3 Things To Shop This Women’s Day — The Phoenix Company

The spirit of Women’s Day lies in supporting and lifting up each other. While we show the women in our lives how much they mean to us every day, we can pamper them a little more on this special day by getting them something thoughtful to remind them how precious they are to us. International […]

via 3 Things To Shop This Women’s Day — The Phoenix Company

Talk by international author Bea Johnson on Zero Waste Lifestyle

Chennai: A tiny glass jar containing a retainer, bristles from a bamboo toothbrush, laminated trip itineraries, kitchen cabinet bumpers, bits of photo paper and a few other things – this is all the waste that is produced at the house of California-based Bea Johnson. It amounts to a ‘mere pint of trash per year’ (roughly 473 grams). Johnson and her family adopted the Zero Waste lifestyle a decade ago.

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#Veganuary: Day 4 (All meals)

It’s wedding season in India and that’s the reason I’m getting delayed with my posts. I’m busy designing some stuff for clients. But here’s my day 4 meals. 

Breakfast was dosa. Yes, again. It’s my favourite. So there’s no change in that part of the meal. As for the other meals, it was an interesting mix. 

I had to meet a friend for discussing some work plans. We went to this restaurant near my place, That Madras Place. I love their Parsley Fries. It’s French fries tossed in oil with sauteed garlic, spring oniona and red chilli. It is quite filling but a little on the pricier side. 

For evening snacks and tea, my mother made some steaming hot Earl Grey tea. I ate that with the Brown Rice thattai. It’s a bit difficult not to have biscuits. But with time, you get used to it. 

I was to have dinner all by myself since everyone else had dinner plans. So I called up the owner of the same restaurant, who happens to be a dear friend too and ask her what the vegan dishes are. She said that all pasta cooked in tomato sauce wouldn’t have any butter or cheese as long as I mentioned no parmesan garnish. Apparently, the steamed rice dish with tomato sauce is tossed mildly in butter. So that’s off limits. 

So, I settled for the Tomato sauce pasta. Their quantities are quite big. So I had some that could be munched on the next morning. But it was absolutely delicious. Give it a try when you visit! 🙂 

#Veganuary: Day 3 (All meals)

I’m going to keep this short. It may become a little repetitive. But anyway, here goes my next post. 

Breakfast was dosa again. But my mother whipped out some spice-filled, authentic coconut chutney to go with it. The combination can never go wrong. If you haven’t already tried it, give it a shot. 

For lunch, the meal was simple but special. My mother made some pulao. It’s a mixed vegetable rice that is a dish in itself. Slightly different from the Paella in Spain, but very much similar in appearance. Sometimes you even add some cinnamon to it. It adds a unique flavour. There was salad as well with juicy tomatoes, onions, radish and carrots seasoned with lime. To add a little twist, we ate it with crispy Yam chips from our local chips store – Ganga Hot Chips. He has some good varieties of chips that you need to try out. Well, it was a healthy meal, indeed. 

Incidentally, day 3 was also my grand aunt’s birthday according to the Indian calendar. We usually buy her, her favourite sweets and savouries. This to round, we were determined to find vegan versions of them. And we succeeded. 

We found many websites that sell vegan items. One such site is Terra Earthfoods. They have a a good collection of vegan snacks, breads, sweets and chips. We ordered the kaju (cashew) katli. It’s not made with ghee. But with almond milk. They come packs of 6. The pieces are big. But what’s more important is that they taste no different from their milk counterparts. Just a slight, negligible aftertaste. But otherwise, it’s good to go. And completely satiating the sugar craving for vegans. 

We also got a pack of Brown rice thattai. It’s crispy and makes for a a healthy evening snack, especially since it’s not made with all purpose flour either. 

Do check out their website. They have an online store and three walk-in stores in Chennai. Their variety is impressive.

I must confess, a vegan diet comes at an expensive price. But it’s worth it when you’re doing it for the ethical reasons. 

The dinner menu saw dosa soda creep it’s way in again. This time with podi. 

Hope you’re liking my posts. Do write about your experiences in the comments section. 

See you tomorrow!

