Review: Chaiholics Singapore

Last weekend when we were walking near Raffles MRT to get to Krispy Kreme, I was delighted to find a chai shop, though closed. It looked to nice on the outside and  went over the moon to see that served only chai and snacks. I am rarely in this locality as it is a office locality and most places are closed on weekends. I vowed to check them out sometime.

Their website looked great but has up to date. That very night, I found a groupon for Chaiholics and bought it immediately – 7.90 for 2 chais.

So, did chaiholics live up to my expectations? I can be a chai snob :)

Website – I hate it when websites or Facebook pages do not update their info. Chaiholics, Singapore did not.

Currently, they have only 2 branches but their website lists 4 branches. 2 have closed down. I wanted to go there this Wednesday (22nd Oct) and they did not update their FB on THAT day and it was listed as open. I had my doubts and called them. No one picked up the phone at both the branches. Of course, it is in an office only locality. They would not be open. Why not update that or state Sun and PH = closed.

Also, what kind a chai place does not even bother wishing people a Happy Diwali?!

Price - Too pricey. 7.00 SGD for 1 chai? I might try it once but not regularly. Come, even Starbucks can work out to be cheaper. I get my chai for 80 cents nears my office. Better yet, I can make it with organic milk at home.

Opening hours - Office hours. Clearly not meant for people who work or live anywhere except the downtown area.

Reviews - I could barely find any blog that reviewed this place, even though this place has been open for over a year. Very strange. Most tripadvisor and facebook reviews were 4 starts and I do not believe them.

Only review I found was – 

Which is why I am bothering to write a long review. My expectations we already low for the place. I rarely set low expectations for chai.

Crowds – We went on 23 Oct, Thursday around 6.20 PM to the Chevron House branch. There was a Costa coffee next to Chaiholics and it was full. There was no one there except us. Later on 1 girl walked in.

Food - They had those wrapped up starbucks kinda snacks and I did not buy anything.

Decor - Looks nice.

The chai –  I ordered Classic masala chai and Indian Railway Chai. The portion was a little less than the smallest cup size at Starbucks for a reference point (my perception).

They did not add sugar. So, I thought I could try both with and without sugar.

The chai was terrible. I could not take more than a sip of each tea. I forced myself to take one more sip for the sake of this review. It was watery, dark, the spices were all on top.  it was not brewed the way we brew chai. It was horri horrible. I think they should do everyone a favour and shut down the remaining 2 branches as well. If a chai place cannot serve proper chai, what is the point?

As U put it: – “If your Indian Mother in law is in town and you do not want her to ever bother you again, take her here. She will never talk to you for the rest of her life.”

Rating: 0.5/5

Cold Pressed Juices

Cold pressed juicing seems to be all the rage now. Clearly the trend started in the USA and now it is the in thing in Singapore as well. Now, even Bangalore has one. 1 year ago, I had not heard of a cold pressed juice shop or juice cleanses and now  they are all over the place. There are at least 15-20 cold pressed juice bars and cleansing programs now in Sg.

I was initially drawn to them when I saw that a lot of these juices were organic. I did not really analyse the cold pressed part. These 3/5 day cleanses can be quite expensive – 330 SGD for a 3 day cleanse which includes 18 bottles of 500ml cold pressed organic/non organic juice. That works out to roughly 18 SGD/juice which is really expensive. I can get a non organic fresh juice in the food court for 4 SGD tops.

Why are they so expensive? 

What they say [people who sell these juices]

  • Cold pressed juice extracts the maximum nutrients, live enzymes and every drop possible compared to centrifugal juices which heat up and destroy the live enzymes.
  • Cold pressed juices are not oxidized which means they can last longer (aka 3 days) without preservatives. Many of these juice bars or cleanses supply you juices that are not freshly squeezed as a result of this oxidation theory. 
  • Cold pressed juice tastes better.
  • A lot more produce goes into it compared to other juicers.

What I say 

  • They are expensive because the cold press juicing machines are bloody expensive
  • It is in fashion. Charge for the trend and because it is fashionable
  • Okay, I am willing to pay more for organic vegetables or fruits but many of these companies do not sell organic juice or they conveniently claim they use organic as much as possible. 

