Some Frshly Food for Thought…

The food market in India is going through an interesting phase. Consumers are constantly seeking more variety in the options at their disposal. Along with variety, they want great taste, quality, affordability, and convenience. Service providers on their part are trying to figure out the best ways and means to marry these factors to win over customers.

In this climate, FRSHLY enters the market like a breath of fresh air. Frshly functions as an automated retail market place. It is a 10*8 feet smart kiosk where customers can go through the menu on the digital panels and pick their item(s). The payment is done through cards or Paytm. Once selected the Frshly packaged food gets heated in a microwave and arrives at the dispensing slot to be picked. The time between making the payment and picking up the tray is less than 90 seconds. During the entirety of this process, the customer interacts completely with the electronic setup.

These are some of the key highlights of the experience:

  1. The consumer has an option to choose from multiple items from a bunch of prominent restaurants; the digital panels get updated in real-time based on the availability of the items. So there is no chance of an item being ordered and it subsequently running out of stock
  2. The packing is compact and smart; it’s a slotted sealed tray made of good quality plastic; the seal comes off easy and there was a spillage
  3. The meal is filling and is presumably targeted at someone with a moderate-to-good appetite   img_20170211_132706191
  4. Each of the packs comes with a unique QR (Quick Response) code; this is used to keep track of the packs and ensure that the food that is past its prime is grounded and does not get in touch with the consumer; ergo, there is no question of food-gone-bad being served
  5. Customers pay the same price that they would pay for the item at the restaurant

Currently, Frshly Is present in 16 locations across India, prominent amongst them are the Chennai Airport and the Bengaluru Central Station. The setup too is fairly compact and if a better location is available, it can be easily moved in less than a day’s time.

I think the biggest plus point of FRSHLY, from a consumer’s point of view, is that it offers quality food options at places where one might be hard-pressed to find them. A railway station is a good example of such a place.  The product and idea are gaining ground. This in turn would see Frshly partner with more vendors, as the latter are constantly on the lookout for new ways to widen their footprint.

That in a nutshell is how Frshly keeps its fresh, simple and tasty!


My Top Fifteen Books of 2016

This is the first time I have successfully completed the Goodreads 50-books-a-year challenge. It was hugely satisfying. I was happy I could sneak in some non-fiction, science fiction and graphic novels into the list.

15. Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
14. A Midsummer’s Equation by Keigo Higashino
13. Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen
12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
11. The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy
10. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
9. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
8. Second Variety by Philip K. Dick
7. Dare by John Boyne
6. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
5. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
4.Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
3. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
2. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault
1. A Man without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut

Angelique Kerber Clinches the 2016 Australian Open Title

For the first five years of her career Angelique Kerber did not manage to win a title. Over the years, the 28 year old German -who turned professional back in 2003- has been a force to reckon with at non-slam events. At the slams, while she did have some good wins on-and-off (the one against Sharapova at Wimbledon 2014 comes to mind), those were few and far between.

At this year’s Australian Open it was a different narrative for Kerber. The pre-tournament favourites were Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka (winner at the Brisbane event prior to the AO). That Kerber defeated Azarenka and Williams on the way to clinching the title is a truly powerful statement. Prior to the Open Kerber did not have a win over Azarenka; she had beaten Williams once back in 2012.

Kerber always had spectacular defense; her lefty forehand was lethal, and she could play an aggressive game. It was a tad surprising to see her not bring that style to the table often before, especially in the big matches. She got all her ammunition against Serena in the finals; her forehand was formidable and helped her keep the ball deep, her backhand consistent and reliable as ever, and her defense impenetrable. At Melbourne, Kerber saved a match point in her first round match against Misaki Doi.

The final not just showcased great tennis (my match of the tournament), it also showed Serena in great light. Williams was sportspersonship personified after her loss; gracious and sweet. For a fleeting moment I felt she was relieved to lose here. Now perhaps she can focus on each of the remaining slams individually and not head to Paris worrying about the Calendar Slam or Golden Slam. As for Kerber, she has the perfect game for clay.

My Top 10 Books of 2015

I had managed to read 22 books in 2015. Here are my top 10:
10. Hunger by Knut Hamsen/ Rosie Project by Simsion
9. Life after Life by Atkinson
8. Lolita by Nabokov
7. Journey under the Midnight Sun by Higashino
6. The Inevitable by Ashay Abbhi
5. Three Evangelists by Fred Vargas
4. Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar
3. Gardens of the Dead by William Brodrick
2. Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
1. Best of Saki by Saki

Book Review: Dove’s Lament by Kirthi Jayakumar

People living in more safer places take peace for granted.

There are some books that make you pause and think. That can be attributed to the themes pursued in this book as well as the writing style.

Kirthi’s writing is layered, the language evocative, the emotions raw and painful.

Such level of writing can only be a result of caring deeply about something you truly believe in.

The writing is like tasting something good; you savour it; and the taste lingers; certain phrases and sentences stay with you; you re-read some of them.

All-in-all this is a very satisfying read that makes you introspect.

Review: Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

This is the fourth book of the author I have read. While I do rank his earlier works above this book (Devotion of Suspect X > Salvation of a Saint > Malice > Journey Under the Midnight Sun), I enjoyed reading Journey Under the Midnight Sun. This is a mystery that spans over 20 years and traces the journey of the protagonists and some recurring characters. It keeps you hooked as the puzzle grows in complexity. The language is, as always, simple; the writing to the point.
While it does seem like a door-stopper at 544 pages, it is fast-paced and is a quick read, just like how a good thriller should be.

Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This has been on my reading list for a long time. The language was exemplary, smooth and lyrical. Masterful stuff. That said, I did find the material smutty; not bad smut; literary smut; tasteful smut; but, smut nevertheless. As it deals with a bold theme, there was a sense of grimness pervading throughout the book; a sense that no matter what, it was not going to end well. That perhaps does not make it an easy read.