Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pizza Review: Domino’s Stuffed Crunch Pizza

October 2010 update: Domino's India now has an Official Blog- Checkout Domino's Blogizza here.

------------ Original Post---------------------

I’m no Pizza fan. I have never ever purchased one. I’ve tasted Pizzas couple of times and that’s it.

Recently got a free coupon to try Domino’s newly launched Stuffed Crunch Pizza and decided to check it out. Since I have no experience/expertise dealing with Pizza’s I took a friend named Sayak who had adequate experience in eating Pizzas along with. We went to the Domino’s store in Kasturbai Nagar (near Adyar, Chennai).
Sayak Roy Choudury eating pizza
Right: Sayak Roy Choudury * enjoying the cheesy stuffed crunch pizza…

I handed over the letter which entitled me for a free pizza to the shift manager of the store and took a seat. Pizza arrived promptly. What we ordered was Double Cheese Margherita, which had no vegetables inside. I ate two out of 6 six cuts (first time I had eaten a pizza few years ago at Gandhi Bazaar, Bangalore I'd almost vomited...Now've improved a lot and was able to enjoy the byte)while Sayak ate remaining four with joy.

I don’t want to write my experience of eating Pizzas for obvious reasons. I'm not comfortable eating them for dinner. May be I'd like them as a small and quick byte during snacks time-but for that pizza companies will have to launch pizzas in very small sizes-Not sure about technical and commercial viability of it.

Did a quick interview of Sayak about his experience of eating that Pizza, which went on as below:

Me: How was the Pizza?

Sayak: It is very good. I liked it.

Me: How is this particular pizza different from other pizzas you have eaten?

Sayak: Well: Generally pizzas will have a common base with wide range of items used on it as toppings. It’s the toppings that make all the difference in taste, otherwise all are same. In this stuffed crunch pizza contents are stuffed between a soft base and a crunchy top layer. That’s the difference.
Domino's Stuffed Cruch Pizza
Me: So is Dominos is only place where you get this kind of pizza?

Sayak: Pizza Hut had a variant which had stuffed contents in the periphery. Other than that this new idea is unique.

Me: Today’s treat was free. If you had to buy on your own will you buy stuffed crunch pizza or some other one?

Sayak: I’ll buy this.

Technical and commercial facts for those of you interested:
Arshad varsi promoting Domino's Stuffed crunch pizza
Domino’s official description of Stuffed Crunch Pizza: “Domino's stuffed crunch pizza has select toppings and cheese stuffed between a soft classic hand tossed pizza base and a thin crunchy tortilla layer to give a new taste experience. It is available in six set combinations comprising of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options”

Cost: Double Cheese Marghetta and Farmhouse: Rs. 210

Mexical Green wave and Veg delight: Rs. 235, Mexical Red wave and Non-veg delight: Rs. 260.

Available in medium size only. (not sure why)

Disclaimer: eNidhi India doesn’t endorse any pizza brands and recommends traditional Indian food to its readers. Above post is for informative and entertainment purpose only. Pricing and other deals/information mentioned in the post might change w.r.t time and other factors.

*Name may not be real

Deal Closed- Bajaj Pulsar Sold.

Few days ago I’d published a post here stating my friend NR Bhat wishes to sell off his Bajaj Pulsar 150cc Bike. One of my readers, JOJO (I know his real name but it is withheld as I don’t know his preferences) has purchased the said bike from NR Bhat and both parties are now happy.

eNidhi India takes pride in generating real life value to two of its readers who have benefited from this blog.

But now, JOJO says he has “no one” to take pillion seat of his newly bought old bike…Unfortunately eNidhi India is not in a position to help him in this regard. Any suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

e-निधि इंडिया New Year Resolutions

eNidhi India board of directors met recently and following new year resolutions have been cleared by the board. These resolutions will be in effect till next revision, as and when felt necessary by the board. (We understand that New year is a week ahead, but eNidhi India Planning Commission is very active and strives to keep eNidhi India and its readers future ready!)

1 Opening dialogue of any conversation (such as but not limited to face to face/chat/email etc) shall be anything other than “Hey! Have you read my latest post?

2 Friends and relatives shall no more be hit with “Know what? My Pagerank has got increased to 4 from 3!” (and waste another 30 minutes trying to explain what a pagerank is and its significance).

3 Visitor stats will be reviewed once in a week or a fortnight only. There shall be no mourning if number of hits falls far below average one day and there’ll be no jumping with joy if it doubles another day.

4 Friends, relatives and fellow bloggers will not be taken to task for not writing any comment at my blog.

5 Attempt will be made to diversify from core blogging and try to focus on other fields of creativity and knowledge building.

6 Number of posts per month will be restricted to a maximum of 15 while attempt will be made to write at least one post per week (or 4 posts per month).

7 Each new post shall be published with a default expected comment count of zero. This way there shall be no disappointment if no one comments.

8 Effort, time and money spent on blogging shall now be documented and monitored against the value generated by the same (tangible/intangible).

9 Precious disk space of blogger shall not be wasted by writing yet another post saying “My abc article is topping the search engine!!!!”

10 No more pressing of fellow bloggers to write new post. No more follow ups “its quite sometime since you haven’t updated your blog”.

11 friends and contacts shall not be dragged into useless conversations like “Listen, I bought 7 Infy shares at Rs 1619.4 last month… I knew it had support at around 1550…it went down till 1510 but has now recovered to 1735…I think it may appreciate till 1850 where it may face some resistance…”.

