Monthly Archives: February 2014

Some lighter moments during travel’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

I visited Allahabad about two months back. It was a tough and tiring journey, as most of my travels are- by train, auto, cycle rickshaw and walking, in fact lot of walking. But during this I found some puzzling and funny sign boards. Take a look.

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On getting down at the railway station I got confused about the name of the city that I was visiting. The usual mustard coloured railway board mentioned ‘Allahabad’ (A as in Allah) in English and ‘Ilahabad’ (I as in Imlee) in Hindi. The railway authorities whom I asked could not explain. May be one of my readers would enlighten me on this.

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I took an auto to go to the UP Tourism’s modest hotel where I had booked myself. On the way I was greeted by this board saying ‘Garha Mazaa’ (say thick enjoyment). I was, and continue to be foxed about its meaning.

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Walking in the Civil Lines area that evening, I was attracted by the board ‘Sophia Laurence’. It was the board of a small transport vehicle parked on the pavement  which was selling ‘Paans’, ‘Paan Masala’ etc. allahabad-illahabad-nov-2013-039-420-75

Paan Masala is not good for health.

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Sophia Loren (Source of this photo: internet)

And this is the real Sophia Loren, who was quite a rage during the 1960s. And of course smoking causes cancer! By the way Ms. Loren would be 80 this September. Happy birthday.

Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath

 IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  This post is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. Readers are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

 

Contact: kjschatrath@yahoo.co.in

 

‘Tourism in Cuba’ by Naresh Whig

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‘All over Cuba, you will find small tobacco plantations. Plant Leaves are used to make famous Havana cigars.

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In Cuba,, all vehicles are state owned except those that were privately owned before the precise date of revolution in fifties. That is why you see big Chevrolets and dodges still driving around. State will never confiscate these vehicles.

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Any private household can open their doors to tourists and make money by turning the house into a restaurant.This limited private enterprise is not frowned upon.

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Cubans get their free weekly rations from shops called ‘LA Libra’ ( Lake ki dukan ) where the householders name and allocation is written in chalk on large blackboards. Every household has a specific shop from where they get their supples. Every adult is entitled to one free cigar every week that they collect from ration shop LA Libra.

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Moderation is suggested in consumption of alcohol!

Cuban children are encouraged to learn American baseball game. This s a very popular game. Top achievers get a chance to join big US baseball teams which can make them millionaires.

If you want to travel around in Cuba, you travel in buses that look like dust carts. You will have to approach a man in yellow dress carrying a box ; tell him your destination and put fares in his fares box. Yellow man is forbidden to touch the coins. He will then flag down a state owned vehicle with their distinctive yellow number plates that will take you to your destination.

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And to end this information about Cuba, please note that Cuba is the only communist country left in the world, which adheres to original template of what defines communism.’

(Article by Naresh Whig & photos by K.J.S.Chatrath)

 May I invite you to take a look at my earlier photo articles on Cuba by clicking at the following ling: www.fiftyplustravels.com ……KJS Chatrath

(i) ‘The awesome Havana Cemetery, Cuba’.

(ii) ‘Cuban Cigars’.

(iii) ‘Canchanchara’.

(iv) A lazy, leisurely walk in Habana, Cuba’.

(v) ‘Welcome to Habana, Cuba’

(vi) ‘Pssst….Birdwatching in Cuba’.

(vii) ‘Ah, those classic American beauties in Cuba!

(viii) Cars of Cuba, Part-II’.

 IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  This post is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. Readers are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

 

Contact: kjschatrath@yahoo.co.in

‘A sip of tea (Chai Ki Chuski)’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

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It was about five years back.  My son Anurag had come home from Scotland after about 5 years. One day we decided to drive up to Shimla. The weather was cloudy but it was not raining.

As soon as we entered Himachal, it started drizzling lightly. And then heavily. Suddenly we realised that one of the car tyres had got a puncture. In a really heavy downpour we changed the tyre with the help of a kind Himachali who just happened to be passing by.

