May it be the Chilled lassi/flavoured milk on a hot summer day; the doodh peda/Mysore pak/burfi for the sweet tooths or the simple plain packets that reach our house every single day, Nandini has a brand and a story to say. The KMF- Karnataka Milk Federation responsible for the brand Nandini is the largest milk federation in the south and the second largest in India next only to Amul.
The dairy cooperative is based on the Amul/Anand pattern responsible for the white revolution in India. The main objective of the program was to offer a secondary occupation for the farmers. The cooperative is very well established network with society in each village where the milk is collected and then transported to the chilling centres and then main processing unit.
Milk collected everyday goes through a range of processes like quality check, refrigeration, fat analysis, pasteurization, packing, and more to name. It was then I realized how much it takes for us to enjoy a good glass of milk in the morning! Spread across the state as many such units, the Mysore unit is popularly called the MYMUL – Mysore Milk Union Ltd.
MYMUL has a mark to make amongst the centres of KMF. It was awarded the “National Energy Conservation Award” in 2011 for its practices. Its products too have made a significant contribution, including to the Ayurveda centres at Kerala where it is regularly used and also it is the regular exclusive supplier of ghee which goes to make the Tirupati Laddus. The next time you are in Tirupati relishing a laddu, think Mysore
His Highness Maharaja’s BodyGuards” – HHMBG, sounds majestic right?! These were the personal bodyguards of the kings who later go on to become the Mounted Police of Mysore. Very close to the base of the hills we can still find the Mounted Police in what used to be the Royal Stables.
The horses certainly were used to the royal treatment of the massages, specialized chefs to cater to their needs, a name plate for each one of them and more. The place still retains a lot of the Royal charm, each stable has a specialized name board for the horses, the place still retains a lot of horseshoe designs including the main entrance and the pool to drink water from.
Right outside the stables, we see statues of two men – One was a lancer by the name Bhujangayya, a personal bodyguard of the king, a great polo player and known for his voice of command; the other was a postman, Basappa who was known for his punctuality and both the statues were placed as a message of ideal service to the people.
The Mysore Lancers were known for their warring pride. They went on to be a significant part in the World War 1 and their daring battle is celebrated every year in Haifa, Israel. The famous ‘Teen Murti’ statue in Delhi represent 3 soldiers and one is dedicated to the Mysore might!
All along, the lancers have been an important part of the Mysore kingdom. During the celbration of Dasara, back then it was the Royal horse which led the procession and even to this day, the whole procession known for its grandeur of elephants is still led by the Mounted Police of Mysore!
One of the fondest memories of growing up in Mysore has always been going up the Chamundi hill for either a sunset or a sunrise or even just lazing there. It might be the 1000 steps that take us to the top or the drive up the hill which is always a delightful feeling.
The city opens up for a fantastic view in the night or the day, no matter what time of the day, the hill has always been a special one for us. The hill traces its origin to a volcanic eruption about which happened recently about 0.8 billion years ago. That’s atleast one reason to be thankful to the volcanoes
The hill was previously called the Mahabala hill deriving its name from the temple atop. Ages ago, the hills were a feared destination, it was the original habitat of the tribals and if one was caught going up the hill, their nose was chopped off and made as an offering to the gods. It was the kings who defeated the tribals and made the hills accessible to us and now it reigns as one of the top destinations to be at in Mysore.
Irrespective of all ages, the hills have always been something which we have held ourselves close to, rain or heat, we always find a pretext to get there and the experience everytime has been special in its very own way
The “JaganMohan – Worldly Beauty” palace served as a Royal residence till the new main palace was constructed. Although the palace was built in 1861, the front portion is only about 70 years old and was built for the marriage of the king.
Near the gate, we can see a few huge round stones which were used as dumbbells in traditional wrestling houses. Also we can see a huge stone used for grinding. One can also spot in the front, a statue of an English man and a lady made from cast iron imported from England.
The palace is now converted into an art gallery with over 2000 paintings, murals. It has 16 paintings of Ravivarma and the third largest collection of his paintings. The famous “Lady with the Lamp” painting gathers a special attention here. Although much fabled as a Ravivarma painting, it was an artist Haldenkkar who made this portrait with his daughter as the model.
The palace which was used as a private residence for the kings was also the place where the durbar/ conference used to take place. The first legislative council meet of Mysore state happened here. The palace was also used for convocations of the Mysore university. It’s now more of a hall for cultural events, functions to take place.
