My experience at The Project Cafe

It was on of those unusual work Tuesdays and the unusual part about it was my best friend’s birthday. While, I am a lover of great healthy breakfasts, it is a tradition for both of us to have breakfast treats on each of our birthdays (well, I just need a reason to have great breakfasts, it’s like celebration ;)).

However, we couldn’t make it in time for a breakfast and decided to have a brunch at The Project Cafe (TPC). I have been there once before but just for a quick coffee as I had heard a lot about the place. I just wanted to get a feel of it and I loved it so much that I decided to visit again, only, this time, to try some of their famous food items.
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I enjoy unconventional cafes. Cafes that are located next door in the midst of all the crowd and city buzz yet are so secluded in their own way that you feel at peace. I felt the same about TPC. Admittedly, when we arrived, I was rather shocked to find that the cafe that looks like a big villa from outside, only has one floor of that villa to themselves which was quite small in size. Based on my estimation, it would possibly seat a maximum of 20-25 people. It has a drawing room, dining room, and the bedroom all decorated well to keep the cozy feeling of home alive and yet look like cafe (It actually felt so homely in the middle of the sunny afternoon that if they had arranged for a small couch, I would have slept, no sarcasm there). The place is decorated in a subtle way with pieces of antique and artistic furniture (another non-conventional thing I like) and also some ties and kimonos lying around. It was only when I went close enough to check the products out, I realized they are on sale. How cool is it? No wonder it is called ‘The Project Cafe’, very thoughtful.
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Between the two of us, we ordered Vanilla fruit pancake (Rs. 224), the Mexican chili paneer rice (Rs. 332), and the hot Mocha (Rs. 146). I wonder what they are trying to do by putting non-rounded figures (perhaps, check your math skills). The order process wasn’t as simple as the cafe looks. Yes, I understand on a weekday in the afternoon, you won’t expect a customer to walk-in but such slow service was something I didn’t expect. We both had to shout like four times to get the executive to hear us and take the order. Once, the order was placed and given that it was working day for both of us, we had to ask them to make it quick. To our disappointment, I don’t think the cafe understands quick. So, all of you who have enough time on hand, do visit the cafe, all of you who are in a hurry for a quick bite, think again before deciding on your preferences.
pancakes
Pancakes
After the order had arrived, I could say it was worth the patience at least by the look and feel of it. All the various elements on the plate were carefully arranged to create a visually beautiful plate of food. My friend’s Mexican chili paneer rice wasn’t as appealing by the looks of it but every element was arranged in a composition to complement each other. I was actually enticed by the way they serve the food. My serving of pancake consisted of one big pancake cut into four triangular pieces that was served with fruit compote, whipped cream, and maple syrup. I am a sucker for maple syrup, I think one of the reasons I enjoy traditional pancakes and french toast is the added maple syrup on top.
mexican chili paneer rice
Mexican Chili Paneer Rice
Well, when you are a suckler of maple syrup, you exactly know what maple syrup tastes like. I think the cafe didn’t quite understand the difference between maple syrup and honey, and I was served honey (not that I don’t like honey but you can’t replace maple syrup with anything). All the impression that the cafe has built went down the drain with this big mistake. I asked the waiter to explain why honey was served instead of maple syrup and the waiter explained they have exhausted the maple syrup and hence have served honey, instead. I was like, if you don’t have it, you at least inform that to your guest and check if they are still okay with the order but none of this was done. I was highly disappointed, but I didn’t make a fuss about it then since it was my friend’s birthday.
interiors
interiors
Pancakes, like cupcakes, cakes, and waffles, are all very dependent on each individual preference. Some people like their pancakes light and fluffy while others like them thicker and denser. I like mine with maple syrup which was missing so, personally, I didn’t quite enjoy them as I generally would. But the taste wasn’t bad, it was very fluffy and soft and the fruit compote added the extra texture to it, which made it look and taste better. Other than that the hot mocha was good too, I liked the creaminess of chocolate and coffee blended well. When the food was done and it was the bill time, we were too much in a hurry and didn’t notice that they have not added the cost of coffee to the bill. It was only when we paid the  bill and were moving out, the waiter stopped us and informed that he has forgotten to add the coffee cost to the bill. So, we had to then check the bill and realize that it was missing and in a time when we are already running late, we had to stop to clear the coffee bill separately and then leave. I understand such mishaps occur when you have a lot of guests to manage but when you just have one table full, you do not expect such mistakes to happen, it’s discouraging.
Frankly, I mean, don’t get me wrong – there was nothing particularly wrong or bad about our dining experience there but, I feel that they could do better, such petty things should not spoil the experience.
Pic Courtesy - cityshor
Pic Courtesy – cityshor
Where:  Yellow House No 7, Polytechnic Road, Ambavadi, Ahmedabad
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Eavesdropping

People come and people go;
Dancing around the candle light’s glow.
You see a face, you hear a voice;
Now intrigued, this is your choice.

You listen in, hear their words;
Sweet but silent, like chirps of birds.
Making out the words, they speak;
As you listen, you grow weak.

They speak of you and all your flaws;
The words they tear, like tiger’s claws.
Who you are, what you do.
All these things they speak of you.

Broken spirits cloud your mind.
Now they leave you in this bind.
Their words continue without stopping.
Well…that’s what you get for eavesdropping.

