Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My 3 Favorites from Hobnob

NO! I am not a brand associate of Hobnob, nor have I been paid by them to write this post. It’s just my love (leaning almost towards lust) for the goodies at this bakery that has driven me to share the top three things that I simply can’t say no to.
A few days back, a bag full of Hobnob goodies inspired me to write about them. So I took some photos. Here we go…

Item # 1 – Death by Chocolate

Yes, if you are a normal human being, you’ll probably feel overdosed till the point of death, after having this block of rich, creamy, chocolaty, *insert appropriate adjectives here* pastry. This little piece of chocolaty bliss is just for 55 rupees. You can slightly warm it in the microwave and enjoy with vanilla ice cream or chill it and enjoy the gooeyness. Also, if you are health conscious, the small-serving-size-trick is very much implementable here. Cut the pastry into 8 pieces. And BELIEVE me, even that one piece will be pretty fulfilling.

Item # 2 –Cheese Cup

If you are sad, this is probably the quickest thing that can cheer you up. Too bad, the cup in this photo is almost empty. The cheese is dressed with strawberry jam, chocolate sauce and tiny bits of fruit cocktail at different layers.Once, it got melted by the time I reached home with it in my hand. Kept it in the freezer and viola! The resultant was some awesome ice-screeammm!!!
Price: 74 rupees

Item # 3 - Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have had chocolate chip cookies from a lot of places but this one surprised me because…
i. It was very reasonably priced
ii. It made me feel like I was floating
Price: 100 rupees for 250 grams. Store them in a jar and hide them in your cupboard because no sane person in your home will spare the cookies once they know the magic these cookies can conjure up.

Note to the Critics…

My love for Hobnob has at times been disdained given ‘that there are way better bakeries in the city’ such as Pie in the Sky, Art of the Tart, etc. Well, there plenty of reasons why Hobnob is a favorite.

Firstly and most importantly, I love it because its branches are so strategically located. Once, I happened to come across a Pie in the Sky outlet in side a not-so-prominent lane in Gulshan. Went in and bought some croissants and Alaska brownies. Well, the stuff was really good but sadly, it was stale. Reason: bad location, less customers, stale items.

Secondly, the prices are truly reasonable. Enter any other generic bakery in town and the prices will be almost the same with nothing even near the same quality to offer. So, Hobnob gives you value for your money.
Thirdly, the customer service is not bad either. Once, a friend and I had to arrange a treat for around 20 people and the customer rep helped us make our decision and even gave a bulk discount.
And of course, there are a few things the place could change to become even better. Delivery is the first thing it must make sure it does. I know people who are ready to switch brands and even pay extra to get that amazing moose cake to their office. Secondly, the air conditioning could also be improved at the outlets. Sure, you want me to know that your cookies are oven-fresh. But I don’t make me enter an oven for that. Thirdly, the salesmen can do with a bit of Redbull. Its is good of them to calmly bear with their customers but when there are three in a row, tapping their feet, the men should know when and how to ask their customers to make their decision  quickly.

So next time, you see a Hobnob outlet, I’ll consider you sinful if you don’t glance an eye of love (read: lust) towards it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pleasure Centered?

Yes, it’s been almost a year since I last posted on the blog. Reason? Well like I mentioned earlier, blogging is more like a way of relieving myself from mental stress. Having graduated from school and working nine to five doesn’t let me be in that situation any more. It feels numb rather than stressful. And this numbness apparently feels cured only with a bit of ‘entertainment’ on Sundays. The more entertainment one indulges in, the more bearable corporate numbness feels. Or so it was until I came across this paragraph in Stephen Covey’s book a moment ago that I am going to discuss below.
He speaks about factors that determine our life – wisdom, security, guidance and power. Covey explains how these life-support factors and the lives of people often revolve around certain centers. Some of the centers that most people let their wisdom, security, guidance and power depend on include spouses, families, money, work, possession and – it was rather surprising when I came across – pleasure.
The surprise was partly because pleasure centeredness is something that I feel guilty of being a victim of and that too unsuspectingly (which is even worse). So without further ado, I’ll share the paragraph that speaks of Pleasure Centeredness in Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

‘Another common center, closely allied with possessions, is that of fun and pleasure. We live in a world when instant gratification is available and encouraged. Television and movies are major influences in increasing people’s expectations. They graphically portray what other people have and can do in living the life of ease and ‘’fun’’.
But while the glitter of pleasure-centered lifestyles is graphically portrayed, the natural result of such lifestyles – the impact on the inner person, on productivity, on relationships – is seldom accurately seen.
Innocent pleasures in moderation can provide relaxation for the body and mind and can foster family and other relationships. But pleasure, per se, offers no deep, lasting satisfaction or sense of fulfillment. The pleasure-centered person, too soon bored with each succeeding level of ‘’fun’’, constantly cries for more and more. So the next new pleasure has to be bigger and better, more exciting, with a bigger ‘’high’’.
Malcolm Muggeridge writes ‘’ Twentieth-Century Testimony’’
When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is that what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now most futile and absurd. For instance, success in all of its various guises; being known for and being praised; ostensible pleasures, like acquiring money or seducing women, or traveling, going to and fro in the world and up and down in it like Satan, explaining and experiencing whatever Vanity Fair has to offer.
In retrospect all these exercises in self-gratification seem pure fantasy, what Pascal called, ‘’licking the earth’’.’

Given my current state of affairs, I can’t agree with this excerpt more. May be instant gratification has become necessary for those trapped in money-churning lifestyles to prevent them from becoming robots, to let them remember that they are humans. Perhaps it is an extreme that has evolved to cure another. But is the cure permanent? I wonder if I will have thoughts at the end of my life similar to those of Malcolm Muggeridge.