Saturday, October 22, 2011

Techie Life: Technopark - Bad Food Reported Once Again!

  • You work in Technopark and you eat at one of the several food joints in the campus every now and then, if not every other day.
  • You pay more for a grilled chicken here than you would pay for, at the Forum Mall in Bangalore.
  • You are told it is international cuisine but you get chapattis for Mexican Tortillas.
  • You pay nearly 100 bucks for a Biriyani that has a Chicken Neck very well disguised as a Chicken Thigh, you still eat it because you do not have many a choice.
    All good. No complaints.

    What about basic hygiene?

    Coming from where most of us come from, the least we expect is HYGIENE. Hygiene as in food cooked in hygienic conditions. Hygiene as in plates washed in hygienic conditions.

    elieve me, this is nothing new. I mean the over-priced food or the un-hygienic conditions.
    Every now and then, you see photos and emails complaining about worms, roaches, stapler clips and the like.
    And you find concerned replies from 'even-more-concerned' administrators. Nothing changes though.
    A few months back, we had sent an official mail from work complaining about the wash area. They said we will look into it and they did. It is back to square one though.
    Having been to several food courts across the country, this surely gets the prize for the best-defended food court.
    Several of us workmates eat there at least once a week, I mean we are forced to. So is everyone else.
    We do have options out on the road but nobody is gonna remove their cars from the limited parking space available in the campus and come back to find nowhere to park.

    So, we all end up eating there. Not everything is so bad. I would still eat at Domino's for the brand but not for the cheese of course. I would still have eaten at Cafe Mojo for the good food they served.

    What happens behind the curtains is never talked about. But and finally, once again, someone has dared to expose it. Yes, you need to be daring to expose such things in this part of the world! Well, that is another story, for later! 

Technopark Techies face health hazard, 18 out of 19 food joints fail audit

Tvm: Working in Technopark Trivandrum? It’s ok as long as you are not eating anything from the various restaurants, food joints and the outlets of leading food chains there. Food from 18 out of 19 outlets / restaurants / food joints in the Technopark campus, which was audited by a leading IT company there, failed to achieve the minimum standards set for safe consumption. There are 21 such places in the campus and while one is closed for renovation, the outlet of a leading pizza chain refused to let their premises to be inspected.
Concerned with the health of its employees, the company, which is one of the largest employers in Technopark, recently audited these outlets / restaurants / food joints keeping a set of well defined parameters. The team will be submitting a copy of the report to Technopark authorities. The sorry state of affairs of these places is a reflection of the innumerable complaints about the quality of food being served; leave apart the pricing, which is another bone of contention.
Some of the key findings of the report are:
1. Excessive use of artificial colouring / flavouring agents in most food joints. There are specific references to Rangoli, which runs three restaurants (Bhawani, Nila & near Park Centre)
2. Use of milk after expiry date in milk shakes / desserts, with specific reference to Passion Fruit which has two outlets (Nila & Thejaswani)
3. Cockroaches / insects in raw food packets, specifically noodle packets in restaurants serving Chinese food
4. Serving plates are not washed properly, serious issue at Thejaswani Food Court as it has centralised washing system and a common washing area
5. Cleanliness inside kitchen of most outlets is an issue, no or minimum usage of disinfectants
6. Repeated usage of heated oil for frying
7. Use of food items after the ‘Best Before’ dates
The audit report comes at a time when Vital Links, the company which runs the food court at Thejaswani has been issued a Termination Notice of its contact by Technopark and new contracts to run the outlets at Bhawani are being finalised or issued. The opening of the food court in Thejaswani in 2008 gave some relief to the techies but it was short lived as several outlets like Mothers Kitchen, Paapa Pancho & the Chinese food joint shut shop following allegations of mismanagement and poor quality food.
The report is not surprising looking at the comments and discussions going on in websites like My Technopark and Technopark Today. The quality and pricing of food has been a major issue for the last several years. Going by the comments, Rangoli seems have mastered the art of serving cooked worms and roasted cockroaches on a regular basis to the techies. There are also reports of techies getting rotten (stale) chicken from Chick King; stapler pin in elayappam from Rangoli; ice cold masala dosa and uppuma which taste like fevicol from Spice Malabar.
The very fact that Dominos refused permission for audit shows that they have got something to hide and feared being exposed. While smoking is banned inside the campus, there is open sale of cigarettes in Food Court (Thejaswani). Food items in Technopark are exorbitantly priced. Most places do not give back the change especially if paid by food coupons. The techies also have to face humiliation and arrogant behaviour from the people who manage these places.
Note: We contacted the Technopark CEO regarding this report. We are waiting for his response and will update the story as we get the same. We hope this audit report will be an eye opener as there are about 30,000 employees in the campus. We also hope that there will be serious action against the offenders.
Anil Philip
Kerala IT News