It is hereby declared that all above resolutions were passed in a sound state of mind. Please be informed that New year resolutions are subject to dilution over a period of time. While every attempt will be made to adhere to these resolutions, eNidhi India accepts no liabilities in the event of deviations for the stated guidelines.

eNidhi India wishes happy new year 2008 to all its readers.

What is your new year resolution? Drop a comment.

Also read: Excessive blogging syndrome | Ladies who call me every day| eNidhi India Operational Policies

Comment kings of this blog...

A mention of those who have been writing comments regularly at this blog:

Sandesh Karanth: Has two active blogs one each for Kannada and English(few more inactive ones too), blogs whenever time permits or gets content. I do not like the black background colour in his blog and it is painful to read Kannada in English letters.

Bhupesh: Bhupesh is a Club Mahindra member and has written several articles on Club Mahindra based on his personal experience, observation etc. [like this, this this and this post]Spend some time at his blog if you’re considering club Mahindra membership seriously.

Logesh: He’s stopped updating his blog but cares to drop by and write comments occasionally at this blog. (Wait...seems he just posted something after several months)

Ravish Kumar: Was a reader at this blog from the very beginning. No. of comments from his side are on the decline but still is a good reader and writer worth having.

JOJO: hasn't written too many comments but has been giving occassional feedback.

PlaneMad: Has written comments on my posts related to Chennai/volvo buses.

This list mentions those who have been writing comments regularly in general and past few months in particular. There’re many others who have written lots of comments but not listed here. If I’ve missed you please let me know.

I’m sure there’re many of you who have read my posts but didn’t care to comment. If you never write a comment I have no way of knowing you ever read my post. So once in a while please spare a moment and drop a comment.

RT is running a comment/king queen contest, about which I’d written earlier in a post. That post didn’t evoke any response and I eventually decided to delete the post thinking I shouldn’t tempt/provoke/beg readers for comments. Above listed readers been writing without expecting anything in return. Thanks to each one of you and others.

The term "Comment King" is sourced from the contest RT is running.

Read November 2010 post about regular readers

Friday, December 21, 2007

Random Updates, December 2007

1. Currently I’m facing an otherwise rare scenario where I want to write lots of posts but do not have time.

2. I do not scan my gmail spam folder very carefully. Recently realized that several genuine mails were marked as spam by Google. If you'd mailed me earlier for which u were expecting a reply but never got any, please mail again or drop a comment. Chances are that your mail headed to spam folder and got deleted automatically. Sorry for the inconvenience. (Check your spam folder once a while as well.)

3.Mrs. Mridula, a fellow traveler during my Coorg trip earlier this month (and one of India’s top travel blogger), has written few nice words about me at her blog here. She’s giving brief account of all bloggers who participated.

4. Rakshana M N, One of my ex-classmate (Chinthana M N)’s sister is very good at poetry and other creative writing. She’s published three collections so far of her Kannada poems. The Hindu published her profile recently which can be read here.

paper on Incident Management Solution

5. Hardalli Krishnadeva Kedlaya, a well known vedic scholar in his community (and my grand dad) was felicitated last week at Gayana Samaja. Photos, videos and report in this post.

6. If possible read Cover story of Outlook Magazine, issue dated 17th dec. The cover story is about how IT has changed Bangalore.

7. Recently I co authored a technical paper titled “Incident Management Solutions for Oil & Gas Industry”. This paper was presented at a conference in New Delhi and was published in a booklet.

8. Next post: A brief about those who have been writing comments regularly at this blog...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hardalli Krishnadeva Kedlaya falicitated

Shivalli Smartha Brahmana Sangha falicitated Mr. & Mrs. Hardalli Krishnadeva Kedlaya, a vedic scholar last Sunday in a function organized at Gayana Samaja, Basavanagudi Bangalore. This post is a quick report of the same, in Kannada language. If this topic doesn't interest you please check my november archive more more interesting posts.

A brief Kannada report of this event will be added to this post later this week. Kannada readers may revisit next monday.
Hardalli Krishnadeva kedlaya being falicitated
Above: Falicitation

ಹಾರ್ದಳ್ಳಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣದೇವ ಕೆದ್ಲಾಯರನ್ನು ಶಿವಳ್ಳಿ ಸ್ಮಾರ್ಥ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಸ೦ಘ ಡಿಸೆ೦ಬರ್ ೧೬ ರ೦ದು ಬೆ೦ಗಳೂರಿನ ಬಸವನಗುಡಿಯ ಗಾಯನ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ಸಭೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸನ್ಮಾನಿಸಿತು.
Hardalli Krishnadeva kedlaya speech
Above: Hardalli Krishnadeva Kedlaya addresses the gathering

ಶ್ರೀಯುತರು ತಮ್ಮ ಬಾಲ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಕಾಶಿಗೆ ತೆರಳಿ ಸಕಲ ವೇದಗಳನ್ನು ಪಾರ೦ಗತ ಮಾಡಿಕೊ೦ಡು ಶ್ರಿ೦ಗೇರಿ ಸೇರಿದ೦ತೆ ಹಲವು ಮಠಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸೇವೆ ಸಲ್ಲಿಸಿ ನ೦ತರ ತಮ್ಮ ಹುಟ್ಟೂರಿಗೆ ಮರಳಿ ಅನೇಕ ವೈದಿಕ ಚಟುವಟಿಕೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತಮ್ಮನ್ನು ತೊಡಗಿಸಿಕೊ೦ಡಿರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ತಮ್ಮ ಈ ಇಳಿ ವಯಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೂ ಆಸಕ್ತರಿಗೆ ವೇದ ಪಾಠ, ಶ್ಲೋಕಾರ್ಥ ವಿವರಣೆ, ಪೂಜಾ ವಿಧಿ ವಿಧಾನ ಕಲಿಸಿ ಕೊಡುವಿಕೆ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ ಸತ್ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರತರಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ. Group

