Posted by: Kappa | July 2, 2009

New Vistas

PGP13 is now on campus with approx 300 students. PGP12 had 260 and PGP11 185.

A new chapter in IIMK’s History has opened up with a dynamic new director (Prof. Deb Chatterjee) taking charge.

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The last in a four-part series about Happy Singh’s vacation to the Andaman island with his gang of merry PGP09-ers.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Day Four (yes, Last day)

Last Day and we were going to Havelock Islands, home of the Radha Nagar beach which was fabled to be the 4th best beach in Asia pre-Tsunami and was still one of the top 10. We made the terrible mistake of booking our tickets on the INS Ramanujam, a slow-moving, diesel-guzzling ship which took four hours for a one way ride and left us with precious little time to spend time on the isle. There was another option to take a speed boat to and fro which would have taken far less time but we came to know of that option too late. Anyways, in our initial considerations, we had always planned keeping this trudge in mind. And we toiled on, sometimes loitering on the deck, on the stairs, posing with the chimney, until it got too hot and sunny for our sun burnt selves to withstand, leaving us with the TV playing a few old songs in repeated succession for company in the hall. The boat will take you to a particular spot on Havelock (Elephant beach or something, I don’t remember) from where you can always hire a cab to go to Radha nagar beach. By the time we got there, most of the firangi junta had returned to their hotels/shacks (Goa style, affordable and mostly available. In fact, the beach itself reminded me of Goa, clean and gradual with calm seas and stretching on either side).

Damn everyone, we were not going to waste even a single second idling and of we went into the inviting, beckoning sea. Except for Solu who went off on his shooting expedition with his camera. (had a pretty good catch I tell you 😉 ). And while we splashed, jumped, dipped, time was ticking away and very soon it was almost pack up time. But there was something missing, we couldn’t have left the place with some strong memory to keep us excited for a very long time. And that was when we did the “Chunduru dance” on the beach much to the amusement of a few tourists who had ventured by. The good thing about the beach is that you have shower facilities available on the beach for a nominal charge, and you can also rent swimming trunks if need be. The not so good thing, a lack of a full time hotel on the beach. Most of the blokes on the beach stay on some resort/hotel/shack nearby and have their food arrangements done accordingly, but for tourists, one has to inform the ‘dhaba’ guys about 30 min in advance as these establishments are mainly family run with 2 or max 3 principles. Thanks to KP’s vernacular skills, we Bhadralok were served lunch. And so, in around 3 hours, it was pack up time. The ideal way to enjoy Havelock islands is to stay for a night at least. The islands beauty is significantly enhanced when seen in the light of sunrise and sunset, which is when you also have the most firangs :D. A few random Turkish couples excluded (Solu the shikari to testify :D).

And we headed back, each of us vowing like the Terminator that we will be back! Return journey was another 4 hours of trudge and we were scared to think of it until we saw a big Tam Gang (possibly a Big family) returning with us. Those blokes sang and danced on the top deck for as long as I could remember. There were these two young foreigner kids who had been running around the place playing with each other and occasionally stopping to gawk at the song and dance show. The matriarch of the family spotted them and even those two lil’ kids were roped in! And before their mum, who was trying to click a picture, could realize, she too was in the middle of the whole festivity. Even the Captain of the ship came out to enjoy. I bet even our co-traveler ‘Frustoo Aunty’ would also have cast a cursory glance in that direction at least once. Though we couldn’t catch the sunset at Radha Nagar beach, it was still quite spectacular from the top of the ship. And as the sun tried to hide behind the light house tower, and our tour-de-Andamans drew to an end, we had a few pics of us clicked, posing proudly in the cheap ‘Andaman Islands’ t shirts bought locally. Even today I can’t help thinking how one could smile so much when they are as weary as we were that day.

And the aircraft took off. Lost in memories of the past journeys, I dozed off. Drifted away. Drenched, satiated, lost, happy, peaceful, Yogic. It was on the morning of our last day there and the memories of the white surf, the green waters and those tiny brown dots as seen from the sky were etched permanently in our memories.

This is Part Three of Happy Singh’s account of his trip, along with other PGP09-ers, to the Andaman Islands, in early 2007. This is shortly before the PGP09 convocation.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

As the dawn broke, I actually felt grateful that we had been delayed. The scene was breathtaking, with grey clouds parting, the trees around still draped in the haze, large patches of black soil inundated with sea water, reflecting back the few sun rays that had navigated their way down. Some of those scenes were pretty unnerving too, like the “Palm graveyard” which had tall palm trees with only their stumps remaining. Tsunami, someone suggested; cultivation practice, another. Whatever it was, would have given even Slobodan Milosevic goose-bumps. And with these thoughts, I dozed off.

  Baratanga Trail – awesome botanical diversity.

The honk that almost woke me up must have been pretty loud or the silence of the jungle must have been very eerie, as the loud chirping of the large number of birds that started flying around in a flutter on hearing the bus horn got me up with a start. We had reached the first check-post. Wait ensued as the trucks lined up behind us. Traffic beyond this point was permitted only in convoys, twice in the morning and all the buses had left at the previous hour mark. Some instructions: do not to try to get too friendly with locals or approach the tribals, an armed police or forest guard escort (and that too a garrulous Surd! I have actually started believing the fable about Neil Armstrong finding a Sher-e-Punjab dhaba as he stepped out of the ‘Eagle’).

One the way ahead, someone asked, “is jungle mein sher hain?” (are there tigers in this forest?) and our man replied “is sher se magar sab darte hain” (everyone’s scared of the tiger in me) Phew! Enough to quickly end me back to sleep once again. The next time when I woke up, the bus was shaking like an earthquake had hit us! To add to that, it was empty. But before any thoughts of jumping out of the window could materialize i heard KP’s signature laughter. The guys couldn’t be so mean as to leave me in the bus as they laughed outside. A sad truth dawned as I was told that we had had another flat and the shaking was merely due to the change of tires. Hardly amusing, but something kept KP and Munnabhai going as they stepped in with Solu sporting a sheepish grin. While everyone had got out, and Solu was trying to take pics of the beautiful red flowers glimmering in the golden rays of the early morning sun, trying to outshine the leaves freshly washed by a shower last night on those tall trees, a police patrol had turned up. The inspector, a true blue Bong, started shouting at Solu about “Naanga Chhobis” (Nude pics/ Nagna Chhavi) and flaunting Section XYZ of Article ABC, but shut up on seeing our garrulous ‘Sher’ coordinating traffic by waving flags. Bheegi Billi would have been an apt word then.