Lousy food outlets tarnishing image

Express News Service

Last Updated : 22 Oct 2011 11:58:22 AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Technopark is in the news yet again - and this time for all the wrong reasons. Controversy looms over an audit conducted by Infosys on the food outlets in the Park. According to reports published by some Technopark-based websites, most of the hotels and restaurants have failed the audit test. Though Technopark authorities deny the report, techies demand stern action against the hotels.
The report published in a website says that 18 out of 19 hotels in Technopark have failed the audit. Use of artificial ingredients and unhygienic surroundings are some of the issues that have reportedly come up in the audit.
However, CEO of Technopark Mervin Alexander said that the audit was part of a routine check.  “Every year, the authorities carry out such audits. This time, it was done by Infosys. But no serious issues were raised in the audit report. People are circulating false reports on the working of food outlets in Technopark,” he said.
“Only a case of using food after the expiry of ‘best before’ date was mentioned in the report. We will serve notices on such food outlets,” Mervin said.
But the Internet is already abuzz with techies’ protests. “I had a bad experience with Mother’s Kitchen as the food that was served to me (curry) had worms in it. I returned the food and collected my money back,” Ram, working in Technopark, commented.
Another techie Venkitesh wrote, “It’s high time that we techies in Technopark show our unity. No one should have food from any of the hotels for at least one week or two. Only then would these people learn.”
The Technopark-based websites have published some photos which show the pathetic condition of the food on the campus. The photos feature food containing worms, plastics etc.
Back in 2008, a special squad of the City Corporation had raided hotels and canteens on the Technopark campus and seized a large quantity of stale food. Stocks of reused oil were also found. The squad had served notices on these hotels. According to a techie, the Technopark authorities have, however, not taken any action against these hotels.
Again, pricing is another issue that is troubling the techies. The high price and poor quality of food are forcing the techies to opt for hotels outside the Technopark campus.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kerala: We don't need no Education!

Click this video link (Courtesy: Manorama News) to see how Kerala's most "popular" Student Political Organisation resolves matters!!! Scary & Shocking to say the least! Apparently, they were protesting the suspension of a student! Violence seemed to be the only option for the so-called student organisation of the party for the people! Watch them ransack the offices of Kerala's oldest college - CMS College, Kottayam

Courtesy: Asianet News, Youtube

I will never forget the insecure student politician standing on the road outside his college, who would waylay every thing that moved. 

How could I forget that insecure fella who walked up to me, pointed to my long hair (which he could never dream of having cos his hair resembled scrambled eggs) and commented in typical Thirunthoram slang "Thalle, ninekku Entheruuudaaaai Mwoda??? Dai, ninekku mudi vettaan baisakal venemenkil parayadeee...thallleee...thalleee....thalleee!" - that translates to something like ("Motherrr! What is your problem? Do you think your hairdo is too good? If you want some money to cut your hair, tell me...motherrrr, motherrrr, motherrr!

Damn, we are now beginning to sound like Floyd!

Talking about the insecure breed, some of them grow up to be Engineers & Doctors from prestigious institutions and realization dawns in their heads about how foolish they were, with all that violence and howls of "Thalle! Thalle!". 

But, unfortunately, a few of them, even after educating themselves, fetching a good job, a wife and being even in their 30s, still cry hoarse when they see good long hair, if you know what I mean!. They spread the Thalles' to the next generation and the tradition continues...Way to go!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Space: New Year Curry

Prosit Neujahr! (Happy New Year!)

I have been either too busy or very lazy this year to write. 2009 was interesting enough to stir a few and a lot of fun to end with - some rather unusual highlights below:

Spared by the Wall of Death
I could have been long gone but I guess for some reason, I have been spared for another time. A 20+-foot high and 50 meter long stone wall next to my ancestral home and nearly 100 years old collapsed, missing my car by 15 minutes.

The car was parked alongside it all day and locals having seen it thru the day were convinced there was a car under the rubble! The wall is an extension of the wall of my ancestral home and is part of an old palace. The Wall of Death on the right of the picture below...