A couple of years ago, a highly priced 17th century painting by Peter Paul Rubens was stolen from the palace which even to this day has been an unsolved mystery. If someone would wish to play Sherlock Holmes, you could try contacting us for a little head start
The story dates back to the 1600’s to a battle where the Mysore king defeats his subversive neighbour. After the victory, the king orders confiscation of the enemy’s property. A part of that property was the jewels which the enemy queen Rani Alamelamma claims hers and refuses to part.
The angry king sends a small army to fetch the jewels and that’s when the queen utters this curse in three parts…
- ‘Talakadu Maralagi’ – ‘Let there be sand over Talkad’ – Sand around would make it hard for the army to chase her. Talkad is a place about 40kms and still has a huge heap of sand and interestingly there is no sea or ocean anywhere.
- The second part of the curse said “Malangi Maduvagi” - ‘Let there be whirlpools over the river Malangi’. She puts on all the jewels on her body, jumps into the river and gives up her life. She doesn’t want the jewels to be found and hence calls for whirlpools making it hard for anyone to swim there which is true even today.
- The last part of the curse “Mysore Maharajarige Makkallilladirali” – “Let there be no heirs to the kings of Mysore”. From then on every alternate generation of the kings does not have a son of their own. An adoption is made every alternate generation but once someone belongs to the family the curse follows.
The science still puzzles me as I try to find a logical reason for the curse. We could however find variations for the legend but the tying it to the facts at hand, the curse and the logic still seem an unanswered question!
Tired of eating out at the Hotels? Craving for some home food? The Dabbawalas have the answer! Loosely translated, the Lunch Box men need no introduction as they diligently make sure that you have home cooked food at your work place and on time!
The system dates to almost a century now, more than 125 years old which was started during the British rule. Since the British officers found it hard to adjust to the local food, a system was introduced to deliver boxes from their homes to the work place. And the system is carried on even to this day but of course with improved efficiency and specialization.
The system is well laid out with three layers, the first – collecting dabbawala who collects it from the houses. Each of these dabbas have a distinguishing color coding system which helps even an illiterate delivery men with their destination marking. The dabbas reach a designated sorting place where they are segregated into groups depending on their destination and marked which includes the stations to unload the boxes and the addresses to which it has to be delivered. After the delivery, they are collected again from the workplace and find their way back home!
Managements very regularly speak of timely delivery and team work as focus areas and I believe the dabbawalas can spare a lesson or two in this front. Forbes identifies the reliability of the system as six sigma meaning one mistake in every 6 million deliveries, despite most of the delivery staff being illiterate, varying weather, traffic and many more considerations! And they deliver 175,000 to 200,000 lunch boxes everyday with about 5000 dabbawalas with an extremely small delivery fee and impeccable punctuality. Even Prince Charles had to make an appointment with them for a meeting since their timings could not be compromised on deliveries and these were amongst the only ones who got an official invite for his wedding!
Dabbawalas have now grown beyond the routine jobs now and they are widening their impact, delivering lectures at the B schools around. Harvard business study on them identifies the impressive management of the dabbawalas.
Kudos, this is a business model run by people and not technology!
Hot dogs of New York, spicy falafel of the Middle East, Waffles of Belgium, jerk chicken of Jamaica ….. The common thread that binds them all is the love of street food around the world!
As for how the street food started the claim for the origin dates back to the Roman empire where street food was purchased by the urban poor who did not have kitchens at their homes. In some cultures like Japan Street food is shunned since walking on the street while eating is considered rude. Some other cultures like Philippines where street food would not be considered too different from eating at home.
One of the biggest concerns we hear about the street food is about hygiene. Although it is advisable to be a little careful, sometimes I think we just have to let ourselves go, after all about 2.5 billion people have street every day. Anthony Bourdain, the famous celebrity chef who hosts the travel food show “No Reservations” says that street food is safer than the KFC and McD since the fried foods at high temperature take care of the bacteria as opposed to the frozen foods for long durations!
While travelling, food is a great way to know the culture. As for India, Chole Bhature of Delhi, Poha-Jalebi of Indore, Litti Choka of Patna, Vada Pao of Mumbai, Kachori of Rajasthan, Mirchi Bajji of Hyderabad make sure that there is a lot for both the plate and the palate. And when you come to Mysore, we are rich for our foods as well starting from the Dosas, idli’s, samosas to the Chinese variations, we find it all here. And if you ask me which might be the best place to try, I would certainly point you to the chat street where the variety ranges from an American chopseuy to an indigenious churmuri.