These juices are so expensive but there is no substantial data on why cold pressed juices are better. Even the machine manufacturers do not provide data. I mean, how difficult is it to do a side by side comparison when you claim your juicers are so very better than other centrifugal juicers.

Experimental design

  1. Take equal number of vegetables/fruits.
  2. Juice them side by side.
  3. Measure certain parameters – quantity of produce used, amount of juice produced, stability of components, maybe major vitamins and minerals, oxidation of the juice.
  4. Get the data and make it into nice graphs.

My opinion on the entire cold pressed juices

- Cold pressed juicers are not a novel concept. Norwalk has been around for a long time and lysis or extraction via pressure is not a novel concept either. I have lysed bacterial culture using the same principle – French press which does the same. Not heating protects your proteins and enzymes for further purification. Stop talking like it is the newest kid in town.

- Will I pay more for organic? Hell yes. Cold pressed? Nah, I am not convinced remotely. Every one of these cold pressed juice people has the same hokey explanation. Using 3 science words does not make you more correct.

- Absolute lack of data and unwillingness of juice machine makers to provide data and juice sellers tells a lot.

 – I am not sold on the live enzymes theory as well. Even if the enzymes are live, would they not be broken down in the stomach acid? How many enzymes can survive stomach pH? It is hardly likely that enzymes or other proteins will be absorbed without being broken down. 

- Oxidation is a moot point for me. I drink my juices when they are freshly squeezed in 5 minutes. Why should I pay more for 3 day old juice? People are not cold pressing fresh juice every time you order. They usually take it from the fridge and they probably do it once in 3-4 days. Technically, we can never know if a cold pressed juice store sold you a 4 day old juice because they did not sell them all out.

- Also, almost all the juice cleanse programs give you 5 juices + 1 nut milk for 1 day though they say it is 6 juices/day. I have made nut milk at home and I can tell you it cannot cost you that much. How much does it cost to grind a handful of nut, organic or not, in water? 

I believe fresh juices are healthy when consumed in moderation. I do like organic and prefer holistic health. However, cold pressed juice sounds more like a fad and more on the mumbo jumbo side. Yes, healthy people have their fads and they can go extreme too, often with no logic whatsoever. One day agave is in and one day it is pure EVIL.One day fat is bad, another day sugar is bad and the root cause of every single disease on earth.

Have you tried cold pressed juices before? What are your opinions?

Marriage advice

If there was only one piece of advice I were to give to people getting married, it would be to get their OWN Separate living space – be it rented or bought – separate from both sets of parents and relatives.

It is absolutely VITAL, especially in patriarchal societies [but then, tell me which society is not?]

I am amazed at the number of women who agree to live in joint families and then are unhappy and can see no way out of it [see IHM's blog]. When you walk in to a patriarchal way of life, why would you expect it to be free of patriarchal expectations placed upon you?

Note: Let us be really honest here. There may be exceptions in joint families but a large majority of them are skewed in favour of men and elders. The women and the new daughter in law are the lowest in the pecking order.

Add to that, most husband’s inability to stand up for their wives in a strong fashion. I say strong because many women claim that their husbands to support them but in a meek way. They will not fight tooth and nail and yell. Sometimes, you have to fight for things that matter and arguments may turn ugly.

I disagree with the idea that people should be respected, just because they are older or that they are men. Some of these people throw tantrums like a 5 year old and expect nobody to complain and be constantly served.

Reasons why you should live separately:

1. You get to know your partner

In arranged marriages, most people barely know their partner. Know them and learn about them independent of the in laws breathing down your necks. Most people are always almost not gonna let loose when other people’s parents and your parents are observing you and you are expected to maintain decorum. In India, most love marriages also do not involve the partners living together. Hanging out for coffee does not often reveal a person’s character and it does not mean they will stand up for you in front of their parents.

Women get the short end of the stick here because they have often no home to call their home and they cannot relax anywhere.

In short, get to know your spouse, free from any external pressure. And grow closer together.

2. You need to create your own lifestyle and home

Living with parents does not let you bring out your own ideas as the house is already ready and set for  you, mainly the woman. If the woman walks into a joint family, she has to do ALMOST ALL of the adjusting. Why should anyone person give up everything?