The Road(s) to Hell

I woke up one morning and found the road to my home dug up with a board by it that looked something like the above... Actually, if you wanna die a slow, very slow death, try the Crippled Road Works Zone. At least you know when you are gonna die unlike the stone wall above. 2009 was more like this ... Let’s hope 2010 is less crippled.

He Graduated Too Fast To Be True, He is Rising!

^^^My lil fella quickly graduated from cars to airplanes especially after that nasty blow he received on his head when we were negotiating the smallest pothole in town. He said No! to cars after that and chose to Fly! Hell! Who would not!!! Nevertheless, he along with the city he lives in, is Rising!

Enslaved, Insecure, Second-Class Citizens who read Third-class Newspapers
2009 saw the rise of many a childish Cyber Thug-ray who have a lot of world to see. They read newspapers that cater to less than ten percent of all newspaper readers, they don't wanna see beyond the boundaries of their towns, they wear beanies in tropical climes, they lie and spread lies, dig music reality shows and watch "mega serials"... If you thought there were Thug-rays only in Mumbai and Mangalore, think again!

Someone once said - "There is nobody as enslaved as the fanatic, the person in whom one impulse, one value, has assume ascendancy over all others".

Education and money and an internet connection alone can't make you a better person, can it? You cannot really change what is in your blood, no matter what!

Inspector Gadget is Confused
This is about that Big Story (oh no! Don’t quote that ten percent newspaper again ) conspired by the I-am-Red-But-I-Need-God-In-My-Life, Genius-Mallu-Nurse, All-Muscle-No-Looks, I-Came-Looking-For-My-Roots-In-The-Outback and a few other beanie boys. The Big Story on which they still orgasm resulted in a few innocent cops having to admit their mistake arising out of a situation where they had to listen to several masters under severe stress and long working hours!

"Crap" Girl-Friends

This blog has always been an effort to not focus on areas like Politics or Infrastructure - two things that don't really improve in this part of the world and can irk a few insecure online souls. Instead, I have been inspired to write crap by two of my girl-friends (i mean they are girls, my apologies ladies ;)), one - my new hire at work who blogs a lot of crap herself, she gets home at 7 and sleeps at 10 and yet finds time to blog! And the other - my friend from quite sometime who now lives in the UK and blogs for hours every day. We all are very random writers who write the way we speak and not with the dictionary next to us. We do not research, we do not quote boring statistics and statisticians, neither do we believe in bigger is better, lol.

Work, A Reunion and A Missed Cruise

Towards the end of the year, life was all about friends and family. Took a break from work and had to choose between a luxury high seas cruise off the Cochin coast and a 'Village' reunion with the Kiwis (people I lived, studied, worked, ate and drank with). At the end of the day, I just made sure we mates hung out while my family sailed on board the Aquamarine.

The kiwis and I would eat dosa every morning and head out like backpackers and drink in Bangalore's VIP lounges and spend the nights at my uncle's extravagant farm-house in the outskirts where urbanization is fast catching up. The last time I went there, there was only the famous Dance School - Nrityagram next door.

The Wifey's Shopping Trip Next Door

The wifey was happy I took her to Cochin for shopping after X'mas. But now, she wants to move out of the capital. She likes busy cities just like me. She says she was happy to see a mall (Oberon) in Kerala and more malls like the Lulu being built as big as the ones she sees in the US every year. Which of course means, she wants to do nothing but shop in Cochin, which I myself do quite a bit of, once a year. In the very little time I had between two parties and the holiday traffic, I managed to buy myself a nice pair of jandals and eat authentic shawarma which I had last tasted in Dubai a while ago.

The Times of Family
During the X'mas-New Year season, we attended a total of 6 weddings and the engagements, bachelor's parties and wedding eve parties that come with each wedding. And all of this in just a lil more than a week. It was like wedding in Cochin at noon, party in Kottayam at night or the other way around...! An entire generation of cousins just entered a new phase in their lives.

New Year's Eve was calm and early but eventful and thankfully I could not hear any Ganamelas in the neighborhood. Some cousins - around 40 of us brunch-ed on the shores of the mighty Vembanad Lake in the Sailing Club at Kumarakom. There was the finest tequila, malt, BBQ pork  and of course the music. We had to drive the Breezers down from Bangalore. Kerala offers no good liqour, all the liquor you get is so ugly brown!!!

We had another engagement to attend the same night, so we wound up with a ride on a cousin's luxury yacht with some beer and chips, into the last sunset of 2009...

So, that was 2009 in a nutshell. I just had to write something ... and I promise to try to improve my writing skills.