Nachiketa Yakkundi is a musician and an engineer, who has the rare distinction of being associated with  the same Silicon Valley company for over 2 decades. Music is his central passion and we talk to him to find out what propelled him to study engineering and put his music on the back-burner?

Yakkundi studied with Pandit Basvraj Rajguru in Dharwad, Karnataka, India, which is famous for its musical heritage.His music teacher was intensely disappointed when Yakkundi left India and travelled to a small Midwestern town called Alliance in Ohio for his undergraduate studies. He went to get a graduate degree and moved to Silicon Valley in the 1990s.

In this wide-ranging interview we talk to Yakkundi music, coming to America and eventually settling down in Silicon Valley, where he found a new home for his music and started a music school in Cupertino. Yakkundi works with Naatak, a Silicon Valley theatre group on their productions.

This TV interview was sponsored by Zoho Corp.

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Karavalli is your ticket to taste the wonderful cuisine of Southwestern coastal region of India. Chef Naren Thimmaiah of Karavalli at Taj Gateway in Bangalore takes us through a quick culinary tour of this region that is a rich tapestry of different communities. Each community has a rich repertoire of dishes that use a wonderful and complex mix of spices ranging from pepper to cloves, cardamoms, anise seed and cinnamon. Bland is not a term that comes to mind when you taste the food from this region.

Chef Thimmaiah’s association with Karavalli goes back to the early days of Karavalli. This was first of its kind restaurant in Bangalore that showcased the homestyle cooking of Southwestern India. Many of the dishes served in the restaurant were sourced from various homemakers in this region that stretches from Kerala to Goa and includes Mangalore and Coorg regions of Karnataka.

Tim Cook In India & Apple Opens Its First App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is in India. And that Bollywood selfie has happened on the very first day of Cook’s first visit to India. I wager that this Bollywood selfie  will win huge brownie points for Cook. The next thing he needs to do is get a selfie with a cricket player. He has already scored brownie points with the developer community in India with his selfie.

Cook met with India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley last year. Earlier this month the Indian government shot down Apple’s proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in India. It will be interesting to find out Apple’s plans for India. It looks like Cook may have a mixed bag of objectives for Apple’s plans in India. Here are 5 things Cook needs to do in India according to PC World, and the 5 things that should be on Cook’s to-do-list in India according to The Wall Street Journal. The bottom line for Apple is to increase and grow its market share in India. Cook has admitted that India is a huge market for Apple and the question is how will they do that? So far Apple has barely looked at the Indian market and starting now it looks like it is going to be firing on all cylinders to grab a chunk of the Indian market.

One question that is on many people’s mind is this – Is there a possibility that Apple will make its phones in India given the price points of smartphone in the country? Other smart phones in India are typically priced significantly lower than iPhones. Make in India is a strong initiative of Modi’s government and it will be interesting to see if Apple has any plans in that direction. Aligning with Modi’s Make in India campaign is a clear path to success as many India watchers have pointed out.

The news that Apple opened its first iOS app design and development accelerator in Bengaluru is not such a surprise. This is a development in the expected direction of focus and growth for Apple in India. This is a significant step and underscores how Apple wants to tap into the Indian market. It wants to tap into the developer community in India and increase the share of iOs apps that are tailored to the Indian market. Bengaluru is the startup hub of India and “we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” said Cook in a press statement.

Cook seems to have the right mix of things to do during his first visit to India that will get the press and people talking. He is currently in Mumbai, where he visited the famous Siddhi Vinayaka Temple and apparently will visit with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. It looks like he has already met Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and his pals.

The most important meeting for Cook is one with Modi in New Delhi, which is where all the loose ends will be tied up I suspect. And if the past trend is any indicator I suspect we can all expect to a couple of selfies of Cook and Modi. And sometimes those selfies are a good indicator if the talks were successful or not. We will have to wait and watch.

By the end of the week we will all have a better idea on how Apple plans to grown in India, which is the second largest market for mobile phones in the world.



Karavall, Taj Gateway, Bangalore

Karavall, Taj Gateway, Bangalore

Forget zooming up and down  the coastal towns of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa to explore the various cuisines of this region. Instead head straight to Karavalli at Taj Gateway in Bangalore to explore new and old dishes from these coastal towns that are a patchwork quilt of Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities. There are the Moppalas of Northern Kerala, the Syrian Christians of Southern Kerala, Bunds and Havyaka brahmins from Northern Karnataka,  the Hindu and Christian communities from Goa. Each of these communities have  their own signature dishes using the rich repertoire of spices that this area is famous for right from peppercorns to cardamoms. It was the whiff of spices that brought the Europeans to this part of India a few hundred years ago and among them the Portuguese left a strong stamp on the cuisine of Goa.

Karavalli is located right in the heart of Bangalore on Residency Road. The restaurant has won many awards and made it to variou lists of must-eat places in Bangalore and India. So, is it any wonder then that on my annual visits to Bangalore I make a beeline to this restaurant? I either have a thali or a simple meal of appam and stew and wash it down with a decadent cup of ada pradhaman and filter coffee.

Executive Chef Naren Thimmaiah, Karavalli, Taj Gateway

Executive Chef Naren Thimmaiah,Taj Gateway

This time around I got to meet and talk with Chef Thimmiah, the executive chef of Taj Gateway.

Continue reading


My 5 best vegetarian foods to eat in Bangalore are: filter coffee, idli, dosa,vada and coconut water.  Technically speaking coffee and coconut water probably qualify as drinks. Now that I have shared the list let me share why they made it to my 5 best vegetarian foods to eat in Bangalore.

