Pink Salt : The cruising journey of a volleyball player who turned in to a Restaurateur

Sports teaches you a lot of experiences which can be used in your journey of life. God’s own country, Kerala has produced some of the finest talents in Volleyball for India. So definitely couple of decades back it was one of the go to games other than football for the youngsters in Kerala. Since the opportunities in Sports were limited in those days & to move ahead in life one had to complete his/her education and find a career path. So this young volleyball player, Jithin, from North of Kerala turned his attention towards Hotel Management. Once he completed his hotel management course, he went on to work with two 5 Star hotels in India. This exposure helped him to learn the nuances of culinary skills and customer experience. People with sporting background usually have the ability to take risks to win matches and similarly Jithin took the risk of leaving the ‘5 Star Hotel’ job and joined a cruise liner. It is very difficult to work in a cruise liner as the customers are very demanding and you have to make them content with the available resources that you have on board. This of course gave him the confidence of handling customers from different countries with ease and also gave him the exposure of traveling to multiple countries. After catering to thousands of customers and docking at multiple cities , he decided to anchor his journey in one of the beautiful cities in the Republic of Ireland. When i asked Jithin ‘Why Ireland?’ , he replied with a wry smile saying that ‘it happened somehow, nothing was planned’. Lot of things happen in life unplanned but if you are ready to take risks and half chances then most of the time you end up celebrating your decision. Pink Salt, the restaurant started by Jithin and his partners in the lovely destination Bray in the County of Wicklow (near to Dublin, 40 minutes travel by train) has garnered a name for itself since it opened 2 years back in 2017. This restaurant has been rated in 2018 and 2019 as the ‘Great Places to Eat’ by Lucinda O’Sullivan (Ireland’s highly rated food & hospitality critic). It also features in the 101 great Irish restaurants 2019 list. 

Pink Salt has an elaborate menu serving Veg and Non Veg Indian cuisines. Their ‘Shakahari Thali’ is a visual treat to the customers and captures the essence of Indian cooking. I was happy to see that the restaurant was mostly visited by the local Irish citizens. It was great to listen to them discussing about the Indian cuisine : ‘You should try the Samosas, they are yummy or may be you should try Chicken trilogy’. Jithin still maintains his physique and is ready to play Volley ball, jump up high and spike the ball down the opponent’s defense. Lucky for the people of Bray and Ireland that Pro Volleyball League was not started in India during his college days else this wonderful restaurant would have remained just a dream. Pink Salt is soon expanding to Sandyford and that summarizes the success story of this sporting enthusiast. My daughter Reya recalls him as ‘Pappadom Uncle’ 🙂     

Kerala : Refreshed Kerala will be welcoming the Guests soon..!!!

The God’s Own Country, one of the best travel destinations of the World, Kerala is a place which is in the wish list of any traveller. The beauty of Kerala is that it has different types of destinations for every kind of traveller. Beaches, wild life sanctuaries, waterfalls, hill stations, back waters, scenic places, cultural festivities, pilgrimage locations, etc. gives the traveller in you a plethora of choices.

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Kondan The Retreat : Abode in the midst of Nature

Monsoon and road trip compliment each other really well. It gets even better when you decide to explore the natural beauty hidden behind the hustle and bustle of cities. The anxiety of finding a hidden gem at the end of the travel , makes the journey exciting.

Everyone is looking to explore new roads, new destinations, new resorts, and all this to get away from the regular work and to enjoy the time with family and friends.

The search for such a new experience ended with finding a resort named Kondan The Retreat. This is a 2 year old resort situated in the interiors of Pune district.

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Picture your Future 2.0 : Travel , Technology and Tales

Technology is undergoing a paradigm shift and has transitioned at a supersonic speed in the last couple of years. Things which you would have never imagined is happening right in front of your eyes. Be it the hearables like Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, etc. or the wearables like Apple smart watch, Fitbit, rings activated with locker passwords, etc. – it is true that World is moving into a different horizon in regard with the onslaught of technology and the speed at which it is getting accepted by everyone.

Travel on the other hand has also found it’s own share of innovations with the help of the new age technology. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Video chats, live streaming, recorded footages, etc. helps us to know about new places, new cultures , new cuisines, etc. But the urge to try this on your own is making people travel. The number of travellers have increased exponentially in the last decade. With the help of technology , people are very well aware of places that appeal to their tastes. Hashtags are the new style statement and it is also the go to search mantra. Instagram, in particular, has created a wave in this regard especially in the travel world. Insta Stories and Insta posts is helping the New Age travellers to get the knowledge of new places. But all this while the technology has only helped in creating the excitement to Travel.

