Natural-Ice Creams

Well, as someone who considers himself will, an ice cream liker, (maybe not someone who is crazy about ice creams) I recently discovered “Natural” Ice creams, which came highly recommended by some colleagues. Well, if you are not sure what that is, it’s just a brand/chain of Ice Cream stores all over India.

I think there are a lot many good ice cream brands/chains in India, some of them being – Kwality Walls, Baskin & Robins and maybe even Amul. (Did anyone say Arun ?) I particularly like a few ice creams by Baskin Robins. Rum punch in particular. πŸ™‚ I am sure there are also those of you who swear by either ‘London Dairy’ and ‘Haagen Das’

So what’s different about Natural ice creams anyway ? How are they any different from any other ice cream maker ? Well, to be honest, I don’t know and I don’t care. If you really want to know the specifics, you should probably look up their website. πŸ™‚ All I care about is, they have some good ice creams and they are one store that’s open till midnight. For a late riser like me, any shop which is open till midnight is a boon.

All that aside, they have some very good flavors, especially the fruit flavors. And for a price of 35 Rs per scoop (They charge a Rs5 extra for the waffle cone.), its pretty nominally priced as well. Well, I haven’t tried out all the flavors yet, but of the flavors I have tasted, I would rate the flavors in this order,

Mind-blowing:

Sitaphal – their best flavor IMHO, Mango – comes in a close second, Tender Coconut – I’ve never really had this flavor before, and its good.

Good:

Jackfruit, Chickoo, Anjeer

Not So Great:

Guava, Kesar Pista, One-More-Flavor-The-Name-Of-Which-I-Cannot-Remember-Right-Now-But-Will-Update-Later

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Dabblings in Food

So, you think you can cook ?

Well, err, I guess I can manage to – a little bit. I can cook soup, maggi (noodles) , pasta, vermicelli. I can even make tea, coffee. Among the more difficult things on my “I think I can cook” menu there is Dal, Rice, Pulav, Many different types of Sabji’s (all with the same chat masala, ginger garlic paste and salt) πŸ™‚

Now, having eaten the same thing over and over again, often pulav and noodles, I wanted to experiment a bit. In the past, all my experiments have ultimately ended up in the trash can in one form or another. πŸ™‚ (You get the picture πŸ˜‰ ) But then, with the way in which I was getting tired of eating the samething over and over again, I decided it would be worth the chance.

Enter Chole Masala:

While shopping for biscuits and ready to eatΒ  snacks, I happened to chance upon chole masala powder. Everything mentioned in the pack lead me to believe that it was within my capability to make the dish. I could also re-experiment with my chappathi making skills. Well, considering the first time I made chappathis, I made like 12 chappathis out of a kilo atta, (with the effect of losing appetite for like two whole days) the long gap of about 6-7 months was a welcome one.

I managed to cook decent chappathis and chole masala which I could manage to eat. But then I did screw up. I put 3 green chillies as indicated in the masala pack, but turns out that was for a whole pack of Channa’s. I had used about half of that. πŸ˜› Spicy!! Thank God, I also had lassi to go with the food.

P.S: I am not going to delve into details of how I cooked for two reasons –

(i) I don’t want to bore people.

(ii) I don’t want to post (mis)-information on the internet πŸ™‚

Don’t Try This at Home

if (post_title = Slurp Suck){

Whoa, whoa, whoa!! Ok, before you start imagining things, aw, what the hell, go ahead and imagine things. When you are done, open your eyes (yes, I thought you would feel the compelling need to close your eyes.) and read further, for you are going to be truly ..what’s the word I am looking for here ? Well, let’s read on.

Ok, moment of revelation. As sucky as what I think here to be sucky. MTR soup!!

}

// The post was initially titled Slurp, Suck. But renamed to the current title in better taste. πŸ™‚

Although no authority on subjects of taste or that of cooking, I have to cook from time to time. And it is in such times that I fall back on instant food like Pasta, (more about them later) noodles, and since it is advertised to be healthy, SOUP!!

