Posts Tagged ‘Chennai’

Name A City With A Better Sidewalk Contest

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

US Consulate – A pleasant experience

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Happened to go to the US Consulate in Chennai earlier this week and had a wonderful experience..thought should share it here.

After the usual security check, the minute we stepped into the compound, we noticed the clean surroundings as well as the footpath, pavements, etc done very well.

As we entered the building, we were asked to be seated in a waiting area, where there were basic facilities provided. Every one was provided with a coupon number and we had to wait for our turn to meet the officials. The TV display right above us showed exactly which coupon number was to be serviced next and which counter to go to. There was a separate enclosure for taking care of babies. The power sockets were made child safe and in fact all the switches were done exactly the way it is in the US.

I guess the idea was that once a person enters the compound, they should have the exact same feeling as if they are in the US and I can vouch for the fact that they have succeeded in providing the same.

When our turn came, we were politely and clearly told exactly what to do and this experience just made us feel good.

After the job was done, we checked out the library and I was extremely happy to see the large collection of books again. (I used to go to the library in the US at least twice a week and was missing that after coming to Chennai). I became a member right away and am happy to have found this resource available for use.

Overall, the experience was amazing and when I think about it, a few things come to my mind:

  1. They just provided the basic customer service without any hype about it. It has become so rare in this world, that people have started feeling happy when provided with the basic services as promised.
  2. When you think about why such a service is not provided by the Indian Government, I am guessing this could be a reason why some people who come back to India from abroad, return to the foreign countries, to run away from this mess we are dealing with basic necessities here in India.

It would be best to learn from such experiences and see if we can accomplish it in India. That would be something, isnt it?

Chap Chay – Restaurant Review

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

After a friend recommended Chap Chay Restaurant at Rain Tree in St.Mary’s Road Chennai, we went to Chap Chay for dinner last night.

Chap Chay is in the basement floor of the hotel and is a new remodelled restaurant, where Lemon Grass had existed before. They have redone the interiors and made the place look more spacious by reducing the number of tables.


Autos and Meters

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Every one in Chennai knows that people have given up on the Government to do anything about the issue with Auto-rickshaws (known as AUTO in India) and their refusal to ply with the meters to calculate the fares.

Every single person involved in this system (the passenger, the auto driver, the owner of the auto, the Government, the traffic police, the traffic regulating bodies as well as the auto associations) know that the menace created by some greedy auto drivers has become very common.

The most interesting aspect of this situation is that every one loves the idea of autos, especially in cities like Chennai, as they provide a very quick mode of transportation, with the cost ranging between taking a public transportation system such as a bus, and taking a taxi cab to go to your destination.

While the idea is great, the implementation lacks regulation due to which there are now a million autos in the city, while 99% or more of those autos do not use the meter.

There have been some attempts by some individuals to come up with online initiatives such as and, to address this issue, but they barely touch upon the actual problem.

The key problem at hand is the fact that auto drivers do not use the meters, charge whatever they feel like and refuse to ply to some destinations.

I have seen New York city solve this problem in an amazing way with their taxi cabs, where those drivers did exactly what auto drivers are doing today in Chennai. The government stepped in and rectified the problem once for all. Today, if you take a cab in New York, you do not even tell the driver where you want to go until you are seated inside the taxi. Once seated in the taxi, you tell the driver, he switches on the meter and once the destination is reached, the meter automatically prints a receipt for you. You can swipe your card from the seat and it automatically charges the amount. If at any point, the driver refuses to ply to the destination of your choice, or asks for anything above the meter, there is a toll free number and the cab’s number printed in big bold letters right in front you in the back seat.

Full transparency – this is possible only with the complete support of the Government, who have not been able to solve this problem in Chennai for over ten years now.

For the past three years, I am noticing even tv and interactive online access available in the cabs in New York. This is what is called as solving the problem and going beyond the basics to exceed customer expectations.

Here is an interesting short video clip made by Times Of India, as a part of their Missing Meter initiative.

Note: The above video is in tamil.

I believe there is a way to solve the problem, with or without the Government support. It is in thinking differently from the usual basic steps such as trying to work with the auto unions, governments, etc. It requires an initiative that cannot be overlooked by the auto drivers and they will have to adopt or lose business. While the idea I have is not fully mature, I am parking it in my idea godown for now, but will surely publish again in 2013 after documenting it (and if possible implementing it in 2013).

Kailash Parbat – Restaurant Review – Nice

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Went to Kailash Parbat restaurant on Harrington Road, Chennai last week.

Kailash Parbat is a vegetarian restaurant more famous for its North Indian dishes. It is in the same building as French Loaf and Le Choclatier are (all three are my favourites!).

I had been to Kailash Parbat a year back but forgot to write about it at that time. This time, I went with a friend of mine to have a dahi poori and paani poori chaat. It was quite tasty and both of us agreed that the chef knows what he is doing and is doing it right 🙂

I was so tempted by that experience that I went to the same restaurant the next day also, this time with my family for dinner.

I had Musambi juice and I still dont know the difference between sweet lime and musambi (I think they are the same).

We had Barbaque Panneer and dahi poori as our appetizers. They were both tasty and exactly as we expected.

For the main course, we had Panneer Shashlik with rice and also Vegetable Shashlik with sphagetti noodles. We also got the Fettucini Alfredo pasta with spinach and that was also not bad.

One good thing about Kailash Parbat is that their taste seems to be extremely consistent and I realized that one reason could be that we chose to order mainly North Indian dishes as we knew that this restaurant is famous for North Indian dishes. (Their pasta was also quite tasty).

If you are in the Chetpet area (near Lady Andal School) and would like to try out some good vegetarian food, I highly recommend Kailash Parbat.

Rumour Mill Day 1 of 3 – D-Day: 20th Has Arrived

Monday, August 20th, 2012

This is part one of a three part series I intend to write after noticing this hyped up news about people from North East rumoured to be attacked in cities like Chennai and Bangalore on the 20th of August.

In this series, I intend to bring out my opinion about the cause, the effect and the lessons learned from this incident.

Part two will come out tomorrow, after seeing what happens today and part three will come out the day after tomorrow with the lessons we can learn from this.

Part one is here..


Dewberry’s Restaurant in Chennai – Restaurant Review

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Went to Dewberry’s restaurant in Mylapore, Chennai last night and it was a pleasant experience.

Dewberry’s is located off Radhakrishnan Salai, opposite Kalyani Nursing Home. Dewberry’s looks like a home converted into a restaurant (and they also have a boutique in the same section). You can prefer to get seated inside or outside, we chose to sit inside, knowing that the Chennai mosquitos are trained to carry people away.

We liked the list of items in the menu (and I wanted to get each one of them)!