It was imperative to get the puctured tyre done up. Driving slowly uphill we just could not find any shop for quite some distance.

Then we noticed that the rain stopped suddenly. And equally suddenly we found ourselves next to a tyre puncture shop.

We got down and while Anurag attended to the tyre puncture matters,  being a tea enthusiast I settled on a plastic box and ordered a glass of tea from the adjoining shop.

While I was sipping tea, Anurag framed me.

Take a look…Chai garam…

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 Photos: Anurag Chatrath

 IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  This post is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. 

 

Contact: kjschatrath@yahoo.co.in

‘MTR, Bengaluru’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

I first went to MTR way back in 1977 and was really impressed by the food and cleanliness. Then I went in 1985. The quality of food was perhaps a notch lower. Next was a trip after about ten years and I came back unhappy as the person handling the queue in which I was standing was treating the customers with less than politeness. The latest visit was in the middle of January this year. But before I talk about my impressions during this visit, a little history of this remarkable eating joint needs to be shared.

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The Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR)

Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, known more popularly as MTR, was started in 1924. It is now located next to the Lal Bagh Gate. It was set up near Lalbagh Fort by two brothers, Yajnanarayana Maiya and Ganappayya Maiya who came down from  Parampalli, near Udupi. In 1936 Ganappayya Maiya decided to go back to Parampalli and Yajnanarayana Maiya assumed full charge of the restaurant. It was originally called ‘Brahmin’s Coffee House’, but the name was changed when it was shifted to a bigger premises in 1960.​

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I have drained off all colours from the photo above and made it a little hazy to try to give an impression of MTR in the olden days.

In 1950, Yajnarayana Maiya undertook a European tour to see for himself how restaurants in other parts of the world functioned. The cleanliness and hygiene there opened his eyes. He resolved that MTR would adhere to the same standard of cleanliness. He distributed small booklets on health, proper eating habits and recipes. He introduced the system of sterilization of kitchen items. He also introduced the system of opening up the kitchen to the scrutiny of any customer who was interested. In fact, for a long time customers entered the restaurant through the kitchen so that by default they saw with their own eyes the hygienic methods of food preparation.​​

 

lalbagh-bangalore-jan-12-2014-055-420-50In 1994 the company split into two divisions. The packaged food business was taken over by Sadanand Maiya and the restaurant was continued by Harishchandra Maiya. MTR Foods, the packaged food division, was sold to Orkla of Norway in 2007.​ MTR opened its first overseas restaurant in Singapore in 2013.

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I joined a conducted morning ‘Green Walk’ in Lal Bagh last month. One of the attractions was that after the walk, the Group would have a joint breakfast at the MTR.It was a fixed menu for us and we started with  a grape juice.

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I had a problem as I thought there was an overdose of greenery in this dish. My concept of a good dish is that the embellishments should be kept in a low key- just the tease the partaker.

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The ‘dosa’ was good. Just good.

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 ‘Ghee’ is served with ‘dosa’ and some other dishes.

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 The ‘gulab jamun’ tasted as ‘gulab jamun’, nothing very remarkable though its shape was different.

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 The sweet dish we took was a sort of saltless ‘mathi’ in plenty of tasty ‘rabri’.

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Since I was part of ‘Green Walk Group’, we were served coffee in silver glasses. This is how coffee used to be served in the MTR in the past. The coffee we got was good filter coffee- nice aroma and good taste but nothing extraordinary.

The whole place  appeared dimly lit and overcrowded. Not my kind of an ambience. The quality of food is nothing much to crow about. In fact I am sorry  that I have been a witness to the falling standards of MTR over the decades even though its coffee still is so many notches above the dishwater served as coffee by a giant Multinational Company.

I hope MTR will again bounce back. And soon.

(Text with some inputs from the website of MTR)

Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath

 IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  This post is intended only for sharing information and experiences with travel enthusiasts. Readers are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

 

Contact: kjschatrath@yahoo.co.in

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