Monday, October 5, 2015

Two days in New Delhi

Half your battle is won if you get the right material to complete a handicraft project. We made this “quiet book” from fabric and felt material.  (mostly hand stitched) 

Had been to Delhi recently and went scouting for some good fabric. We were advised to go to the Paharaganj market or the Connaught Place for fabrics. Finally we got some good stuff from Shanker market. 

It is one of the oldest local markets in Central Delhi and was set up a few years before Indian Independence.
While walking down the street, this sign caught my eye. A real good idea to attract customers. 

This guy sitting outside his shop was busy with his alteration work. 

Some shops had some good display along with their products. Proper lighting is the key factor here. 

At Connaught Place we went into this shop by the name of Wenger’s.  Later on I realised that it is the oldest Bakery in New Delhi (started  way back in 1933) 

Their displays were really tempting especially the pastries and the cakes. 

But what I liked best was their shemi kebab and the chicken patty. 

One thing that I observed at Wenger’s is the efficiency of the people behind the counter. By the time you pay your bill and get to the next counter, your stuff is packed and ready. 

Wenger’s is located right opposite Rajiv Chowk. The Chowk which has a huge flag in the middle. Don’t go by the picture below. You can see its actual size in the first video.

Rajiv chowk also has a huge metro station below the garden (by the same name) Talking of metro trains, I think the Delhi metro is the best thing that has happened to Delhi. The ticket rates are affordable and people use it extensively. Considering the lateral spread of Delhi, this is the best mode of transport. 
I heard that the rates of the second metro line (the Airport Metro) were further slashed by 50% 

This was a picture that I clicked at the starting point at Dwarka. After a few stations it was so jam packed that there was no way I could click again. 

While driving around New Delhi, I was impressed by the green on both sides.  I wonder if it is like this all over Delhi. (maybe Delhites can comment on this)

In the evening we had been to the newly opened Vivanta by Taj. (the one at Dwarka) The food was good (as expected from a five star hotel) but what I liked better was the music by Mario - the multi-lingual singer.  
It is always interesting to have live music (see second video) than piped music when you are eating out.

A special mention should be made about the ambiance especially the write up and the paintings of Kabir.

Kabir was a weaver, a simple and unlettered man, who earned his living at the loom. 

I remember learning a few of his “dohe” (verse) during my school days. Like the write up says, each doha is an aphorism in itself, a perspective that rings true, at times seemingly obscure yet profound. 

Ahead of his times, he moved about with his disciples, continuing in exile, the life of an apostle of love. . . . . . . . something very much required in the present strife torn world.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Farmers Market in San Jose

Had been to this Farmer’s market in San Jose on 24th June. Most of the Farmers’ markets are held on weekends but this one is held every Wednesday evening. 

  One good thing about these markets is that you are assured of getting some good fresh food, and you also get to taste the product before buying them. 

Blenheim Apricots are grown mostly by small, local farmers, have a more complex flavour than other apricots. They have a tangy, thick flesh, yet their acid content is balanced beautifully by a high sugar content that rounds out the tartness. They have a pretty apricot colour with a rosy blush outside, but their flesh is richer and darker orange. It is perfect for preserves as well as for drying, in addition to being a treat to eat out of hand. 

I noticed that the vegetables too looked fresh and a little bigger than what you get in India. 

As the board says, no water, no sugar, straight from the farm. 

We picked up some Strawberries and Blackberries

There was a pretty long line for the “shave ice” Reminded me of the baraf ki gola that we used to have during our school days. 

A group of children from a learning centre. Good idea with the T-shirt. If a child is lost you know whom to call. 

There was an ice cream counter too. Got some cones from them and found that their scoops were generous. 

At the end of the line there was this grilled chicken truck which was served with chunks of roast potatoes. Good to have them hot.  

Compare this with a 1934 picture of a market in LA where some musicians kept everyone entertained.

Talking of music, there was this lady who kept everyone happy with her guitar. I liked the way she plucked the guitar (you can see it in the video) While filming her I realised that she was actually blind. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Butterfly Garden at Singapore airport

Never knew that there was a butterfly garden inside the Changi airport. 

One gets to see a variety of these colourful friends. That is actually a butterfly with golden wings (looks metallic)

Noticed many tourists dropping in to have a quick look and click some pictures 

There were some sponges kept around with some sweet liquid on them. These attracted the butterflies 

Also noticed these slices of pineapple. 

Apart from butterflies and normal plants, there are some carnivorous plants too like the pitcher plant. 

Top view of the garden 

Even though it is an enclosed space, it provides a good natural ambience to these insects with enough sunlight.

As usual there was an electronic board here too, to give your ratings. 

Like mentioned here, take nothing but photographs.

This was the lady who told me about the butterfly garden. 

Her English was not perfect but she made sure that I understood what she wanted to say (see video) Also liked the way she made the tea for the customers. Each place has a unique style of preparing tea and coffee.

I liked the design of these three TV panels set up at the airport lounge.

Each TV was playing a different channel but it did not disturb others. It was because of the placement of the speakers (with the proper volume) 

So people sitting in these seven chairs could hear only the channel they are viewing. 

Talking of airports, I recently read that Kochi gets the world’s first fully solar powered airport. (The Week dt 20th Sept) 
 The GM of CIAL said “the excess power generated from the solar panels during the maximum sunshine hours would be banked in the grid of KSEB. It will then be used in the non-sunshine hours of the day. The airport used to pay around Rs 3.25 lakhs to the KSEB before the solar panels came. That is a saving of around Rs 12 crore per year. Considering the initial cost of Rs 62 crores of setting up of the panels, the break even comes within 5  years” Wish others too would follow this practice. 
I mean just imagine, these panels generate 50,000 units of power every day. This is equal to planting 30 lakh trees or running a car 75 crore miles without burning any fuel.