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Monthly Meet - December 2017 - Chennai Centennial Heroes

Monthly Meet - December 2017 - Chennai Centennial Heroes

Date - 17/12/17
Place - Hotel Pratap Plaza
Time - 6 to 9pm
Special Invitees - Dr Sivakumar(Cancer Specialist) & Mr KS Rajasekar,GM-Marketing Bharat Matrimony
Guest of Honour - Ln Bose, DC

Our club hosted the monthly meeting on the above said venue. PST were present & so those who could make it including Ln Rajaram, Ln Sankar, Ln Vinoth, Ln Suresh, Ln Thiagarajan, Ln Dr Luther Seth & Lioness Priyadarshini 

At the outset, I would like to personally thank all who made it yesterday & looking forward to the participation of other members in the forthcoming meet.

President called for the meeting to begin. After a brief introduction, Ln Bose started speaking to us for good 15 minutes. He spoke about leadership & said how he skipped few business client meets yesterday for the purpose of attending our meeting. We thank you sir for the gratitude.

Then it was the turn of Dr Sivakumar who took over & spoke to us in great detail on how cancer affects us, the reasons & precautionary measures. He also did speak about the Paediatric Cancer & the reasons of its occurrence. It was an eye-opener session for us. We thank Dr Sivakumar who had come along with his better half despite his busy schedule.

Finally, it was the turn of Mr K S Rajasekar,  GM-Marketing of BharatMatrimony. Despite reaching Chennai only in the afternoon since he gave a presentation in a summit in Kochi & his daughter’s birthday, he arrived as promised by him at 7:15pm & gave an excellent speech on leadership taking the example of Sachin Tendulkar & his he exhibited the skills during his tenure in the Indian team. We all were enthralled by his sheer knowledge & speaking skills. Thank you sir for making it for us despite your busy schedule.

Finally, it was felicitations where a novel was presented to the Guest Speakers, DC, President & Treasurer and need the day with a sumptuous dinner.

Points discussed - Membership which would be the driving force in strengthening our club

Pics were shared already in the group. Videos are up on the You Tube Website.

Sincerely,
Ln Sarath Babu S,
Secretary - Centennial Heroes

Book Review - To The Survivors


Title - To The Survivors
Author - Robert Uttaro
Genre - Self Help
ISBN - 9781490931661


A book that brings out the darker side of life which often goes unnoticed since no one is willing to discuss about it. The book is about the rape survivors and how they came up strong leaving back the untold miseries that their life has brought on unknowingly and unsuspectingly.

This is a common phenomenon across the globe with not so severe punishment given to the offenders but on the other hand, the victim is subject to lot of untold hardships. This book will be an eye-opener and would also serve as an inspiration for the affected who at times are forced to take some extreme steps.

Divided into 22 chapters, the author Robert Uttaro(Bobby) who has worked in THP(The Healing Place)as a volunteer counsellor for sex/rape victims mentions about how this .has evolved and how some of the rapists go scott-free including some priests who weren't punished but were transferred to other parish. The author is not critical about any religion as he rightfully points that there is a Supreme Force above us which we call/believe as GOD.

We from India wouldn't have forgotten the famous Nirbhaya case which became a sensation after it got wide coverage in the media but we hardly would have got to know as to how the affected family felt especially after losing their daughter to the brutal rape and the events that followed after that. While murder is something which is not in our hands to be prevented, suicide and intention to commit suicide can certainly be prevented. It was a real shocking one to me to read that even in a much developed country like US, people are sceptical to talk about rape and there is no much awareness spread among them to get counselling in case they were a victim or been affected in the past.

The very famous sex scandal case which has rocked the Hollywood came to limelight very recently and what was even more shocking was some of the reputed women artists were also a victim. I am glad that at least by now they all came out openly to talk about it which has cornered the once famed producer. Sadly, many of the artists even in the Indian film industry has spoken about it since they were influenced by the so called powerful producers and directors who wanted a sexual favour in return for casting them in the film.

The list is actually long. It happens in a household with domestic maid to corporate where promotions are given based on favours received, While I am not accusing all, it is happening across the country which no one talks about. At this juncture, I would also like to mention about our own helpline SNEHA which gives counselling to those who were affected by sexual abuse.