The Wanderess

Being lost is found

Skies meet the ground

Circles are infinite

But squares come around

Your life won’t turn out

Quite how you think

But deep down in your soul

Your dreams and fate link

Once upon a time

Stories that never grow old

Quite like the sunshine

They always stand bold

You have made mistakes

You will make them again

The enchanting charisma of life

Will never let you find Zen

You say you find pleasure

In the pathless woods

And rapture on the lonely shore

Where none intrudes

By the deep sea,

Watching spring take its stroll

Lingering on the moment of joy

Let the calmness acquire your soul

In Conversation with Two Startup Recruiters

CIIE @ IIM Ahmedabad

Ask any startup founders to rank their greatest challenges, and naturally human resources makes it to the top of that list. One of the biggest challenges in starting a company involves hiring amazing people. For new ventures, a little preparation can mean the difference between creating a culture of success, or becoming completely bogged down by people problems at a time when you can least afford to make mistakes. So, how does can entrepreneurs be prepared to recruit the right talent and retain it? In a candid chat with two startup recruiting experts – Chandrika Pasricha, founder and CEO of Flexing It and Jeyadev Parthasarathy, CEO, Career Access, a division of Executive Access (India) – we figure out human resource challenges faced by technology-based startups and how to deal with them.

jeyadevKey ingredients to a successful recruitment strategy

According to Jeyadev, when hiring someone in the technology field…

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Managing human resources in ICT startups

CIIE @ IIM Ahmedabad

Two words that startups choose to ignore, but should notice without fail – Human Resource! Onboarding, training and employee retention are enormous tasks for companies of all sizes.  More so, start-ups need to be prepared for personnel crises that can upset the workplace environment, operation cycles, business continuity and customer relationships. Experts even add that HR professionals these days need a whole new set of skills to navigate the thrilling, roller-coaster work atmosphere at startups.

We spoke to the founders of four of our startups in the ICT space on this topic – Chitra Gurnani Daga of Thrillophilia, Anuj Tandon from Rolocule Games, Yash Shah from Gridle and Ritam Bhatnagar from wWhere – on the various aspects of their recruitment strategy, the entailed processes and other people management issues. Before we hear what they had to say, here’s a quick snapshot of the companies we spoke to and what they do:

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In conversation with Jaisingh Dhumal from ICICI Bank on debt funding for startups

My blog

CIIE @ IIM Ahmedabad

Loans for long have been a well-known  and well-used method of raising capital. The drawback for taking out a loan for your company is repayment of the loan, both in principal and interest. However, the positive aspect of loan or debt funding is that the lenders are only entitled for repayment, not an ownership which is why debt funding is considered advantageous for growing companies. When you are just starting your business, it is cheaper than raising equity and it makes sense to preserve your equity for as long as possible.

Jaisingh Dhumal

Funding amount may vary according to different loan providers and may sometime pose a challenge like requesting for mortgage(s) or gurantee(s) of repayments. To understand how the debt funding scenario works further, CIIE connected with Jaisingh Dhumal, Chief Manager at ICICI Bank who also leads operations at Technology Finance Group of ICICI. More about TFG can be found…

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Cheers to the New Life!!

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It hurt so long

It mattered so much

I was equivocal about moving on

Lamenting on what had happened

Is there a life beyond this, was the question I  used to ask

I gainsay  the answers my mind would postulate

Threw it down the yacht

 

Over a year has worn on, yet it felt like yesterday

Why can’t I put a lid on it?

Why does it feel so inexpedient?

When his mendacity feels perturbing

Inklings the right decisions made;

Then why the heart doesn’t beat the retreat

Why does it still wants to bear the heat

Suddenly the reality hits

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He was a glib; it’s over now

Let’s put this to an end

let this all go to the grave

Breaking free from these memories

I am setting it on fire

Burning it down the sand

I’ve finally said goodbye

Just letting it all go

I have finally forgiven you;

I now rule the flow

 

The December lonely nights are all gone now

A new January morning awaits

I let it go, and now I know

How beautiful life could be

Feeling happy like never before

Down the tunnel, finally finding the light

A brand new life, down this road

Where it all seems right

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Happy

…But I had to go

It’s interesting how words can make you, break you, bless you, destroy you. Words…

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I should start by saying sorry
Though I’m sure you don’t want an apology
You don’t wanna hear how life is too long
How I wish that I could’ve been more strong
I guess I’m not the person you wanted me to be
I just got tired of living someone else’s dream
I know if I’d asked, you’d have found a way for me
But it’s all over – and all I can say is I’m sorry

I’m sorry to leave you by yourself
I’m sorry for never asking for your help
I’m sorry if I caused you any pain
And I’m sorry if I left you in the rain
Never meant to hurt the ones I love so dearly
Never thought I’d see life as it is more clearly
You live then you die, your best friends cry
It seems so pointless to me
But if I hurt you in any way, then I’m sorry

I hope that not a tear falls from your eyes
When you wake up and realize
That I’m gone, and won’t be back any time soon
Though I never left your own bedroom
I’m here no longer, but I’m with you always
It’s my own fault – and I’m sorry

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I never meant to hurt you but I had to go….​

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Life’s convictions bottled up in a Jar

When things in your life seemalmost too much to handle,
When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students, if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.   He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open Areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor,   as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – family, children, health, Friends, and Favorite passions –  Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, Your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else –The small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’  He continued, there is no room for  the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

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So…

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play With your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

‘Take care of the golf balls first —
The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
‘I’m glad you asked’.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’

Venice-CoffeeFriend-quote