Book Review - The Chennai Killings

Title - The Chennai Killings
Author - Chital Mehta
Genre - Suspense/Thriller(Fiction)
Publisher - Quignog
ISBN - 978-93-87004-21-4

To start with, I liked the cover page which immediately piqued my interest to grab this book. The title kind of gave me as to what content I could expect from this book. Though the story was progressing the way I guessed until the 3/4th of the story, things took a different turn after that. There was an unexpected angle which adds more power to the story. The way Chital handled the story, would make the reader fall in love with the story, instantly.

Story begins with a gruesome murder of Sandhya. CID Vikram Rathi gets assigned this case. He tries to untangle the secrecy by connecting each and every clue/evidence he gets from the case but before he could zero in on the murderer, he finds some connect with his deceased sister,Priya. While Sandhya's father almost zeroes in on the murderer, he too gets killed.

Who murdered Sandhya?
Who was responsible for the death of Priya?
What did Sandhya's father unfold?

Read this novel which starts slow but gathers pace as and when it progresses making it hard to put it away, until you finished it.

This book is available on Amazon

My visit to Chennai Rail Museum

This is a must visit if you’re visiting Chennai irrespective of your age. The property is next to the ICF(Integral Coach Factory) in New Avadi Road. It has ample space for parking your 2/4 wheelers. I was there today & witnessed could of school buses & couple of college buses as well. For kids, it was an excursion but for the college students, it was an industrial visit.

They charge ₹50 for adults as an entry & ₹15 for kids (per person). For adults, you’re also entitled for a snack(Samosa) or drink(Tea/Coffee) which is prices at ₹10.

They have massive halls which exhibits their products and the evolution of Indian railways. They also have a Park where kids can play. Water & Toilet facilities are also available.

Do not miss taking the ride on a toy train which is fee of cost. It goes inside a small tunnel as well apart from taking you around the property which will last for 2-3 minutes.

There is also a fully air conditioned movie theatre which shows the video(around 30 minutes) about various aspects of railways including the world’s longest & fastest trains.

They also have a restaurant inside. I did not go there since this visit was a sudden one.

You can spend a good 3-4 hours in this place at a nominal cost. You can find more pics on my Google Local Guides page.

Chettinad Food Festival at Absolute Barbecues

Absolute Barbecues is hosting the #AbsoluteSamayal #ChettinadFoodFestival which will go on till 8th March 2020.

They have separate menu for both - Veg & Non-Veg.

For the veggies who are skeptical about visiting the outlet, please note that they use separate vessels to store, wash & cook the dishes.

Their quality is top class without any doubt & this was the first time I visited their Porur outlet and was quite impressed.

The theme was colourful as you could see the interiors. The dishes were very many.

We were given the starters - Cutlets, Fried Corn & most importantly the grilled fruits, paneer, prawns, fish & chicken apart from Sheekh. There is a soup and welcome drink as well.

Apart from this, they also served the mandatory Chicken Leg Piece, Chettinad Darbar Wings. I had limited quantity as I wanted to taste their main course.

There was fried rice apart from Seeraga Samba Chicken Rice. Though the rice looked over cooked, the taste was surreal. This was perfectly aided by Nethi Vecha Meen Kuzhambu & mutton Rogan Josh, Chicken Chettinad & Muttaj Curry.

I finally had a plateful of desserts. Believe me, I finished them all #ChettinadFoodFestival #AbsoluteSamayal

HELO Chennai Creators Club Meet Up - Feb 2020

HELO is the leading app in Social Media category. At the moment, it has over 50 million active users making it one of the fastest growing brands. They have commenced a channel for 7 Cities in Tamilnadu so far which includes Chennai – they have 2 here namely Chennai Local and Chennai Tech Tamil, Vellore, Trichy, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore
The first ever meet up was held on 22nd Feb 2020 at Sri Vaari Party hall A/C in Kolathur. Around 20 creators took part in the event. The event was hosted by MJF Ln Sarath Babu S, Secretary and VP Designate for HELO Chennai Creators Club (Local).  The special guest for the day was Ms.Janani Senthil of Visag and Thapi Spa, Chetpet.

After welcoming all the invitees who were popular YouTube creators like Pakoda Boyz, Nanga Romba Busy, Portent Vlogger, Madras Vlogger etc., the Secretary spoke about his experience and how he developed his profile in HELO. He also encouraged others to share their experience and answered their queries to the best of his knowledge. The event lasted for 1.5 hours followed by a sumptuous lunch( veg and non-veg).

To make the event even more interesting, 5 of the active participants received HELO branded merchandise and 1 participant received a selfie stick that got picked through random number generator. Ms. Janani Senthil gave away the gift voucher of her Salon and Spa to all the participants.