It is also to be noted here that child abuse is on the rise since the kids who were unsuspecting were subject to molestation which also needs greater awareness. This book is certainly an eye-opener and may be used a tool for reference. The best part that anyone could do is to deploy the RAPE SURVIVOR. It is difficult but can certainly do wonders because it is the affected who can understand things better and can drive the message in the right direction,

The book may not be exhaustive since the rape happens in different forms in different places but it gives insight of what exactly is a sexual assault and what the victim can do. A must read for all irrespective of country,creed,caste,religion and age.
#SBIComputerSecurityDay

#SBIComputerSecurityDay

The world has grown and developed by leaps and bounds. Social Media has literally shrunk the world. The development which we have seen in less than 2 decades can easily outpace the development we have seen in few centuries prior. What has made this even more attractive is the reduction of browsing charges. With the introduction of mobile, the rate of internet connection has fallen steeply and India is currently one of the cheapest when it comes to charges per MB.

We have witnessed the rates which was as high as Rs. 100+ per GB until a year ago has now fallen to less than Rs. 20 per GB. Gone were the days of dial-up connection where we use to pay dual charges - towards ISP and Telephony. We get a package these days where all are bundled be it calls, SMS, Data - all combined.

With advancement in technology, we also have some serious security threats. These are very much out there and the unsuspecting public fall trap to this. It happens despite banks taking many measures in educating them by various means - be it via mailer, SMS, TV and Newspaper advertising etc. Most of the time it is the youngsters or the aged people who fall prey to scams.

While we have been born and brought up in an environment where we have been asked to share almost everything, we also tend to give away some of the crucial information related to our account. Earlier, these scams happened by way of sending a mail disguising themselves as the bank which had sent it. These fraudsters have even used Bank Logos and paid domain mail IDs which look very much similar to that of a mail from the bank and usually have links. When the recipient clicked on it, it would take them to a fake website where all their details would get captured and the money from the account would get wiped off almost instantly. With regular updates and promos being spread about the awareness on these phishing scams, the general public have become very much aware that they hardly give any importance to these mails.Then came another way of scam where the skimmers were used (it is still used in some places) where the card details were captured and used for online transactions. Banks took more pains to address this issue as well. They introduced a fool-proof system called Two-Way authentication. In this, a bank customer would not only have to use the pin number of his debit or credit card but he/she will also get another pin number called OTP (One Time Password) being sent to their registered mobile number with the bank.

Only with the usage of both, a transaction gets approved. This came as a big blow to the fraudsters who tried their trick by calling up the customer to get the OTP number since they would have already got their card details by way of skimming or through online (when the customer had given all the details earlier unknowingly on a fake website). It is imperative for the customer to know, that they are not supposed to disclose crucial information to anyone, even to their spouse.

What are the steps one must take to safeguard their account?

1. Keep the anti-virus up to date.

2. Do not use public computer to transact from your bank, online.

3. Enable the firewall.

4. Keep changing the password for the bank account online login, regularly.

5. Do not enter the details on the site which has not got "https" since the banks would always use a secured site.

6. Do not disclose your details to anyone especially over the phone even if they say that they are calling from the bank since the bank will never ask for it.

7. Do not fall prey to cheap tricks like conversion of reward points for cash or greater rewards over the phone.

8. Do not disclose any security info like your date of birth, mother's maiden name etc.,

9. Fraudsters will never call from a landline but mostly from a mobile phone. Do make a note of it.

10. Do not keep a written record of your PIN. Even if you do, do not keep it along with the card since it poses greater risk.

11. It is better to memorise the pin and you may strike off the CVV number of the back of the card after memorising it as well.

12. If there is a suspicious transaction that you have spotted on your account, notify the bank immediately and block the card.

13. Opt for Card Protection Plan(CPP) as it gives greater protection towards loss/theft of your card.

14. Ensure that you shut down your system only after you have logged off from your bank account, online.

15. If you suspect your computer is infected by a virus, do not use it to log on to your bank account online unless the virus is fixed and removed.