The rest of the journey was uneventful and we reached the other check-post, moved onto a barge with the bus, (in Andaman, the GT road that runs from North to South, island to island includes quite a lot of waterways traveled on boats etc along with miles of paved tar) traveled to a local island for some refreshment and proceeded to the mud volcano. Even Geoffrey Boycott’s mom could have made better mud pools than that! It was a mud volcano all right, but nothing like the volcanoes one expects, having seen the archetypal image on all those Nat-Geo shows. The crater had anyways been sealed off and even had we tried to reach it, the hot mud and occasional sprinkles of steamy water would have denied any access. So much had happened early in the day and was it all to end in this? We signed off our names there (with an IIMK thrown in between) amid much fanfare, knowing that the next lot of mud, as it accumulates over the next 24 hours, would completely hide it. The refreshing ‘Nariyal-Pani’ made the trek back on those dusty tracks to where we had left our bush taxis bearable.

Naam mitti mein mila diye!

Our next leg, however, was to be lot more fun. We were finally traveling to the limestone caves in flat bed long motorboats. One step in it and you knew it was bound to capsize, even the slightest movement of any of the passengers was enough to set the boat in an oscillating motion with a very low damping coefficient (yeah, I still know my engineering basics!) and add to that an elderly couple (with the gentleman more fidgety than the missus and throwing out excuses like “I am more worried about you”), a rather newbie boatsman, the surf left by the boat right in front of us, and we knew we would be tasting salty water pretty soon. But the journey was truly worth it! Mangrove forests greeted us as we pulled a little clear of the main land and as we moved along the long coastline, we could see that there was a mini world of sorts within these untouched “primitive” forms of life, where nature liked to take some time out to play a little, walk a while and refresh itself. The sunrays that could reach the water surface danced with the dark shadows nearby. On very few occasions in life, you feel that Time has come to a standstill, everything around is frozen and your senses have gone numb. It was one such epiphany for me. Goosebumps. Aammaazziinngg!

We started slowing down and I snapped out of my daydream, a wooden platform was visible. This must be it. But then we suddenly picked up speed and went ahead and round a corner, and into the mysterious world, navigating through a small inlet of water. Then another corner and a little distance and we passed underneath a wooden bridge a la Venice and into the docking area. The bridge actually led to the wooden platform we had seen earlier. The locals, on those rare occasions when they went out, took a ride on the regular ferry from the outer platform. This was another tribal village with some sort of cultivation, cattle and goats grazing, the smell of dung smeared houses, kids playing games, and dirt trails for roads. The limestone caves were beautiful, surprisingly cool, a little tricky, as they were dark and had stalactites and stalagmites all over the place. Where the two structures met to form pillars, the guide likened them to popular deities from the mythology. It was a little rushed, but a unique experience. In probably a different country, this would have been like a national monument, well preserved, with proper research done, with lots of placards, tourists hustling in and hustling out, perhaps littering the surroundings, robbing the whole place of its mystique. Lord bless those simple tribals and those old trees that with hanging roots and branches all intertwined, shielding the calcium carbonate from the vagaries of the weather. The rest of the day was spent discussing the might of nature and the delight of Hawaldar Mesra’s cooking.

Had Gabbar asked Holi kab hai in Port Blair, people would have given him a blank stare. It was as if the town had simply forgotten to wake up to the celebration of Prahlad’s feat. Or was it? As we set forth in our taxi to catch a jetty to Jolly Buoy Islands, I got my answer. Apparently most people had locked themselves in the houses to avoid pestering by the stray elements who threw water balloons at us. I love Maruti Suzuki :). As we were checking in, we were stopped by the guard who informed us that polythene bags had to be deposited at the ticket counter as a step to keeping the islands clean. We had to check in our poly-bags and get the number of items we were carrying registered, by paying a deposit for each of them which was to be refunded after we had come back with the stuff.

A rather cramped-for-space journey along with the elderly couple from the day before, and we reached the JB islands. The boat docked a little away from the main land mass at one of the several buoys. Even to this day, I like propagating the theory that the islands got their name from the smile like shape of the curve the line joining the buoys formed. In truth, I never really cared to find out what the curve looked like. The island was soooo beautiful. We began in a glass bottom boat which took us round so that we could see the corals. The corals were the reason why bigger boats had to dock at the buoys. I would have loved the whole thing a hell lot had my a@# not been on fire by the frying-pan-like seats of the boat.

Well, we reached the island, uninhabited, un-spoillt, unmoved. We decided to cool off (and we needed that!) with a swim. I was marveling at the many different hues of water, (hues that even my prospective employer would be hard pressed to duplicate :D) when there was this sudden and abrupt thing. Flop! I had stepped into water without realizing it! Chemistry taught us that water was a colorless liquid, and ignoring it was a grave mistake on my part but none of us had ever imagined, that water could be so clear that unless you took a close look, you would actually think that there was nothing there! Man, I had to pinch myself to believe this. The fact that unlike sea water this was very calm with hardly a ripple forming, gave me some solace. WooHoo! In the couple of aqueous splendor that followed, Munnabhai got slammed and superflexed, Sudgho got splashed with so much water that he would have thought standing underneath a dam would be easier and KP and I had our swimmer egos battered and bruised trying to swim against the currents. The currents that changed rapidly even in a small stretch, brought about a stark difference in water temperature, and also filter-fed the sponges and probably also caused the water to look like a continuum traversing from blue to green with every shade possible (best enjoyed when submersed neck deep in water).

Snorkelling was a part of the package and we saw all varities, shapes, colours, and sizes of corals with an occasional glimpse of a starfish or other constituents of oceanic life. There was also an old man who had come with us on our ferry and offered to collect every bit of disposable material that the tourists could have left behind. Too bad he hinted at a tip of Rs 10. We would have tipped lot more otherwise. After all, we were a bunch of really jolly boys at the Jolly Buoy. The day ended with a trip to the cellular jail museum which was closed (damn the lazy buggers) and ultimately followed by a gourmandizing extravaganza which included devouring volcano prawns at our now-favorite bar-cum-restaurant.

