went fine. I guess the hairdresser sensed that I was tensed and was careful enough! And yes, I visited her regularly till we stayed in that area.

A recent below notice put up on our lift notice board, which is again unusual as we don't find anything close to this in India. One of the ways of showing care towards senior citizens.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: The saying that a beautiful heart matters more than a beautiful face holds good but don't you think people see the face and presentation first and start judging! Who knows you would never get a chance to show how your heart is! :)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Kid's Garage DIY: Driving, driving in my car...!

My son was playing with cars. I was thinking aloud that if we could create a car garage for his toy cars. It sounded good to my wife and instantly she brought some bunch of cartons from our storage.

Initially, we planned to make a two stores garage. Ground floor for bigger cars, first floor for smaller cars and second floor with surface half that of the first floor, for landing planes and helicopter. As we started putting things together, ideas kept on changing and we finally decided to go with one floor above the ground level with a special 'Hot Wheels' corner for Hot wheels cars.

I must admit that I love Hot wheels cars more than my son does. Whenever we go out, my wife ensures that me and my son both are away from the car section. No, we don't buy a lot of them but yes we admire and spend a lot of time there. My son loves Buses more. Least to say, 'Wheels on the bus...' is his favorite rhyme which he sings all through the day!

In one session we created the raw structure of the garage. Initial plan was to paint it all through. As we progressed and the amount of time we spent, I suggested my wife that we should instead go with putting papers over it. So, her paint brushes have to wait for our next undecided project.

The intention was to expose our son with different possibilities, things are and could be created at home. It wasn't his hands on but he did play with glue, putting all over his palms, pants, floor. We told him different activities like cutting, sticking, colors, shapes, etc.

Among the most amazing part I found was the Hot wheel corner. The white strips on the garage floor has enhanced the overall effect.

My son has already started sliding all his cars one by one, well, including the big ones too! But then we haven't made it delicate, so he can go ahead and use the way he wants.

We told him that the way he sleeps at night, cars also go to sleep. So he needs to park all of them properly at night before going to bed!

Final finished product - Kid's Garage!

Trivia: In Singapore, houses have common, multi-level car parking system called as 'Car-Park' sounds like 'Ka pak'!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT:  An activity like this is far more superior and fulfilling than spending time on smart phones. Nothing beats a hands on!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Universal Studios, Singapore - Mind blowing place to be at!

Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is one of the major attractions of Singapore. This time I visited USS at the eve of New year 2016 with friends.

Ideally, tourists should start early of the day to experience all the activities in time. But we visited it in the evening as the park was open till 1:30 AM and the intention was to stay back till late night.

Hollywood style boulevard at the beginning.

Its a place where you would constantly be clicking, right from the rotating Universal Globe, a signature photo spot, to the Hollywood style boulevard. The amusement park is subdivided in several themes starting with Hollywood, New York, Sci Fi City, Egypt, Lost World, Far Far world and Madagascar.

We started from Madagascar as kids were in playful mood so thought of entertaining them first. The Madagascar boat ride was adventurous. Boat goes through the Madagascar island where various characters from the movie interacts with us on the way. Zebra is seen enjoining sipping coconut water. Lion, Hippopotamus, Penguins and other animals were also having a gala time at the new found independence on the island. The light and sound effects adds to the fun quotient along the ride. Next we did Carousel ride (Party-Go-Round). Kids enjoyed it thoroughly. We sat at the very first row of Dragon ride which added to the thrill.

Alex, the lion at Madagascar ride.

Beach Party-Go-Round Carousel.
Shrek 4 D show is enjoyable though my 2 years old son got scared while Shrek rode the Horse-cart in the show, we realized it was because of the 3D goggles he had put.

We skipped the Lost World rides this time as we have done it earlier. The Mummy ride is one ride which I love the most. I did it multiple times, full of unexpected turns in the dark. An express pass is always worth its money because you skip two hours of waiting for rides during weekends and can do the rides as many times as you want, because the waiting time is zero to 5 mins.

Human & Cylon, World's tallest dual roller coaster ride.

We did Human roller coaster ride after that. Human and Cylon are the World's tallest dual roller coaster rides! I was mentally prepared for Human roller coaster and did it. It was fun. Cylon is bit more challenging and I was little unsure about doing it. After lot of pestering and feedback from first timer friends, I decided to do Cylon too. There was huge queue in normal tickets lane and we went directly at the top and were immediately next to get-in. That time I thought perhaps I wanted a normal ticket so that I could make up my mind by the time my turn comes. I saw small kids doing the ride casually and that helped me in pushing myself. It is also good to experience everything that my son would be doing someday, so that I know what he would be getting into!

