Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
As mercury rises, it's desi coolers in Lucknow to beat the heat
Like in the past, while colas and other fizzy drinks are the toast from some, the preferred drinks remain the traditional lassi, bel badaam ka sherbet and the like, while others sip milk shakes, whose variety has been going up every year at some big shops serving them
 
As the mercury inches to newer highs this season, like elsewhere, this city of nawabs is parched and scurrying for cover from the extreme heat. And to quench their thirst denizens in the city and also the state are looking to a bevy of 'desi coolers' to help them keep their cool this summer.
 
Like in the past, while colas and other fizzy drinks are the toast from some, the preferred drinks remain the traditional lassi, bel badaam ka sherbet and the like, while others sip milk shakes, whose variety has been going up every year at some big shops serving them.
 
Topping the charts of desi coolers is the lassi - curd mixed with crushed ice and sugar with a dash of kesar. At many places, the lassi is served with malai (cream) and kewda or gulaab jal (rose water) added to it for flavour. Lassi connoisseurs still vouch for it, but with the prices of milk going up, the concoction has also become expensive. 
 
Eighty-six-year-old Sharad Mishra chuckles while talking of lassi and says that despite his age now, he makes it a point to at least go twice a month to Narahi to have his favourite desi cooler. For the diabetics, the famous Shree lassi in Chowk has come up with sugar free lassi that comes for Rs.40 a glass. And a glass is quite a 'Patiala' (large) one!
 
The shop has been serving lassi for the last 30 years and owner Nitin Gupta says except for changing the serving dishes - from the earthen kulgad to the more hygenic disposable glasses - nothing has changed with the product. "We still use the fresh and purest of all milk available and do not mix anything else like khoya," Gupta told IANS. 
 
His clients generally savour piping hot chola-bhatura's along with chilled lassi at his eatery.
 
The famous Raja Thandai shop in old Lucknow also does brisk business during summer. The 150-year old shop, whose clients include former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former MP and minister Lalji Tandon and veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar, serves thandai added with a dash of rose flavour. 
 
Owner Ashish Tripathi told IANS they have never used artificial flavours or essence in their products and the rose flavoured is made of the original.
 
Also on top of the minds of Lucknowites is the rich variety of milk shakes available at many places in the state capital. 
 
The must-stop point for several in the city has been the 'Chedi Lal' milk shake point in Hazratganj, the most popular market in the city. One of the oldest shops in Ganj, the number of shakes served here has gone up from two to over a dozen now. It offers flavours like litchi, strawberry, cold coffee, mango and many others which simply are loved by those seeking relief from the blistering sun above. 
 
Owner Amit Vaishya told IANS that the milk and the flavours are all supervised by him and there is nothing artificial as he tries to give the best to his customers.
 
Several 'matha' (buttermilk) shops have also come up in the city. Rehan Mallik, running one such shop in Indiranagar, said that the demand goes up big time in summer. 
 
"While there are people who love lassi as well, the demand for buttermilk has gone up considerably largely because it is healthy and non-fattening," Mallik told IANS.
 
The famous Prakash Kulfi has also had a makeover of taste with time. Manager Ishank Arora said with time, people now demand more and they have added a few more flavours to the traditional 'kesar pista'. 
 
"We now offer coconut, strawberry and chocolate flavours as well," Arora told IANS, adding that sugar free kulfis are also available at the shop, which has been attracting hundreds every day and has made a name for itself.
 
Happy sipping!
 

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Digital banking the way forward for banks, says study
The entire Indian banking industry ecosystem is at the cusp of a digital revolution, which requires adoption of technology to stay ahead of competition, a CII and PricewaterhouseCoopers study said here on Tuesday.
 
The study titled 'Banks taking a quantum leap through digital' said digital foreground is a big opportunity for the banking industry to attract new customers, lower costs, develop new propositions and business models and explore customer value to its maximum.
 
"With non-traditional players such as telcos, fintech start-ups and niche payments companies disrupting the digital space, there will be an increased onus on traditional banks to augment their current capabilities with innovation in the ecosystem, potentially leveraging investments, to maintain their differentiation," Vivek Belgavi, leader of the financial services technology, PwC India said.
 
The top trends to lookout for in 2015 are innovative customer acquisition and engagement strategies, data driven innovation, disruptive solutions in the payments space, convergence of regulations, emphasis on data management and new security frameworks for combating fraud and cyber security and disruptive innovations from non-conventional financial players.
 
According to the study, e-commerce boom in India made customers feel comfortable with online purchases and this trend has given a shot in the arm for online financial transactions as well.
 
Tying up with online market spaces is another strategy for acquiring customers, the report said.
 
Exploding mobile-based services and the falling price of smartphones is good for digital banking and has to be aided by policy framework, the report said.
 
Banking industry CEOs believe that mobile technologies are the strategic focus for better customer engagement as mobile phone user base would grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 91 percent from 2012 to 2016.
 