Happy and his friends from PGP09 explored the Andaman Islands just before their convocation in early 2007. This is Part Two of their four-part tale.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Day Two
Off we were, to some local islands, expanding our horizons. After a lot of confusion about which jetty to head off to, we were on the boat to check out Ross, Viper and Coral islands. Ross was an old colony which was deserted by the Brits after an epidemic claimed several lives. The island has some picturesque ruins with creepers and aerial roots intertwined with the walls. There is also an old Church, and on the way you can also spot a thicket with trees springing out in between. For an instant, it looked so amazing, as if trying to say something about the indomitable human spirit. And then the cemetery after the church posed a grim reminder of the temporal nature of everything. The serenity adds to the mystique of the place. There is also a beach on the other end of the island, a park with a deer supposedly somewhere, and in case you are a loose nut like us, a coconut trunk overhanging into the sea to sit on and try some crazy-frog-like scooterette :). And while sleepyhead Me was trying to steal every wink of sleep possible in the most awkward of the positions on the to journey, I woke up to crystal clear water with fish dancing many meters below us on the return journey.

 
Harley-Davidsons? Not quite!

Viper’s claim to fame is that it used to be the gallows long time back and today is inhabited by a single person who has been there since anyone can remember. I wonder if the Census takers of India take the pain to come down to say Hello to the old man. On the day we went there, he refused to pose for a snap as he was busy repairing some telephone lines there. I am sure we would have found Graham Bell’s original instrument had we persisted a little more. North Bay islands or coral islands as known popularly are a good place for snorkeling (shallow and deep) and probably scuba diving, because I heard the word scuba but didn’t see anything like that happening. Probably those are conducted by expensive tour operators and not everyone can do that or whatever the reason. I restricted myself to the light house which Sudgho and I tried to break in but could not 😦

Came back to Port Blair and immediately started looking for a place to eat our hearts out and luckily found one very close to the dock. But that was after a lot of searching, and unlike an open air restaurant that we were keen on spotting, it was a first floor setup accessible through narrow a staircase. But the not so grand entrance belied a good place to guzzle down beer and vodka (and if you are interested, sprite). And the food was Awwweeessoomeeeee !!! Try the seafood there, it’s a bit spicy but truly mouth watering and the volcano prawn was, well, unique! And like KP said, “khana badhiya aur liquor sasti .. jannat hai.” Life sure was good.

Day Three
Another day, another destination or wait… there must have been a mistake… we were in the eastern most part of the country and it was still pitch dark … this couldn’t have been the start of a day! But if we had to go to Baratanga, there was no other way. Darn it, we got ready grudgingly and trudged out, trying to reach the travel agent who had promised to pick us up from our place as we were staying on the bus route. Finally we did get a ride, but on the guys’ bike with two of us perched on a seat meant for carrying the milk jerry cans!

But the bus was nowhere in sight. There had been a flat and bus arrived after everything was fixed, and we started out, almost an hour after our scheduled departure. An hour of precious sleep stolen from the bleary eyes. To travel to Baratanga, one has to travel through Jarwa country on the Trunk road that travels the length of the archipelago and used to connect the now submerged Indira Point in Nicobars to the northern parts of the Andaman Islands. Because this is a preserved area under the ministry of forests, tribal welfare, heritage and all the sundry departments in the G.o.I., vehicles can travel only twice in a day through the twin check-posts, and at very odd hours, in a convoy. Off we sped towards the first check point.

This is the first of a four-part series, courtesy Harshdeep Singh aka Happy aka Goofy from PGP09. For those of you not in the know, Happy Singh is tall, lanky, (was) a (bloody) fresher, had an inexhaustible supply of what he called jokes and made use of every single occasion to crack them. Regardless, his room in Hostel F was a haven for merriment, and the man himself was (is) well-liked and well-remembered by all.

What follows is a stream-of-consciousness account of a trip that Happy and his friends made to the Andaman Islands in early 2007, shortly before PGP09 graduated.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Happy and his Jolly Boys

Happy, Solu, KP, Munnabhai and Sudgho

Ah well, so here we were in sultry Chennai. After almost freezing to death in the train journey from Calicut last night, we were getting roasted walking back to our hotel room post the usual movie, mall-crawling and dinner. But salvation lay ahead. The Andamans! And thus, what began as a desire to do something different 15 months back finally saw the light of day, not to mention the heat as well. And as the cast (Kaushik Pal aka KP, Sudipta Ghosh aka Sudgho, Ritesh Prakash aka Munnabhai, Nitesh Solanki aka Solu and yours truly aka Happy) and crew (Solu the cinematographer, Solu the cameraperson and Solu the director) got ready, little did we know what was in store. And what followed did full justice to the long wait. The Andamans were as beautiful, if not more than what the websites had shown them to be. Even from the skies, one could see coral islands circumscribed by green and blue waters. Paaaaaaradise!

Day One

Our destination from Chennai was Port Blair, which is accessible by regular flights by most carriers from Chennai and Kolkata and a weekly flight from Delhi as well. But the flight timings will be towards dawn or dusk as the air strip is a small one and during the day, the direct reflection of Sun rays on the sea water causes problems in landing and takeoff. The other option was a sea cruise, which at almost the same cost and a much longer duration was never really considered. So having landed in PB, and taken asylum into a guest house arranged by a friend, we decided to do some local sight-seeing post-lunch.

 Port Blair at night

Port Blair at night

The biggest attraction of the city is the cellular jail which during the days of the Raj was the notorious ‘Kala Pani’. It has since been developed into a tourist attraction. We decided to start off with the local museums relying on the advice of our taxiwala-cum-tourist guide. There are quite a few good museums about marine life, tribal culture and more, where you can find stuff like different types of corals, ash from the supposedly active volcano at Barren Islands, weapons used by the Jarwas, a picture of a ‘mermaid’ washed ashore sometime in the 70s, skeleton of a blue whale caught by the navy in a similar era. The whole thing sounds very ‘fishy’ but is actually good time-pass :). Another well known landmark is the Chatham saw mill and museum, which many years ago was a very modern saw mill but has remained stuck in time since. Go there only if you want to act as a courier between the security guard there and his son who studies somewhere in Calicut :-|. We reached the museum spot on time as per our guide’s instructions in the evening to witness the closing of the Museum! The time he had mentioned was that of the sound and light show! Which didn’t make any sense as it was still broad daylight!

Dejected, we decided to move to Corbin’s Cove, the local beach. The road to that was winding and lined with antique looking lamps along the sea wall a la Marine drive. The beach was decent, and the discovery of the day was the small camouflage crab which was almost impossible to distinguish from the sand beneath and buried itself at the slightest hint of danger. After enjoying the cool breeze for a while, we reported for the show at the cellular jail. For something that has been lent narrative support by the likes of Om Puri, and talks about the freedom struggle, it was surprisingly soporific. It ought to be clubbed with the cellular jail museum visit but not much on a standalone basis.

