Selfie Inside Rolls Royce Phantom :)

I know all of you are already jealous reading the title. So, in your own interest, please exercise extreme caution before deciding to proceed 😛

After all, the new Rolls Royce Phantom costs 11.5 Crores (ex-showroom) in India and it is among the most expensive cars in the world. Taking a selfie inside such a car is a privilege – don’t you agree?

We were invited to cover the Rolls Royce Phantom unveiling/launch ceremony at Chennai (Taj Coromandel) today and we took full advantage of it.

Before you see the selfie, have a look at the Rolls Royce Phantom Launch event summary video (Just 30s). You’ll get a good glimpse of the car in it.


And now comes the photo you’ve been waiting to see. Here it is 🙂

Rolls Royce Phantom
If you want to go through the technical stuff and understand what makes this car so expensive, I will shortly write a detailed blog post on my other blog. So remember to come back to this post, I’ll link it from here.

Don’t you feel privileged to even read this post and watch these visuals?.?.

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PS: I already feel ultra-rich. Just imagine how much scene I’ll put if I happen to own one 😛 But first I need to figure out how many zeroes are there in that 11.5 Crores 😀

Sri Kannika Parameswari Temple Kumbabishegam @ Tiruppatur (Jan.’18)

The Kumbabishegam (Consecration) of a South Indian TempleSri Kannika Parameswari Aalayam was celebrated grandly over three-days (Jan. 26 to Jan. 28 – 2018) at AVS Thirumana Mandapam, Chetty Street, Tiruppatur (Vellore District, Tamil Nadu, India).

I went to the ceremony and made the above-embedded event slideshow highlighting some interesting photos and moments of this Temple Consecration ceremony.

The main event, Kumbabishekam was held on Sunday, 28th January 2018. Since it’s the inception of an important Temple in that area, there was a huge crowd present on the day of the Kumbabishekam.

The management – Tiruppatur Arya Vysya Samajam did a good job of organizing the entire event in a grand way with 14-Yaga Kunta pooja, arranging for meals and amenities for guests, and even arranging for a Drone Camera (via Raja Clicks Photography) to cover the event.

They arranged for the Kumbabisheka theertham to be sprinkled on the crowd via a piped long-range water sprinkler. There were poojas that involved cows, horses, elephants and hold your breath – even a snake!! 🙂  There were many cultural activities like Kolattam, Traditional drum music, Dances, and Devotional Songs.

I had the opportunity to touch the top of the Temple Gopuram (Kalasam), which by the way is accessible to the public only on that day. Overall, never having been to a Temple Kumbabishekam before, this event was a very different experience for me. Needless to say, we took a lot of photos, including a selfie with the Kalasam on top of the Temple Gopuram 🙂

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Here is the history/story of Sri Kannika Parameshwari God along with photos from the Chennai Temple visit published by me earlier.

AXN Vikings Warrior Workout by Gold’s Gym

AXN Live R.E.D TV Channel’s Vikings – The Heroes of Nords Mythology Action Drama International series is now being aired in India at 10 P.M., Monday to Friday.

Coinciding with this series, Gold’s Gym India has come up with the Vikings Warrior workout that involves doing the following workouts, one-minute each, continuously – without taking a break.

The exercises involved and their order is given below –

  1. Jump squats
  2. Plank to push up
  3. Jab – cross punches
  4. Mountain climbers
  5. Crunches
  6. Burpees
  7. Knee kicks
  8. Warm walks
  9. Uppercut punches
  10. Side plank

Here is a graphic gif illustration of each of the above workouts.

Gold’s Gym Chennai (Adyar – LB Road branch) gave a demonstration of this workout where the participants perform the Vikings Workout for 30-seconds each. Here’s the video,

For more information about AXN Live R.E.D. Vikings, refer to this article, for more information about Gold’s Gym, have a look at their Facebook page.

Business Opportunities for Indians in South Africa

Doing Business with South Africa - SICCI Session, Chennai.

Today I went to an interactive session on “Doing Business with South Africa” organized by SICCI – The Southern India Chamber of Commerce & Industry and South African High Commission @ Taj Coromandel, Chennai. Here are some important pointers I gathered from that event, for people interested in engaging with South Africa economically –

  • No. of Indians in South Africa: 1.5 Million, 3% of the population.
  • South Africa accounts for 25% of the GDP of the entire African continent. Besides, the dignitaries claimed that SA is a good base for people wishing to do business with other African countries.
  • They mentioned that companies investing in South Africa can take back 100% of the profits generated. There maybe some T&Cs, do check…
  • Indian companies investing in SEZs in SA have lower corporate tax (15%) and are allowed duty-free imports of components used in production/assembly over there. Govt. also contributes a share of local training expenses.
  • People who wish to know which sectors would attract upcoming investments could refer to Industrial Policy Action Plan and National Development Plan released by Govt. of SA.
  • Tax incentives (12 i) are available for manufacturing investments; Incentives are also available for film/TV productions and a no. of other sectors.
  • South Africa, it seems, has a lot of ore deposits like platinum, iron, etc. They have 80% of the manganese ores of the world. They are looking for companies/ partners who could help them “beneficate” (probably they mean process or convert into a product) these ores in South Africa itself.
  • Opportunities are available to supply pharmaceuticals, especially generic medicines, and other medical equipment/devices.
  • Most MNCs in South Africa (including major car industries) are 100% owned by the parent companies in the respective countries. The No. 1 automobile component they export is Catalytic Converter.
  • SA has already invested more than $10 billion USD for renewable energy. Scope for RE industry in South Africa is good, going forward.
  • Govt. plans to spend close to $2 billion USD over the next few years for developing sea ports. Opportunites for foreign investments abound in this sector also.