ಶಿವಳ್ಳಿ ಸ್ಮಾರ್ಥ ಬ್ರಾಹ್ಮಣ ಸ೦ಘವು ಇದೇ ಸ೦ದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಮಾಜದ ಇತರ ಕೆಲವು ಗಣ್ಯ್ರನ್ನೂ, ಹಿರಿಯರನ್ನೂ ಸನ್ಮಾನಿಸಿತು. ಅತ್ಯುತ್ತಮ ಅ೦ಕ ಗಳಿಸಿದ ಪ್ರತಿಭಾವ೦ತರನ್ನು ಬಹುಮಾನಗಳೊ೦ದಿಗೆ ಗೌರವಿಸಲಾಯಿತು.

award close up
ನ೦ತರ ವಿದುಷಿ ದೀಪಾ ಭಟ್ ತ೦ಡದಿ೦ದ ನೃತ್ಯ ಹಾಗು ಮಾಷ್ಟರ್ ಹಿರಣ್ಣಯ್ಯನವರಿ೦ದ ನಾಟಕ ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ ನಡೆದವು.

Two mobile camera videos of the function.

HKK being faliciated

HKK Addesses audiences

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stock Market Trading TIPS

Sharing few observations related to Dalal Street. If this topic doesn't interest you you may wish to check my October Archive here.

GECAP: SELL: If you'd entered this stock at 100-120 Rs range, may be it is time to sell and book some profit.

TAJGVK: BUY: Target: 200+ (Regular monitoring will be required-Keep watching and Sell above 200)

ASHOKLEYLAND : SELL/WATCH: Sell if you're still holding, watch and buy again when prices reach 42 or below.

SATYAM COMP:BUY: The stock is trading at all time low. Has strong support at 400. Consider buying for long term gains. Resistance at 460. Do not expect immediate returns but expect a target of 500-520 in 4-6 months time.

NIIT TECH: BUY: Buy below 234, Target 250, short term.

Unsafe Harbor: All suggestions are forward looking statements made by the author based on his personal analysis and interpretation at the time of composing this post. Author provides no assurance what so ever w.r.t. accuracy of the predictions. Usage of these tips are to be done at the sole risk, judgment and discretion of the investor.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New idea: fingerprint authentication for bikes

Ideally I should have patented this idea before releasing the same to general public, but I’m generous enough to throw it open.

This is a free idea from my side for anyone in automobile industry willing to implement.

What is this idea?
Introduce fingerprint ignition in bikes and eliminate the need for keys (or use in combination with conventional key)

Is it tough to implement?
I don’t think so. Fingerprint authentication is readily available in most of the notebook models, so the technology is available. To use it in bikes bike makers will have to design microprocessor controlled circuit completion mechanism which will either replace or complement current practice of completing the ignition circuit only when a particular key is used (levers will move and close the circuit only when a specific key is used) with fingerprint based circuit completion.

Technically this is achievable.

What do you achieve? (Benefits)
1. Swipe ur finger and start the bike-No need to carry keys.
2. Traffic cop will be helpless when he tries to remove the keys from your bike…
3. Safety for your bikes.

1. Each user will need to be configured to store his fingerprint in order to use the bike.
2. Mechanical devices are more reliable that softwares…If the fingerprint sensor stops working or malfunctions and you can not start the bike, everyone around will think you are trying to steal the bike…
3. Filmmakers across the globe will be in big trouble… Whenever hero needs a vehicle in the middle of nowhere, these filmmakers ensure that someone has parked his bike somewhere nearby and usually is little away from scene, releasing excess body liquid, so that hero can steal the bike. With fingerprint authentication, these heroes will be in trouble.
Comment in your ideas.

Image from

Related; |If Dell sells Motorcycles | Unicorn 2007 Bike review |

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Interview with Club Mahindra's Sr Manager, Marketing

Recently I got a chance to interact with Mr. Arun Nair, Senior Manager, Marketing, Club Mahindra. I used this opportunity to discuss certain reservations I had about timeshare membership [which are detailed in this post].

In this post I'm publishing Club Mahindra's official response to various concerns I'd raised about their lifetime membership. Purpose of publishing this post is to give both side of the perspectives to readers who can use the same to arrive at a conclusion if they want to spend on timeshare membership or not, after executing necessary verifications and validations as felt appropriate.

Q1. Me: I understand that you've read my post on Club Mahindra's timeshare membership. You're very angry with me for that? Do you think the post is making baseless allegations?
Arun: The Mahindra group overall, and we as a part of it, have a customer centric approach. So, I do not think viewpoints engender anger in us. What we do believe is that we would like to apprise you of facts so that your view is then an informed view. I am sure your motivation is not to sensationalize through baseless allegations but to highlight your views to fellow netizens. We have a high degree of respect for social media and its participants and hence are taking efforts to familiarize them with our service offering.

