Published October 28, 2017 by Srikanth Eswaran

Giria’s Explorium - half a day worth of learning experience for your kids

Giria’s is a well known name in FMCG industry with many showrooms selling lots of home appliances all over the country and many in Bengaluru. However little is known about their Explorium centre which is constructed especially for kids to learn lots of things.

The explorium is in Domlur, right opposite the EGL business park and is easy to spot. It opens between 9 to 10am and if you are one of the first few there, you can get a good parking spot for your car. The entry fee is a split of 70% - 30% between adult and kid and for two adults and kids is around Rs 2000/-. That is about 7-8$ for a ticket which is reasonable. Once you pay up and while you enter you are tagged with an wrist sticker to let you in along with your kid/s.

Some of the things which are installed for learning purposes include a huge rocket with steps to climb into and go into the many sides of the rocket and climb down again. Kids will perpetually enjoy this as they get to explore the inner realms of the rocket though its mostly metal and nothing electric within. They can easily spend about an hour there.

Also there are pins against which kids can push their body parts and the relevant shapes will manifest on the other side. This gives kids the ability to explore and touch and feel and understand the shapes that are generated by this game. Further There are air based experiements which explain centrifugual forces and their effects on many materials such as paper, cloth, dense and light materials, hollow balls, etc.

The other game is about applying a huge amount of force to set a ball right to the top of the celiing explaining how the energy is transferred to produce motion. Besides these there are a couple of electric circuits related experiments which will show the kids how a light bulb can be made to glow based on rotary forces applied. You can build paper planes as per instructions given and see which plane flies the farthest. Further there are huge building blocks with which you can build entire cities (not literally of course) - and make shapes out of blocks.

Further there are installations to show you how JCB’s and cranes operate and let the kid get a sense of how to operate this mega machines in real life. The kids get to move blocks and lift mud using these earth mover machines themselves which is a reasonable learning. A little ahead on the ground floor are other experiments to make kids understand gravitational forces by rearranging channels along which the balls move.

Also in a separate section are water related experiements to teach how water flows, how dams are constructed and wheel based water lifts and so on. There is a water fountain which was not working at the time we went there.

The first floor is more for younger kids having gardens, paint art, sand art and so on. The second floor has a restaurant run by the Chancery Hotel near Raj Bhavan and a store which sells toys. Both of these are slightly expensive and the restaurant food is decent even if not the seating spaces. The seating is at best average and could have been better.

Unless otherwise the management decides to keep changing the sets of experiments on a regular basis, this is just a one of stop for your kids to spend some time. A much better and more advanced place of similar nature is the Visweswaraya Musem which is well known for the exposure it gives to multiple segments such as science, math, agrictulure, electricity, etc.

So if you want your kids to learn something new which is different from the ordinary games and fun people have at all the malls, the Explorium is a good place to visit for once. It is not terribly expensive and the games there are a little more of a stimulus for the kids minds compared to the electronic racing games at malls. I would say that the Explorium is a place to visit at least once if you are in Bangalore.

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Published October 22, 2017 by Srikanth Eswaran

Earning the best Benne Masala Dosa in Bengaluru - Central Tiffin Rooms (Shri Sagar)

Good food is always a foodie’s dream come true. And if it is also tasty to the core, all the more merrier. What better way than to talk about Bengaluru’s myriad restaurants that serve the one most admired dish that every Bengalurean has no qualms eating at any time of the day or night - Crispy Masala Dosa !!
When it comes to serving the most tastiest Dosa, there are three restaurants that come to the mind for any true blue Bengalurean - CTR (Central Tiffin Rooms or Shri Sagar), Janata Hotel and Vidyarthi Bhavan. One can most comfortably say that Amma’s dosas are only next best to these restaurants!

Of these three restaurants CTR surely has everyone drooling for its most famous butter dosas or Benne Dosas. And eating one there is never an easy exercise. Maybe easier for the real Namma Bengluru guys living in West Bengaluru - but for the so called “IT Posh Crowd” on the eastern boundaries of this city - these great dosas need to be earned.
It means getting up very early in the morning, commuting a great deal, reaching a place, jostling to stand in the queue and go through an excrutiating wait to get the dosas that melt in your mouth with that heavenly taste. For people living on Outer Ring Road towards the IT side of the city in places like Koramangala or HSR Layout - the easiest way to reach Malleswaram is to either hire a cab or auto and get straight there.

