Review theatre

Play Review: Doubles, Triples and Quadruples

It’s quite late to review it now. Hindu has already done that and I agree to the review more or less. I had also read about this play in Leftit’s blog (an insti junior, an ex-hostel-mate and a friend) who had seen the play in Bang where it was peformed earlier. Well, but then they say it’s never too late and so goes the review.

The play was okay. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. It was honest. Actors were good. You know what? This play was like Jaane tu ya Jaane na. There was nothing wrong or painful in it. But at the same time, there was nothing really powerful enough to have an impact. You see the sketches (there were like six to eight of them by the way), the play gets over, you come back home and then you say to yourself: yeah I watched a play and didn’t get bored but at the same time, I also do not remember much of what I just saw. Got the point?

But, but, but. What did have impact and things that I did remember were the fillers between the sketches. Every time a sketch or two got over and the set needed to be changed, an actor would come up on stage and start telling some experience from his or her life. I loved TMK’s and Shakila’s. What they talked about was hilarious and cute at the same time. In fact everyone else’s monologue about specific life experiences was good except Kalayani’s who was the only other actress in the play besides Shakila. Her’s was boring. Actually on a technical note, Kalyani’s voice coming through the speakers did not sound good in any of her sketches. It was too shrill for the ear.

What else, what else, what else? I guess that’s about it. I like talking more about the quality than the content. If there is anything else that deserves a mention then it’s the high percentage of original content.

Final comments: good effort at writing orginal sketches, good acting, costly tickets by Chennai standards, amazing marketing but definitely not a classic.

coffee Review

Coffee review: Nescafe Gold

Note: Since I have my coffee only black, this review is only about black coffee made with Nescafe Gold.

Alright first things first. It is friggin costly. While the widely available Nescafe Classic comes at Rs. 130 for 100 grams, a 100 grams jar of Nescafe Gold costs a mind blowing 350 bucks.

Now, everything else. 🙂

Is the taste better?

I really cannot answer that. All I can say is that, it tastes and smells totally different from Classic, more on the lines of filter coffee decoction. The taste is very distinct and the coffee that you get using this instant coffee powder is somewhat thicker than what you get using Classic.

This stuff even looks different, from outside the jar (as you can see in the picture). The powder is not really powdery but consists of big brown grains (though very soft and crushable).

I need some time to get used to this new aroma and taste. My only concern is getting too used to Gold because if that happens then I might not be able to enjoy my budget coffee (Classic) anymore and would have to keep spending fortunes on drinking this royal stuff. Alright, let’s just make one more mug. 🙂

Update 1(on June 24th 2008): Only 1/10th or probably 1.5/10th of coffee remains till date. And no, I didn’t quite like the taste. Of course, this is a very personal opinion and there is no way I can conclude anything. You try it out. Who knows you might like it. So yea, once this stuff is over, I will go back to my classic till I spot something new to try again.

Update 2 (June 27th, 2008):The coffee got over yesterday. Sigh!


Food review: Mash, Chennai

If you are a non-vegetarian in Chennai, you just HAVE to eat meat at Mash on Beasant Nagar Chennai (Prachi, if you happen to read this, please leave the name of the exact item that I had yesterday, as a comment). This eating joint is one first floor, facing the main beach road and is located extremely close to Pupils (two or three buildings away towards north). There is an outside seating area (which can take like 10-15 people) and an inside one (which I guess can take in more).

It’s just lovely to sit there, in the open area, fagging, staring at the wooden conical ceiling and those cute lights hanging from it, facing the beach and the evening wind that exists at the beach, and eating the extremely yummy food that they serve (and serve fast). Two of us ate for something slightly more than 200 bucks and believe me I could not finish my rice-chicken dish completely in spite of it being so delicious. They feed you up. Good quantity.

Any negative? Well yes, it’s a small place. I won’t recommend it if you are like going in a bunch of 15. Everyone wants to be there, so if you are not lucky, you just won’t get a table too fast. We were just two of us and didn’t have to wait, but I could see many others waiting outside. Also, sometimes their card-reader doesn’t work so keep cash with you.

PS: All day today, and half of all day tomorrow, I would be in a train. Will you believe that instead of taking with me a fiction or a non-fiction to read, I am carrying a text-book called Cost Benefit Analysis Concepts and Practice? 🙂 Anyway, it’s 5:20 AM and my train leaves Chennai at 9 in the morning so I guess I should start packing and all that. Shit, I forgot to take a print out of the ticket. May God and TTE be with me. You don’t worry about all that. You just go to Mash and eat. Adios.

general Review

Food Review: Sanjeevanam

Sanjeevanam is one of the biggest market gimmicks that has been played in the recent times in the restaurant business. The best thing is that people actually fall for the gimmick. Welcome to the world of health food.

