Archive for November, 2007

Om Shantim Om or Haribol?

November 20, 2007

Here’s a trivia for you –

Q. What happens when French people resort to the only ‘weapon’ (of strike) popularized by non-violent Mahatma Gandhiji?

A. Plans of meticulous AP go haywire and he returns back to the Netherlands earlier than he wanted to 😦

Well, this may not be a good one … but it is a good entry point for me to jump into the weekend saga 🙂

If this TDH placecomer had to leave for India in a frustrated mood, then it would be detremental for the collective good of our class (especially with his PGPX marketing lined up). Realizing this, I jeopardized all my laundry plans and eagerly accepted the offer of joining him to Madurodam on Saturday. It was a great fun to see all the landmarks of Holland in 1:25 miniature models. In the evening, on the way to Indian restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised to hear Indian songs on FM radio playing in the taxi (operated by probably a guy from Pakistan)


Sunday afternoon was even more fun. We can see a revolving elevator going up and down the Space Tower of Euromast (highest building of Rotterdam at ~185 meters) whenever we peep out of the window of our B&B. But, it was really exciting (!?) to zoom on our ‘Buckingham Palace’ (as nicknamed by SS)  and see if we can take pictures of the towels drying on our beds from the top of that landmark!

While planning for the evening, we evaluated two diametrically opposite options. There was an option to view the bollywood flick Om Shanti Om –OR– to attend evening program at ISKCON temple of Rotterdam. The temple website (all in Dutch) mentions about ‘vegetarische prasadam’ and this made the choice a no-brainer; given the fact that all 5½ of us are ‘vegetarische’ – if you do not know what it means then it means you have not read my last blog 😦

After treading a zig-zag route, we finally reached the temple and started enjoying the bhajans (with one eye on the clock – waiting for the time for prasadam). But, we could not stand the all-dutch rituals (even the announcements) for long and thought of fulfilling our hunger in a nearby Pakistani restaurant – when a ‘bhakt’ came to us and tried to stop us from leaving (with help of his broken hindi dialect). He too used the bait of ‘prasadam’ (how well he understood that even religious projects are not complete without any ‘stipend’)

Finally, it was time for ‘prasadam’ and we were happy about the choice we had made. The prasadam was indeed good & filling (much better than our experiments with microwave). The ‘bhakts’ kept on serving different items till we had to say ‘pet mange no more’. I do not mind sitting on the floor and eating like monks (in one disposable dish) if I can have such prasadam every night.

Anyone interested to join for the Maha-harinam on next Saturday? The tour of city chanting ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare. Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ starts at 1.30 pm and ends at 4 pm; with prasadam, Haribol! 🙂

PS: Yippee!! I could blog two articles in a short span of week! (Is this an impact of staying in B&B owned by a publisher or what?)


3 ‘vegetarische Indiërs’ struggling in world’s ‘largest kitchen’

November 14, 2007

well well well … where do i start? I have a big backlog of things to ‘reflect’ on 🙂

Let me pick up the dichotomy of 3 ‘vegetarische Indiërs’ (dutch equivalent of ‘vegeterian indians’). Thanks to their B&B owner in goddam Rotterdam (rhyme invented by SS), the trio realized their true classification into ‘lacto vegeterians’ quadrant!

Unilever R&D labs – their IIP host – is dubbed as the world’s largest kitchen by the insiders. This is because there are hundreds of chefs and scientists doing research on food. (We hear they even prepare dishes from all over the world as part of their job!).

The dichotomy is – in midst of cutting edge research on global foods, the team is struggling to find ‘vegetarian food’ suitable to their ‘indiër’ taste buds. Eggs too are a big ‘no-no’ for the trio (with 66.67% representation from the gujju land of Mahatma). To add to their agony, the huge hallways of whole building are decorated with larger-than-life pictures of food. Every nook and corner of office (including board room!) is turned into showcase for different food packets (not to forget Knorr boxes of ‘Indiase Roti’) that keep them reminding about their hunger.

And when they try to display their loyalty towards the host company (by searching for Knorr products in the supermarket), the only thing that hits their disappointed hands is ‘Kip Madras’ (Madras Chicken) or some other non-veg item.

Looking out of the window of their posh corner office on 8th floor of the building, the only thought that comes to their minds is – what do we do for dinner?

PS: Mr. Vindi Banga may not be aware how we ‘bagged’ the prized project in Unilever R&D labs but we do not miss any opportunity to leverage the fact that he is from IIM.