However the nearest metro station is either Indiranagar or Jayanagar/Banashankari. For the former there is a change over from Purple Line to Green Line at Majestic station and for the latter it is just one train straight to Malleswaram station. The best part about this station is that it also has a direct entry into Mantri mall from the station itself. Now beat that !
If you are in the mood to test out the metro be warned that on weekend mornings the trains are crowded with people going to Majestic to catch outbound trains to other cities. So jostling around the crowds within the trains are the norm. It takes about an hour or more to reach Malleswaram after which it is a walk from the Metro to Margosa Road - CTR.
If you want to read more about the Green Line Metro, be sure to click here.

The restaturant itself is very small. The benches are really small which have of late been a bit remodelled to accomodate people to sit properly. That however does not spare your meal from being overlooked and discussed about by the standing queue of wishing to be dosa eaters right behind you. The madness starts as soon as you enter the restaurant in trying to find a place to secure to stand (not sit yet) in order to secure the place to sit next. Once you slot yourself into position the next obvious thing to do is keep staring at the guy eating on the table in anticipation that the fifth dosa he ordered would be the last for that day so you could get that prized place on the table.

If you are the one seated on the table be prepared for loads of comments from people standing besides you which may seem intimidating for you. They would keep repeating your order to the waiters even if you dont because - hang on - they just want you to eat your grub fast and get out of the table. You can find people strategizing across two tables and taking bets which one will get empty first so the losers can dart to the winning side to grab that table. Sometimes people can even step on your feet to make you feel the pain of wanting to earn your dosa there.

It is absolute chaos and for people who prefer a silent leave-me-alone-to-eat restaurant - please look elsewhere. In fact the moment you sit on your table that you managed to usurp from the outgoing king - the time bomb begins to tick - for you to be eliminated next. The trick is to keep ordering something so that your table always looks full. That is the only way to make sure you have your seat even if you are not really eating. There is also the first floor where you can sit and eat in peace but I have never even bothered to look at that as there is a bigger queue for you to even get a table there.

Having talked about the restaurant itself the only other thing left to talk about is its menu - the perfect benne dosas in particular. The fact that they do make poori’s or idlis and vadas does not matter for anyone. The dosas here are so good and the main reason people flock to this restaurant for - so much so that if you do not say what you want it is assumed that you want dosas and if you do not quote how much it is automatically assumed to be one plate. The buttery dosas are made small and crisp that it literally crunches and melts in your mouth. The accompanying Chutneys are sometimes off the mark and sometimes good so it depends on your luck.

The dosas here are worth all that travel and wait and are really sumptuous to say the least. You would definitely leave the restaurant smiling no matter what the cacophony was around you. Of course there is a parcel facility or you could stand out and eat as well if you’d like to. Much more simpler if you would ask me.
One more thing : This is perhaps one of the hotels in Bangalore where you would get this quality of dosa for a meagre Rs.25/- even in 2017. That is because the hotel is there for a tradition not for profits.

On a bit of history about this restaurant, someone by my name started it way before I was born or my father was born even - nevertheless its good to know a bit on this.
This hotel was started by Y.V. Subramanyam and brothers (Y.V. Srikanteshwaran, Y.V. Krishna Iyer and Y.V. Ramachandran) in the 1920s. They hailed from a village called Yelagondana Halli, Mulbagal taluk, Kolar district, whose residents are Ashtagrama Iyers of Tamil origin. It is recorded that during the visit by the Maharaja of Mysore, Y.V. Subramanyam supplied and served breakfast in traditional attire. They opened another hotel in Krishna Buildings, Avenue Road. This was a famous meeting place for writers and artists in the 1940s and 1950s, and its name is mentioned in many books and articles.[citation needed] Y.V. Ramachandran, the youngest of the brothers, was a Freedom Fighter. Subramanyam was the founder president of the Bangalore Hoteliers Association in BVK. Iyengar Road, which later became the Karnataka Hotel Owners Association. Changed circumstances in the huge joint family caused Subramanyam to sell his hotel in as is condition in the mid-1950s. It still has a vintage wall clock and rosewood furniture with Italian marble table tops. It is said the brothers passed on tips about preparations to the new owners along with advice to take care of workers by not overburdening them. It was established as Shree Sagar in 1950 by Raghavendra and the management was passed on to Ramakrishna Holla in 1952. It was bought by Sanjeeva Poojari in 1992 and was renamed Central Tiffin Room.
source: Wikipedia
I am assuming your taste buds are already active and ticking. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the CTR (also known as Shri sagar) in Malleswaram and enjoy crispy dosas and some great filter coffee to go with it. And if you do get time check out Janata Hotel nearby or Vidyarthi Bhavan in Basavanagudi.