Most men will balk at the idea of having to give up everything and follow the rules of their wives parental home. Then, why is it fair that women have to do it?

3. Freedom

To wear what you want – Many women have to stick to certain kids of clothes because modern clothes are considered inappropriate in front of elderly relatives. They have to wear marks of marriage and almost always expected to be in traditional attire.

Cook when you want. Set your own rules not what the older people tell the DIL to do. And so on. Everyone has their own style of living. In fact, I feel one may not even agree with the way their parents do things.

4.  Learn to be independent

When are you going to learn to run your own house and do your own stuff, if your parents dictate everything for you? When will you become an adult if you always run to your mommy?

5. Living separately helps in creating a gender equal home. That is if the wife allows it. If she follows the traditional model, well, at least she is doing it of her own will [or conditioning].

6. Many parents ruin their own children’s marriages because they cannot bear the thought of their own child getting close to someone else, even if the spouse was chosen by them. They are emotionally insecure and leech on to their children and expect servitude. It is a messed up emotional cycle of dependence. Also,  there is a lot of baggage involved. Of course parents are blind to their children’s faults.

7. Let the parents enjoy their freedom from children and their parents.

8. Sex

Sex in joint families tends to be quickly and quietly because there is often no privacy. 

Note:The phrase “quickly and quietly” is TM of SS company coined by U. Please ask permission before copying that phrase.

I do understand that some people will say that their parents need to be looked after. Even in that case, I would suggest living close by, dropping by as and when needed and cooking for your parents than living in a small flat together. If economic reasons dictate that you cannot live alone, I would suggest working towards economic freedom as goal so that you can move out or having a large house with independent kitchens and units. 

P.S: Please ignore the grammar mistakes or typos that crept in as I was typing in a hurry and my meeting was about to start.

Dating advice – Don’t be a good girl

I came across this article from yesandyes and I loved it. Of course, it is more applicable to dating than for arranged marriages but the underlying philosophy is applicable to everyone. Here are parts I really loved – 

“Plenty of dudes will want to form a “fun little team” with you, particularly if you’re smart and highly evolved and you have your shit together.” 

“It makes me wonder if you’re really showing up or not. It makes me wonder if you don’t want, so badly, to be someone’s dream girl, that you’ve got your hands on all of the sliders and the knobs (sorry!) at all times, controlling all the levels to achieve the perfect mix. Does he look impatient? Turn up the tempo. Does he seem bored? Pump up the bass. Does he seem on edge? Turn down the treble. Play up the mid-range.”

“Either way, you are a government certified, grade-A, consumer-friendly woman, approved for multiple uses, from forming a fun little team to kind, healthy, mature fence-sitting!”

You’re putting up with whatever. You’re never getting ruffled or hurt. When someone breaks up with you, you’re not yelling “Whyyyyy?!!!” In fact, you imply that only a weak or less evolved person would do that.” 

You’re so good at being GOOD. But how good are you at being YOU? You know what makes a spark? A real human being with a bad attitude who’s tired of moving shit just to sit down in a motherfucker’s apartment.”

“Because let me tell you the god’s honest truth: A lot of women out there are afraid of being something. The template for us is pretty clear: We are meant to have clean skin, a pleasant demeanor, and a nice rack.”

But there are lots of ladies around me, everywhere I go, who hesitate to say what they’re thinking and feeling. They go with the flow, they never make waves. And eventually, they don’t even seem to know what makes them who they are. They live to serve. They read the books that other people are reading. They say the pleasant things that other people are saying. They never put their needs first, unless it indirectly serves someone else — a manicure, some highlights. They make sure everyone around them is 100 percent satisfied. Like grocery-store managers. Like customer service reps. Like masseuses who also give free happy endings.”

If that sounds sexist or demeaning, then it’s by design. The developed world is packed to the gills with shiny, pretty sheep who will never step on your toes. I know many representatives of the middle-class suburban version of this, and I even know women in creative fields who pull the same “Me, too!” face in everything they do. It’s soul-sucking and it’s problematic and let me just say, too, that it is a FUCKING SNOOZE.”

“Like you yourself wrote: YOU SHOULD BE CHERISHED.