You get twisted, upside down, against the gravity, across the park...shouting all the way, pure adrenaline rush. It is as if cutting across the sky, then a free fall and before you realize anything...or overcome your emotions, it is all over...and you can hear your heavily pumping heart beats, you look right at your friend seating next to you and then there is a big laugh! Good that we did!

Transformer ride was next. And it was a treat to the eyes. If you have already done Human, Cylon and Mummy rides, Transformer may not give that adrenaline rush but the graphics are of superior most quality. 

On the boulevard, there are some street performances. The shows are good especially Light-Camera-Action is my favorite. Vintage cars are parked on the way and American style architectures ensures there is never a dull moment. In the evening there is a Party Parade too with different characters roaming around the park.

USS is one of the most adventurous place in Singapore and is truly one of its kind!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Life is a studio itself and we are the characters playing our different roles. Do we create our own destiny or are we mere puppets in HIS hands, can always be pondered and debated!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Love the Colourful and Juicy Fruits!

Whenever we visit Super market, the fruits section delights me to the core. I am a fruit lover but the variety of fruits we get in Singapore, the quality and availability all the time, increases the love all the more.

They look joyous and colourful together. My mind comes backs to blog about it, every time I see it. A lot of fruits I tried for the first time here, like the Dragon fruit!

Banana from Philippines and Mexico!
Since agriculture-wise Singapore has limited resources, it imports most of its food items - fruits, vegetables, groceries, etc. The positive side of this is that since the food item is of export quality, you will generally find Fruits of very good quality. This also keeps away potential disease that may happen due to consumption of rotten or spoiled fruits or food item in general.

The other aspect that lifts my heart when looking at those shiny fruits, is the names of the countries from which it is imported displayed next to the rate. At a single instance you can buy Green Apples imported from South Africa or Gala Apples from France, Oranges from China or India, Kiwi from New Zealand and variety of fruits from all over the world! It gives a good feeling!

China Navel Oranges.
When I thought of writing on Fruits in Singapore, I thought it would be a straight forward task of uploading photos clicked by me and writing about them. But then, it took me three days to plan and comprehend. Because only talking about fruits that we get in Super markets like Giant, Fairprice, etc will not be justice to the topic. So finally I decided to break my post in three subposts and give proper importance to other avenues too.

Variety of Kiwis!
In Singapore, we can buy Fruits and vegetables from 'Wet Market' as well. That would be a separate post. And third post on fruits would talk specifically about the special fruits we get in this part of the world. Like the Longan, Mangosteen, Dragon Fruit, Rambutans, Jambu, a different variety of Guava and off-course the national fruit of Singapore - Durian!

The pics put up here were clicked during my recent visit to Giant Super market. We get a lot many other fruits as well, may be I will update pics in this post later or create another post! Photos are taken after taking permission from one of the employee.
Seedless Watermelon, though my experience says Water melon with seeds are more sweet.

Royal Gala Apple from France.

These are all Oranges but all are different in taste and appearance.  From left to right, Oranges from Taiwan, Turkey, China and Pakistan.
Right to left - Pear, NZ Avacado, China Nam Shui Pearl, China Lemon, SA Green Apple.

Sunday, 27 December 2015


Its been a long time that I wrote something on the blog and made it public. It was a cautious decision.

When I write, I always want to express what it is exactly, no diplomacy or politically correct statement there. If you do that then there is no point in writing because you should be honest with what you write or feel if those are personal views.

A lot of events happened over a period of time. Cartoonist Assem Trivedi was arrested for his controversial sketches, people got jailed or arrested for putting some status message on Facebook, etc Those two three incidents struck in my mind. I am not trying to take sides or justify anybody but then as a common man when you express and are punished then it makes you take a step back. Though, I would go a step further and say that 'Freedom of Speech' has been the most used excuse these days to say any and everything.

Sometimes events make you express in certain way that may not be accepted to small section of authority who may have power or influential enough to hit you back. And these days social media trolling is a fad which can make you a star overnight before you could realize irrespective of which side of the table, right or wrong, you are. You don't want to take 'panga' with anyone. As my boss says, "Try not to make enemies!". It doesn't mean you have to do what others would like. In doing so, you will loose yourself.