Q2: Me: The major concern most of the members face is that they're not able to get reservations despite planning well in advance. Why so?
Arun: We would disagree with the fact that most members face this issue. We have a metric we track internally of Unique member holidayed which essentially is to ensure that our efforts are geared towards getting more and more and more members to holiday. This metric for last year stood at 75 %. However, in an effort to help our members plan their holidays we open bookings 6 months prior to the date of the holiday. Now, there are certain periods which have disproportionate demand in comparison to the rest of the year, like New Years Eve in Goa. I am sure you will appreciate that we cannot build capacity in a location for a small period when that demand is not sustained through the rest of the year. Hence there are cases when some members would call in later in the day and find that period in question is fully booked up. We however have a practice of tracking a wait list and whenever there is a booking cancellation we are able to confirm the booking for a wait listed member.

Q3: Me: But there're complaints that a member fails to get accommodation but those willing to take one time holiday readily get accommodation. Whom do you treat with higher preference?
Arun: Unequivocally our members are first priority. We have been often asked by people members and otherwise as to why such an event happens. First let me explain that our members are entitled to Studio, One Bedroom and 2 Bedroom apartments, depending on the membership they have bought. However, we are a mixed use resort i.e. in some resorts we have hotel units also. These are smaller than studio apartments. These are the apartments generally offered to non-members. However, on occasion we have also offered our members the use of this type in case they are interested. Apart from these rooms we have in the off season taken in non-members to ensure we do not have low occupancies. The rationale for a mixed use is that the resort operations & maintenance costs are covered by this revenue and the ASF in conjunction. In the event we did not follow this model we would be constrained to charge higher ASF. In the US where some resorts do not follow this model the ASF is 6-8% of the upfront price whereas in our case it is only about 4 %. In addition this mixed use also ensures we will always be benchmarked to the best in hospitality service levels.

Q4: Me: Is it true that your sales staff hide lots of cost component while explaining the membership scheme to prospects? Many members regret their decision because of this, as what they end up paying will be far more that what they thought they will pay. Most of the sales staff also put pressure on prospects to enroll on the spot with whatever amount they can pay.
Arun: Our entire sales process is carried out in an interactive fashion relying on understanding the consumer needs and suggesting an appropriate membership suited to their needs. Our sales executives carry laptops and make a technology enabled presentation. In terms of the cost components we are the only vacation ownership company in India and amongst a few globally that function on a printed Price list. This price list discloses all components of the price to be paid by the consumer. In addition, at the time of sign up there is a membership application form which carries the contract, to be signed by the member, which has all the cost elements and rules of the membership and a copy of the same is left with the member. In addition we also have a practice of a welcome call done by our member relations team wherein we walk the member through the membership, how to use, rules, our obligations and his obligations. In light of all this practice if an occasional bad apple is present it should not be generalized to the organization.

Q5: Me: Many feel investing several lakhs in timeshare is not a wise option, since the money gets locked in, options get limited and there's no liquidity. Don't you think investing that money wisely elsewhere and using the returns to take one time holiday a better option?
Arun: A Club Mahindra membership is never sold as a pure investment play. It is commitment one places for a certain lifestyle for the family and it should be viewed as such. However, we understand the fact that no decision is purely rational or emotional, and even while making such a commitment for the family there is a monetary payback angle that needs to be considered. So internally, we keep tracking industry trends and ensure that we have a healthy rational argument as well. I am also sending a rudimentary working of the same and you will realize that a Club Mahindra membership in comparison to holidaying through one time holidaying achieves break even in 7-10 years leaving the balance tenure as a complete upside to the consumer.

Check the comparison of Mahindra Timeshare vs Hotel Stay here (as provided by Club Mahindra)

Q6: Me: But prices may not always shoot up at the rate it is predicted. Air travel today is far cheaper than what it was 5 years ago. Economy hotels and home stay business is booming and prices may stabilize or even come down when volumes pick up. What do you think?
Arun: You are absolutely right that certain sectors which had artificially propped up prices when they got de-regulated saw a huge variation in pricing. However, our offering is at the premium end of the market and for the discerning affluent consumer who is looking to commit to a certain lifestyle for the family. We are not competing in the budget category. I am sure your experiences at the Coorg resort will more than bear up to the fact that the Club Mahindra experience is a 5 star experience delivered with a superior value proposition. We believe with our value proposition as we have shown to you will hold good irrespective. In the long term price appreciation of the competitive offers will happen and our value proposition will keep improving.

Q7: Me: Membership offers price protection against accommodation only, that too to a certain extent (as ASF increases every year, passing a part of inflation to member). Members need to pay everything else-Food, laundry, other activities etc at par with others. Food for four people costs as much as room rent. Can something be done to make the holiday really inflation free?
Arun: Let me first answer your query on food. Our funding program which is a member privilege provides for Rs. 450 per person, breakfast+lunch+dinner on an elaborate buffet. This buffet is comparable to any 5 star offering. I am sure you will appreciate that that the price being charged is less than what many 5 Stars charge for ONE buffet meal let alone three. In addition, we also provide rooms with kitchenettes; however we have found that members prefer to dine with us availing the fundining Programme. The kitchenettes come in handy if you are travelling with elders or infants, for whom we also provide additional care kits on request. I am sure you will appreciate that as an organization we have strived to have an edge in the competitive context in terms of our value delivery.
In terms of the membership fee you pay at today’s pricing and enjoy holidaying for 25 years, the only factor that is increased is the ASF which also we have indexed to the Consumer price index as published by the RBI. There are no arbitrary changes done. This ASF is also towards only the upkeep and maintenance of our resorts. Our resorts at Munnar and Goa are 10 years old but are in impeccable state of maintenance. We intend to ensure that for all our resorts going forward as well. I am sure there are umpteen examples of Timeshare resorts which have steadily declined in upkeep, that will not happen to a club mahindra member.