Because even the ladies who step right in line and aim to please, they have lots of spark, if that’s what makes them happy. YOU WANT MORE THAN THAT. The lack of spark within you comes from the conflict between WHO YOU TRY TO BE and WHAT YOU REALLY WANT FOR YOURSELF. You want more. You act like you don’t want more, you act like you’re satisfied, but in fact, you want a lot more.”

When I read this, I could think of several women who fit the profile who fit this. They are in 2 categories – 

a) Women who are free to date and want to be in a relationship and don’t express themselves. They feel bad that there is this lack of passion. Yup, because robots do not invoke passion, raw humans do with all their imperfections. The advice above goes against the grain for women who have been taught to be good. Yes, don’t be a bitch because nobody wants to be around one but self respect and not expressing your feeling in a respectful manner is not bad. You can’t always be on the fence. Sometimes, you have to take a side.

b) Women in arranged matches who are forced to be the ideal wife/DIL/mother without anyone giving a thought to their self expression and what makes them tick. Again, people want robots they can control to varying degrees. 

To put it concisely, be your best authentic self. Do not pretend to be somebody to please others, especially in a relationship. This is applicable to everybody irrespective of gender. Of course this is more for women as women as a whole tend to be more prone to fall into the people pleasing mode and perfectionism. Basically, how can someone like you in a relationship when you are not in that relationship? Resentment builds over time, when you are constantly pretending and it does come out in form or another.

P.S: That does not mean you have to a jerk or yell at other people. If something bothers you, bring it up in a respectful manner.

When getting a wife is easy

We were watching Godavari the other day and there is this scene where Ravi is very condescending to his fiancée, Raji. It is an arranged match. 

U made an observation that Ravi was rude and condescending because he did not work hard to get the girl. Finding and having a long-term girlfriend is not easy and generally people would not treat their girlfriends like that because the girl would simply leave.  Without arranged marriage, would these guys even find women as they did not even have basic skills to interact with females?

This observation is absolutely spot on.  I often feel that these men have no incentive to step up the plate because they women will put up with their behaviour (whatever the reasons maybe for putting up). I was shocked when someone told me that their husband barely talked to them after coming home from office and never ever helped in the house. I could not believe the way she normalized it and told me that most of her friends had similar experiences. I do not think her husband would have a girlfriend with that kind of behaviour had he dated some woman here.

This guarantee that men will find a wife via arranged marriage makes them think they can behave like A-class jerks and still get a wife + dowry. All they have to do is have a job and earn money.

I am not telling women to start throwing tantrums for every little thing or threaten to leave for every little thing. But please, you do deserve to be treated with basic respect and consideration. And yes, the entire household does not run with your labour alone.

Snippets of my life #7

I am sitting in office typing away. In walks some guy (G) and talks to my colleague (C) in the next cubicle.

G – “Your African friend is in office. The entire office smells of him”

C – “My friend?”

G – “Ya, smell downstairs.”

C (lets out a laugh. She does not find it offensive AT ALL) – “Oh, the office cleaning lady was in today. She used bleach to clean the toilets.”

RG guy walks into my boss’ room to talk to him by the time I turn around.


I could not believe that. I peeped in my boss’ room to see who it was. RG is some old friend of my boss. RG was the same guy who came to me and made dumb ass statements about Indians and India when he knew I was Indian. I am never ever talking to him.

On writing block

Lately, I had blogging writing block. I had so many ideas for posts in my head but I just couldn’t write on my blog. I wondered when I would feel like blogging again. On one hand,  I felt like I SHOULD be writing blog posts. On the other hand, I should not put pressure on myself to write as that would lead to more resistance.

I was also having a passion crisis. What was I interested in? What drives me? I was afraid I was becoming one of those ‘no interest in anything, no zest for life’ people. I was scared that the state of being emotionless/ dispassionate, was seeping into my skin from the people around me. Many east asians here are very uncomfortable with positive expression of passion or excitement. They tell you to calm down even if you are happy excited. Everybody has to be straight faced emotionless all the time!

Like Agent May. She always has this expression no matter what! P.S – She appears in TV series Agents of SHIELD

And Bam! I got so riled up this week (see here) and wrote many blog posts like I was on fire!


Yay! I am relieved and thank people who riled me up. There is a silver lining to every cloud after all.