(click to open in Google Maps)
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Published October 21, 2017 by Srikanth Eswaran with 0 comment

A sneak peak into the 2017 Diwali offers on Cars for different segments for Indian Buyers


Here are a list of categories of cars and the respective offers under different brands this festive season. If you are buying one of these, do make sure to read through the offers list before taking up a test drive.

Common offers

Most dealers will offer a corporate bonus ranging between 5-10k, and a loyalty bonus of upto 50k. Further they will also offer an exchange bonus of 50k if negotiated hard. All in all, this itself is almost equivalent to almost 1 lac of reduction in the pricing of the new vehicle.

Specific offers

Here are the specific offers by the brands for Diwali 2017


Buy new Hyundai Grand i10 and Get Benefits upto Rs. 90,000. Applicable on 1.2 CRDi Sportz Option,  1.2 CRDi Magna
No Offers
Buy Maruti Alto 800 and Get MGA worth Rs. 30,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 20,000. Applicable on All Variants  Valid till - Oct 31, 2017
No offers
Drive home the new Renault Kwid at Special Rate of Interest of 7.99% (Schemes are available only from Renault Finance and Loan is at sole discretion of Renault Finance. Valid on bookings made between 2nd October 2017 to 31st October 2017 and retails until 31st October 2017). Applicable on 1.0 RXT Optional,  RXL
Buy new Ford Figo at Ford Credit Interest rate of 7.99%.
Applicable on 1.2P Ambiente MT,  1.2P Base MT
Buy new Volkswagen Polo and Get Exchange benefits upto Rs. 20,000 OR Loyalty Bonus upto Rs. 20,000 + Gifts galore on test drives, bookings and service visits.
Applicable on 1.2 MPI Highline,  1.2 MPI Comfortline
No Offers
No Offers
Buy new Hyundai i20 and Get Benefits upto Rs. 25,000
Applicable on All Variants
Buy new Honda Jazz and Get Honda Assure @ Re. 1 + Cash Discount upto Rs. 15,000 + Win a Magical trip to U.S.A.
Applicable on All Variants
No Offers
Wagon R
Buy new Maruti Wagon R and Get Consumer offer upto Rs. 35,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 20,000. Applicable on VXI Plus Optional,  VXI Optional
Buy new Maruti Swift and Get Consumer offer upto Rs. 25,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 30,000.
Applicable on LDI Optional,  LDI BSIV

Compact Sedans

Buy new Hyundai Xcent and Get Benefits upto Rs. 50,000. *T&C's Apply
Buy new Ford Figo Aspire at Ford Credit Interest rate of 7.99% + Loyalty 3rd year Extended warranty + RSA (100,000 Kms) + Cash Discount upto Rs. 10,000 + Exchange Bonus.
Buy new Honda Amaze and Get Honda Assure @ Re. 1 + Accessories worth Rs. 26,000 + Win a Magical trip to U.S.A. *T&C's Apply
Applicable on S CVT i-VTEC,  S i-VTEC
No Offers
Buy new Volkswagen Ameo and Get Exchange benefits upto Rs. 20,000 OR Loyalty Bonus upto Rs. 20,000 + Gifts galore on test drives, bookings and service visits. *T&C's Apply
Applicable on 1.2 MPI Comfortline,  1.2 MPI Trendline
No Offers

Premium Sedans

Honda City
No Offers
No Offers
Skoda Rapid
Drive home the new Skoda Rapid with Buy now pay later offer | EMI of Rs. 11,999 | 4 year warranty | 4 year Road side Assistance | 7.99% Rate of Interest. Applicable on 1.6 MPI AT Style,  1.6 MPI Active
VW Vento
Buy new Volkswagen Vento and Get Exchange benefits upto Rs. 20,000 OR Loyalty Bonus upto Rs. 20,000 + Gifts galore on test drives, bookings and service visits.Applicable on All Variants
Buy new Nissan Sunny and Get Government Employee offer(POI) upto Rs. 10,000 |Corporate offer upto Rs. 6,000. Applicable on All Variants
Hyundai Verna
No Offers


Buy new Maruti Ertiga and Get Consumer offer upto Rs. 30,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 30,000. Applicable on SHVS LDI Option,  SHVS ZDI
Buy new Renault Lodgy and Get Cash Discount upto Rs. 30,000 + Special Offers of Rs. 10,000 in Exchange by Renault Selection + Special Corporate/PSU Bonus upto Rs. 7,000 (Schemes are available only from Renault Finance and loan is at the sole discretion of Renault Finance).
Buy new Toyota Innova Cryta at Attractive Finance offer.
Datsun go+
Buy new Datsun Go Plus and Get Benefits upto Rs. 29,000 Includes (Free Insurance upto Rs. 14,000 + Government Employee offer(POI) upto Rs. 5,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 10,000) and Rate of Interest of 7.99% at 95% LTV + Corporate offer upto Rs. 2,000.


