Sunday, April 19, 2009

back in the news-jijamata udyan zoo garden -mumbai

established in 1861 and located at byculla and earlier known as victoria gardens,the jijamata udyan zoo popularly called rani bagh is spread over about 50 acres of land. with an imposing clocktower at the main entrance,the garden has trees some of them very old and it also has a museum called the bhau daji lad museum earlier known as albert museum which has a lot of local archaeological finds including an elephant which was brought from the elephanta caves.

the zoo which once boasted of a wide collection of wild animals like lions, tigers,elephants and bears has now been reduced to a zoo with very few rare species of animals and birds.upkeep of the animals has come under the scanner due to periodic deaths of the animals due to staff negligence. also the living conditions are appalling. the elephants are kept in small caged enclosures with their legs tied by chains.sometime back about a dozen antelopes died under suspicious circumstances.

in the last two months, i did what i hadn't done for ages. visit the zoo at byculla. thanks to my grandaughter whose school organised the trip. having viisted the zoo recently,i read with a profound sense of shock about the death of the six year old hippopotamus shakthi.we had seen the hippo family and taken some close pictures too.there are different versions of the cause of shakthi's death. while the authorities claim that he died because of respiratory failure, PETA( people for ethical treatment of animals) thinks that it could be the apathetic treatment which has caused the death. the water at the pond where the hippos are kept are not changed regularly. in fact it is downright dirty..there are five hippos in the zoo living like one happy family. the average life span of a hippo is between 35 and 40 years.there was an earlier bombay high court order in 2005 to relocate the five hippos. three were relocated but two remained. many animals in the zoo suffer from skin infection due to pathetic living 2006 a large number of blackbucks had died.

the bmc has a rs 430 crores zoo revamp plan and exotic animals and birds are expected to be brought in.the zoo is expected to be redesigned in line with zoos abroad like in singapore.moats are planned to be constructed to create natural surroundings for the animals.the plan has already met with lot of opposition mainly for trying to concretise the lush gardens in the zoo complex. there are hundreds of beautiful rare trees and plants in the zoo which must be preserved .the flora and fauna is outstanding and a great treasure which we must maintain at all costs.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

'jamavar' at leela kempinski

my young niece from chennai is in mumbai on official work and stays at the company guest house at vileparle. as her 'mama', i have a role to perform. to see that she is at home in an alien city.she is very smart and surely does not need any help but i keep in touch with her so that she knows that there is someone she can turn to if required.she visited us twice,the second time with her handsome fiance.and both of them endeared themselves to all of us.

last week, i had some official work in the western suburbs and i had a high tea meeting with a customer from overseas. i realised that my niece was not staying very far off from the hotel and asked her whether she would like to join me for dinner.though she is a busy person and works quite late into the night, she readily agreed. i decided to take her to a restaurant that would be an unforgettable experience for both of us. i chose the 'jamavar' at leela near the international airport.

it was a very enjoyable evening.when i asked the steward the meaning of jamavar,he explained that it is a very special type of shawl made in kashmir.made entirely by hand it took many years to complete and hence it is very exclusive and pricey.the patterns on the shawl are done with such exquisiteness and craft that the front of the shawl cannot be distinguished from the back.taking a cue from this ancient art,leela chose to name their speciality restaurants as 'jamavar'.in every leela hotel you will surely find a 'jamavar'.

we ordered mullagatanny soup and tomato shorba with basil and panner tikka as starters.both the soups were excellent. the tikka just melted in the mouth like kebabs. the hyderabadi mirchi ka salan was delectable when we ate it with the crunchy naans and the finale was 'sliced alphonso mangoes with vanilla icecream'. the bespoke silver cutlery gave us a royal feeling. the food was excellent,the ambience great,the service though a tad slow was very warm. we just didn't know how time flew as we kept chatting all the is always educative to get a young person's perspective on many subjects. which is what i did. my niece enjoyed the dinner and so did i. but i was richer with what i learnt from the younger generation.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

on a mission

when i first heard that a ceo from the corporate world had taken a sabbatical to fight the elections,i was quite sceptical of her chances of winning.i though that the odds would be heavily stacked against her.but when i attended a core group meeting last evening,i realised that she really has a chance and that all of us who love mumbai should solidly rally behind her.i certainly will do my best to see that she wins the elections from south mumbai.the late jai prakash narayan has left behind a deep impact on her. she is not aligned to any party(though lok satta is supporting her candidature). she is a clearheaded,articulate and charming person, passionately committed to the improvement of mumbai. what more can we ask for? she is meera sanyal.get more information on meera sanyal from her website

the trigger was 26/11. when that happened,it really gave momentum to her thoughts on improving mumbai city where she has lived for a major part of her life.she decided to fight in the national elections as an independent candidate.she has her own blogsite and is connected to thousands through facebook.her major priorites are a) right and better infrastructure for mumbai,b) improved public transport,c) better security(nothing concrete has been done after 26/11 and we are still unprepared for a similar attack says meera),d) affordable housing for the poor and systemic reforms through the nagar raj bill.

we need a change in our political system. you have to get into it to fight it and cleanse it.for that you need brains,energy,passion,charisma and committment.she has it all.she can win.and she must. to save mumbai and set the trend for the younger generation to devote themselves to the cause of our nation.the youth did it when gandhiji called the people to join him if they wanted independence from british meera sanyal is calling you to vote for her for a better future for all of us.she deserves our full support.for more info on meera please log on to


this only vegetarian restaurant is a stone's throw away from mantralaya (amantralaya?) and two stones' throw away from our home.located at dalamal towers,nariman point on the ground floor it was earlier known as 'only paranthas" and now rechristened as 'ansaa', it is a modern, comfortably airconditioned, clean,with a hygienic kitchen and only vegetarian punjabi parantha speciality restaurant, right in the epicentre of mumbai. the place where the political power rests.

many times in the past i have had packed food sent home from the erstwhile 'o p' and thoroughly enjoyed the stuffed paranthas. the steward claims that they have more than hundred different varieties.could be an exaggeration but nevertheless they do have many varieties. paranthas stuffed with alu matar and pudina matar and muli gobi are a few of our favourites. accompanied by chhole,tasty piclkles and papad.7.30pm is a good time to go there because no one really has arrived by then and the entire staff is at your beck and call. the last time we visited 'ansaa' was at a peak hour. it took some time to get a place and though our orders were taken quite fast,it took ages for the food to arrive.

this time i ordered some pudina paranthas for my better half and i settled down for a punjabi thali. the black dal,the paneer gravy, the mixed vegetables and the raita were all absolutely tasty.i had a large glass of cold lassi with salt and pepper which was most welcome in the very warm mumbai that we are all currently experiencing. for rs 170 the thali was not only wholesome, it was both delicious and nutritious.

we like the place for its quiet ambience and efficiency and its very genial staff. with a large flat screen tv showing the news channel, you are also constantly updated on the national and international news.there is plenty of carparking space which makes the visit to 'ansaa' totally hassle-free. i love taking my family and friends to ansaa. everyone likes it and it is not very heavy on the pocket either.