16. You may use virtual cards for online transactions since they are much safer.

17. Do not keep all the funds in a single account.

18. Do not discuss your account details in a public place.

19. Always scan the pen drive when you are using it on your laptop/PC.

20. Go for the anti-virus which gives complete protection rather than the basic one.

21. Opt for online statements.

22. Keep the lost and stolen number of your bank handy.

23. Do not use a simple password. Use them in a complex combination of word, number and a special symbol.

24. Use different passwords for different purposes. Do not use a single password for your social media login and accessing bank account details.

25. Install apps and software only from trusted sites.


Most importantly, share this information with your family and friends since not everyone knows all of the above mentioned details. It is better to share the info on security and safety rather than sharing the account details and login credentials.

Book Review - Melody's Key


Title - Melody's Key
Author - Dallas Coryell
Genre - Fiction(Romance)
Publisher - Createspace Independent Publishers
ISBN - 978-1533430212

Melody's Key is a slow paced romance fiction story set in a sleepish British county. Tegan, the protagonist lives there along with her family. She had a secret which she kept it to herself without revealing it to any and use to visit those memories once in a while as it got locked with the key to that staying with Tegan which she protected dearly.

While things were going in a normal way, their family had a surprise visitor from U.S. Though Tegan who earlier had a relationship with Cale started seeing Simon, this new visitor Mason Keane came as a breeze in her life. Tegan did not had a good image about Mason in the beginning but things started happening in such a way that she began to realise slowly that her notion about Mason was incorrect. Mason did not do anything out of the blue.

What did Mason do then?
Did Tegan fall in love with Mason?
If she did, what happened to Simon?
What was the secret all about?

Give a read of this bulky novel which would be a perfect companion for you when you are feeling lonely since it would bring back some of the memories you would have had in your life. 



The book is available on Amazon.

Book Review - A Hundred Little Flames


Title - A Hundred Little Flames
Author - Preeti Shenoy
Genre - Fiction
Publisher - Westland Books
ISBN - 978-93-86850-42-3

Before I could start writing my review, my heartfelt thanks to the author for penning such a wonderful story. After looking at the front cover, I had a different notion about the book but when I started reading it, I could not help but lose myself in the story.

This may be a usual story but it is certainly a story with a difference which will make it to stand among other stories and I can also say that if this story is made as a movie - preferably in Malayalam, it will be a sure HIT.

The story shows two contrasting worlds - one that of a every busy and mechanical city life and one that of a serene life of the countryside. The protagonist of the story are not one but three of them. Gopal Shanker, the grandfather of another protagonist Ayan Shanker and Rohini.

The book shows the difference between what goes on in making wrong assumptions. It also emphasises a point strongly that two people can be good friends for life and that friendship can become love or vice-versa which need not have to always end up in sex or marriage.

The journey which Ayan takes from Pune to Thekke Madom(his grandfather's house) in Poongavanam village in Kerala was captured so beautifully by the author and so as the characters associated in the entire story which made me cry literally in few places and I can bet that this story will either make cry or move your heart for sure.

Indulge in it now as once you start reading it, you will lose yourself in this amazing journey.

This book is available on Amazon at more than 50% discount.So do grab your copy now.

Gourmet Queen Asha Khatau back with her next book, NOUVELLE INDIAN CUISINE











Gourmet Queen Asha Khatau back with her next book, NOUVELLE INDIAN CUISINE

Yogurt Romesco dip, cheese papad rolls and thepla quesadillas anyone?

Smt. Amruta Fadnavis launched THE GOURMET QUEEN, Asha Khatau’s latest cookbook “NOUVELLE INDIAN CUISINE “at Crossword Bookstores, Kemps Corner today in the presence of Chef Vicky Ratnani and singer Ms. Anuradha Paudwal.

The celebrated author has been in the news. At a show celebrating 20 years of Gourmand World Cookbook Award, it was announced that Asha’s debut book “Vegetarian Cuisines of the World” was also chosen as one of the Top 20 books in the world and is amongst the “Best of the best in the world.

Commenting on the launch of her book, Asha said, “Nouvelle Indian cuisine is the 12th book in the Epicure series, explains how Indian cuisine can be presented in western style. It was inspired by French nouvelle cuisine, which began over a decade ago. The hallmarks of this cuisine are dishes plated aesthetically in a modern style that are also lighter on the palate. Discover the beautiful combination of the traditional and the modern, and I am sure it will make cooking and eating an ever more pleasurable experience.”