Have a look at South Africa at a Glance to know about the country.

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Tea Trails Cafe: Teas & Desserts

Tea Trails Cafe is a company/franchise store chain where you get different varieties of teas, chai, coffee & desserts. Did you know that a Tea is different from Chai? Teas are made without milk but Chai is made with milk and sugar. That was something we learned during a recent bloggers’ meet held at Tea Trails Cafe, Anna Nagar East branch, Chennai.

I have long wondered why there was no Coffee Day for Teas. I mean, India is the largest consumer of chai but we mostly have larger cafes selling only coffees! Me personally being a fan of Tea wanted to see a Tea Day in every locality, and looks like Tea Trails is on their way to achieving just that. Currently, Tea Trails has multiple outlets in major South Indian cities and in Delhi. But they are looking for franchise partners to setup shops in other cities too.

The ambiance at Tea Trails is better than most coffee shops I have been to. Have a look at this slideshow to glimpse inside their Anna Nagar East branch at Chennai. You can also find some foods/desserts we had there –


Of course, a cafe is not just a place to go and drink a beverage. It’s also a place to go with others and spend a good amount of time socializing. Tea Trails offers the right ambiance for that.

In tea trails, you don’t get a ready made tea. Instead, since teas are best when freshly brewed, you get a jug with hot water at the bottom and the tea extracts on top. Each tea comes with a card to indicate timing required for brewing and an antique stopwatch to measure how long the tea has been brewed. It seems accuracy is important in the art of brewing tea!

We also had the Indian Chai, Cold Teas, detox teas, herbal teas, etc. My favorite drink there was a cold tea called ‘Better Wife’. The range of desserts offered by them is also impressive. Snacks like vada pav, onion bajji, etc. have also been included in the menu.

I know you are jealous on seeing what all we drank/ate. But what to do – bloggers often get invited for such ‘tasty’ sessions and this time it happened to be us. You can always visit the tea trails store in your city and try some of their offerings 🙂 If you are there for the first time, you might get a small discount too – try asking for it.

Website: Tea Trails India.

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Doing Business with Belgium – Your Gateway to Europe

Today I went to a seminar titled, ‘Doing Business with Belgium – Your Gateway to Europe’ at Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam, Chennai. The Council General, Mr. Bart De Groof, Consulate General of Chennai (speaking in the below photo) was among a handful of dignitaries who participated and spoke about trade opportunities for Indians in Belgium and vice versa.

The location of Belgium in Europe is central as it is surrounded by major countries like France, Netherlands, Germany & Luxembourg. That’s why all the speakers stressed on the point that Belgium, more importantly, its capital Brussels, could be the central hub/distribution point for Indian businessmen aspiring to do business in the entire European Union market including the UK.

Belgium has recently introduced direct flights from Mumbai to Brussels, and it also provides faster access to major European capitals both by train and by flight. They told us that Belgium provides access to a qualified workforce with lower minimum wages compared to the neighboring countries. It seems the cost of living in Belgium is also relatively less. Something to note for Indians: Belgium has a double-taxation treaty with India.

Belgium is not only famous for chocolates, waffles, Tintin & fries but is also popular for its diamonds, mirrors, and leather shoes. They mentioned that a huge community of Indians (particularly Gujaratis) have already settled in Belgium and hold a sizable market share in the diamonds business. Of late, many Indian IT companies have setup operations in the country.

Belgium has a dedicated chamber of commerce for South India and has direct Council presence at Chennai and Bangalore. They also offer the following incentives for new companies wanting to open centers in their country by 2020 –

  • First employee (could be the highest paid one too) is tax-free for life.
  • Tax exemption for the next five employees for three years.
  • Brussels foreign investors hub offers their facilities for free for up to three months for companies wanting to evaluate Belgium to set up their operations.

It seems the Indo-Belgian Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce will shortly open portals to enable buying/selling and acquisition between Indian & Belgian businesses. Listing in these portals is free of cost, according to a speaker. There is an Assist Asia consultancy to help Indians connect with people in the Belgian market.

Belgium seems to be enthusiastic about promoting more cross-country trading between India & Belgium. Are the Indian businesses ready?

Useful links: ; Consulate-General in Chennai – Belgium in India.

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‘Know Your Rights’ Information Session by Arappor @ Chennai

“Know Your Rights” is an information/discussion session organized by Arappor this Sunday – Apr. 30, 2017. This event is free of cost to attend for anyone – prior registration by filling up this online form is required.

Time: 3.30 P.M. to 7 P.M.