Detailed pricing of timeshare membership | Food Cost at CM resorts |
Q8: Me: Why is there so much negative perception about Club Mahindra? In most of the community sites and forums, the general opinion is not that good, as per my observation.
Arun: We believe each feedback that is there online or otherwise is an opportunity for us to recover ground and improve ourselves. However, I think you would agree that it is more likely for you to comment when you are dissatisfied than when you are happy. I am not for a moment discounting the grievances voiced. But we would like you to consider the following facts:
• We have a cell which monitors the web for feedback whenever we identify negative feedback we try and get in touch with the concerned member and resolve underlying issues – NOT from the perspective of getting him to drop his comments but resolving their issues
• We have a multi channel mechanism for tracking feedback, apart from the point mentioned we also have the usual consumer redressal cell which operated on voice and mail enabled contact centers with dedicated teams. We also have contact programs where we go into cities or localities where we have our members and invite to come and met with us to resolve any issues and most importantly plan their holidays. We also have a in resort real-time feedback mechanism running on touch screen kiosks wherein a member can voice feedback and instead of the usual post event turn around that most companies do we have a person contact the member real time and address their issue so in the same holiday their concern is taken care of.
I believe the above are rare practices in the hospitality industry overall and practically unique when it comes to timeshare. There is no other brand in the holiday space that employs so many means to stay in touch with their consumer. I would also like to mention a few other aspects that we have observed:
• We have 38% of all our sales coming in from referrals – indication of a positive sentiment?
• We have based on member feedback won the RCI Gold Crown awards at 5 of our resorts this award is given every year based on member feedback by RCI to less than 10 % of its 4000 resorts world wide– indication of good service delivery?
• We commission regular consumer satisfaction surveys through CSMM an arm of IMRB, and our resort satisfaction scores are 71% for Excellent and Very good ratings.
We are alive to the fact that services as against products are people dependent will have occasions of below par delivery the above points elucidate some of the steps that we take for tracking and recovery and some satisfaction indicators in addition to the ones you mention.

Q9: Me: The moment I make my initial payment I fall in trap. Why can’t you give an option wherein members can surrender their membership at any point and take proportionate refund? (The 15 days cancellation period is too short for anyone to experience your service and decide if they want to continue. Though one can transfer the membership, onus is on the member to get a buyer. If members can surrender the membership to CM and take refund, more and more people will come and try your services, as they have an option to quit anytime. Also this ensures no one gets a chance to complain. If they are not happy let them surrender and exit. The fear that members may leave ensures higher service standards.
Arun: The commitment to superlative standards is ingrained as a service culture in our organization. In addition I would to point out two facts:
1. The Rescission period was a proactive step from our side not compelled by any regulation; in addition as a part of AIRDA we have tried to establish this as an industry standard. This period is 10 days from the date of realization of the down payment, in which time a re-consideration by the member entitles him to full refund.
2. Proportionate refund, is already available to the member across the term of the membership. This is governed by certain terms and is applicable for a certain part of the fees paid by him.

Update: Bhupesh is a regular reader of my Club Mahindra related posts and he has lot of comments on the answers given by Arun. Read his comment here. His blog has lot of posts related to Club Mahindra-be sure to take a look. I've also sent a set of supplementary questions for which answer is expected soon. Also, Harsha Koda says he is an extremely happy Club Mahindra customer and is detailed comment can be read here.

You may also wish to read: Interview with Ramesh Ramanathan, MD of Club Mahindra by Kiruba on Club Mahindra's Official Blog.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Used Bajaj Pulsar 2005 For Sale Bangalore

Update: This bike has now been sold and is not available anymore
My friend N R Bhat will be leaving for US next month for higher studies and wishes to sell his bike.


Bajaj Pulsar 150cc, 2005 model, Black Colour
Price: Rs 48,000/- negotiable! (He's calculated 20% depreciation for 2 years-I think bikes depreciate much faster...)
Bike's in good condition. Used only for office commutation.
Has run 21000KMs.
Mileage 50Km/ltr.
Purchased in August 2005.
Approx date of handing over: 25th December.

Interested parties can mail him at nrbhat2005 at gmail dot com

Unsafe Harbor: Free service by eNidhi India. Buyers and sellers are requested to satisfy themselves about the deal. eNidhi India is not involved in this deal in any capacity.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CM's Coorg Trip for Travel Bloggers

As stated earlier in this post, I visited Coorg last weekend in the company of a dozen bloggers who were hand picked by club mahindra for this expedition. What you see below is the group photo of all participants.
Travel bloggers trip by Club Mahindra
From Left to right: Shrinidhi Hande, Amogha Varsha, Druv(Hiding behind), Apurv, Sudhir Syal, Mridula, Dev Amritesh, Arun Nair, Kiruba Shankar, Anil, Anita Bora , Khanjan and Joy, our guide and guest relations executive at Club Mahindra. Photo sourced from Anita's blog.