The book is a treasure trove of fusion  recipes. 

Welcome drink suggestions include cucumber buttermilk, ginger rasam with kaffir lime leaves, lemon sherbet and rose syrup sherbet with rose petals.

A range of ideas for starters include yogurt Romesco dip, cheese papad rolls, thepla quesadillas, Masala khandvi pie and even baingan bharta in savoury cones. Yummy!

The main course has delights such as dum aloo jhalmudi, palak paneer frankie rolls and tricoloured dhokla flan.

The well-spoken Amruta Fadnavis added, “ Recipes  today are all over - on blogs,  on the internet. With books like these, the traditional method of having a book shelf, will find the right place.
"I got the copy of the book a few days ago and it has  very good ideas and recipes. This book must go international because there are lot more  people out there in the world who actually aspire to cook Indian food and I think there are lot of trending and attractive recipes, with very limited ingredients. I would also want to make these dishes with her sometime, ” added Chef Vicky Ratnani.
 
 
More about the author

After 20 years of experience of providing delicious meals to her family and friends, Asha was persuaded to write a book in that field after the success of the cooking classes.

She has not just conducted cooking classes but also cooking demonstrations in India as well as different parts of the world. During her extensive travels in India and abroad, she made it a point to visit local bazaars and restaurants to taste authentic flavors and ingredients.

Bachchan at Crossword:I will support attempts to chronicle the Indian film Industry




Crossword hosts Amitabh Bachchan as he lends a foreword and his presence to SMM Ausaja’s book.

SMM Ausaja is a renowned film historian and renowned archivist of vintage film memorabilia

A book titled ‘Bollywood – The Films! The Songs! The Stars!’, has the God of Bollywood himself doing the honours at Crossword Bookstores, Juhu.

Written by SMM Ausaja, Karan Bali, Rajesh Devraj and Tanul Thakur, ‘Bollywood – The Films! The Songs! The Stars!’ is a comprehensive illustrated guide and coffee table book , a tribute to India’s tinsel town, filled with trivia and facts about some of the most beloved actors, films, and songs – replete with riveting background history – that Bollywood as an industry has produced since its inception in 1913.

Speaking at Crossword Bookstores, at the launch, Actor Amitabh Bachchan, who has penned a foreword to the dazzling book, also came to launch it for his friend, passionate film admirer, curator and journalist SMM Ausaja.

“I abhor the title of this book,” says Bachchan, arguably India’s greatest thespian for over five decades now,  in his foreword. “The Indian Film Industry is what I shall always refer to as Cinema in India. We are an independent creative industry and not a derivative; any attempt to imply otherwise, shall not find favour with me.”

Bachchan’s angst comes from the fact that Bollywood is in some ways, much larger than Hollywood. It releases more films than the US and in the world.

Maulik Desai, Head Crossword Bookstores observed, “The physical presence of Crossword Bookstores’ in today’s world has become all the more relevant. In our 25th year, our relationship with our customers has gone beyond just products. Our mission is to build community centres where people gravitate; be it influencers, authors, anyone who has a story to share.Such events are special and welcome.”

During the launch Bachchan, while lamenting the absence of film documentation of the Indian film industry, which he terms as a “malaise”, shared interesting anecdotes that opened the intrinsic value of Bollywood for its fans.



"I will support attempts to chronicle the Indian film Industry," Bachchan added, speaking at Crossword Bookstores.

Author Focus : Mr Anil Shastri of "Lal Bahadur Shastri Lessons in Leadership"

Mr Anil Shastri needs no introduction. He is the son of India's 2nd Prime Minister Bharat Ratna Lal Bahadur Shahstri.