Posted by: Kappa | October 22, 2007

IIMK Live dot com

Rarely have we undertaken so large a task, so bold an endeavor, and accomplished it with such aplomb. Today we unveil IIMKLive.com. Portal. Showcase. Blog. Photo Gallery. Email. Forum. Collaborative Calendar. Everything. Online. Accessible from all over, not just within the institute. We’ve come a long way in these last ten years, but very few things signify our drive to be the best there is, as clearly as this does.

IIM Kozhikode is a strange place. We’re young, brimming with energy, yet unsure of who we are, what K is, how the world perceives us. We want to know what our identity is, yet script it at the same time.

There come moments, though, when one among us stands up, gives a damn about brand, perception, image and the like, and simply does what the institute needs, instead of what would be thought of as good. This is when something like IIMKLive.com is conceived and born.

 Hobbled by an unmoving administration and bound by a demanding student life, the IIMKLive.com team has overcome indifference, doubt, even outright ridicule to create something we are all proud of.

Today, the team goes Live. K, you rock.

… or “Necessity – The Mother of all Invention.”

Indeed! As all of us who live(d) on top of the hill that is home for 2 years know, food is one of the biggest fights. Attitudes range from resignation to outrage, and MessComm invariably finds itself at the receiving end of brickbats, and hardly (if ever!), bouquets. As a MessCommer from PGP08 put it, “Din main log mujhe theen baar gaalliyaan dette hain“. Having lived in hostels for a good part of my life, I firmly maintain that there is an international accord that sets the maximum standard of food that can be served in hostels, and the fellas that manage to reduce it to the minimum, without having the “inmates” revolt, are given an award for highest achievement in a secretive, perverse ceremony that celebrates their stupendous achievements!

So, how does our “mess” stack up? Well, let’s not go there. Sandeep is a mate, and Jithu & Suresh are very good mates. But, things came to a head when I couldn’t recognise[1] most of the stuff on the menu except rice, daal & pickles[2]!

Initially, time permitting, there were options galore. Broast (that saviour of us all!), Taj, Mezbaan, Sea Queen, and being mallu, a few other places around Kunnamangalam. But then, as is the way of Murphy’s Law of Life, disposable time increased, but money supply decreased[3], and places had to be dropped from the list. What now?

Aaaaah. Back to the good ‘ol NC. Outside of the toppers, wannabe toppers, studs, bonds and other such colourfully named characters, most of us spend a good part of our days in the NC. No? Well, I, along with a few good men (and better women, mind you – Ridhi, Suma, Sheeba & Nam, take a bow), did! Not that the food was all that much better, but better it was! Now, the cynics amongst you are going to say that it ain’t all that difficult to improve from negative to closer to zero, but hey, something is better than nothing, no? Besides, in second year, there was even more incentive to hang out and eat in the NC. (I am referring, OF COURSE, to the fact that we had more time for TP[4], and where better than in the NC with a nice mango shake that sometimes turns out to be apple instead, and with the clouds streaming in to freeze you to the marrow[5]. Santhosh aka Toad aka Alpha Male, what WERE you thinking?! :>)

So, in came the “mess off”, hunger pangs by 9:30pm, mad rush to the NC at 5 minutes (or earlier) to 10 and general bedlam as orders were shouted, misheard, misinterpreted, misdelivered (or not at all!), grabbed out of turn et al[6]! Aaaaahh… but that added to the fun, didn’t it? Besides, it lent us a topic on which to debate the validity of matching flows rather than capacities to break the constraint, and take the NC to the next level[7] of operational excellence, which is a source of strategic advantage! You think that’s jargon? Hah… fine! You go argue that out with Prof Gopinath[8]!

But, eventually, aloo paratha with chicken (insert your favourite preparation here… I say they all tasted pretty much the same!), maggi (in its different avatars), bread & omelette, fried rice etc started to get monotonous. Besides, invariably, one wasn’t enough and two was too much. Naturally, the mates didn’t mind that latter bit coz it translated to free food for them and naturally, I did, surviving as I was on a shoestring (which was fraying all over, mind you) budget that had to provide for an adequate intake of requisite fluids & “fresh air” as well! What now? There were constraints galore, and no amount of attempted optimisation was working[9].

And thus, out of necessity[10], I took to asking the chettas & chottus at the NC for a mix of fried maggi and a few other choice ingredients[11]. Now, this was sating my hunger, satisfying my craving for meat[12] and leaving nothing for the circling vultures[13]. Wasn’t doing the earlier mentioned, fraying all over, shoestring budget any good, but then, the bank was paying for it then[14].

Long story short[15] – the mates wanted some, I wasn’t giving any[16] and so they went to the chettas and chottus and asked for the same. Now, communication might be an art, but all of us who “communicate(d)” our orders[17] in the NC have had to/are elevating it to a new level. To improve customer service[18] and enhance customer satisfaction[19], the whole process of asking for a fried maggi with a chicken lollipop heated and diced, and a fried egg, sunny side up was shortened to an order for a “Kiran Maggi”.

Am I eligible for royalties on grounds of use of copyright, IPR etc?[20]

Kiran, PGP09

Brickbats[21], bouquets[22], money[23] and/or booze[24]? Kiran.vergis@gmail.com

 


[1] Or stomach

[2] And to think I asked Ronald (PGP07) if sausages were served at breakfast! Sigh…

[3] Nothing to do with aggregate demand, supply, equilibrium in goods, factor & bond markets et al. Income = 0, outflow = a + bYÆ , where the symbols have their usual meanings ceteris paribus. Don’t ask, it’s all Greek to me!

[4] Time Pass, in case you are yet to get it! Or, have forgotten.

[5] I am a creature of the tropics. Campus, during the monsoon season, was COLD to me.

[6] In case this was not the case when you were there, or currently is not the case, watch “The Marsh Lions of the Serengetti” on Animal Planet, especially the part where they are chasing, bringing down and feeding on a choice antelope, to get an idea of what I am talking about

[7] or any level, depending on how you look at it

[8] Only if you have already cleared OM1 and are not planning to take any Ops courses as electives. Prof, if you are reading this, I fully agree with the concept! :>

[9] Solver gave up. LINDO, I gave up on

[10] Hunger, actually

[11] Just a chicken lollipop (why do they call it that?!) and a fried egg, sunny side up; and never mind the cholesterol. After all, in the long run, we are all dead (Thank you Prof Sarkar, and Keynes. That has to be the only thing in economics that doesn’t need a ceteris paribus assumption)

[12] My sincere apologies to the veggies of different stripes, colours & inclinations

[13] Who would nevertheless, be waiting for the slightest sign of weakness

[14] Now, I am. and feeling the pinch… profligacy does catch up, eh?

