Saturday, October 4, 2014

GrubHound Prowls

Back while I was in India, the first time, between 1998-2000 and then again, for a brief period of time in 2004, I doubled up as a food writer and restaurant critic for one of it's leading English Newspapers, the Times Of India. 

During that time, I covered over 57 restaurants spanning 8 different type of World Cuisines. From Chinese to Lebanese and, from Italian to humble curb-side Indian I covered it all. I used to travel every nook and cranny in search of good food. In most instances I was led by my instinct and of course, by my nose. 

Here are clippings from some of the more interesting ones I covered on that journey. Remember my newspaper gig predates wide use of internet in that part of the World. That was the period when Ink on Paper still reigned supreme so, you won't find any hyperlinks, just plain old fashioned newspaper clippings scanned and uploaded as a testimony of all the exciting times I've had as a gastronome. 

Therefore, you will have to kindly excuse me for blurry and botched up images. They are courtesy my 2 generations old Printer scanner ;) 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Will US stand United

I like Red, I like Blue, I like everyone who can stay true. Now I know that is rather (c)rappy way to begin a new blog. One which has come after a long, long interval. Last couple of months I was completely immersed in giving my undivided attention to ma new baby, the baby is none other than a landmark in online entertainment.

After lot of debating and arguing me and my brilliant team of creative geniuses finally agreed upon this name and got down to doing basics, Producing Entertainment the kind that will make you loose you jaw and teeth laughing.

Anyways, let us leave my baby and baby sitters alone and let us all concentrate on things that cannot be laughed off. The grid lock in US government, the fight between Right and the left. As we know there is nothing Left in the Right and there is nothing Right about the Left so what do you we get a liberal dose of Palinisque extremism with extreme conservatism of Pelosism.In short, we have a grid lock fellas where all decisions will be prolonged and discussions will be anything but, pleasant.

If left wants to do right, the right wont allow it to do and, if the Reds wants the Right of the way the Blues will see to it that they have nothing Left to do. Who pays for all this, us the taxpaying US citizens and residents (alien or not). Is this grid lock good; come on was the gridlock ever good?

Now my solution to this age old problem between left and right is come on guys, take a chill pill and log on to fooblik. On Serious note they should because, that is the only way they can see how they make Elephant out of an ant and end up looking like donkeys themself.

Keep Foobliking

Friday, August 20, 2010

Old Tale with a new Twist

Of late due to popular demand I have been posting most of my notes and comments as threads on Facebook instead of blogging out here. That way my friends and followers have less hassle of switching between their screens. it is troublesome to do that, ain't it. Okay jokes apart, I am mostly wont to borrowing or adapting earlier published work even if it is an age old Aesops fable. But, FT's Martin Wolf has done wonders by simplifying the modern twisted economics in a more palatable ad understandable way. And as my sincere tribute of him, I present to you:

A TWISTED TRUTH -An Aesop Tale retold

Everybody in the west knows the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper is lazy and sings away the summer, while the ant piles up stores for the winter. When the cold weather comes, the grasshopper begs the ant for food. The ant refuses and the grasshopper starves. The moral of this story? Idleness brings want.

Yet life is more complex than in Aesop’s fable. Today, the ants are Germans, Chinese and Japanese, while the grasshoppers are American, British, Greek, Irish and Spanish. Ants produce enticing goods grasshoppers want to buy. The latter ask whether the former want something in return. “No,” reply the ants. “You do not have anything we want, except, maybe, a spot by the sea. We will lend you the money. That way, you enjoy our goods and we accumulate stores.”

Ants and grasshoppers are happy. Being frugal and cautious, the ants deposit their surplus earnings in supposedly safe banks, which relend to grasshoppers. The latter, in turn, no longer need to make goods, since ants supply them so cheaply. But ants do not sell them houses, shopping malls or offices. So grasshoppers make these, instead. They even ask ants to come and do the work. Grasshoppers find that with all the money flowing in, the price of land rises. So they borrow more, build more and spend more.