Pic Credit - Nagpur Today

He has come up with a book called "Lal Bahadur Shastri Lessons in Leadership". I will be reviewing the book shortly on my blog. I had an opportunity to interview him and he was kind enough to provide me with insightful answers. Give it a read.
1) There are lot of books being written & published featuring the great leader. How is this book different from others?
 Ans.     Each book has its own quality and so is the case with the books written on Lal Bahadur Shastri.  However, “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Lessons in Leadership” is the first book which is a collection of anecdotes from the life and times of the late Prime Minister.  Each of the 72 anecdotes gives an idea to the reader about Shastriji’s leadership qualities, political acumen and his handling of crisis situation.
 2) Who are the target audience of this book?
Ans.     It can have a large target audience from a 9th Class student to an 80 year old man.
3) Is there other book on cards?
Ans.     Yes. I am planning to do a collection of Shastriji’s speeches/statements on different issues and what other great leaders thought of him.
4) Do you have any plans to write a book that features unseen pics of Lal Bahadur Shastriji?
Ans.     I have not yet thought about writing a book featuring unseen pictures of Lal Bahadur Shastriji but could do this some day in the near future.
5) How is the response to this book so far? 
Ans.     Excellent. I find this more popular amongst the younger generation. An year ago a Class 6 student came up to me saying that he had read the book in his school library and found it amazing.
 6) Usually, Lal Bahadur Shastri’s books were released either in English or Hindi. What prompted you to release the book in Tamil?
 Ans.     I and Pavan Choudary, co-author of the book, felt that Shastriji’s greatness should be spread in as many languages as possible so that his qualities are appreciated and understood by people coming from different regions of India.  I do hope that they emulate a few good things from Shastriji’s life.
 7) Lal Bahadur Shastri was one of the most loved leader by all irrespective of their political alliance. What was that magic quality he had in him?
 Ans.     The magic quality of Lal Bahadur Shastri was his firmness, assertiveness, simplicity, integrity and commitment to the cause of the people at large.
 8) Despite hailing from a political family with your father being the PM himself, why have you not forayed into politics (you may leave this question if it is a personal decision that you may not want to share)
 And.    No Comments.
 9) Are we on the right path honouring & remembering our past leaders(apart from doing politics using their name)?
 Ans.     Yes, we are right when we honour and remember our past leaders.  By doing so, we keep their name alive and with their name the qualities that they possessed as a leader.  Of course, it is wrong to to politics using their name.
 10) What message are you looking to convey through this book to the readers & is there a specific message for the youngsters as well?
 Ans.     The message being conveyed to the readers is about a man who despite having been born poor and loosing his father when he was only one and a half years old, rose to the highest office of India’s Prime Minister through sheer grit, determination and hard work.

Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley inaugurates Paytm Payments Bank



Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Union Minster of Finance, formally inaugurated Paytm Payments Bank today, marking a major milestone in the history of India’s financial services sector. 

Also present on the occasion were P. Vijaya Bhaskar, Former Executive Director of Reserve Bank of India, Dilip Asbe, Interim CEO of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & CEO of Paytm, and Renu Satti, MD & CEO of Paytm Payments Bank Ltd.

Speaking at the event, Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, "India is at a cusp of a financial revolution. The demography and access to financial services will create a ton of jobs in the country and Paytm is very proud to be a part of this financial services revolution. Paytm Payments Bank will work towards creating a massive number of jobs in the long run."

Renu Satti said, "Paytm Payments Bank is the country’s largest mobile-first, technology-led bank. By virtue of reaching every nook and corner of the country, we will be able to bring the large un-served and under-served population to the mainstream economy. We are committed to offering the most transparent, safe and trusted banking to masses."

Paytm Payments Bank is India’s truly mobile-first bank with zero charges on all online transactions and no minimum balance requirement. The bank has been designed to help achieve financial inclusion in the country and is in line with Paytm’s mission of bringing half a billion Indians on to the mainstream economy. 

The company has planned an investment of $500 million in KYC (Know Your Customer) operations. It is setting up KYC centers across India to complete KYC for customers and make them eligible for a Payments Bank account. 
Important Features of Paytm Payments Bank:
·         Quick and paperless account opening 
·         Earn interest on your savings account 
·         Zero-fee account, no minimum balance requirement 
·         Every online transaction (such as IMPS, NEFT, RTGS, UPI) will be free of charge 
·         Free personalized RuPay digital debit card 
·         Withdraw cash from any ATM;
·          Access to personalised banking at more than 100,000 Paytm ka ATM locations across India.

