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What should I cook tonight?

The question that dooms everyone (every evening), unless one loves eating out every single night. I didn’t particularly try hard to answer this question, but its indeed a real-world problem and someone, somewhere in the world is probably writing a ML algorithm to solve it. He/she may as well arrive at solution to help them buy right stuff to stock in advance and computer bots can work with robotics arms to cook it. It’s not available to utilize these as just API’s now and I am not a brilliant coder to start coding it from starch.

Design engineer Brian Conti from North Carolina has created magnetic strips called bottleLoft to hold beer bottles in fridges (shown). They stick to the top of the fridge and hold up to six bottles. The device can be bought for £12 ($20) and is currently on Kickstarter

While someone makes that massive effort, there probably is a reasonable solution:-


What if, Alexa recommends with option to cook in the order, when food is about to expire: –

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Chicken Briyani
  • Aloo-gobi or Indian style potato and cauliflower

How can this work?

  1. We all know smart fridge exist and I have seen one from LG that suggests what all is going to go bad(expire) soon.
  2. Once Alexa knows this information, It can give some recommendations and then find recipe options for you.
  3. Bingo now the easy stuff – Alexa read out the recipe and people have already done this.

After writing this article I realized – someone has attempted this already in a hackathon however it’s not yet live, so my assumption is someone is already working on it.

There are also some other real world problems which can be solved with similar data set: –

  • Alexa can ask you what all you may like to eat next week and build up a glossary list for next week based on what already in the fridge.
  • You like something on street , Click a photo of something you want to make at home- Alexa tells-> Oops – missing ingredients e.g low quantity of milk, let Alexa add this in your list.

If you find other good use-cases of this data-set, feel free to comment.




The North Indian Road Trip – Day 8


Day /Date– Monday, 27th June
Journey – Leh-Khardungla Top-Leh
Distance – 90 kms

Road Condition – Superb considering we were climbing highest motor able pass on planet.

Since all our permits were sorted by the guest house owner at very reasonable commission, hence we had no tension at all. In the morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the Guest house itself. The cook there was actually very good, working 50-50 by splitting time between Goa and Leh. Our typical breakfast @ Guest house included pan cakes, omelets and parathas followed by amazing cuppa of Tea. Farzin wanted to change his Engine oil in the morning since there was lot of leakage and the obvious worry was engine seizing. I also got the air-filter and spark plug changed because my Electra wasn’t giving very optimum performance.
Since our bikes were all fine tuned for Khardung-la we started our ascent for the world highest motor-able pass. I wasn’t keeping very high hopes about the road conditions after my encounter with Zoji-la. Typical climb to Khardung-la top (18380 ft) from leh (11500 ft) takes about 1 hr 30 min to 1 hr 45 min. Farzin and I looked at each other and acknowledged that this is going to give a good kick. Farzin hinted to take it slow and try to take some pauses en-route to acclimatize and drink loads of water during the ascent.
Considering most of passes have bad roads this one turned out to be an expressway. The number of river streams was like 2-3. Mikhil &Pravin led the route and took some stops for clicking pictures. We made it to the top in little less than 2 hrs and the feeling really was top the world. The view on the top were phenomenal from the highest view point of the region 18380ft. We clicked pictures near the milestones. Farzin complained that he isn’t feeling very great after. It was about 1:30 PM we decided to have the Maggie and black tea @ world highest café which had a whole lot of history behind it.
Farzin as usual even though not feeling very well had the most of the Maggie soup.  It was already about 45 mins we spent at such an altitude and before AMS starts kicking in we decided to start out descend. We met few cyclist also (mostly foreigners) who took an interesting push-bike decent  where (Jeeps takes you up, gravity takes you down. Few of these guys were descending @ >60kmph and I was unable to overtake these cyclists on my Motorbike. That’s what I call thrill of life, just scared with the fact that if you miscalculate your breaking, there is only one way ride down for life.
M&P took some shots of these guys and I was going conservative on my fuel as I had already hit reserve mode. I barely had gas left for 25 kms on this low oxygen terrain. The bike started showing signs of missing a thump about 6 kms before Guest house. I slowed down further and farzin tagged along with me to give company. We reached Moon light Guest house @ 4PM and somehow were super tired after just 5 hrs of biking. We all crashed on our beds for a power sleep of 2 hrs.
As always I take too much tension so I got up at about 5:30 and decided to leave for Airport road for getting my bike fixed. I went to Tashi mechanic and he tried to fix the missing problem, this time he totally messed up with the carburetor setting. I was now super pissed with the way bike was performing. I had to give in extra throttle to ascend on simple inclines. I tried to venture out on other mechanic on Airport road and all answers were no since it was dawn and there was no electricity. I decided to meet renowned mechanic Mohan again and expressed that I have urgent need (guess all guys that would come to him will have urgency due to tight time schedules we plan).  He opened up my spark plug and boom it was dead. The bike was still not picking up after putting in new spark plug. He opened up complete carburetor assembly in the light my mobile phone torch. He changed the fuel intake scale and said this is the reason my sparkplugs are blowing up. He also suggested that once I reach Manali get the setting to the original setting as this will reduce the fuel intake to engine which corresponds to the oxygen intake at height above 10k. Finally I had a breath of relief and reached guest-house back with a happy mood.  Farzin wasn’t feeling very great due to throat infection he had fever. I re-assured Farzin if he isn’t well tomorrow I am okay to spend one more day @ Leh. We had Pizzas for dinner at a nice café in the night and super tried we all crashed down @ 11:00 PM.

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The North Indian Road Trip – Day 7


Day /Date– Sunday, 26th June

Journey – Leh River Rafting on River Zanskar

Distance – 0 kms on Bike

Road Condition – 2+ grade Zanskar Segment on a 8 man Raft.