#Veganuary Day 2: Dinnner

The evening snack was quite filling. After a good cardio session, I made little space in my tummy for dinner. But since I had to order in, I really had sift through vegan options in restaurants. 

It is quite disappointing and frustrating to see that not many restaurants in the city offer a vegan fare barring a few like Ashvita Nirvana and The Brew Room. But even in these places, most of the vegan items are cakes and other desserts. 

I finally settled for crackling potato from Ashvita Nirvana. It is freshly prepared, crisp and crunchy. Fried in sunflower oil and olive oil, this starter is seasonsed with chopped garlic, red chilli ans spring onions. It is a bit oily and heavy on the stomach. Their portions are also big. So, it was a bit much to eat. Saved some for the morning! 🙂

Day 3 updates will come in tomorrow. Sorry about the lag. It’s been a hectic week at work. 

#Veganuary: Day 1 (Snacks & Dinner)

Day 1: Snacks & Dinner

Snacks are utterly crucial for me. I need to keep munching on something and life is incomplete without the occasional chocolate chip cookie or cupcake. But since that is a complete no-no for a week, I looked up sites that have vegan alternatives. There are a few. But I didn’t get enough time to order in between work. So I just bought mini samosas fried in oil (yes, I agree, fried equals unhealthy. Mental note to self: I will slowly cut down.). 

But dinner was quite different. My mother made a thick broth of pumpkin and coriander stem with garlic. It was delicious but tends to leave a slight bitter aftertaste. If you are having it with toast, it is alright. 

The toast was unique too. It was sunflower seed bread. This is available at the Gormei Market. They are small slices but a pleasant change in flavour from the usual varieties. Since we couldn’t toast it with butter, we used olive oil. The bread was topped with pickled Sundried Tomato which we got from this absolutely delightful place, The Farm, which is on OMR in Chennai. Do visit them! They have some interesting things on their menu. 

I’m going to take a nap now since I’ve got a round belly after eating so much. 

See you folks tomorrow! Do tell me what you think in the comments section. 

#Veganuary : Day 1

So I’m going to go vegan for a week, starting today (January 4 – 11). My mother and sister are joining me in this and I couldn’t be happier. 

I will be posting my meal updates for the next seven days. I think it’s important because these posts can help someone else trying out the same thing. The dishes can be easily found online. If you are based in India, you’ll be familiar with these items. 

Day 1: Breakfast

This morning, my mother prepared crisp Podi dosas and I ate it with coriander chutney. It was delicious. If you’re used to eating dosas made from ghee, then you can substitute it with oil. They are easy to make and can be eaten for breakfast and dinner. 

Stay tuned for more updates on lunch and dinner.


Being a teacher isn’t an easy job when you’re averse to the idea of children. The noise, the tantrums, the mischief, the pranks and perhaps, even the inquisitive mind, can make children a difficult lot to handle if you’re low on patience. And yet, teachers stick on. They tolerate the naughtiness and the squeaky voices and sometimes, even miss it in the rather mundane, sophisticated company of organised, well-mannered adults. They stay not simply because they need to teach the ‘future generation’. It is the image of those innocent faces, curious eyes, oily ponytails and carefree smiles that makes them want to stay. It is in the little hurdles that they cross that a teacher experiences unmatched happiness. And the love received is multi-fold that you could never walk out of that classroom even on a bad day.  Continue reading


“Inside the classroom, there is love and acceptance like there is in few other places”

Teaching is one profession where it isn’t merely the student that’s learning something new. Children are often a mirror of those values that adults seem to lose in their quest for a better life or simply because they wear the mask of adulthood. Whether it’s an undying curiosity or the thirst for learning, young minds can teach us more than we can imagine.

In our second part of this series, we see what chirpy, intelligent and creative adolescents from the 6th to 10th grade learn from 23-year-old Yashasvini Rajeshwar. A Humanities graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), Yashasvini teaches English as a second language at a private school on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. The school caters to children (largely first-generation learners) of the local tribes in and around the area. From learning adjectives and prepositions to having their pieces published in national dailies, the beaming faces of these children coupled with their undying spirit is what keeps her going. As she opens their eyes to the world of Marquez and Wordsworth, she learns a lot more about life and being grateful.  Continue reading