About Paytm Payments Bank
Paytm Payments Bank is India’s only mobile-first bank providing zero balance accounts and zero digital transaction charges. With Renu Satti as its CEO, it is headquartered in the National Capital Region, India. Paytm Founder and CEO, Vijay Shekhar Sharma owns majority stake in the company, and the remaining share is owned by One97 Communications Ltd. Paytm Payments Bank aims to build a new business model in the banking industry that is focused on bringing financial services to hundreds of millions of un-served or underserved consumers across India.

About Paytm
Paytm is India’s largest mobile first financial services platform offering payments, banking, lending and insurance. Paytm pioneered and is the leader of QR based mobile payments in India. With the launch of Paytm Payments Bank, the company aims to bring banking and financial services to 500 million un-served and under-served Indians. Paytm is founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma and is headquartered in the National Capital Region, India. The company’s investors include Softbank, SAIF Partners, Alibaba Group and Ant Financial.

The Indispensable role of Micronutrients in your Child’s Growth



It goes without saying that a newborn baby is dependent on good parenting for physical growth and psychological development. If you are a parent of an infant, you would know a great deal goes into raising a baby. As a parent, if you are concerned about the most essential child care tips you should pay heed to, you have come to the right place. Today, we will discuss the immense importance of micronutrients in a child’s diet for proper brain and cognitive development.

A new born baby requires optimum nutrition to meet the needs for proper physical and mental development. The nutrients required are categorized into two parts, namely - micronutrients and macronutrients.

Micronutrients are those nutrients which one requires in small quantity. They have a vital role to play in the all-round development of a child. Neglecting the need of these nutrients in your child’s diet can result in developmental issues like stunted growth, or developmental disorders like Niacin deficiency.[1]

Micronutrients for Proper Physical Growth and Psychological Development
Compared to body cells, brain neurons are more susceptible to dietary chemicals and nutrients. It has been stated that 70% of brain development occurs during fetal life and the rest takes place in early childhood (pre-school years).[2] This awareness is important, to assure that new mothers do not miss including micronutrients in the daily diet for infants. Negligence in proper diet of a child can result in the sub-clinical micronutrient deficiency, also referred as ‘hidden hunger’.
Hidden hunger can affect the full genetic potential of a child for proper physical growth and complete mental development. This happens because micronutrients are responsible for enabling the body to produce essential enzymes and hormones, for proper physical and mental growth in a new born baby.

Role of Micronutrients in the diet of Toddlers
Micronutrient comprises of vitamins and minerals, and each of them has a different role to play for different body functions. Following are the roles of important micronutrients in the human body:

Vitamin A strengthens the immune system and improves vision. Vitamin A is also required for stronger bones. Egg yolk, whole milk, spinach, broccoli and oranges are good sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin D plays a role in regulating calcium levels in blood and is also good for healthy bones. The best source of vitamin D comes from sunlight. However, foods such as tuna, salmon, orange juice and breakfast cereals are the best food options to get Vitamin A.

Folate or Folic Acid is a micronutrient which helps in cell division and the synthesis of DNA. Legumes, grains, and leafy vegetables are good sources of Folate.

Calcium is an essential micronutrient, important in the formation of bones and teeth. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy cellular metabolism. Dairy foods are major sources of calcium. Kale, Chinese Cabbage, and Turnip are also enriched with this essential nutrient.

Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body, apart from supporting the development of the brain and nervous system. Beef, liver, oysters are rich heme iron sources whereas tofu, spinach and legumes can be consumed for non-heme iron.

Zinc is also a micronutrient, which is important for normal physical growth. Foods like oysters, beef and legumes are good sources of Zinc.

A healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition are the pillars of proper physical and psychological development of a child. Not including these essential micronutrients in your child’s diet can lead to issues like, impaired physical or cognitive development, also referred to as stunted growth.
Hope this article has been able to provide some important insights about your child’s proper micronutrition demands and how to cater them.



[1] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02725658
[2] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02725658

Cold Stone Creamery - The Favourite Brand of America is now in India



Cold Stone Creamery, America's most loved ice-cream brand is now in India. We all have had ice creams of various flavours from various brands for ages but I bet not all of them would have been the same as Cold Stone Creamery is.