Today was fairly lazy, we got up around 8 AM – considering it was our leisure day. Farzin had very bad throat and high fever and he had been coughing all night. I had to re-confirm with him, if he really wants to do white-water rafting in this situation. He said yes in a very non promising tone, and I understood that he is quite screwed. I tried to convince Farzin let’s not overdo anything – we have a long way to go. He agreed and then said he will medicine and see what happen to which I had to agree. We had a quick breakfast @ our guest house.

We reached the meeting point at 9 AM and Farzin bought cough syrup and antibiotics. A Tempo Traveler  came at 9:30 and we met a guy named “Prem” of Argentinian origin but settled in Pondicherry with his mother. We also met another Gujju Business group (all of them between 26-28) who are fairly rich and were exploring Leh by SUV.

After picking up the Gujju Gang from there posh hote, we started our journey towards Zanskar River. We reached the starting grid at 10:30 AM (1 hr ride from Leh) and walked towards the river for debrief. All Instructors were kind of Pro’s and I felt that we are in very capable in white water.

All 5 rafts were now deployed and teams were divided. I and Farzin decided to be the Forwadee (Front Paddlers of the Raft). On our Raft we were 6 members(1 Family inc. Uncle, Aunty and 2 lads around 14-15 yr old) and Ram an experienced raft leader. First thing for me was to check water temperature by putting my bare feet and only 2 words I could spell out (f#*k&nG Cold).

After learning the commands and instructions we did a bit of training on steady waters and Ram wasnt very happy with my abilities to be a forwardee on the raft. He got a bit agressive as well, since there was a family along and my best guess was he wasnt expecting much from the family to run the show. I eventually leaned out more of the raft and started to paddle strongly. Farzin and I realized it was not going to be easy 7 km ride.

All rafts started to get in white waters and we were the last raft to step in. Wow, it was like a roller coaster ride – we all were screaming and also paddling. After the first shock the instructor got bit frustrated on everyone saying “its my raft and only I give command”. Sh#t this was serious business, I recalled there is a narrow gorge also en-route which passes below a road bridge. The lady (kids mom) wasn’t very interested, seemed like she was dragged in because of adventurous uncle. There were big and small whirlpools, rocks – all in all fairly bumpy ride, on reaching the gorge the leader told this is the toughest section. Have to say everyone was breathing heavy, there were no trees or vegetation for miles. We followed the Ram’s instructions with forwardee paddling first, rear group following the pattern and Ram making sure raft is in right spot at right time.

Wow, what a ride. We all were joyous, we continued to paddle while the rest of rapids were fairly of lower grade. I saw some of members jumping in river from the raft, and I jumped asking farzin to drag me up with the techniques we learnt. Wow – the body was chilled in 5-7 secs to the bones. Heavy weight Farzin easily dragged me up. The guy from Argentina even dared to swim to the shore about 30 odd m swim and was super freezed. We reached the shore and changed in bus which were waiting for us to take back to Leh.

Enroute to our surprise there was lunch organized by the tour organizer. We had the much needed lunch and reached Leh back by 3PM dead tired, cold.

I decided to doze up and woke up at 6:30 PM. Rest of the day was lazy and we roamed around Leh Market and had food at local cafe to call it a day.

The North India Circuit – Day 1

Date/Day – Monday, 20th June

Journey – Delhi- Amritsar

Distance – 496 kms

Gradiant – Flat lands

We kick started our bikes at 7:30 AM (my Royal Enfield Electra 4S 2006 and Farzin’s Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twin spark 2010). Our bikes were all set and ready for their first cross country trip.

My mother flagged off at 7:30 AM, and get set go – the idea was to stay away from Delhi peak hour traffic. We reached Delhi outer ring road in no time and tanked up our bikes to the brim of the tank. We got on to the Grand Trunk Road (NH01) a 8 lane highway. There was a major accident on Delhi Border because of which we were stuck for about 40 mins in a Jam. Once cleared of the jam, we throttled to the top speeds. We reached our first pit stop Panipat for breakfast(with my grandparents) at about 10:15. We had a quick breakfast, I met my grandpa, grandma and my cousin and we resumed our journey. The NH01 is a 6 Lane Motorway/freeway/highway which has speed limits bit rarely followed by anyone. We were cursing consistently at 90kmph. I was humming the song ‘Highway to hell’ while riding flat out on these mega highways. We had a mini pit stop near Ambala, this time to refuel and recharge ourself. We turned left from there towards Amritsar. Suddenly after a small Bump my bike chain started making some noise. On closely checking I realized that the Chain cover had broke because it was rusted. Damn – not on Day 1. First I got it welded from a local highway shop and continued our journey, and the song Highway to hell kept coming back in my ears. After sometime the same noise started irritating me again. (I am kind of a person who will not move with work-around so easily; it has to be a solid one to convince me to move further). I decided to find out nearest Royal Enfield spare shop to get a new chain cover (Android phone came to rescue).
After about an hour, We eventually found one and I got the bike fixed, we also bought some more bike spare like tubes, cables etc. We reached Ludhiana at 5:30, which was already quite late. I have some family roots in Ludhiana(My birth place), I really wanted to meet my cousin Aman who had got married while I was in UK and he also has a kid now. I convinced Farzin to go 7km off route. It was a nice feeling meeting everyone even if it was for an hour. My cousin suggested that we can make it to Amritsar by 11 and we should do it unless we have a free stay in Jalandhar. It’s a good omen to start climb after visiting The Golden Temple. I and Farzin agreed and accelerated towards Amirtsar at 7:15 AM. We had a quick McDonald Dinner on NH01 and reached Amritsar at 11:30 PM. We checked in a guesthouse very near to Golden Temple which was arranged by my cousin. We were sleeping like babies in no time.