Place: Jyoti Indira Thirumana Mandapam, Ramasamy Street, Sri Devi Karumariamman Nagar, Valasarawakkam, Chennai – 87. (Behind Tanishq jewellery shop) (Google Maps link for location)

It seems Arappor organizes such sessions regularly. Refer to their Facebook page to know more about their activities and upcoming events.

In this event, the organizers are expected to share their knowledge on how members of the public can interact with Govt. officials and get things done more effectively without paying bribes, etc., among other topics.

Some sessions that you can expect at this event include,

  • How to use RTI – Right to Information
  • How to obtain driving license, etc. without paying bribes
  • How to take up issues like bad roads, open drainage, etc. with officials and how to get it sorted
  • How to safeguard our natural resources like water bodies
  • What are our rights with Police and how to interact effectively with them

For further information about this event, refer to this poster and this FB event page.

I will be going this weekend and will write a blog post covering the highlights of this event once I am back. Glad to support a good initiative through this blog.  I believe that a little contribution from all of us will go a long way in improving our democracy.

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‘Birds of Prey’ book launch @ Odyssey, Chennai


‘Birds of Prey’ is a psychological crime thriller written by Archana Sarat who is currently living in Mumbai but was born and brought up in Chennai. On Sat, Jan. 21, I went to the book launch function organized by the author and publisher (Readomania) at Odyssey bookstore, Adyar.

As you can see in the above photo, the book was launched by Actor Sharath Kumar, among other dignitaries. Notable among them is Mr. Raghavan, a 90-year old former administrator and book lover!

Although the book is a work of fiction, the incidents are based on real-life cases of child abuse picked up from court files and interviews of NGO Activists by the author. As this is a topic that is brushed under the carpet by many, some awareness through mainstream fiction is always welcome.


Here is the author Archana Sarat talking about the journey of publishing her maiden book. I had met Archana before a couple of years when I joined NaNoWriMo Chennai. A bunch of us authors met and wrote through short sprint sessions combined with some fun literary discussions. We even had a full-day writing session one day with a potluck lunch!

So when the author requested me to attend the book launch event at Odyssey, I decided to go as artists need to be encouraged. The author was all praises for the way Chennai came to support the book launch and she mentioned that Chennai is the best city for the support network that exists for art and artists. That seems to be true – the hall was full of people, some were even standing!

One more reason for the crowd may have been due to the presence of Actor Sharath Kumar. I was sitting just four feet away from him when I clicked this photo –


BTW, Actor Sharath Kumar will be releasing his autobiography ‘Puriyadha Thedal’ shortly. Keep a watch for this book on book stands!

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Bloggers Meet @ Poompuhar Craft Cafe


Photo credit: Somu of Woodooz.

Poompuhar Craft Cafe is a joint venture of Sanskrriti gifts and Poompuhar handicrafts, started one month ago. The beautifully decorated cafe is located right next to the Poompuhar showroom at Mount Road, Chennai. It seems this place was a dump yard earlier, but now it has been transformed into a wonderful cafe! The ambiance is awesome with Poompuhar’s handicraft products all along the way & generous bamboo installations.


Yesterday, they had invited a bunch of us for a blogger’s meet. So me and my wife (yes she has a blog now too) went there to explore the food and meet with the management team. It seems they serve vegetarian, healthy, almost-homemade South Indian food from 4 P.M. to 10 P.M. – for now. They are open if people want to organize private parties during lunch time.


We were served their South Indian thali along with millet-based Chapati. The chapati & kara-kozhambu (along with ghee) was very nice. I also liked the thenga-sadham (coconut rice) and the sweet. Actually, I like anything sweet 🙂 They also serve healthy millet-based dosas, bajjis, soups, etc. in the evenings. Here is the team managing Poompuhar Craft Cafe 🙂


You can shop @ Poompuhar and eat here or you can eat here and shop @ Poompuhar. They are open to both 😛 Here are a couple of photos to show you the wonderful ambiance that’s been created inside.

poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-2-r poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-3-r

Here are some photos of the products sold by Poompuhar & Sanskriti on display all along the way. I have more photos, but I don’t want to photo-spam you all 😀

poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-6-r poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-7-r poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-8-r poompuhar-sanskriti-craft-cafe-mount-road-9-r

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An Indian Coupe Sports Car: DC Design Avanti!

We are familiar with coupe-styled sports cars from global manufacturers, but did you know that there is an Indian designed and Indian manufactured Coupe Sports Car?

Presenting to you: DC Avanti.

dc-design-avanti-chennai-trade-center-express-auto-expo-2016-1 dc-design-avanti-chennai-trade-center-express-auto-expo-2016-2

I took the above photos at Express Auto Expo 2016 today at Chennai Trade Center. Mr. Dilip Chhabria (after whom DC Design is named) started out designing and manufacturing accessories for premium cars. But eventually, he saw the need for an ‘affordable’ sports car (around 40 Lac!!) and produced India’s first sports car – DC Avanti.

I love the looks of this car. Only the blue and black versions were available at the expo today, but these cars are available in other (more vibrant) colors too.

Have a look at the below embedded short video made by the company that gives a clearer view of the car –

Hozz ittt? 🙂

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