The ants look at the prosperity of grasshopper colonies and tell their bankers: “Lend even more to grasshoppers, since we ants do not want to borrow.” Ants are far better at making real products than at assessing financial ones. So grasshoppers discover clever ways of packaging their grasshopper loans into enticing assets for ant banks.
Now, the German ant nest is very close to some small colonies of grasshoppers. German ants say: “We want to be friends. So why do we not all use the same money? But, first, you must promise to behave like ants forever.” So grasshoppers have to pass a test: behave like ants for a few years. The grasshoppers do so and are then allowed to adopt the European money.

Everyone lives happily, for a while. The German ants look at their loans to grasshoppers and feel rich. Meanwhile, in grasshopper colonies, their governments look at their healthy accounts and say: “Look, we are better at sticking to the fiscal rules than ants.” Ants find this embarrassing. So they say nothing about the fact that wages and prices are rising fast in grasshopper colonies, making their goods more expensive, while lowering the real burden of interest, so encouraging yet more borrowing and building.

Wise German ants insist, gloomily, that “trees do not grow to the sky”. Land prices finally peak in the grasshopper colonies. Ant banks duly become nervous and ask for their money back. So grasshopper debtors are forced to sell. This creates a chain of bankruptcy. It also halts construction in the grasshopper colonies and grasshopper spending on ant goods. Jobs disappear in both grasshopper colonies and ant nests and fiscal deficits soar, especially in grasshopper colonies.

German ants realise that their stores of wealth are not worth much since grasshoppers cannot provide them with anything they want, except for cheap houses in the sun. Ant banks either have to write off bad loans or they must persuade ant governments to give even more ant money to the grasshopper colonies. Ant governments are afraid to admit that they have allowed their banks to lose the ants’ money. So they prefer the latter course, called a “bail-out”. Meanwhile, they order the governments of the grasshoppers to raise taxes and slash spending. Now, they say, you must really behave like ants. So the grasshopper colonies go into a deep recession. But grasshoppers still cannot make anything ants want to buy, because they do not know how to do so. Since grasshoppers can no longer borrow, to buy goods from ants, they starve. The German ants finally write off their loans to grasshoppers. But, having learnt little from this experience, they sell their goods, in return for yet more debt, elsewhere.
As it happens, in the wider world, there are other ant nests. Asia, in particular, is full of them. There is a rich nest, rather like Germany, called Japan. There is also a huge, but poorer, nest called China. These also want to become rich by selling goods to grasshoppers at low prices and building up claims on grasshopper colonies. The Chinese nest even fixes the foreign price of its currency at a level that guarantees the extreme cheapness of its goods. Fortunately, for the Asians, or so it seems, there happens to be a very big and exceptionally industrious grasshopper colony, called America. Indeed, the only way you would know it is a grasshopper colony is that its motto is: “In shopping we trust”. Asian nests develop a relationship with America similar to Germany’s with its neighbours. Asian ants build up piles of grasshopper debt and feel rich.

Yet there is a difference. When the crash comes to America and households stop borrowing and spending and the fiscal deficit explodes, the government does not say to itself: “This is dangerous; we must cut back spending.” Instead, it says: “We must spend even more, to keep the economy humming.” So the fiscal deficit becomes enormous.

This makes the Asians nervous. So the leader of China’s nest tells America: “We, your creditors, insist you stop borrowing, just as European grasshoppers are now doing.” The leader of the American colony laughs: “We did not ask you to lend us this money. In fact, we told you it was a folly. We are going to make sure American grasshoppers have jobs. If you do not want to lend us money, raise the price of your currency. Then we will make what we used to buy and you will no longer have to lend to us.” So America teaches creditors a lesson from a dead sage: “If you owe your bank $100, you have a problem; but if you owe $100m, it does.”