Maybe it was about 15years ago when I first tried the Gobi Manchurian and from then on it’s been quite hard to keep myself away from the Gobis, the noodles and the fried rice. Gosh I do love the Chinese food or what I presume as the Chinese!
The Indian Chinese traces its origin to a small Chinese community that has lived in Kolkata, to a place, Tangra which hosts the only Chinatown in India. The place boasts of a number of Chinese restaurants specializing in the Hakka cuisine and the Indian Chinese. It is curious how the reference ‘Indian Chinese’ has come into use.
The Indian Chinese referes to the spices for the flavour like cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc; the use of sauces, curry to go along with the noodles or fried rice; hotness of the food through the ever present chillies, ginger, garlic, yoghurt etc which breathes Indianisation! The authentic Chinese food would be much different from the variation we find here. It would rely more on the freshness of the ingredients used, the vegetables, the true flavour of meat, the use of pork over the chicken wherein the actual taste of the ingredients are quite evident unlike the Indianised version which relies a little more on the sauces and spices.
Well it would be hard for an Indian without the spices cos we are so rich of them in our cuisine. One of the greatest feel about food is the way it adapts to the local cuisine and perhaps the Chinese food is the most adaptable of all with its variations seen in different parts of the world in different formats. It is probably this quality which makes it India’s most favourite cuisine after the local food.
Either ways, for a foodie, I wouldn’t mind the origin, nor the variations as long as it soothes my palate and as they say “The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and rightly so !
Ambassador! The name says it all. The memory of this car dates back to all the movies which we grew up with, the power and the prestige associated with the car which made it an irresistible buy. Probably the popularity increased during the raj when the most powerful people, the leaders, decision makers owned this car.
The Ambassador has the privilege of the first car to be manufactured in the country and dates back to 1948. The car traces its roots to the Morris Oxford III of UK dating back to 1913. From then on, the car has made inroads into the Indian roads and has been very fondly referred to as “The King of the Indian roads”. It might be because of the ruggedness of the car, the clearance or the royal feel it offers being the car preferred by most powerful people back then and some dating to even this day.
‘Amby’ as it is fondly referred to as has seen a few changes from the time it was introduced, some in the machinery, some in the mechanisms but the vintage look hasn’t changed much. It still gathers a great attention on the roads here, sometimes more than even the most expensive audis or BMWs. Even to this day, they have a fashion statement to make and the Hindustan Motors is the proud producer of The Ambassador, the only automobile to ply Indian roads for more than 5 decades now! However the sales have dipped down a bit and the latest count was about 2,500.
However, if a car can still be produced in the same design for over 50 years, I would reckon it as a great innovation! And any day it would be an absolute desire to drive the Amby!
One of our guests, Berty said – “Indian food is an intelligent mix of spices”.
It’s probably one of the best definitions I had heard apart from the adjective spicy. We do tend to make the spicy though, thanks to the pepper, ginger, turmeric and of course the chillies! For the chilli eaters we are it’s quite a surprise that they are not original to us. Their roots trace to Mexico of 7000 B.C. and later through Portugal to here.
It was the quest of Columbus for Black pepper which led him to Mexico and us to Chilli! Columbus’ voyage for India ended when he mistook America for India and chilli for black pepper. The chilli of Portugal found a way to India when Vasco Da Gama landed in Calicut and from then on it has stayed as a fond spice.
Much of the hotness of the food originates from the spices; it is only recently that the chillies have become an inseparable part of our cuisine. In fact the fondness increased so much that we are the World’s largest producer and exporter of Chilli. Also according to the Guinness book of records, India was known to produce the hottest chillies in the World named “Bhut Jolokia” also called “Ghost Chilli” which was pushed to second spot recently by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
The ubiquitous chillies are used for more than cooking here. It has found a way into Ayurveda according to which chillies stimulate good digestion and act as a natural pain killer. A new project was announced in 2009 to make use of chillies in hand grenades to flush terrorists out of their hideouts. In the civil variants, they could be used for safety as pepper sprays and to control and disperse mobs.
Goes without a saying now, from food to safety, Chillies rule!