Soon Travel enabled with future technologies will give a whole different experience. Be ready to get personalised welcome to the aeroplane. Artificial Intelligence & Facial Recognition will give the details of each and every passenger to the air hostess / stewards.

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Indian International Restaurant: Filter Coffees, Dosas to Wiener Schnitzels : Homely Food in Vienna

The love for food can take you to places. You end up traveling miles to try a new cuisine or wait for hours to get a table at your favourite restaurant. The satisfaction you get after achieving this Foodie feat cannot be explained in words.

Sridharan aka Roger ended up traveling 7000 miles to fulfil his passion for food. The story goes back to 1986: At the age of 17, he was working part time at a small restaurant in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India. He would finish his college classes and rush to the restaurant to take care of their cash counter in the evenings. All this in return for free dinner at the restaurant and a salary of around INR 2 or 3. Seeing this crazy craving towards food, his brother who was working in Germany gave him an opportunity. An opportunity to do a Hotel Management course from a reputed institute in Zurich, Switzerland.

Sridharan was in a fix. He was thinking “Whether I should leave everything behind and go abroad to study ? “ , “Is it worth to sacrifice my free evening dinners ? “, etc. But as the saying goes fortune favours the brave, he decided to move to Zurich to study Hotel Management.

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Goa – Destination known for Beaches, Shopping and Awesome food

Goa the pristine beach location is situated to the West of India. The beaches are running alongside the Arabian Sea. Goa has a long history and was also under the Portuguese rule from 1510 to 1961.

Languages spoken in Goa: Konkani, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, English

The two things that come to your mind while thinking of Goa are Beaches & Beers.

Goa is clearly demarcated in to South Goa and North Goa.

South Goa is pretty much laid back with lot of five star resort properties. The resorts here will give you an option of private beach. The beaches here include Varca, Benaulim, Palolem, Bogmalo, Mormugao, Majorda beach, Colva, Varca.

North Goa is the happening party place. Starting with Sinquerim beach at one end to Ashwem at the other end – you can enjoy the best happening beaches here.

Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim, Arambol and Ashwem are the main beaches stretching from one end of North Goa to the other end.

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The Leap of Faith : Bungee Jumping

“30 seconds is all it takes to let go of your fear and take the leap.

It takes couple of minutes for the feeling to sink in. Even before you realize that you have jumped from a 200 ft high bridge it is all over. You start to realize that you have dared to do this when the swing comes to a slow stop.

But the whole experience will stay with you for a life time.”

The moment I realized that I will be daring to jump of a bridge with just a string of ropes holding me together was a scary thought.

In the first place I was not planning to do the jump and was not going to join the group who had to travel almost an hour to reach the location. But I knew that this is going to be a once in a life time activity that you will dare to do (I know about people for whom bungee jumping and other adventure sports are just like turning the page of a book but trust me it is not an easy decision if you are not an adventure enthusiast).

I was put up in Athens and the Bungee jumping location was at Corinth Canal – which was one hour’s drive away from Athens.

‘Zulu Bungy’ – the organizers of Bungy / Bungee jumping in Corinth Canal looked very pumped up to help us do the activity. It is very crucial for the organizers to show that they are in control and make you feel comfortable. This will help you gain the much required Confidence.

Zulu Bungy – right below you is the scenic water body whose magnificence will captivate your heart and in front of you the open sky which will pump your adrenaline.

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 Once upon a time in Mumbai : A 1983 Mumbai Taxi Driver

I was lucky to get a ‘kaali peeli’ taxi from the international airport departure terminal yesterday night. I had to literally jump in as taxis were not allowed to pick up passenger in front of the terminal. I was happy as I saved the walk as well as the wait to get an Uber / Ola.

When you imagine a ‘kaali peeli’ taxi, the image of the driver that pops up in your mind is that of an aged driver with a long white beard. I was using the KPT ( kaali peeli taxi) after a long time or rather I cannot instantly recollect when I had hired one in the near past. So I was happy to see the driver with similar features.

The pressure to get inside the KPT before airport authority guy stops him made me jump into the co-passenger seat rather than the rear seat. This quickly helped me to get into a conversation with the Driver ‘Chacha’.

Driver Chacha was quick to comment ‘aaj hum dono ki kismat acha hai beta, mujhe airport se savaari mil gaya air tumhaara time bach gaya’.

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