Buy Mahindra Scorpio and Get Cash Discount upto Rs. 21,450 + Exchange Offer upto Rs. 15,000 + Corporate Discount upto Rs. 5,500.
Buy Mahindra XUV500 and Get Cash Discount upto Rs. 21,450 + Exchange Offer upto Rs. 15,000 + Corporate Discount upto Rs. 10,000.
Buy new Renault Duster and Get Insurance @ Re. 1 + Rate of Interest of 7.99% + Special Offers of Rs. 10,000 in Exchange by Renault Selection + Special Corporate/PSU Bonus upto Rs. 7,000 + Cash Discount upto Rs. 10,000 + 2gm Gold coin(Schemes are available only from Renault Finance and loan is at the sole discretion of Renault Finance).
Buy new Nissan Terrano and Get Benefits upto Rs. 87,000 Includes (Free Insurance upto Rs. 45,000 + Government Employee offer(POI) upto Rs. 12,000 + Exchange Bonus upto Rs. 30,000) and Rate of Interest of 7.99% + Corporate offer upto Rs. 6,000.
Buy new Tata Safari Storme and Get Consumer Discount upto Rs. 15,000 + Exchange offer upto Rs. 10,000.
No Offers
No Offers
Buy new Honda BR-V and Get Cash Discount upto Rs. 1,00,000 + Win a Magical trip to U.S.A.
Buy new Ford EcoSport at Ford Credit Interest rate of 7.99% + Loyalty 3rd year Extended warranty + RSA (100,000 Kms) + Exchange Bonus + Cash Discount upto Rs. 17,500.
No Offers
No Offers
Isusu DMax VCross
No Offers
No Offers

Premium SUVs

Skoda Kodiaq
No offers
Jeep Compass
No Offers
Buy new Toyota Fortuner at Attractive Finance offer.
No Offers
No Offers
Buy new Hyundai Tucson and Get Benefits upto Rs. 1,00,000.
No Offers
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Published October 02, 2017 by Srikanth Eswaran with 6 comments

The love and hate towards Polo GT TSI

(Image source: VW India)

Firstly its a shame that I took a test drive of the Polo GT TSI this late - nearly five years after its launch in india. Since then its price is steadily increasing north. Nevertheless finally I managed to get my hands on this hot hatch and I was rather inquisitive to see what exactly the heat is all about :-)

Specificiations of Polo GT TSI

First things first some specs out of my way

  • 1.2 litre petrol engine, 4 cylinders
  • 105 bhp power at 5000 rpm
  • 175 Nm torque at 1500-4100
  • < 5m turning radius
  • 16 inch alloy wheels - so increased ground clearance
  • 45 litre fuel tank 

Features of Polo GT TSI that matter

When you buy a hatchback buyers are left high and dry with so many omissions that companies undertake just to cut costs. Take the example of cars like Celerio, or Alto, etc which give just one airbag, or no ABS or only ABS and no airbags, no wipers, no defoggers - the list gets endless. Some argue that it is done to price the car in one particular price bracket. But these are not luxuries anymore. They are darn necessities of life. Why should I feel that only me as the driver needs an airbag? Why not my co passenger? As a matter of fact why not 8 airbags, why only two ? In 2017 we must look at a proper and safe car even if it costs much.

Some of the features Polo GT offers is very admirable compared to comptetion. Some of them I personally appreciated were these:

  • ESP
  • Hill hold control for DSG petrol
  • Dual airbags and ABS
  • Cruise control (on a hatchback !)
  • Automatic climate control
  • 16 inch alloy wheels - takes care of the ground clearance aspect for good

I fail to understand whether they offer the following - My feeling is they do not which is a bit of shame

  • Anti pinch one touch windows for all sides
  • Auto dimming rear view mirrors
  • Rain sensing wipers and follow me home headlamps
  • Navigation / Android auto and Apple car play

Drive experience

Coming to the drive itself, I took only a brief drive which had the following along the route

  • Traffic - stop and go
  • Broken roads
  • Bad road humps
  • Smooth stretches to accelerate quickly
  • Slopes

The car is seemingly quiet upon start and does not let you know what is waiting to do when you press the pedal. Once you want to move you have three ways to use the car - D mode (completely auto) and Manual mode with tiptronic gear shifts and sport mode.