This meet up will be held on a monthly basis wherein new creators would be called in to attend. This would ensure that every one gets a chance to get to attend the meeting.

Road Trip from Bangalore to Thekkady

Road Trip from Bangalore to Thekkady

If you like going on road trips, there’s one you should consider! It’s a road trip from the city of Bangalore to Thekkady. Bangalore, capital of Karnataka, is a hub for software engineers, a city known for its never-ending traffic jams and breezy weather. On the other hand, Thekkady is a place situated in the district of Idukki in the state of Kerala. It is renowned for its lush green landscape that will make you feel close to nature, calm waters of the lake and scenic beauty. These are three things from a list of endless things that define the beautiful place Thekkady. Not only that, but Thekkady is also known for the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Thekkady shares its borders with two states, namely Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is known for attracting tourists from all over India and different parts of the world due to its exotic flora and fauna. If you love relishing different kinds of food and pleasing your taste buds, Thekkady will not disappoint you in any manner. You will find eating joints situated in every corner of this place. You can enjoy some special dishes at minimal costs. Not to forget about one of the major attractions of this place that is the spice garden. You can visit it in the afternoon hours, take a stroll and learn about different spices that are grown in South India. For the meantime you can find your stay at resorts in thekkady if you are planning for a trip longer than a day.

Road trips from Bangalore to Thekkady can be planned at any time of the year. But most of the tourists prefer visiting Thekkady anytime from April to September. It’s because of the weather that makes the entire trip a lot more enjoyable. If you wish to take a close look at different animals in the wildlife, March and April would be the most appropriate time to visit Thekkady.

Wondering how to reach Thekkady? You can reach Thekkady via three routes that are mentioned below. They are:

       By Air: You can land at Madurai Airport to reach Thekkady. This airport is one hundred thirty-six kilometres away from the place. Many cities of India and abroad stop at Madurai Airport. Apart from this airport, another airport offering this facility is the Cochin International Airport. It is one hundred ninety-eight kilometres away from the destination.
       By Train: If you do not want to catch a flight, you can travel by train. You can get down at Kottayam railway station which is nearest to the town of Kumily. This station is one hundred fourteen kilometres away from the destination. This railway station has good connectivity with almost all the major cities of the state and country. You can also catch a direct train from Chennai, Bangalore, etc.
       By Road- Going by road can be the most convenient choice. You can travel by bus. You can avail the bus services offered by the state of Karnataka and state of Kerala.

If you are going by car or motorcycle, you can follow any of the following three routes to reach Thekkady. The three routes are mentioned as follows:

Route 1: Bengaluru - Kanakapura – Malavali - T. Narasipura – Chamrajnagar – Hasanur – Kangayam – Dindigul – Theni - Thekkady, via NH 209

Route 2: Bengaluru – Kanakapura – Malavali – Kollegal - Bhavani - Kangayam- Dindigul- Theni- Thekkady, via NH 183

Route 3: Bengaluru – Hosur – Krishnagiri – Dharamapuri – Salem – Dindigul – Theni – Thekkady, via NH 44 and NH 183

If you follow Route 1, you will reach Thekkady in 11 hours. If you follow Route 2, you will reach Thekkady in approximately 12 hours. If you follow through Route 3, you will reach Thekkady in 8.5 hours.

It will be best if you follow Route 3 as it’s the shortest one in all the three. You can begin your road trip from Bangalore around dawn on Friday. You will reach the destination by evening if you stop for short breaks on the way. After enjoying your Friday night and Saturday completely, you can leave Thekkady by afternoon on Sunday. You will reach Bangalore before midnight.

Once you reach your destination, the first thing you need to do is take a stroll through the lush green landscape of the place. You will be captivated by the sheer beauty of this place. Once you have walked around the place, set out towards Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is a well-protected one across the entire country.

If you have a nerve for adventure and wish to take in all the beauty nature has to offer, this National Park will leave you craving for more. You can spot wild animals, relax in the soothing atmosphere by availing the option of a stay amidst nature. You can click endless pictures of tigers, elephants and other animals.

If you like the calm waters of a lake, you can enjoy a boat ride in Periyar Lake. It is also known as Thekkady Lake. Animals go there for sipping water and no other place in the forest will give you a better view of the animals. The lake is located in the middle of the forest.

Before you leave Thekkady, you can also visit Mangala Devi temple and take blessings of the goddess. What a perfect way to end the trip!

Book Review - Assalamualaikum Watan

Title - Assalamualaikum Watan
Author - Sanjay Khan
Genre - Non-Fiction(True Accounts)
Publisher - FingerPrint Publishing
ISBN - 978-9389717-334

The title Assalamualaikum Watan by Sanjay Khan is certainly a catchy one. Firstly, I loved the cover since it had his picture with the Indian flag in the background. I had a hint of what the contents of the books with the title and the author. I was not wrong.