This conglomerate has been introduced in India by the renowned Lulu Group through its subsidiary Tablez which is known for introducing Toys 'R' Us. The brand also owns Peppermill, Bloomsbury's apart from owning the franchisee rights for other brands such as Galito's, Genghis Grill,Grimaldi's, Famous Dave's, Sugar Factory, Pancake House among others.

Cold Stone Creamery has got more than 1,000 stores in the U.S. and currently has 7 in India with 1 in Kochi(which is also its Head Quarters), 5 in Bengaluru and 1 in Chennai. They are also planning to expand it across India with close to 200 stores coming up.

I was invited to check the functioning of the store and was really thrilled to get to know about the concept.




The store gets the milk solids from the U.S. and they are very much sold on the same day which means the cream you have is not more than a day old. Since Bengaluru has 5 stores, they also have their production facility there where the preparations are made and sent across to other outlets including Chennai.

What makes Cold Stone Creamery special?

Unlike few other brands, the milk used in the preparation is rich in fat which is as high as 14% This ensures that you get the real taste of the cream and not just the compressed air & ice-solids. The real taste of it comes from this cream and is kept intact since they are deep frozen and hence you will not find the store staff using scoops since it cannot be scooped but they use flat ladles to break it up.

They have their own tried and tested formulae which offers various combinations in the ice-cream though you as a customer is also allowed to make one on your own. I tasted Founder's Favourite and it was divine. You can find more about it on my Zomato ratings.

There are wide range of flavours available along with toppings. Also on offer is the Ice-Cream cakes.
Neighborhood - my support system

Neighborhood - my support system

How friendly are you with your neighbors?

When this question arises, many of us are left baffled since we hardly know any. I was born in 1980 and I had the opportunity to be raised in a house which had almost 10 sections that were being let-out and hence I can say with confidence that I knew a minimum of 10 families. But it did not end there. Almost the entire street knew me. This came with few pros and cons. Pros being that I always felt safe and felt happy and proud at times that everyone knew me and the Con is that I could not do anything mischievous as I knew for sure that the complaint would land up directly with my dad.

Having said that, I now live in a gated community where there are more than 300 families but since it is an apartment, I hardly know 10 families. However, one good thing with the apartment life is that you can get to see each other during functions and festivals. Perhaps that is the only occasion where we all can meet.

Now let's go back again to 80's and 90's. Those days were fun since during each and every festival, we were pampered with various delicacies. For Bakrid and Ramadan, it was delicious Biryani & Haleem, For Christmas and Easter, it was cakes and Easter eggs. And for Hindu festivals, we used to get delicacies and various varieties of sweets. It was almost like an Extended Family back then and food bonded us together.

I still remember one of my tenants used to pamper me with home cooked food when my mother was away and I liked her rasam(Indian soup) and potato fry that she made every now and then and sent it to me.

It is really good to recollect my farewell day when I completed my degree. I invited my friends to my home and we all went to the terrace. There was karaoke and lights being set-up already and I arranged for Kurkure and Samosa since it was the most preferred combo for my friends who had it till their tummy was full. It went well with soft drinks. We had fun-time together by dancing and singing till we all got exhausted.

Food is obviously that link that keeps us with each other - there is no bond greater than eating together. I remember, in early 2000s my parents had won the bid to keep stalls exclusively for savories, chips and other items in the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. Though we had our own brand of snack varieties back then, it was Kurkure which was selling like hot cake. One of my tenants, who has also worked for us as the Manager for the fair, used to call the snack as "Kurkur" which made us laugh each time he pronounced it but he was never bothered correcting. We had a barter system with the nearby sugarcane and fish shops.

We would give them few packs of Kurkureeach time and they would reciprocate by giving us their famous sugarcane juice, fish fry etc., in exchange. We met new people and made new friends with our snacks barter.

Since time immemorial, it is only food that made a human being content at any given point of time. We made lot of friends and got lot of memories with Kurkure and when the fair closed, we sent the unsold packs to UdavumKarangal- an NGO which takes care of orphaned kids which brought more smiles on their innocent faces!