Another group photo below:

To know more about the idea behind this trip, please check this post by Arun Nair, Sr. Manager, Marketing. Check this post for description of onward journey and this post to read Dev's experience. A traditional welcome dance which was performed on our arrival can be viewed here.

I didn't take too many photos during this trip as my entry level digicam left me with a camera complex as others were heavily equipped with DSLRs with real long lenses.
Amogh with his Bazooka...His lens is worth over Rs 1 lakh. A curious school children in Bhagamandala asked for its price and Amogh said Rs. 300 and the reply was "too costly!!!"

So, instead of boasting about the photos I took, I'm simply linking to other bloggers who have uploaded their photos: Mridula | Apurv | Amogh | Sudhir |Arun-Picasa, Flickr | Few more are yet to upload their photos.

The group was quite diversified. Each one had quite different background. We'd marketing head of a leading Pizza company, a lawyer-cum-RJ-cum-certified tourist guide, a professional photographer, a lecturer, an entrepreneur and other professionals. Please check their blogs for more photographs, their experience etc. (Link under the names beneath the group photo).

Trip gave an excellent break from the work at Chennai and was an excellent experience. Four days were lost like four minutes...The planning, organization and arrangements were excellent. I don't think you'll be interested in detailed itinerary. I've written/will be writing separate posts on various places we visited, including a post on Club Mahindra's Coorg Resort.

Places of tourist interest in and around Coorg:
Omkareshwara Temple|Abbi Falls|Talakaveri| Bhagamandala| Dubare Elephant Camp| Raja Seat|
Places within 150 km radius: Mysore | Mangalore|

Other posts on travel:Karkala Photos| Golconda | Manipal Endpoint|SkandaGiri Bangalore |Anantagiri, Hyderabad| Bekal Fort * CM's Binsar trip for travel bloggers * Wayanad * Tada * Nagari, Nagalapuram & Parvathamalai

Omkareshwara Temple, Madikeri (ಮಡಿಕೇರಿ ಓ೦ಕಾರೇಶ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ)

Sharing some photos of Omkareshwara Temple, Madikeri Town.

Omkareshwara Temple, Madiker!
This temple was built in 19th Century (1820 AD to be precise) by King Lingarajendra. Located in the heart of Madikeri (Mercara for those who are unable to twist their tongue!) town.
Omkareshwara Temple, Madikeri!
Story is that the King built this temple to nullify the sins he committed by killing an innocent brahmin.
Omkareshwara Temple, Madikeri!
Temple displays a mix of Gothic and Islamic architecture. Somehow flagpost (ಧ್ವಜಸ್ಥ೦ಭ) is missing. Design looks great with a pond in the centre with minarets in each corner. The siva lingam was bought from Kashi.
Omkareshwara Temple, Madiker!

Omkareshwara Temple, Madiker!

Omkareshwara Temple, Madiker!

October 2010 update: A fresh photo of the Omkareshwara temple, open from 5pm to 8pm

Places of tourist interest in and around Coorg:
Omkareshwara Temple |Abbi Falls |Talakaveri | Bhagamandala | Dubare Elephant Camp| Raja Seat | Chiklihole Dam | Chelavara waterfalls | Sera Jey University |

Other posts on travel:Karkala Photos| Golconda | Manipal Endpoint| SkandaGiri Bangalore | Anantagiri, Hyderabad| Bekal Fort * Nagara fort * Maravanthe * Yercaud * Wayanad * Binsar * Chandragiri Fort *

Abbi Falls, near Coorg, Karnataka (ಅಬ್ಬಿ ಜಲಪಾತ, ಮಡಿಕೇರಿ)

Now on display: Photos taken at Abbi Falls, 7kms from Madikeri, Kodagu District, Karnataka.
Abbi Falls Madikeri!
Located inside a private coffee plantation, Abbi falls is small in height (21.3Meters) but is wider. A hanging bridge that spans across the river let you view the falls from multiple angles.
Abbi Falls Madikeri!
The water you see at Abbi Falls is the excess water released from a reservoir that supplies water to Madikeri town. The water flow eventually joins Kaveri river few kms downstream.
Abbi Falls Madikeri!
Note: The road to Abbi Falls is very narrow. Heavy vehicles like buses will have to stop some 2 kms from the falls and passengers will have to walk. Cars and mini buses are allowed further close.
Abbi Falls Madikeri!
Beautiful coffee plantation, sky high trees and pleasant weather makes Abbi falls an excellent picnik spot.
Abbi Falls Madikeri!

British named this falls as Jassi falls, in memory of daughter of First Chaplain of Kodagu. (image below) But this falls is better known as Abbi falls. (Abbi means Water in Kodava language)

Places of tourist interest in and around Coorg:
Omkareshwara Temple|Abbi Falls|Talakaveri| Bhagamandala| Dubare Elephant Camp| Raja Seat|

A video of Abbi Falls:

Latest (July 2008 Monsoon) photo of Abbi falls, sourced from a newspaper-see the overflowing falls...

Other posts on travel:Karkala Photos| Golconda | Manipal Endpoint|SkandaGiri Bangalore |Anantagiri, Hyderabad| Bekal Fort

'ತೀರ್ಥ' Holy Water in Whiskey Bottle!

I do not wish to make any statements and create controversy...Just showing 3 photos taken at Talakaveri.

I assume the 'Original Choice' bottles were used unintentionally but they should have avoided using recycling these bottles here, given the devine significance of the place.