Be yourself but when in public discourse, try and avoid controversies. Staying away from blogging is challenging because you want to express, you want to share, you want to leave this place with a little better shade than what it was, when you arrived. 30 years from now, reading this blog would be so much fun. Writing also helps in comprehending your thoughts, eventually it could lead to complete my half complete novels!

Second strong reason for not being here regularly was because I wanted to spend time with my kid when he was awake and do my work when he was sleeping. That pushed Blogging to a back seat. Now I will try to strike a good balance, hopefully!

So with that, I decided to be a bit regular. Share Colours of Singapore, through my eyes. About Parenting, with my first hand experience, some Movie Reviews and definitely a lot of Foodie recommendations to go out! And an occasional off beat item, a love story may be!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Life is highly underrated! There are many hats that you can wear at the sametime and make it a much more colourful life! It feels good to put together thoughts and words and sentences to create a story around it!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Rang Mahal restaurant: Ucchi dukaan, feeke pakwan!

Amazing ambience. (This pic is taken from restaurant website)
My brother-in-law, being foodie, always has some foodie plans ready whenever we meet up. Yesterday, we decided to go to Rang Mahal. Located at a posh and swanky Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore, the expectations were high. Pan Pacific has seating pods over a pool in lobby and the concept is a delight to eyes.

Rang Mahal has a unique style of ambience with dim lights, high ceiling and traditional-contemporary interiors. It is welcoming for a great dining experience. Great care has been taken in making ambience perfect, working on each minute detail.

Dhoklas served with a stick.

Papad and Khakharas.
The Menu Card boasts of several awards and recognition and it was flattering but not so true about the menu itself. Since I am vegetarian, I keep my comments on Non-Vegetarian food reserved. After lot of flipping and flapping pages, we settled down with Veg Sampler – a bouquet of three veg starters. We were presented with Dhokla in a stick with some Papad and Khakhras as complimentary starters. “Dhoklas and Khakhras...Is that a Narendra Modi effect? I refrained from connecting such an extended dots.

Options for Vegetables in Main course is very limited. It was as if forcing to order out of some regular choices. We did a “majority wins” and ordered one experimental and one safe veggie.

Presentation: With TV shows like ‘MasterChef’, our understanding about food presentation and platting has gone up significantly, not that it is new to us. I remember my mom garnishing Chhole and Dal with fine-chopped Coriander leaves and making a design out-of  cream on veggies like Panner Butter Masala or a Kofta Curry. That was Indian home-maker's definition of food platting and presentation! Sorry to say, the Jodhpuri Panner Makhani had no presentation of any kind. Starters were dressed with some vegetable leaves, unimpressively. Two expert ladies with us were of the same views.

Taste: Lets ignore the presentation part. What about the taste? I guess all of us were refraining from saying negative about food and giving enough time and chances to our taste buds. Not everything could go wrong. But once we started discussing, we realised that none of us liked any of the dish that we ordered. We were trying to be appreciative and wanted to like something, but we ended eating plain breads and leaving almost half of the portions of vegetables as it is. Issue was not with limited variety in Menu, issue was with taste.

Taste-bud neutraliser served between starter and Main course was the only saving grace.

Customer service: I don’t think the staff was anywhere close to comforting or welcoming. They were eager to take order with approaching us in every 5 minutes. We had three little kids with us who were not attended or asked even once if we needed anything for them. I don’t think it costs much to smile unless they are told not to do so.

Overall, I would still say we had good outing because of the people we met and the way we enjoyed. No marks for the food, we all left the place full of disappointment. My brother-in-law came up with a phrase in Hindi – Ucchi dukaan, feeke pakwan (rich shop with little to offer), which sums up the dining experience well.

Ambience: Excellent.
Price: Expensive but acceptable only if food is good.
Quality: Average.
Quantity: Average.
Taste: Lot of scope for improvement.
Service: Could be more attentive, appreciative and involved.
Rating: 4.5 out of 10, just because I don’t want to sound harsher.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: I am fully aware that hospitality industry is among the most difficult industries to work in. The customers are ever demanding and it is difficult to please everyone with same amount of satisfaction. Factors like our mood, our choice of dish, time we have in hand to spend, all plays a role in overall experience. I want to sound milder and don’t want to be discouraging. Above is my (and our) personal experience and can just act as an added information for the diners.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...