The report also stated that digital platforms are susceptible to security risks and negative effects can destroy trust and jeopardise investment made in digital solutions and advocated financial institutions to adopt cyber-security approach to address the associated risks.

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COMMENTS

nkrb

2 years ago

As phase ONE, Nationalised banks can arrange to introduce the following facility:
Account holders who do online banking (I mean, checking balances, transfer funds to other branch of the same bank or other banks, paying utility bills, and the like) should be allowed to transfer funds from savings accounts to fixed or term or cumulative time deposits by opening such accounts without visiting the branch in person.
Also, up on maturity os such accounts, customers should have the option of transfering the amount back to the savings account from which such an account was opened or extend the duration of the deposit.

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

McKinsey in its November 2014 issue has mentioned: “some people are experimenting with very large showcase, highly tech-enabled hub branches that are surrounded by much smaller branches in different formats, some ATM-only, some with a few or even no tellers. There are others that are thinking that the branch of the future may be a very different model, where they have six to ten strategically located branches in a city that supports a very strong digital presence‚Ķ Digital capabilities can turn the customer journey into something that’s highly personalized.” One has to remember that while these overtures in the delivery systems are on, cyber security issues have been on accelerated track as the author has cautioned. In fact, H.M. Khan, the Dy.Governor cautioned that for a long time to come the jet planes and bullock carts would continue in India. So would be the branch banking within easy reach of the customer in rural India at a cheaper cost and better interface.

When the Going Gets Tough...
The modern, ultra-luxury Range Rover seems to be more into luxury than anything else
 
While the price reduction that is going to be ‘made’ for the Range Rover in India is not much, the larger issue is the perception that an ultra-luxury massive SUV will now cost about half a crore rupees ‘only’. This has put the cat amongst the expensive pigeons in this category of cars, because, earlier, the perception based on the two-door high-end model of the same Range Rover was that it was a Rs1-crore car. 
 
Is the Range Rover, then, all that it is made out to be? As a status symbol, yes, certainly. Whether it is a head-on challenger against the Japanese, German and South Korean competition remains to be seen; and not because it is not as tough as its lineage would have us believe. The older Land Rovers and Range Rovers, to be fair, were pretty much indestructible. 
 
The larger issue here is a global slowdown in sales of expensive automobiles. While one reason for this is shifting preferences, despite lower oil prices, a deeper reason is that, much of the world—in and around the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea—is witnessing some conflict or the other. At such times, what sells more are the rough & ready pick-up versions of four-wheel drives which are what Land Rovers used to be famous for.
 
Sadly, the current models from Range Rover no longer come in such versions. To many, the Range Rover used to mean a larger Land Rover capable of going anywhere in the world, whether a road existed there or not. The modern Range Rover seems more into luxury, unless proved otherwise. 
 

Ford Drags on

Ford’s new manufacturing plant—up and running in Gujarat—is an amazing story in itself, in terms of speed from idea to execution. Over the past 15-20 years, Ford moved away from Nashik (Maharashtra) as soon as local party politics became more than just a small bother, leaving behind a very pretty factory and paint-shop used as a mini-zoo and horticulture set-up. The state government spent years trying to figure out why Ford moved to Tamil Nadu when everybody else could see the answer as clear as daylight. However, while Ford tends to make decent enough cars in India; now, as before, the lingering impression is that we get those models which are being withdrawn elsewhere. Right from the early days, the Escort, Mondeo, Ikon, Fusion—all now withdrawn—and the more recent Figo, Ecosport as well as Fiesta, have been seen elsewhere, long before showing up in India. This is not going to get Ford anywhere rapidly. They have a couple of good small cars globally in the Ford Ka and Ford Focus brands which would be less obsolete. And, then, there is the Ford Puma, lurking in the shadows, nothing better in the low-priced sports car range.
 

Taking a Toll

Toll booths have been shut down in 62 locations all over India. How they were up and running, in the first instance, is being looked into; hopefully, there will be some resolution of the toll-booth mafia problem that has spread like cancer. No action could have been possible without citizens pointing this out.
 
A second list of similar illegal toll booths facing the axe on highways and roads all over India, including projects under construction, is expected. 
 
If you see what you feel is an illegal toll booth, please use the ‘Public Grievances Portal’ online to escalate the issue. This, incidentally, also includes illegal parking lots. Don’t forget to include a copy of the toll or parking receipt though! In case you need help, do write in to: correspondent c/o Moneylife. 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)

 

User

COMMENTS

Sudheer M

2 years ago

Sir, How do one identify whether it is an illegal toll booth or a valid one? The receipts can be faked and many toll booths does not provide computerized receipts.

I had faced a situation where in I got a pollution control certificate from a place where pollution check is done in a petrol pump. It looked a valid certificate with all the details. Couple of days later, I saw in the newspaper that, the checking center is shut down and the owner is arrested as their licence was not valid for the past 3 years.

So, how does a common man know what are the valid places, be it a toll booth or be it a pollution checking center? My suggestion is that there should be a website which gives the list of tollbooths by NHAI or State government and a similar listing of such pollution checking centers.

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