The D-mode is perhaps the best mode to drive this car in - it has precise understanding of the gear you are likely to be in and the dual clutch is just waiting to put the car quickly in to different gears just the way you expect the car to move about. If you are stressed out this is the mode to use and the car is always willing to work just the way you want it to and slices through traffic like butter. The chilling airconditioner also makes you very comfortable and long stretches of traffic jam would not be a bother anymore with the Polo GT.

Manual mode

The manual mode expects you to use the tiptronic transmission and for some reason VW have defined it in an anti progressive way - meaning we always expect + to be down and - to be up. In the GT its the other way round. for going higher you need to move the shift forward and for reducing gear move it backward. This is seriously counter intuitive and kills the joy of manual mode. If you want to know what I mean, drive the celerio AMT.

Sports mode

The sports mode is supposed to let you be on the same gear for a while longer to enhance pickup before gear change but it acts a bit sticky and just when you think it should be changing gear even on surges of acceleration it takes just that 1-2 seconds more which is disappointing. Again do not get me wrong here - its not unbearable - just could have been a bit more perfect. For the gears itself it does hold up pretty well and does not make you feel awkward. However it is still the D-mode i would prefer if you buy this car and it will never leave you feeling bad.

Ground clearance

All the reviews I see never really bother to cover this aspect properly. Somehow being in Bangalore for me this is one of the criteria to choose a car given the pathetic condition of our roads. Thankfully with VW deciding to give 16” wheels, the car did not even touch any of the most horribly designed road humps throughout the drive. I drove on them completely impressed with the way this car handles undulations on the road.

Body roll and suspension

The suspension is not exactly soft and more on the firmer side and hence you can expect slight body roll if you turn around corners sharply or go over real bad patches too fast. Again th car handles these bad patches well just that passengers inside may get pretty jostled at times.

Chassis and safety

This car comes with all the safety aspects you can think of - Dual airbags, ABS, ESP, Hill hold, etc. Most of all this is still the car with the reassuring european build even after a good 15 years since these cars started making in into the markets. Close the door and you get that reassuring thud which makes you feel safe at all times. God forbid you are involved in an accident with the Polo, you are bound to walk out alive for sure. Rest assured you are in one of the most safest car around.

Rear space

This sucks. No … Really. I mean it. This car should have been a 3-door car. Not a 5-door. I don’t know what VW were thinking when they designed this car for 5 people. Not even 4 people can sit properly if the front passengers are nearing 6 foot heights. The rest of them can forget enjoying sitting inside. The 2018 version of VW is much more roomy for this purpose. And its definitely a more spacious car. But you know how car manufacturers operate in India. They milk the consumers first for the old crappy products on sale currently and then bring in something new and make up a story that its so much more better than the older one and try to milk the buyers even more.

VW please do not fool people that this hatchback is the best for space and so on. No one will be able to believe it. Either bring the 2018 version out soon here for same price point or just dont mention space as a luxury element while advertising.

Fuel efficiency figures expected

I don’t go by ARAI figures or other such claims of mileage. Nowadays thankfully you dont need to go by the salesman’s word for mileage. There are systems that let you know the real time effeciency that the car is returning over a trip distance of a said number of kilometers. I did check the real world figures and it showed me 6.8kmpl for the Polo GT TSI. Agreed its a test drive car and most people always drive within 1st or 2nd gear. Its more of a performance automatic rather than something tuned for mileage. But even by extrapolated standards, I do not see this car giving anything beyond 10kmpl in city traffic.

If any of you are getting anything more than this, do let me know in the comments section and I will be glad to know how. There are cars that return 13-16/17 kmpl in hatchback category for petrol itself. So arguably the mileage figures of Polo does look a bit disturbing. Real world figures can touch a tad bit around 10 or slightly more. Do not expect anything more than this for an automatic vehicle.

Please do you research before blowing your money on a machine that burns your bank account at the petrol pumps often.


If you are looking at a powerful hatchback with an automatic transmission that steals the show the Polo GT TSI is for you. Safety and style are unquestionable and you get your money’s worth with this car. Rear space is a big disappointment and VW could have done well to utilize rear boot space for better rear space instead. However they chose not to do that due to not wanting to alter dynamics of driving.

The drive is powerful the car is nimble and makes you happy in stop and go traffic and your legs will thank you for the rest they get with the DSG gear shift. It is one of the most powerful cars in the category and it is there in the market for a reason. Driving enthusiasts. There is a waiting period of 8 weeks on the car and no discounts whatsover. That speaks a lot of where VW wanted to be with this car and they have been there since a long time now.

So if you do decide to invest on this car for the above reasons of power, ease of use - you will not be making a mistake.

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