Sanjeevanam has couple of branches in Chennai. A friend took me to the one in Indra Nagar (Adyar), which is nothing but the ground floor of a big house turned into a restaurant with a Mallu ambiance thrown in. Why does on usually go to a restaurant? To have good and tasty food and for a change of air. But Sanjeevanam is one place where you should go only if you are totally bored of delicious food, and for once, want to convince yourself that there are worse things in life to eat. Go to this place to stuff cabbage down your gut, all in the name of health food. Visiting this place was a change of fresh air for me for sure. I almost felt like Hrithik Roshan from Dhoom2 who ate green grass and thought Aishwarya Rai would love it.

So far in your life, after having taken your seat in any restaurant, the first thing that the waiter would have asked you, must have been something like: ‘Mineral or regular water, sir?’. At Sanjeevanam, they don’t ask such useless questions. They force you to drink only green colored luke warm water, all in the name of health drink! Hot water in summer? GREEN hot water in summer? Blah. Methi water my ass. I guess they climbed up the roof and filled the glass with raw water from their algae clad Syntax. A two year old kid sitting on the adjacent table got so disturbed by the temperature and color of the water that he spilled it all to his mom’s embarrassment.

The menu was full of funny sounding names. One fourth of every page of the menu card had at least one two-word food-item, Tofu being one of the words (Tofu palak and Tofu fry and Tofu masala and Tofu this and Tofu that). Have you ever heard of a name of a dish that sounds funnier than Tofu? TOFU? And guess what Tofu was supposed to mean all this while? Paneer cooked without salt! I gave up. We gave up! This place, for the first time in my life, made me say this to myself: ‘I am so gonna like my mess food tomorrow’.

Another item idiappam, which at first (going merely by the name) promised to be some kind of idli-uttapam mixture, when served, happened to be a badly cooked sevaiyaan topped with milkmaid. It sucked. The only things that were not bad included the veg clear soup, the rava dosa and the stuffed parantha. We didn’t go for any juice after having finished eating, for the fear of being served some kind of colred electrol powder solution, promising to reduce one’s blood pressure.

Actually, as a parting note, go try out this place. It of course, in no way is going to make you healthier, but it will make you realize that there at least are certain health-foods, which taste fair enough even when they are devoid of regular masala and oil. By the way, if it helps, it is a very economic place where you can easily satisfy yourself in about 150 bucks. All the very best.

Timings: 7.30 AM – 10.30 AM, 12PM – 3 PM, 7.30 PM – 10 PM

How to reach? Refer the map below. The place is marked with A.



Book Review: In the light of fireflies

I had slept in another hostel the other night. When I returned to my room today morning, I found a hard-bound book lying on my table (I seldom lock my room) with a note tucked in. As I read the note, I recalled meeting the author’s son in Sharav nite, when I was sitting all alone in a secluded corner in SAC, trying to compose myself and feel better about my life. This second year guy had spotted me and had come sat next to me to ask if I read philosophical books and poems. I guess I had given him a ‘hmm.. sort of’ reply. He took my room number and disappeared in the crowd with a promise of catching up sometime. He wanted me to write a review of a book that his mom had written. I don’t know why, but he had ended up cheering up my mood that day when I was lost in my own flood of emotions.

There it was, the book, lying in front of me. I picked it up and flipped few pages. It was a book full of short poems. I liked the cover page and decided to read it right then. I was done with it in less than an hour. I slept for a while. When I got up, I read it once more.

It’s evening and I guess it’s time I write what I felt about ‘In the light of fireflies‘.

The Review

To be frank, the only book of poems by a single author that I remember having read is one by Tasleema Nasrin. In her book, almost all the poems were on men. ITLOF belongs to a totally different genre.

ITLOF lets you peek deep inside a hurt and a butchered soul. It also lets you observe, how the soul recovers and finds solace in the firm faith in God and the newly acquired belief that life is but a play time. Most of us have questioned the purpose of life at some point of time. The author was forced to do so when she lost her pilot husband in an airplane crash. This book is not a great literary piece but it’s beauty lies in the fact that the author succeeds in capturing her emotions, learnings and insights in minimal words.

You might or might not learn anything extraordinary about life after reading the poems but you will definitely be able to relate to some compositions, almost as if you had narrated them to yourself on that lonely walk you had on a lonely night. I would love to quote something from the book, that personally, I could very easily relate to:

Everyone says:

“Give love, Give, give and give
Until it hurts.
True love is only giving
Without expecting anything in return.
Love is only giving, giving
And giving.”

Is this true love?
In true love, there is no giving or taking.
When you are one with your beloved,
Who cares, who is giving and who is taking?

Do you think you should read this book? Go grab a copy. Or read another review in the Hindu.