Having earlierΒ  tried almost every available flavor from Knor and Maggi, I saw that soup from MTR was available in the super market. Now, being a consumer of their rasam powder and sambar powder, I had no apprehension in checking out their soup. So, I bought “Babycorn and Spring onion” – something thats not available from other brands. But I must say, I had to rue my decision.

Well one of the other reasons I picked up MTR was that the pack was bigger and weighed more. Well, if for the same price you get more, then I atleast go for ‘the’ more πŸ™‚

The first shock was when I cut open the pack. Instead of seeing powder (as I am used to with other brands), I see a gooey paste. I do a double take and check out the pack, to make sure that it is indeed soup and not one of those ready-to-cook puches that you are supposed to put in hot water without opening. Well, it did turn out to be soup, but not quite.

Although not an expert on making soup, I think I did everything right (except empty the packet in one go, since it needed to serve only one as against the five that was mentioned on the pack.), but when I had the soup later, though it was pipping hot, it tasted more like …rasam.

Here’s presenting to you the site on MTR soup,

Well, except for the obvious editing, did you even see the work “TASTY” mentioned anywhere ? I see flavor, aroma and goodness. Well, guess what, I would also like it to taste good!! Ok, maybe they didn’t claim it and I should have paid more attention to what was written on the pack. Yes, it’s just random words that look like they mean something, but are just there so that your brain can’t make enough sense of it on time.

As one of my colleagues repeatedly likes to say (in spite of being terribly cliched), “Bottom line is, don’t buy this soup.” or, do so at your own risk.

Misadventures with Food-Part 01/infinity

You know how as bachelors, you have to cook from time to time. (Well not everyone has to)

Well, I somehow don’t understand it. I mean, its tougher than Chemistry lab. The other day, I bought this pack of dried peas, and so I decide to use it. I open the pack, put it in a cooker and cook it with some rice. Voila!! You have pulav ready. Except, the peas aren’t cooked. What the ? Why the ? So I remove the peas from the rice and painstakingly at that, and have just the rice.

I decide to call my mom the next day and she tells me that dried peas need to be soaked in water for some time before being cooked. So yesterday morning, I soak some peas in a bowl, cover it up, and go to work. Somehow things get delayed at work, and I come home really late. (like today πŸ™‚ ) And I forget all about it today as well. Can you blame me for my memory ? So when I come home today at night and go to the kitchen for some water, the whole place smells like peas.!! Man!! What a mess. Believe (you) me, never ever leave food items soaked for more than a few hours. Ill have to call my mom tomorrow and ask her “exactly” for how long I need to soak these peas.

(Oh, yes I threw out the stinky peas. Sometimes I wonder why I even venture out to cook.) Continue reading “Misadventures with Food-Part 01/infinity”

I Be Cooker – Semiya Payasam

Semiya Payasam
Semiya Payasam

Yet another day when I couldn’t find time to go have dinner, and by the time I realised the fact, the shops were all closed. (Yes, in Mangalore, don’t expect even the restaurants to be open after 10:00 PM. If you ever commit that grave mistake, you will have to simply skip dinner. (Or manage with the biscuit packets and coke available in any one of the daring shops, who open their shutters till around midnight.)

So, I come home and I am terribly hungry. Now, I have one packet of Maggi, but that’s simply not going to be enough. Thankfully, I had bought milk in one of those “daring” shops I talked about. Now, what was I going to do with the milk ? Sure I had cornflakes, (I am quite stocked on that front with at least three varieties to choose from.) but I am bored of it. Plus, I need to be “daring” as well, what with the “potti kadais” setting precedent and all. What do you know, I have semiya ( vermicelli) and I have sugar!!