The Chinese leader does not want to admit that his nest’s huge pile of American debt is not going to be worth what it cost. Chinese people also want to go on making cheap goods for foreigners. So China decides to buy yet more American debt, after all. But, decades later, the Chinese finally say to the Americans: “Now we would like you to provide us with goods in return for your debt to us. Thereupon, the American grasshoppers laugh and promptly reduce the debt’s value. The ants lose the value off their savings and some of them then starve to death.
What is the moral of this fable? If you want to accumulate enduring wealth, do not lend to grasshoppers.

Immitation is the best form of flattery, Martin I am sure you'll agree

Monday, August 10, 2009

HEALTHY way out

The ongoing debates in the several sections of the American society about the pros-n-cons of President Obama's health care bill, have raised hackles of the insurance sector. They who've had free run this far, are scared that their mindless money making charades will grind to complete stand-still if this bill is passed. Thus, they resort to using ruffians and thugs to ambush town-hall meetings and raise a spectre.

This uncivilized way of getting paid bullies to vocalize and espouse their cause ain't serving its purpose in fact, this very act (that surely seems to have been sponsored) by the insurance lobby substantiates doubts about their credibility and integrity to serve the people. It just shows that their higher-ups have been milking bonuses and lavish perks thus-far by sucking blood of gullible and innocent insurance paying Americans.

But, there is another side to this story. The growth of private insurance sector has also enabled US to develop break through technologies in field of medicine and health-care. Without doubt it can be assessed that, due to active fiscal involvement of its insurance sector, today US is so far ahead of the rest of the world in innovation in health-care services. So, the challenge for President Obama lies in finding a right balance between the right and left and treading the middle-path.

Just forcing the bill through just because he has filibuster proof majority in both houses and pushing for reforms purely based on ideology will be akin to committing harakiri. A deep thought will have to go into correcting this age old practises, trying to achieve anything overnight will be anything but, fruitful.

It has been observed that in countries where Public Insurance is provided the quality of health-care infrastructre is not as updated and extensive as in those that have private insurance. Also it has to be noted that most countries with public health isurance do not have population, the size of US. It has also been observed that for obvious reasons the Private Insurance sector fosters constant need for innovation and upgradation of medical and health-care services.

So, before forcing the bill all these reasonings will have to be factored in and a middle path arrived at so that the leadership in technological advancement is not lost upon us in the blind haste.

Amen! May wisdom and reasoning prevail.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Way to LEAD

The past few weeks have kept mediamen from across the nation and the world at large, busy with the Prof. Gates v/s Sgt. Crowley episode.

Either side is justified in the way they reacted to the situation. Sgt. Crowley was justified in upholding Prof. Gates, while Prof. Gates was justified in raising protest. The only thing I found distasteful was the way race was dragged into the issue. So, much so that the usually composed and erudite President Obama, committed a faux pas in letting an inane comment give his tongue a slip, and make it audible to all and sundry who did or did not matter (read: media).

Media I think played its usual role of seizing the opportune and airing those comments over and over again. Come on guys, give the President some space, he is as human as you and me, why ostracize him over a comment thats part of all of ours daily lexicon.

I am not ashamed to admit that, President Obama with his conduct and diligent approach of last 7 months has not only managed to change my opinion about him, from skepticism to awe, but, his handling of this Race issue has had me idolize him like never before. I think President Obama has all the makings for being, the greatest the leader of all times.

I sincerely wish the leaders from around the world take a lesson or two from President Obama's book of resolving contentious issues like race and religion and employ them in their domain. Especially, our Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh can use this to get the disparate ideologues from within and outside his government to come together over tea/coffee (I dont propogate nor advise meeting over alcohol, as all sanity is lost) and chart out a course of action for the nations good.

I am sure President Obama's dealings and actions up untill today have enthralled and awed us all. Hope as he enters into the 48th year of his life, he will have more words of wisdom and act of faith to show and offer for the future generations to emulate.


May the almighty lord up in the heavens, shower upon you the choicest of his blessings.