Update: (20th April, 2008): Review by Leela



Kafeoke is a café- restaurant in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai which is definitely worth a visit, not because they have out of the world food there but because of it’s location and the sea-beach view that you get when you sit in the first floor balcony. Ask me to define the place in one word and I would say: ‘romantic’. The food and drinks are costly but the pleasure of having them at such a place is worth it. Also, location wise, it is an extremely isolated structure, and a typical beach-house which looks likes a home in every way you look at it. I love places which look and feel homely.

This place has a website, and let me quote some useful info from there:

The food menu comprises of coffees, teas, milkshakes, fresh juices, mocktails, vegetarian and non vegetarian sandwiches, burgers, frankies, hot dogs, kebab platters, fries, salads, cakes, ice cream, desserts and continental dishes in addition to continually updated features from the Greek, French, Lebanese and Italian cuisines. The Lounge works from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm and there is a Saturday night buffet from 8:00 pm and a Sunday Brunch from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

How to reach: To reach this place, turn right from Thirunvamiyur bus depo, hitting the ECR and then take a left from the first traffic signal (immediately after Olive hotel on the left side of the road). Then keep going straight till you hit the beach, and the Kafeoke.

By the way, if you have a band, then you are going to love this place more than I can ever. They have all the facilites for you to play your own song and even record it. Find more of these on their site if you are interested.

Happy Kafeokeing!!

PS: If you saw the traier of Karma, the first scene where characteres are introduced, was shot in Kafeoke.

Update: Map added (Kafeoke is marked with A, notice it’s proximity to Thiruvanmiyur bus-stand)


caricatures movies Review


Sweeney Todd is a kid movie which no kid can watch. The movie is like a gory nursery rhyme. The costumes, the lighting, the cinematography, the music, the acting, the direction, everything is brilliant. But what the fuck is the story? A psychopath starts killing people generally till as expected, he himself is killed? Everyone says, don’t watch the movie for the plot. I ask why?

You might like everything about this movie because everything is very classy. For example, the way Depp and Carter have delivered their lines is totally more than impressive. But you cannot like the movie as a movie because the plot is outright kiddish. In fact I refuse to call it a movie. It is a visual abstract art which is very charming but at the same time makes absolutely little sense. Whatever.

For me, the best part of watching this movie three days back at Sathyam was the intermission. I ran into Jo who plays my girl-friend in Karma, and Ashwin under whom I had one my internship about two years ago. And oh, by the way, I walked down from Sathyam to my hostel alone. Aise hi, felt like walking alone. 🙂


Review: Shastri Nagar Sharks

It is a very country pub on Sardar Patel Road in Adyar, Chennai, very close to IIT and bang opposite Shakes-n-cream. Yes it is country but you might like it for two simple reasons.

  1. Beer comes for 115 bucks a bottle
  2. They have good pool tables

What exactly I mean by country is the ambiance and everything. Also, don’t even expect to find any girl there. If you have one with you, better avoid the place. Go to SNS if you don’t want to drink in your room and still don’t want to spend five times the cost of the bottle for doing the same elsewhere.

Any idea why they named it Shastri Nagar Sharks?


Food at Mathura

Mathura is a nice veg restaurant on the second floor of Tarapur Towers (keep moving north on Mount Road, a kilometer ahead of Spencer Plaza). They serve nice north Indian food at a budget rate. The food tastes as good as it does at Sangeetha. The place is spacious and big and has a warm feel to it. The waiters are humble (though not very smart). Ten of us ate there today. We had soups, curries and stuffed parathaas and ate till all of us were full. It cost us Rs. 1655. Fair. Try it out sometime if you are looking for a non-exorbitant place to dine.

PS: Debit cards aren’t accepted at the place but ATMs are nearby for you to withdraw cash. 🙂


Ten Downing Street, Chennai

When at this place, drinking beer and blowing smoke, you just might feel like you actually are at a rich friend’s place who owns a mansion in T. Nagar. Yes, this pub succeeds in creating that home-party like environment where there’s enough room to sit and where the music is not too loud for you to talk.

The place is costly but then besides the money part, I couldn’t find anything else that was bad. If I try to be a total jerk critique, I might say that the dance floor could have been bigger. But frankly dear, I guess the small dance floor only helps give TDS that homely appeal.

PS: Thank you my dear sweet friend for the treat! You made my day! I loved the place and the booze and the sutta and the chicken (I still don’t remember the word that follows chicken) and the peanuts and the dancing (if it was anything close to it, given that I kept falling down 😛 ) and above all your company. Thank you so much! 🙂

How to Reach?

Look at the map below. TDS is not market on the map, but you can locate The Residency Towers. From there you have to keep walking up on the N. Boag road for about 300 metres. TDS is on left side of the road if you follow this way.