Well, I agree I don’t know abc of making payasam, but hey, it’s worth a try, and it wouldn’t be the first time that I threw something I cooked, if at all it went bad. So I did go ahead and make payasam/kheer. πŸ™‚ It isn’t so bad after all. Just the right amount of sugar. Pity I didn’t have saffron, cashews and kismiss. ( dry/shriveled grapes ? πŸ˜€ )

Soup In a Soup

I caught a cold somehow couple of days back. Blame it on the rains, blame it on me sweating it out in the gym (a white lie), blame it on the lack of sleep thanks to never ending work hours (another lie). So I have been trying whatever I can to make things better. Or so I thought.

Just before writing this post, I had just come home and sat down to check my mails. I was doing so, when all of a sudden I could smell something burning. Holy $#!% !! I go to the kitchen to find a tar like substance brewing in the saucepan on the stove. Ah, yes, just before I sat down to check my mail, I thought I’d make myself a cup of soup before dinner. I was kinda looking forward to it, actually. Hoping that it would clear away my cold to an extent. (I put a lot of pepper in it. πŸ™‚ ) Instead I have an almost solid remnants of the soup that would have been delicious no doubt. Not to mention, I have to clean that darn vessel now.

Now, Ill just have to go have my dinner with no soup 😦

Infosys FAQ’s

I have the most impossible questions when it comes to knowing about things. I read lot’s of FAQ’s on Orkut and other places. I thought I’d compile my own list as most of them are unnecessarily long and badly typed out.

Do note that I do not have first hand information and all sources of information have been collected from here, here and here. I have done a considerable amount of poring over badly written comments and statements. So if there are inaccuracies, don’t hit the roof.

FAQ’s

1. What is the training program that I will undergo on joining?

2. What are the technologies that I may be expected to work on?

3. Will there be any evaluation during my training?

4. Is there an agreement/bond to be signed?

5. What should I do in case I am not able to open the PDF attachment and print the e-letter before I leave for the location of my initial reporting and training?

6. What are the documents that I need to carry on my joining date?

7. I am yet to receive my final mark sheets and provisional degree certificate. Can I produce then after I join?

8. Will the offer be valid till the completion of my studies?

9. Whom do I keep informed about a change in my postal address/email id?

10. Can I bring my personal computer or laptops to the Infosys campus?

11. When will I receive details of my initial accommodation? Till when can I avail the accommodation?

12. Where do I report on my joining date? Whom do I contact for my initial accommodation arrangements at my training location?

Answer to questions 01 through 12 can be found in the e-mail sent by Infosys. If you haven’t gotten it yet, be patient.

Other Questions

13. Do I need to prepare anything before joining the training?

Answer: Infosys had indeed given a list of books to read up on before joining the training. But if you haven’t done that, no sweat. You will be evaluated on how well you can learn and not how much you already know. It does give you an edge, but that’s all really. They teach you very well and as long as you don’t sleep,(there as well) chances are it won’t be a problem.

14. How long is the training for?

Answer: I hear that there will be a test even before the training starts.(First day of joining mostly.) It might only be for the CSE and IT students. The people clearing this test will be assigned to Short Cycle or Fast Track (as it seems to be called.) The others will be in Long Cycle. Short Cycle supposedly lasts for 8 weeks while Long Cycle lasts for 16 weeks.

15. What will we be learning in training? (Also see FAQ 2)

Answer: The training is broken into two sections. Generic Stream and Specific Stream. (You should log into your Infosys login to find out what you are expected to learn in that.)

16. How are we assigned Specific Streams?

Answer: I am not sure if there is an internal system to monitor your performances, but as far as I can see (from other comments), it seems that it is totally AT RANDOM. So all of you who cribbed about not getting a chance to choose your electives there you go, the real world is just as cruel as Engineering colleges are. It is put as based on business requirements.

17. Do I have to buy books and take any study material as such?

Answer: Not really. They have libraries. (And they will be nothing short of magnificent.) And you are given study/course material. A few say the study/course material is all you need to know to pass their exam.

18. Why is their course material called Champak ?

Answer: Your guess is as good as mine.