[15] Ironic, considering I have taken this long to get here? :>

[16] Of my chef’s delight concoction, that is

[17] Refer to earlier reference to misheard, misdelivered etc

[18] Yeah, right!

[19] Refer 18, above

[20] Comments, Prof Aranha?

[21] Not really welcome

[22] Better

[23] Even better

[24] Now you’re talking! Preferably toddy or fenny. Either, or both! :>

Posted by: Kappa | August 29, 2007

Foodie’s Guide to IIMK, Part Three

Chirantan Mandal on Sagar and Al-Bake

Sagar

If you miss the bicker & quibble-quabble of your naughty nephews/nieces as you would dine with your extended family, then look no further. A splendid family restaurant catering to local folk who more often than not turn up with their families, Sagar is a refreshing change from the aristocracies of the Taj and the noise of Sea-Queen. Most importantly, it’s a place where you can drop over for a sumptuous dinner after you’ve had a day’s worth of shopping, and have some change left – yes, change – it’s so affordable it’s a steal!

Haves and Have-Nots
For non-Veggies ask for ginger chicken and pathri (like rice chappatis but only thinner and tastier – rumali roti made with rice, the size of a normal roti). You could substitute pathri with ‘Appam’ in case you have an eclectic taste. Appams are baked rice cakes and are a confused hybrid of an idli in the middle of a small dosa. Boy, does it taste good! If garlic chicken bores you, then try ginger chicken as well. A rider: don’t experiment too much, though! For fish lovers, you have plenty of choice. Most of the fish curries are delicious if you do not mind the strong aroma of coconut oil.

For Veggies, substitute chicken curry with paneer butter masala and/or mushroom masala, and you’ve got your own winner combo!

Location
Sagar has two branches on two ends of Mavoor road and most often is swarming with people. It has three categories of seating: normal, family & AC. AC is only marginally costlier, and highly recommended.

Cost
Even if you’re a glutton, a meal will only set you back by between Rs. 85 and Rs. 120. With larger numbers the per-head cost is significantly lower.

Al-Bake

The city of Calicut is known for two things, Vasco-da-Gama’s landing in 1498 and its proximity to the Middle East. Wouldn’t the city be served by at least one authentic Arabic food joint? Well it is, with Al-Bake. Situated at the corner opposite Baby Memorial Hospital, the chain of restaurants are all labeled with neon lights so bright you can’t miss. It’s a largely conservative up-market restaurant frequented by Gulf-returned Mallus. It isn’t too well-lit but the ambience is quite commendable. The space is a bit constricted but the air conditioning and the service more than make up for these minor deficiencies.

Haves and Have-Nots
For non-Veggies: Try out any dish, most of them are quite tasty. The beauty about this place is that I never came across a single item which was not worth trying out at least once (and maybe twice as well!). They’ve retained the Arabic flavor of most items on the menu, with little or no Indian customization. The dessert is exquisite; the ice-cream shakes are worth dying for. My favorite is the pista flavor.

For Veggies: Skip Al-Bake if you intend to stick to a vegetarian meal 🙂 Enough said!

Cost
Al-Bake is more expensive than Sagar but cheaper than Sea-Queen or Mezbaan. The food is worth the price and a decent non-veg meal will cost two people Rs.130-160 per head.

A Rider: Ambience is Very conservative, so consider a different restaurant if you plan to have a cozy dinner with your lady interest!

Posted by: Kappa | July 19, 2007

Foodie’s Guide to IIMK, Part Two

Sriram Karra on “Those Joints Around the Insti”

Midway

No, that’s not the place. That’s not its name either. That’s what we called it. And that is because it is approximately midway from the main Insti gate to the highway. The place is so remarkably well hidden that it has left inquiring minds wondering if the promoters of the enterprise are really interested in doing business. Sharper minds, on the other hand, have pointed out that the question to ask is what business(es) they really are in.

If you want to check it out, the best way is to go by foot the first time. As you walk out of the Institute, it will appear on your right, 25-30 metres from the gate. Keep looking for a small 2.5 feet standee saying “Meals ready” or such. You should expect to spend a few seconds looking for the door to the place even after you’ve located this standee.

Think “quick, no frills, inexpensive” alternative to the Mess, and Midway pops up like a life savior. It’s highly recommended that you go there for lunch (because, well, they are closed for dinner!) Plenty of PGP09ers (and PGP10ers – Kappa) took mess-off for lunch and adopted Midway. The food is (arguably) better, and it costs only 12 Rupees (maybe 15). Curd costs extra (Rs 3 or so). Non-veg is available at extra cost. People have had good things to say about the fish and chicken.

If you are particularly sensitive to heat or other environmental issues, you should know that Midway has an asbestos roof; further that brings a glorious new dimension to a ‘warm lunch’. Also if you mind sharing a table with the security chaps, miscellaneous staff you didn’t know existed and other sundry characters, you would do well to stick with the mess.

Options for the Early Birds

It often happens in the life of a Komrade that one is awake and hungy at 6am, there’s no food, and the beautiful sunrise and mist rising up the valley are not quite enough to quell the pangs of hunger. Your destination, then, are two places just downhill that open for business as the sun rises.

Sweekar

Sweekar is bang opposite Broast, which is to say it’s 10 metres from the IIMK arch on the highway in the direction of the City. Enlightened folks tell me that there’s nothing quite like a night of grass and Pink Floyd followed by an early morning drive downhill to Sweekar. A typical breakfast course for most would consist of Vella Appam + Idiappam + Mutta kari. Plenty of non-veg options are available at more regular business hours (the beef comes very highly recommended), but not early in the morning. Coffee and tea are both passable and taste roughly the same. The aforementioned dishes, in particular, are light on your stomach and wallet.

Brothers

Brothers is one of its kind, in more than one way – it’s the only restaurant in Kunnamangalam that has an english name (no, Broast does not count) and it’s the only pure-Veg place in town as well (no, really) .

Brothers is the very definition of a budget eatery – you can walk in and out of the place for breakfast and your pocket would be lighter by less than 10 rupees, unless you eat like Simon Jacob. You can try the usual breakfast items – idli, dosa, Uthappam, and so on. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try the fried banana Kerala specialty.