The book talks in great detail about the Muslim community and their contribution to India and the World. If you ever had any wrong perception/notion about them, it would change for sure, after reading this book. I have always lived with Muslim neighbors, friends and tenants in my surrounding and hence they were an integral part in my life.

Author is very clear with his intentions. He wanted to be a messenger of Social, Moral and Ethical ideals. He shows the stark reality about the meagre representation of Muslims in the Lok Sabha which is pegged at 4.95% in 2019.

I got to know more about him as to what was the trauma he has to go through during the fire accident in the sets of "The Sword of Tipu Sultan". He survived 65 percent of the third degree burn at 47. His fond recollection of his then meeting with Shri Narendra Modi, then the CM of Gujarat and his subsequent interactions with them were well explained.

I loved the writing style of this great personality who gave his best in the field he has ventured, be it small screen or big screen or the hospitality sector.

There were lot of things I learnt through this book. Some are given below:

Do you know who brought various forms of crafts and industries from Iran to Kashmir?

Do you know who set up the World's oldest University?

What is Sirre-e-Akbar?

Do you know what was the percentage of Hindus who served during Emperor Akbar's reign?

How many names out of 95,300 names mentioned in the India Gate, DELHI were of Muslim?

Do you know the specialty of the village Khera Sadhan?

Do you know who built the first mosque in India and when was it built?

He has touched about various subjects at large which includes other communities like Parsis, Bohras, Sikhs and Khojas. He has also dedicated a special section for Women as to how they excelled and what are the ways in which they are suppressed?

The book also details out about the achievers from the community in various fields like Azim Premji, Yusuf Ali, Shahnaz Hussain, Farah Khan Ali, Zarine Khan, Jawed Habib, Irfan Razak etc.,

It is high time you picked this book because you not only get to learn more about the author(this book has some of his rare collection of pictures as well) but also about his views which are no way biased but is based out of facts and foresightedness. 

This book is available on Amazon

Book Review - Our Love Story

Title - Our Love Story
Author - Rohit Sharma
Genre - Fiction(Romance)
Publisher - Finger Print Publishing
ISBN - 978-9389717-433

The book is nothing short of a pure love story which is weaved with emotions and emotions alone.The writing style was so lucid and the flow was flawless. I initially thought about mentioning couple of pages - Pg no 64 and 65 as I found it appealing but the pages that followed later were equally good. Hence there is no specific mention about any pages, whatsoever.

The story has a great potential to be made into a movie. The start was a bit slow but yes, you cannot expect anything from a romantic story which usually take its time to gather pace and momentum. After the first few pages, you would feel like getting grabbed into the book by the two major characters - Aditya Bakshi aka Adi and Veronica Johnson aka VJ.

They meet at an unusual place and an instant spark happens. Adi was from an affluent family whereas VJ has come to Mumbai to join the fashion industry which has evaded her from getting the opportunities.However things take a different turn after her meeting with Adi.

Adi's father Vikramjeet Bakshi never showed any love towards his son. When an unforeseen event happens, it makes him understand as to how ruthless he was, as a father.

Will he make amends with his son?
What happens to VJ?

Read this gripping novel which made me cry - not in one or two instances but throughout the story due to mixed emotions - happiness, love, affection.

This book is available on Amazon

Other Places in Ooty to visit

Below are some of the places you may consider visiting.

Ooty bus stand:

This is the place you need to be, if you wanted to travel to Coonoor,Kothagiri or to other parts of Tamilnadu.

The bus stand is very neatly maintained. There is a shade with enough number of chairs which you can use to take rest until your bus arrives.

This is a no litter zone. Usage of plastic is also banned in Ooty. So, please be aware as it attracts fine.

Toy train:

Traveling from Ooty to Mettupalayam or Coonoor to  Mettupalayam is something you shouldn’t miss it. It costs just ₹100 + taxes for Reserved compartment. 2 people can sit in a row. There are two rows.

You can get a nice view on either sides. 

Travel time is close to 2.5 hours.

You would enjoy the scenic beauty of the hills & valleys coupled with tunnels & falls. 

The train will stop in one place for the water to be filled up since it’s a Steam Engine. 

Kids will thoroughly enjoy it.

Hotel Ramachandra:

If you wanted to taste some amazing North Indian delicacy, this is the restaurant you need to check into (in Coonoor). This is very close to the bus stand. 

The rates differ here.

It is almost 50% costlier on the first floor when compared to the ground floor but when it comes to quality & service, there is no complaints whatsoever.

We ordered Wellington Parotta, Chicken 65, Chicken Biryani & Fried Rice, Chicken gravy. They all tasted real good. The quantity was also filling. There was generous amount of chicken on all the dishes. Do not miss it.