19. How will the exams be conducted? (or) What will be the mode of examinations?

Answer: Online I hear. It’s apparently called OLE’s (On-Line Exam)

20. What will the daily routine be like?

Answer: Morning Yoga

09:00 – Training Classes

13:00 – 1 hour Lunch

14:00 – Training Classes

17:00 – 1 hour break

18:00 – Training Classes

20:00 – Dinner

21. Are weekends off?

Answer: Yes and thank God for that.

Mysore Specific Questions:

22. So, how are hostels or rooms allocated?

Answer: A room is shared by two people. I hear the room has TV’s and two beds. It also has such things as toiletries, towels, tea bags…etc. The allotting of rooms is again random. You cannot choose your room mates.

Apparently, you can also make use of Swimming, Bowling, Tennis and Library Facilities.

23. Where in Mysore is Infosys?

Answer: The address is as follows:

Infosys Technologies Limited.

No. 350, Hebbal Electronics City,

Hootagalli,

Mysore – 570 018

24. How far is Hootagalli from Mysore Railway station?

Answer: I am not very certain of this, but it looked like less than 10 Kilometers on Wikimapia. There seems to be a station called Belagola very close to Hebbal Electronics City, but then I am not sure if Suburban Trains ply between stations.

25. How much do I have to pay for my rooms?

Answer: I hear it is Rs 1,500 -1,800 per month and it is deducted from your salary.

26. How about food? Do I have to pay for it from my pocket?

Answer: Yes, food is not on credit basis and one has to pay money. I will not comment on the quality of food. Both North Indian and South Indian Cuisines are available.

27. How will I commute within the campus?

Answer: This is one of the coolest things if you ask me. You get to drive bicycles inside the campus. Don’t worry about finding yours in the crowd. You can drive off on any bicycle as long as you stay within the campus. You better know riding a cycle though.

28. I hear there is a multiplex on the campus?

Answer: Right you are. There is one. Don’t ask me what movies will play though. With some luck you could catch The Dark Knight there.

29. What clothes do I wear?

Answer: That is clearly mentioned in the offer letter.

30. Can I take any form of electronic media inside? If, not why?

Answer: Seems like you cannot. No Cd’s ,DVD’s,Thumbdrives…etc. I heard even MP3 players are a no. Not sure of this though. You can have a cell phone with you. Camera or no camera.

As to the why, all software companies have sensitive data that should not be revealed to the outside world. They would not want you selling their company secrets. πŸ˜‰

31. Do I need to carry any money with me when I go to Mysore for training?

Answer: Yes and the Infosys offer letter clearly states that it is advisable to carry a sizeable amount of money with you. Rs 5,000-6,000 should be adequate.

32. I fall sick very often. IS there a doctor on campus?

Answer: Yes. They seem to have given it some thought.

33. I have been called on 23rd June. Can I go report on the 22nd of June and stay there for the night?

Answer: Seems so. But it is best you call them up or email them and find out. But from what I read and hear, you can report one day in advance.

34. How about salary and salary accounts once inside?

Answer: Salary will be credited to your salary account. An ICICI account will be created for you on the day you join. You should have an ATM inside the campus.

35. Is it cold in Mysore? And should I carry any woolens?

Answer: Compared to Chennai yes. And maybe you should carry some woolens.

36. Can I go outside the campus on Saturdays and Sundays?

Answer: Thankfully, this is not like a Jeppiar run college. You are free to go outside the campus on weekends. Actually, you can even go on weekdays.

37. What are the other Formalities before joining ?

Answer: You need to have applied for a passport, a four wheeler driving licence and registered yourself with NSR. (National Skills Registry.)

38. I have more questions. What should I do?

Answers: Mail Infosys. Also read here and here.

P.S: I am turning comments off because I do not want stupid questions like, I am afraid of joining, what should I do ?

Here are a few pictures of the Infosys Mysore campus I found online: