Monthly Archives: May 2015

Turkish Baat 5 : Pamukkale & Kusadasi

Continued from Days 1,2,3,4

Day 5

The hotel didn’t have a great rating on Trip Advisor, but there were comments about ¬†great view. Our room overlooked the pool, so I went around asking the hotel staff, most of whom didn’t understand English. The girl at the reception seemed to, and after listening to me patiently and giving me a knowing smile, she said, “you go for tour, you get great view”! I learned later that the balconies on the upper floor got this view. We checked out after a bland breakfast in what seemed like a hall converted into a restaurant, and waited at the reception for our guide. They played The Beatles’ “Real Love”, I hadn’t heard it in a long time! ūüėÄ

Our guide Ali soon appeared,a jovial character, who later claimed he had been speaking English only for the last 3 years and had learned the language from movies and music. There were six of us in the mini van and we proceeded to the hot springs. Ali explained that most of the large hotels were located nearer to the springs and the houses and hotels in that area had two pipes – one being dedicated to the spring water. Apparently, Nicholas Cage had visited during the shoot of Ghost Rider 2 and so had Salman and Katrina, though he claimed the movie to be Ajab Prem ki Gazab Kahani. Hmm. The springs had a lot of iron, causing their red colour and a taste of blood. They were supposed to cure skin ailments. Bathing, not drinking. More

Turkish Baat 4 : More Bodrum

Continued from Days 1,2,3

Day 4

Because of the plan flip, we weren’t sure when we’d start. Like typical first-benchers, we were ready to go by 9. By about 10.15, I had gotten tired of watching Bieber and (liked Tom Hanks in “I really like you” though) and using up the free wifi and gave the tour operator a piece of my mind via mail. Turned out to be a good idea because he had forgotten that he had flipped our plans! A few calls later, we were told we would be picked up at 12.

Charlie arrived right on time and immediately brought the vacation on track. He was born in Australia, and when we told him of our travails, immediately apologised and insisted on buying us lunch. He even called the bus guy from the previous day. We didn’t manage to get the real scene behind the 10.30 screeching though! We drove towards town and saw a kite festival happening near the windmills. One particularly imaginative person had made a kite that consisted of a lady’s legs and shorts and flippers. The kite in the air looked like someone swimming. More

Turkish Baat 3 : Bodrum

Continued from Days 1,2

Day 3

The Salmakis Hotel reminded me a bit of Santorini, perhaps a less prettier cousin, mostly thanks to the construction of the hotel and the colours used – white and blue. But that wasn’t the only thing. It was the attitude of the service staff – they always had something better to do when you beckoned. D noticed that the colour of our wristband – given to us when we checked in – was different from many others. I also agreed that colour had a lot to do with the disparate treatment of guests. The view from the restaurant area was fantastic, but though the breakfast spread was not lacking in terms of quantity, it wasn’t impressive in terms of taste.

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Turkish Baat 2 : Istanbul and beyond

Continued from Day 1

The night vanished and so did the headache. We finished a heavy breakfast that involved a cheese fest, and started out on our guided tour -at 8.30 AM, after a series of tour bus changes. They bring everyone to one place and then distribute into various buses depending on the tour chosen. Our group had, among others, four Indian middle aged ladies, a Pakistani couple, a US couple who name dropped Myanmar (!) every ten minutes, a Singaporean Indian who was having nightmares of a belly dance experience from the previous night, a Chinese girl, and  an elderly Indian gentleman who was forever confused about the hotel he came from. (he raised his hand whichever hotel name was called out!) The tour was arranged by our travel operator through She Tours, and our guide was a lady named after Minerva. We also saw a hop-on hop-off sightseeing option called Big Bus Tours on the way. First on the agenda was the Hippodrome of Constantinople. It has a Serpent Column, a granite obelisk, a bronze (stolen since) obelisk and a German fountain. The place was crowded, also because there was a rally scheduled to happen in the evening. Quite a nice coincidence, because the place was originally famous for horse and chariot racing.

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Turkish Baat 1 : Istanbul, almost!

Prequel: Turkey resisted us twice, back in 2013. We planned a trip in January only to figure out that the weather wasn’t the best in all the places we wanted to visit. We tried again in May and there were protests. Not against us, but in general. This year, thanks to the house shift, it was all one big rush. To add to that, we had to shift our trip by a week at the last minute because my visa process was bungled by a very inept ‘travel agency‘.

Day 1

Maybe it was a bid to compensate, the cosmos decided to grant us an uneventful beginning to the trip. Though we began at an insane hour (4:15 AM flight) the Meru cab was on time, and we met B and P at the airport, on their way to Jordan. Chatting with them also meant that we didn’t fall asleep. Qatar Airways gave us an omelette and chicken early morning meal, and though I had plans to watch a movie, I promptly fell asleep. We landed at Doha’s Hamad airport and saw that giant teddy bear that belonged to the royal family. Wes Craven would be proud of that thing! But otherwise, quite an awesome airport, though I couldn’t find free WiFi. That tin-man playground seemed quite fun.

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Best Kept Secret

Jeffrey Archer

The third volume of the Clifton Chronicles, which picks up right at the point where the second one ended – the House of Lords deciding the beneficiary of the Barrington fortune.

This one differs from the earlier volumes by almost ignoring the protagonist – Harry Clifton – altogether. There are plots around Giles, Emma and Sebastian, and they manage to take the story forward very well despite Harry remaining in the background most of the time. More

Re: Skill

In The Entrepreneur and the Professional,¬†I brought up the challenges at work faced by my generation. The focus was on an approach to work and the changes that have been forced on it because of rapidly shifting business environments. In addition to the business’ external dynamics, another factor that has been changing the organisation is the entry of a different kind of workforce.

How the Millennial Workforce is Changing Business” calls this a revolution, and writes further that they will prepare the organisation for the future by making them Digital, Clear, Fluid, Fast. PwC’s layered report on the same subject brings out this workforce’ motivations, acknowledges the generational tensions and suggests what the organisation would need to do to attract, develop and manage millennials.¬† More

The Biere Club

When Whitefield and beer intersect, our choice is usually Windmills Craftworks, which is my favourite microbrewery in town. But this time we decided to check out the Whitefield version of The Biere Club. I have also seen it being referred to as 153, Biere Street, though that seems an outdated usage. This is located behind Forum Value Mall, (map) on the road which once hosted Like That Only. We walked in just as the power went off, though they recovered in a couple of minutes. The Biere Street name is actually quite apt since they have created a street-like appearance with a row of shops. There are about three separate seating options, and the alfresco one was completely reserved. We sat inside, near the microbrwery vats.

The menu is fairly similar to the one used in Lavelle Road, though I think there have been a few additions since this one was uploaded. ¬†I started with a Stout N Cola Shandy and D asked for a Biere Sangria. The Shandy (except for the glass in which it was served) was perfect with just the right amount of cola for the stout to shine through. The red wine sangria, though it had a fairly large role for ice cubes, was enjoyed as well. I then tried¬†a sampler of the Club Special, but didn’t like it much, so¬†went back to the trusted wheat beer.

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For the last time

I think this idea first struck me when I was climbing up the steps of the return flight from Leh, 6 years ago. In fact, I remember pausing for just that extra moment before I made my way into the aircraft. For a change, the people behind me weren’t hustling, maybe they felt the mood too. I checked the post I’d written about the trip, and sure enough, there was a mention in the last paragraph.

The idea is that if you were seeing someone/something for the last time, would the way in which you interact with him/her/it change? Would you be nicer, kinder, more caring, more thoughtful? In the instance above, I realised I might be seeing Leh for the last time, and wanted to soak it in just a bit longer. More


Piyush Jha

Piyush Jha’s Mumbaistan has “3 explosive crime thrillers’ as a descriptor, and a blurb from Ekta Kapoor that promises “entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.” All things considered, both sets of promises have been kept.

The first story – Bomb Day – has a set of stereotypes that one would associate with the subject – a prostitute, a cop, terrorists from across the border, a man with a past who is manipulated most of the time. To me, this was the slowest of the three novellas, but that’s only a relative measure, since you’d not be bored. The plot does keep moving, but there is a sense of predictability and cliches that seem to weigh it down. However, this is still a good “behind-the-scenes” look at the terrorists who hold a city to ransom and the law enforcers who try to prevent them from prevailing. More