Hotel Blue Hills:

We were highly recommended of this place by our family friends and hence visited this restaurant when we were in Ooty.

There are no regrets except the portion of the food. The orders were served in no time.

We ordered Wellington Parotta & Chicken Biryani. The taste was really good. Parotta is stuffed with Mutton Kheema which was cooked well. They were cut into 4 portions.

Biryani was little cold since we arrived around 3.30pm. Hence no complaint (though it should have been hotter even by then). I would still visit this place again when I go there next time.

My Trip to Ooty - Day 3 - 101h Feb 2020

Day 3 was more adventurous since we visited the highest peak in South India.Do I need to say the name?


The highest peak in South India. This is located in Ooty. It is accessible only through Share Auto/Auto/Car/Jeep/2 Wheeler. Govt bus which goes to Kothagiri drops you in the bottom of the hill. You are not allowed to trek since it is a Reserve Forest. It is 2.5kms from the bottom.

Share jeeps are available there who would charge you ₹70 per person. They take upto 10 people at a time. 

They have a telescope on the top through which you can view the city. Entrance fee of ₹20 per person is charged (for adults). On the entrance, you could also see few shops which sells fruits & vegetables. The vegetable salad cup is surely something you wouldn’t want to miss.

Govt Rose Garden:

A must visit if you’re going to Ooty. Season to visit is between April to May. Otherwise the blooms are scarce.

I went during the off season but I was not disappointed because I could still spot lot of rose varieties.

Charges are ₹30 per person. They are open until 6pm. 

The garden is massive & has close to 5000 varieties of roses. They are divided into three terraces. You have lot of sceneries whet you get yourself clicked. Do not miss it.

My Trip to Ooty - Day 2 - 10th Feb 2020

This is Day 2 of my visit to Ooty.

Pine Forest:

Pine Forest is one of the tourist spot attractions in Ooty. An entrance fee of ₹10 is charged per person. Many of the movies were shot here. You could get to see some beautiful sceneries here. There is a lake in the end. You can Siena a good hour or two here as it gives fresh breeze and you could click pics in various angles.

Wenlock Den 9th mile:

This is one of the points you shouldn’t miss when you visit Ooty. It is a shooting spot which has been featured in many Kollywood movies. It can be accessed via a car. You can also travel by 2 wheeler. I have not seen a Govt operated bus plying in this area. The entry fee is ₹20 for the adults(per person).

Pykara waterfalls:

A must visit place when you visit Ooty. This is located outside Ooty. There is no direct bus to this place. Usually tourists take a cab/bus. You would get to see this place as a part of the tour - It starts with golf tour and is complete with this (There is a lake as well after this which offers good scenery. Hence you may not want to miss this).

Usually there is lot of water only when the dam is open. Otherwise there isn’t much water.

Battery operated car is operated inside since you need to walk close to half a kilometre. You may avail the service if you need.

Entry fee of ₹10 per person is charged which goes towards the welfare of the tribal people. This is the case with most of the tourist attractions.

Ooty lake:

This is a must visit, if you’re visiting Ooty. You can reach this place through 2/4 wheeler. You can even go by walk from the main bus stand, if you wish to.

They have few types of boat available - Pedal, Row, Motor boat. You need to pay a caution deposit for each of them which is refundable.

Slots are divided into 30 mins slab. You can leisurely enjoy the ride. Life jackets are a must for each ride. You would surely enjoy the ride.

My Trip to Ooty - Day 1 - 9th Feb 2020

I decided to go on a short trip to get myself rejuvenated and hence zeroed in on Ooty. I had stayed in the defence quarters in Aruvankadu. Here is the recap of my Day 1 memories. I have kept it simple for easy understanding.

Lambs Rock:

It gives some perfect view around Ooty from the top of the hills. 

This is one of the main attraction which is located close to Dolphin Nose point. Entrance fee of ₹10 is charged per person. There are 4 places in this which you need to see. The place needs some trekking skills. If you have a heart condition, kindly avoid.

Sims park:

This is one of the major centre of attraction, if you’re in Coonoor. If you go in the off-season, you may not get to see the variety of flowers. You still wouldn’t regret because the pics I clicked were during the off season. Don’t  they look great? 

Entrance fee of ₹10 per person is charged.

Dolphin nose:

This is a must visit place if you’re visiting Ooty/Coonoor. You could see the serene beauty if nature with a waterfall in a distance. Beware of monkeys. There are not many but a few which may grab your bag, when you’re distracted.

An entry fee of ₹10 is charged per person.

In my next post, I would cover Day 2 of my Ooty Visit covering places likes Pine Forest, 9th Mile, Pykara Falls.