Every year on my annual visit to Bangalore the first thing I do is to head straight to Haati Kaapi’s kiosk’s right at the airport.There is nothing like a strong cup of filter coffee made from local coffee beans to get your day started. Filter coffee is different from the way coffee is brewed in the US. Filter coffee is brewed in a slow drip method and the decoction or brew is then mixed with milk along with a liberal dose of sugar. Those first 2 cups of filter coffee from Haati Kaapi are  just the start of my coffee affair in Bangalore. Continue reading


I was craving for some Mexican food from San Jose’s La Victoria Taqueira in Bangalore after seeing all those Superbowl 50  tweets about salsa and burritos. If only there was a local taqueria from where I could order a veggie burrito and get some nachos with some guac it would be wonderful I thought. While I was dreaming of Mexican food I realized with a rude shock that our trusty on-demand chef Kamakshi did not get our lunch order. Due to a technical glitch she never got the WhatsApp message we sent her the previous day. She was my Plan A for our lunch and I had no Plan B!  “Oh, let us look what FreshMenu has,” my husband suggested. And lo & behold! it seems Freshmenu, a Bangalore-based startup, has somehow read my thoughts. Oh, wait that can’t be I told myself. That is some good old marketing to coincide with all that Superbowl buzz out here in Silicon Valley of India or Bangalore.

FreshMenu had a vegetarian burrito bowl (Rs. 200 or approx $3.50)  with all the works – refried beans, corn, tomatoes and cottage cheese. Wait a minute cottage cheese? Hmm that is an interesting add-on. I also ordered a passion blueberry mousse (Rs. 60 or approx $1). Am not sure what this mousse is made of or how many calories it contains, but am mighty curious to know what it tastes like. We logged in to our FreshMenu account, placed our order and then waited for the food to appear at our doorstep in less than 45 minutes. It took us all of 3 minutes to look up th menu and place our order.

While waiting for my Mexican burrito bowl and the mousse I got thinking about my current trip to Bangalore and living a truly on-demand life. I get my grocery, food and car without much friction from these on-demand companies like BigBasket, FreshMenu and Uber. But then I said to myself “Hang on a minute. In my previous trips to Bangalore I did lead an on-demand life. I got my food from Kamakashi’s kitchen or my mom’s kitchen, my grocery from the local corner or kirana store and our transportation from our local tour and travel company, Ola cab or the good old auto rickshaw.” And then there were times when I’d whip up breakfast and lunch in our kitchen using our Philips induction stove and not the traditional gas stove top. Continue reading



Coorg or Kodagu is a stunningly beautiful and verdant place in the Southern state of Karnataka, India. Driving through Coorg’s rolling grasslands, misty mountains and thick forests studded with coffee and pepper plantations is a wonderful experience. Of course, you need to overlook the potholes dotting the road as you make your way through the gentle and winding roads of Coorg, which is often referred to as “Scotland of India.” Over the years we had read quite a bit about Coorg and enjoyed their coffee, honey and spices. And yet, we had never visited Coorg and it was time to rectify it.

A couple of years ago we went on an unplanned road trip to Coorg. Armed with our smart phones and Google map we jumped into a compact Suzuki Swift and left Bangalore in the wee hours of the morning. We hit National Highway 48 (NH48) that connects Bangalore to Mangalore, a port city located on the Arabian Sea coast of the state. NH48 runs almost like a straight line from Bangalore to Mangalore on the western coast of the state. Continue reading


Meet Anarghya Vardhana, a millennial investor, marathoner, math whiz and dancer. We spoke to Vardhana on how she developed her interests in science, technology & sports and how did they turn shape her professional career. For instance, we were curious to find if participating in sports activities helped develop her confidence level. How did sports help hone her skill as a team player?

Vardhana credits her parents for helping develop her interests in science, technology and sports. When we asked her whom she turns for advice her prompt reply was “My father.”  She counts her father as her best friend.

Vardhana graduated from Stanford in 2005 and immediately joined Google. After 4 years at Google she left to work at a startup for a brief period.  She then worked for a non-profit organization and Rothenberg Ventures of San Francisco that is often referred as a millennial VC firm. At Rothenberg she focussed on Virtual Reality (VR) and women in VR. She recently joined Maveron, a VC firm focussed on consumer-only business.

This interview is part of our Women in Science and Tech series sponsored by Zoho Corp. The interview was broadcast on TV in San Francisco Bay area.


Bangalore is often referred as Silicon Valley of India. The city is studded with startups and has a huge pool of technical people. How and why did Bangalore became the startup hub of India? Why do startups from other parts of India move to Bangalore? What are the common characterstics between Silicon Valley and Bangalore?

To find the answers to these questions we spoke with Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. He is currently on leave from IIM Bangalore and is the director of IIM, Indore. Dr. Krishnan has written a book on India’s innovation culture called From Juggad To Systematic Innovation: The Challenge for India. You can listen to an extended audio interveiw with Prof. Krishnan on innovation and Indian economy.


Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan

Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan

Why is India not innovative on a sustained basis? How do you create a sustainable environment for innovation in India? What about logistics and infrastructure? When we think of innovation in India why do we think only of tech innovation and not other areas.? What are the skill gaps in India? How can Make in India help the Indian economy?  To find out the answers for these and other related question on Indian economy, education and the growing importance of Bangalorea as the hub of tech innovation we spoke with  Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan.

We also wanted to find out on what gets him excited about India? There is always that promise of  something of better happening tomorrow, and hoping that one of these days that promise is realized he says.



Prof. Krishnan is the author of  From Jugaad to Systematic Innovation: The Challenge for India and co-author of  8 Steps to Innovation: Going from Jugaad to Excellence. He is currently Director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore and is  professor of Corporate Strategy & Policy at IIM Bangalore.

Prof. Krishnan studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Stanford University and IIM, Ahmedabad.

You can follow Prof. Krishnan on Twitter.

This interview was recorded during Prof. Krishnan’s visit to Silicon Valley.