Brothers can be found on the highway right next to the Kunnamangalam bus stand towards the REC/NIT Calicut side.

Subhojit Das on EFC/Pizza Slice

This is the latest fast food joint in town (note to the Calicut newbie: fast food has entirely different connotations in this city – Kappa). Getting down to brass tacks, the menu here has a split personality, part of it being EFC and the other (smaller) part being the Pizza section. The EFC part of the menu is relatively extensive, with plenty of combo and stand-alone options (heavily by the KFC-style, or closer home, the Chicking menus). The pizza section is pretty disappointing, with a selection of six pizzas (cheese, veggie, chicken, fish, shrimp or seafood) in standard sizes. No choice of crust or toppings. The dessert section seems to have been an afterthought, so that you can have a “complete” meal.

 One big disappointment was the abysmally low level of staff knowledge: they had no idea of what toppings go into which of the pizzas, and had not even heard of some of the common pizza toppings. So we decided to play it safe, and ordered a chicken submarine sandwich, a veggie pizza, and a sundae between 2 of us. The guy at the counter promised that the pizza (which was the obvious bottleneck in the order) would take exactly eight minutes, which made me quite happy – efficiency, anyone? Well, evidently not. After many multiples of the promised eight minutes, our order arrived. The submarine sandwich bun was a tad dry, but the chicken was tender and juicy. The pizza, however, was pretty good! Even though the counter guy seemed lost at the mention of olives and baby corn, they were all there on the pizza, nicely sunk on a bed of more than generous helping of semi-molten, stringy mozzarella cheese (Yes, yes. Yummy. I know.) Another  disappointment was the absence of oregano/chili flakes/herbs. To me, it’s like having dahi wada without the imli-ki-chutney.

About the service: they’re unusually finicky about cleanliness here. The guy with the broom sweeps non-existent dust from a spotlessly clean floor, even if it’s under your feet while you’re having your meal.

 What’s my final verdict? Those who love their pizza and don’t care too much about chili flakes et al will like it here. Those with IT work-ex, who wish to relive the days of coding into wee hours over cold pizza and coke may go there for old time’s sake.  However, all said and done, the pizzas here are a little overpriced, considering you could get Domino’s for the same price. But hey – there ain’t no Domino’s in Calicut!

Posted by: Kappa | July 12, 2007

The Foodie’s Guide to IIMK

For over a decade, intrepid foodies from K have explored Calicut city in search of the Perfect Evening out. These quests have taken them to both well-known establishments and previously undiscovered gems in the by-lanes of the city, on journeys of gastronomical discovery. The Foodie’s Guide is a collection of experiences from this merry band of adventurers – in their own words.

Read on! (Here are Part 2 and Part 3 of the Guide.)

Sheeba D’Mello’s Lonely Planet Guide to eating out

Mezbaan – One of the best places around for Butter Chicken. Has the benefit of being closer and less expensive than most places in the city. And the food is good! Ambience is also decent. Not very flashy, more of a ‘family’ place. Not good for large numbers. 4-6 people would be the ideal number. Recommended cuisine – Mughlai food. The continental food is passable.

Seaqueen+Cappuchino/Chikbake – This is a combo treat. First you go in a noisy group to Seaqueen. Preferably on bikes, suits the mood better. Grab one of the side tables (by which I mean a table that lets you see the stars and the waves). Then you order and make a lot of noise. This is one of the favorite hangouts of the boozers… but you ought to ask someone else about that. Then after spending a lot of time in dim lighting and shady company, you pay up and ride around to Chikbake or Cappuchino. Get a takeaway icecream and cross the roadto the seaside. Then watch the stars while hogging ice cream. Then ride back to college.

The experience is the best of it. Stars, waves and candlelight… If you go early enough for the sunset, it is a sight worth seeing. The food is nothing spectacular. The crowd can be shady. But these are the evenings that memories are made of.

Broast – The best place to go for a quick dinner, when you are sick of the mess food and don’t have the time or the transport to get anywhere else. The ground floor is cheaper and is usually full of the natives. The first floor has AC and is generally empty. And each order here costs 5 bucks more. It is good to take a malyali along, just in case. The food is quite good, but not for regular consumption. Like most places, they believe in the ethic of oilier the better. Not much for vegetarians here. Recommended Cuisine – Shawarma Roll, Kababs, Kerala Paratha.

Shangrila – Take a trip to the other side. Shangrila is comparable to Mezbaan on prices, but portions are smaller and the food is not as good. But it has the benefit of generally being empty. Good for an occasional dinner. When coming back, try to pass by the Milma road.

Hitesh Sharma’s Veggie Survival Guide

For all the gastronomic pleasure that the Kozhikode’s seafood provides, this city is a nightmare for a vegetarian. When accompanying our friends, (who are usually staunch non-vegetarians) all a poor veggie can do is order tomato soup, paneer butter masala and naan. And when this food bills you over 200, you realise the unfairness of it all. Going to ‘smaller’ places is worse, for they rarely provide one anything more than Kerala parottas with boiled peas.

However time would tell you about small Gujju/Maadu run shacks that serve good veggie fare. The first that comes to my mind is the (now venerable) Rajasthani Bhojanalaya. Close to the railway station, this small, dingy and somewhat unhygenic place would first seem very unwelcoming. However the food here more than makes up for it. Serving traditional Rajasthani food, its Daal-Baati-Churma is as authentic as it could get in a land that can barely pronounce the name. The jaadi roti is even better. But one word of warning – the liberal use of ghee can derail months of diet plans!

Lovely is another haven for the veggie. On the road leading to NIT Calicut, this is a clean, quaint little place run by a Gujarati grandfather and his family. The food is very simple and there lies its beauty – the Alu-ki-Subzi, Chole and Phulka would remind you that our mess is going wrong big time. In the evenings they are prepare chaats, samosa among others, but the selection is limited and changes every day. Do have a lassi when there – its really good!

Dakshin is one of the few vegetarian, upscale restaurants in Calicut. Located in Mavoor road, there is little ‘dakshin’ about it for it serves all kinds of food. Food there is not something to talk town about, but it is a better place to take your vegetarian girlfriend that Lovely and the Bhojanalaya can ever be!

Jayesh Jagasia on Broast

Broast is like the rock in the messy sea. The unfailing red glow sign at the bottom of the hill is a source of much succour and hope to men and women troubled by the occasional (!) blip in the quality of food in the mess. Stories float around that when Broast had shut its shutters for a complete overhaul, half the campus had gone into irreparable depression.