Places of tourist interest in and around Coorg:
Omkareshwara Temple|Abbi Falls|Talakaveri| Bhagamandala| Dubare Elephant Camp| Raja Seat|

Other posts on travel:Karkala Photos| Golconda | Manipal Endpoint|SkandaGiri Bangalore |Anantagiri, Hyderabad| Bekal Fort

Resort Review-Club Mahindra Coorg (Kodagu Valley)

This post is a quick review of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts Pvt Limited (MHRIL)’s Coorg facility, known by the name: Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley, located 5 kms off Madikeri (Mercara) Karnataka.

Quick Jump:
Resort*Food *Facilities* Price* Pros *Cons & Scope for Improvement* How to go there? *Summary & Verdict

Set up in a spacious 32 acres location amidst natural beauty of Coorg, the ambiance of the resort and the nature around it complement each other. CM's Coorg resort is one of the few RCI Gold Crowned resorts and one of the best among Club Mahindra properties. Some constructions were going on and few open spaces were marked for construction, most probably to add extra rooms. [More photos of Club Mahindra Coorg Resort can be found here]
Photos at Club Mahindra Coorg!

Food: TOP
Food is excellent- at par with any of the five star hotels I’d been to. No complains on that front. I was expecting them to serve some local food, on banana leaves, but the menu is standard one that can be found in any buffet. Unknowingly I asked for an item which was not there in the menu, they still arranged it.

Facilities: TOP
Resort has all basic and modern facilities- Pool, Gym, Ayurvedic Center, An adventure Zone, Indoor Games center, Beauty Parlor, Coffee Powder shop etc.

Musical equipments were arranged on request.

There is a golf club some 2 kms from resort where you can go by paying extra. (Rs. 900 per session I guess)

There was no wi-fi for laptops but internet center is available at Rs 60 per hour plus tax.

Image: Donald Duck entertains kids on Saturday night...
Photos at Club Mahindra Coorg!

Bhagyada Balegaara Hogi baa nan tavarige-Cultural dance by Nisha and team
Dance at CMKV!
Several activities are conducted as per schedule-Refer image for activity chart.
Donald Duck!
(You may not be able to read the text properly. I should have taken this image with my digicam instead of mobile cam. Sorry for that)

Price: TOP

If you don’t have a membership accommodation per day costs between 4k to 7.5k plus tax. Please check Club Mahindra website here for current prevailing prices for non members.Refer this chart for Fun dining pricing.

Activities: Many of them are free, some are billable.
For detailed pricing of Club Mahindra timeshare membership, click here

Pros: TOP

1. I could notice that staff are from various parts of India. Usually hotels hire local staff as it is economical. (Outstation staff demand higher salary and will need accommodation and occasional long leaves). CMKV has staff from all over India speaking different languages. Because of this, chances are high that you’ll find someone speaking your mother tongue. This diversity should also help CM understanding custom needs of guests based on their local preferences.

2. Space is the basic difference between a five star hotel and a resort. You might get similar food and similar room for cheaper rate elsewhere but here you’ll pay premium because of location.

3. Several creative initiatives could be seen in most of their services.
Photos at Club Mahindra Coorg!

4. Staff were friendly and helpful. There weren’t any reasons to complain. Our guide, Mr. Joy was extremely joyous-He kept his smile throughout the day till late night, hiding his tiredness. Quite knowledgeable on local geography, language, history and the science of coffee plantations.
Joy Patel, guest relations executive at Club Mahindra Coorg!
5. Using electric vehicles is a good idea.

6. Besides basic items like bath soap and shampoo a set of other herbal and ayurvedic products were provided in the bathrooms, in relatively bigger bottles.
Photos at Club Mahindra Coorg!

Cons and Scope for improvement TOP
Finding fault with CM is not my intention here. Personal observations/suggestions only. Listing possible improvements as guests will have very high expectations.

1. Mobile Signal (Airtel and few other service providers) was very weak. I appreciate the idea of staying disconnected from the world and enjoying the holiday but occasionally one needs connectivity. We could catch signal at open areas. Reliance mobiles were working indoors as well.

2. Serve Local Food.
I personally feel it will be good if Cm can give its guests a taste of local food. That will be a very good value addition in my view.

3. Water heater:
Since rooms are built in independent buildings, there’s no centralized hot water supply facility and hot water comes from geysers assigned for each room. As you know geysers take their own time to heat the water and can supply only a limited quantity of hot water at a time. Well, this serves the purpose but if you want to spend long time under shower you’ll run out of hot water soon. Same when more than one family member wants to take bath quickly. Most of the star hotels do not rely on geysers and will have centralized heaters which can supply unlimited hot water almost instantly.
water heater!
4. Continuous Power socket:
This one applies to all hotels.
As a power saving feature, electric supply to all ports inside the room will be cut off once you remove the key card and lock the door. Because of this, you wont be able to charge your laptop or ipod or mobile or other device when you are not in room. What I suggest is to have one socket in each room which will have continuous power supply.

5. Temperature controlled pool:
Since temperature in Coorg is already chilling, I feel it will be a good idea to provide warm water in the pool.

6. Provide Wi-Fi hotspot

7. Some guests may wish to use bath tubs.

Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley is well designed, spacious and fully equipped to provide best possible service to guests. But if you're extremely sensitive about price and all you need is basic stay to sleep away the night, this resort can be expensive for you. If you prefer a spacious room in the middle of nature with lots of activities and facilities to keep you engaged and don't mind paying a premium for these services, then go for it.