Broast is a mere hop (on to the bike), skip (dinner) and jump (down the hill) away. And yet, Broast is not like your run-of-the-mill dhaba outside any college. Broast has attitude. It didn’t bother about hungry students or slipping market share figures when it shut shop for three months. Broast has so much attitude that it has invented its own language (loosely based on English) – Schwan Chicken is from some place in China (Broast couldn’t care less), and Gopi is something that grows in the ground and can be turned into manchurian (also somewhere in China).

Broast is eccentric – it does not believe in the consistency of its recipe. You can have three different butter chickens on three consecutive days, each with its distinct aroma, flavour and personality. And enjoy all of them in equal measure. Broast serves red chicken, pink water and brown gopi.

Komrades have Broast accounts (and secret biometric membership cards). Some will fast-unto-death if Broast shuts down. The Broast Brotherhood is the most tightly-bound (and the most secretive) club on campus. They go out for parties every third full-moon night. At Broast.

Broast is like the friend who never bothers you, but is always only two steps behind (or down, in this case) in case things start to get ugly. And they sometimes do get ugly pretty rapidly. Once in a (seldom) while, the rotis become leather-ier than ever before, the dal tastes like water, water tastes like egg, and potatoes don’t taste at all, Broast is always there.

Sahil Goyal on Chicking

Order it. Eat it. Forget it. That’s what junk food’s all about and that’s exactly what Chicking offers you!

A single-line review of Chicking would be that that it is a carbon-copy of the better-known KFC and in Calicut if someone can get even half of what KFC offers, it’s definitely worth every penny. In a nutshell, Chicking is Kozhikode’s apnaa KFC.

The menu has few choices, but most of them are quite decent ones. In case you are a Veggie the menu ends even before it starts. Apart from staple French Fries and Veg Burger/Veg Cheese Burger it does offer a few token variations: Rice, salad Burger and Veg nuggets.

While a Zinger Burger or a Veg Burger would be best when ordered for smaller gatherings, the Royal Chicken Baskets are the perfect recipe for hostel parties.

The place is just a few hundred metres from the Mavoor Road junction. The ambience is just like any other fast food outlet. Feasts at Chicking inevitably end with a sundae/ double scoop icecream treats at the Baskin Robbins right next door.

Dal-Roti lovers stay away, because this is a place specifically for fast food lovers (well, the food does not arrive all that fast). In case you’ve ordered home delivery it takes almost 2 hours. (Yes they do deliver to Kampus – contact the Chicking CoCo at room B32 for details!)

(The original Chicking CoCo was Prasanta Saha of PGP09. That noble responsibility now rests with Mayank Gupta of PGP10, who has adroitly kept the tradition alive. More on this incredible piece of Kampus culture in a future post! – Kappa)

A PGP09-er on Gayatri International Bar & Restaurant

Among the many elements of Kampus culture that we have already lost -well within the first decade of our existence – the most distressing would be binges at specially negotiated Happy Hour rates at the bar in Taj Residency. Reliable sources say said negotiations were executed and resulting benefits enjoyed on a wide scale – all without involvement of an elected KMercs. At any rate, by 2005, the bulk of the off-campus alcohol consumption business from K had been cornered by Sea Queen. The enlightened founding members of Kindred Spirits were unhappy with this situation, and went looking for alternate watering holes that were lighter on the pocket. We quickly realized options were very few, and our search culminated in the identification of Gayathri International. However we didn’t visit it too many times because one prominent founder member of Kindred Spirits gave up alcohol abuse for good…

Conveniently located just off the main road, right opposite Baskin Robbins near Baby Memorial, it is difficult to miss (if you know what you’re looking for). Gayathri is unlike any bar you’ll find in a larger city. The place has the feel or an airport hangar, with its roughly finished floor and high ceiling. If you spend a lot of time in Gayathri and then return to your hostel room, you’d feel claustrophobic. It’s HUGE. It’s dark. It’s hot. But then it’s inexpensive. They have a good veggie and non-veg menu, but the food is not great. They also have a large number of attendants, but service is not great either. They usually have some music playing, but not the kind that’ll leave any lasting impression. For example, I can’t remember what they were playing the only time I was there, and it’s got nothing to do with my memory.

To sum it all up, Gayathri is one of the few options you have if you want to go out and have an inexpensive drink. Worth a visit.

(This PGP09er was a founding member of Kindred Spirits, a most venerable club on Kampus. More on this in a separate post! – Kappa)

Aditya Patil on Sea Queen

The very mention of the name Sea Queen has been reliably known to have sent our alcohol-loving friends into the “glassy eyes with open salivating mouth” syndrome. I always thought Sea Queen, although revered by many, wouldn’t be much of a place for an absolute teetotaler like me. The USP of the place, it seems, is that one can let the spirits flow without worrying about the consequent cash outflows. It is, therefore, as our fin Gods would tell us, a positive-NPV venture. Somehow or the other, maybe because of the image that the patrons of this eating establishment carried on campus, I had always thought of it as a dark, dingy place with skimpily clad waitresses serving members of the local mafia.

Sea Queen, as I pleasantly discovered on my first visit, is a respectable place with fully clothed men working as waiters. By virtue of being a terrace restaurant overlooking the scenic Calicut beach, it can be dark at times, but in a cozy and warm sort of way. There is an air-conditioned section for those who prefer to dine indoors, and avoid the company of blood sucking mosquitoes (which will invariably accompany you in the outdoors section). On a more serious note, the food is decent (don’t miss the crispy chicken!) and reasonably priced. If you don’t drink, you can expect to spend around Rs. 200 on a full course, soup to desserts meal.

Happy Eating!

Beena Venugopalan on the Taj Residency

(In)famously, the most profitable Taj in Southern India thanks to the mid/endterm over and done with-regional-or-whatever-partying students and companies-recruiting from God’s own IIM. Well, who wouldn’t want to treat oneself to the mouthwatering desserts (creamy fruit truffle, melting Chocolate Mousse, Baked Alaska, rich Gajar Halwa to name but a few), the exotic salads and a decent main course for a nominal amount of Rs 275 ? All this in a class ambience that gives the would-be corporates a feel of good things to come!

To bring novelty to the experience, there are Food Fests at regular intervals- Sea Food, Punjabi, Biryani to name a few. The 24-hour coffee shop is another regular haunt of those seeking a cuppa coffee and club sandwiches at 3am; usually after a drive along the Calicut beach cooling off the heat of last minute submissions. The Ayurvedic Centre, which offers stress busting therapy,is another indulgence. From ribbing freshers to heart-wrenching farewells – the Taj Residency Calicut occupies a special place in the heart of every IIMK-ite!

Jeannette Marsh on Mezbaan

If you want a genuine Calicut-restaurant experience, I suggest you skip Mezbaan. For the food here is neither overpriced nor is the service so slow that your starters reach you at dessert time. And since value for money and speedy service in Calicut is generally associated with seedy side-joints, Mezbaan pleasantly surprises you with its elegant ambience. Why isn’t it more popular than it is now, you ask? That’s the problem with Mezbaan, it meanders in mediocrity. Neither bad enough to be reviled nor good enough to go into effusive paroxysms, the food is just about ordinary. “What’s in a name?” asks the chef, “A chicken dish by any other name would look as red and taste as spicy”. There is though one chicken dish that looks white and tastes different – Bellisimo! If for no other reason but for variety, do try it – I think it’s called Chicken Shahi Afghani. The restaurant also has some good Caramel Custard.

Do remember though, not many auto-drivers know of its existence, so get hold of some clear directions before venturing there.

Amar Shroff on ITC Fortune

Located in the heart of the city ITC fortune hotel happens to be one of the best restaurants in Calicut. Perfect ambience, quality service levels and awesome food happen to be its hallmarks. Apart from the regular cuisines, its menu figures a huge variety of non-veggie food (including a variety of sea food) and is a must go for every non-veggie connoisseur. The food standards are a quite comparable to Taj Calicut, but are a bit on the economical side

The best time to be at Fortune is Saturday evening when it has its famous “Saturday Buffet”. The ambience during this time is simple electric. Apart from the enthralling music, the mouth watering cuisine will make sure that you don’t stop at the second helping. And what more, it’s absolutely affordable. The evening is best enjoyed when in a group. People looking for a quite time together are advised to go on some other day of the week.

On the whole ITC Fortune is perhaps one of the best places to spend your evening with your pals.

Prasanna Bora on Lovely Dhaba

You are at the dinner table, sitting with your friends. You glance through the menu and hunt for the three letter word to the left. Well not THAT three letter word you pervert, its ‘VEG’. And if you do manage to find one among the chickens, the muttons, the beefs and more, you made your choice because you have none. Not the case at Lovely Dhaba. The moment you see the board with the ‘Veg Restaurant’ claimer, as a veggie, you almost feel like a king. Simply put, Lovely Dhaba is a household kitchen extended into a restaurant (well, almost). As the ladies cook inside, the men of the Sindhi/Kutchi family (probaby the only one in Calicut) take orders and serve you well. The best time to go to Lovely Dhaba would be during lunch hours. The menu for lunch is usually fixed, but if you are in a group of 10, you would do good to call them up and requst for a special lunch menu.

As the taste is closer to homely food, most items on the menu would not disappoint you. Do try out the raita, the lassi and channa. What I liked the most about the place was that chappatis are served hot, steamy and soft and that just makes you relish the food even more. For the next few days, the chappatis in the mess might just tempt you to go back to lovely. The lunch is served in unconventional portions of cups (katoris) and not bowls, hence refills are rather tempting. In the evenings, the place serves snacks like bhel puri, sev puri apart from milk shakes and juices. You are better off trying the NIT canteen for snacks that lovely. Limited seating, forgetful ambience, primitve ordering and billing systems are other features of Lovely. Go there for the food and nothing but the food.

A word of caution: Do not attempt to attend a lecture after Lovely on a lazy afternoon. I had a narrow escape; rest assured that you would be napping happily after the meal.

Mayank Gupta on Dakshin – the Veg

Dakshin – the Veg! This name is a complete misnomer – no no… We aren’t saying that it doesn’t give veg food… but when you come across the menu card, you think that it better be named as Uttar-Dakshin – the Veg!

Dakshin was overlooked as another ‘veg’ restaurant of Calicut, until one day the ‘Wazzaap Warriors’ mustered courage to experiment with the ‘Veg-only’ restaurant.

Probably the only place in Calicut where you’re served Dal Makhani, Sirke wali Pyaz (Onion with Vinegar), and Tandoori Roti, that too without a tinge of coconut oil! The Paneer Bhuji is one thing that won’t last on your table for more than 20 seconds unless you have gone there alone hiding from your friends. And the Masala Papad makes for an ideal starter.

Situated at the far end of Mavoor Road, nothing is better than having a Mint Lime and Paper Masala Dosa here after that shopping which has made your pocket light by a few dollars. The ambience is cool, dark and fresh and you also have a Non-AC wing where you can smell the flavour of all the food being cooked in the kitchen. The menu contains all north Indian and south Indian cuisines. Open the whole day, it also doesn’t lighten your pocket too much. Dakshin + movie at Crown has become a favourite combination of many at campus.

In short, Dakshin is a veggie’s delight with a huge variety to offer and a good atmosphere. Do try it out!

Puneet Bhaskar on ZAM ZAM

Looking for soothing ambience or a quiet evening with your friends? Well, then ZAM ZAM isn’t quite the place for you! They say “Looks can be deceptive”, and ZAM ZAM’s no exception. The menu sounds very delicious and posters of attractive fare all over the place second the thought. But order the Dal Makhani (irresistible, after looking at one of the posters) and you’ll be surprised to see an ostensibly new variety of Dal Makhani which not only looks like the usual, tired Yellow Dal but also tastes like it!

But regardless, ZAM ZAM is your typical small-city restaurant which offers its visitors good value for money (if you are a non-vegetarian, that is). The very sight of chickens being roasted in a see-through machine outside the restaurant can get your stomach growling. Along with local delicacies like Kerala Paratha, Paneer Butter Masala and Veg Jaipuri also make conciliatory appearances on the please-all menu.

If you’re one of those who like to be served at the speed of light (or at least at the speed of rogue buses on Calicut’s roads, quite a close analogy) ZAM ZAM may just disappoint you. I have been to ZAM ZAM twice and the average waiting time seems to be thirty to forty minutes. Personal advice: order in a single go, else there’s every chance you might end up eating only curry or only rotis. Coming to pricing, personal experience says that a meal for 6 (4 non vegetarians and 2 vegetarians) will hover around 500 to 600 rupees.

Finally, it’s a good value-for-money place where the food may not look very good but it tastes quite OK. In summary ZAM ZAM can be visited about once a year.

Reviews coming up soon: Kadavu, Paragon and ShangriLa. Stay tuned!

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