How to reach there?
Mangalore is the nearest airport (around 150 kms) but road from Mangalore to Coorg is very bad. Bangalore is the next nearest Airport (270kms)-Road from Bangalore to Mysore is excellent and from Mysore to Madikeri is good enough excluding few stretches. Bangalore-Mangalore railway route will be opened today-I need to check what will be the nearest railway station.

Places of tourist interest in and around Coorg:
Omkareshwara Temple*Abbi FallsTalakaveri Bhagamandala Dubare Elephant Camp Raja Seat
Places within 150 km radius: Mysore Mangalore

Coorg Resort Details on CM Website *TOP *Know about Club Mahindra's lifetime membership * Resort Review: Club Mahindra Binsar * Club Mahindra's Binsar trip for travel bloggers

Other posts on travel:Karkala Photos* Golconda *Manipal Endpoint*SkandaGiri Bangalore* Anantagiri, Hyderabad* Bekal Fort * Bad Experience at Hotel Honeymoon Inn Mussoorie * Wayanad Travelogue

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Coorg Trip, Courtesy Club Mahindra

Will it be fun to holiday at the expense of a company whom you’ve criticized heavily in your blog?

This blogger is just back from a trip to Kodagu (Coorg), fully sponsored by a leading resort and holiday company. Earlier last month, Arun Nair, Senior Manager, Marketing, MHRIL, approached me asking if I’m interested in taking a free trip to their Coorg resort. In other words, Club Mahindra was organizing a free all expense paid trip to a set of select travel bloggers and writers and asked me if it will be convenient for me to join.

At first I wasn’t sure to what extent this was true. I was bit skeptical about the offer and was thinking why they have picked me. If you’ve not been regular at this blog, you should know that I had written extremely negative article about Club Mahindra’s life membership,[Read that post here] by highlighting all negative aspects and drawbacks of their life membership scheme and advising readers not to opt for Club Mahindra’s life membership. This article eventually reached top of Google search results for keyword ‘Club Mahindra’ and was appearing right below Club Mahindra’s official website and within top 3 positions. Naturally the article drew lot of readers and got over 133 comments so far, with majority of them agreeing with me and stating that they are upset with CM or have decided not to take CM life membership after reading my post.

with elephant Ekadanta at Dubare Elephant Camp
Photo: eNidhi India CBO with elephant Ekadanta and fellow travel bloggers Anita and Dev at Dubare Elephant Camp. Photo by Mridula. Standby for more photos and details.

I didn’t have anything personal against Club Mahindra and harming their reputation was not my intention. I’d written that post as I felt that investing lakhs of rupees in timeshare is unlikely to deliver the value it is supposed to, because there’re so many things that can go wrong and in India if it CAN go wrong, usually it WILL go wrong. But obviously all these meant that my article did cause some loss of business to Club Mahindra and there was every reason why they should be quite upset with me.

An all expense paid trip was last thing I was expecting from them.

After evaluating the invitation for its pros and cons, after checking my leave availability (thanks to my manager for granting leave) and after taking opinions from few close contacts I accepted the offer, as I felt I can get an opportunity to explore their facilities and interact with their executives.

Arun Nair,(Sr. Manager, Marketing) was extremely friendly and helpful throughout. He used to reply my mails within hours, even on Sundays. He offered to arrange air tickets from Chennai to Bangalore and back. (I was thinking I may have to travel on my own to Coorg, because the Free holiday coupons they issue to their prospective customers cover accommodation only) When my name of wrongly printed he got a new ticket issued for me with correct name. He called me in person several times to ensure everything is smooth.

The trip was great. Had an opportunity to interact with over a dozen bloggers, writers and photographers hand picked for this expedition. More about the trip, other bloggers whom I met during the trip, an interview with Club Mahindra executive, about CM’s Coorg Resort etc will be published in separate posts in near future.

For the interim period, let me answer few of your probable questions:

How was the trip?
Great. (Standby for detailed posts)

Are you going to change your stand on CM now?
My concern was mainly about the drawbacks in the concept timeshare membership and wasn’t against any resorts as such. I will write a detailed review of their Coorg resort but my stand on timeshare remains unaffected, at least for the near future (till they do take some concrete measures to protect members against the possible worst case scenarios)

Did they ask you to delete the post?
No. I had a detailed discussion with CM's Marketing executive Arun Nair and he made an attempt to understand why I wrote that post and why I've written against Club Mahindra. I raised the same points which I'd written in my post and got his clarifications on the same. Some explanations I got were genuine, some were forward looking. Separate post detailing that interview can be read here.

In fact none of the participants were under any obligation to write anything. But then, bloggers are bloggers. They will write whatever they see, feel and experience-No need to ask them :). All posts I'm writing are at my own discretion

Are you going to delete that legendary post?

No. But I’m going to update it with Club Mahindra’s view point as well-so that the readers get my view followed by Club Mahindra’s views/explanations on the concerns I’ve raised regarding timeshare membership- That way readers get both sides of the story and helps them decide for themselves.

What next? You’re planning to write articles against other companies as well?
(Like “Never go for Country Club”, “Never go for Sterling Resorts”, “Never stay in Taj Hotel” etc?)

Nice Idea…But No thanks.

More details and photos in this post.

Related: Club Mahindra Coorg Resort Review|Club Mahindra Life Membership|Abbi Falls|Dubare Elephant Camp|Omkareshwara Temple|Talakaveri|Bhagamandala|