Monday, November 17, 2008

Continuing the story

Continuing my story from the previous post, I landed here in Charlotte with nothing particular to do. People had warned me "You will be bored out of your mind there, alone and jobless". Well, I am different. At least these 3 months have not had that effect on me. Does that mean I like being jobless and whiling away my time being lazy? Oh well. Bad question. Forget about it.
Now the first month was gone in trying to arrange the house and search for furniture. Every weekend, there was a shopping list to tackle. Well, that is still the case but now it focuses more on groceries.
In the second month, Harry Potter took over my life. I was with him day and night. That just means I read all the seven books. It was a crazy time as if I lived in another world. The author is one amazing woman. It was only after I read the books that I could understand why people used to go crazy when a new book was released. As always, the movies do not do anything for me, compared to the book. It brings in only fourth of the excitement of the book for me.
Before that, I read "the 3 mistakes of my life" by Chetan Bhagat. His books are always a short and a good read. There was major drama towards the end of the book. Very much like a Hindi movie. But I doubt if I will ever like a movie more than a book.
I also did some more of my experimental cooking. Tried out new recipes and some old ones. Having a nice oven helped. Some thing like this. More oven cooking is in the plan.
Now I am trying to finish the anchor stitch kit scenery. It was bought nearly 4 years ago. I didn't get time for it before. It is a complicated scenery. I will post it if it gets completed and it looks good :)

And by the way, beware of "Dostana" movie :) since people are likely to waste their money on it seeing the 3 and a half stars review. Definitely does not match up to the review. Avoid it people and save your time and money or see it without any expectation. Then you might like it. I preferred Golmaal Returns over this, if all you want to see is comedy.
Spell check gave spelling suggestion "Dustpan" for "Dostana" :) Interesting!
And don't you think the new James Bond is absolutely drool worthy? None of the actors have had this effect on me before.

Will be back with my cooking experiments next.
Pic from

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trying to start blogging again :)

Its been a long long time since my last post. I have had such breaks many times but because I am now at home most of the time, many of my friends and I had expected myself to blog more frequently. But I always used to freeze each time I opened blogger :) Writer's block? Maybe if I am a writer at all ;)

Today I am determined to write. So, lets see. I have come to the US for the first time. And now its been more than 2 months that I am here. I could have written about the flight. Everyone told me they think that my 17 hour Mumbai to New York direct flight would be quite difficult and boring as it is so long. They had taken flights with a stop over in Europe. But the flight was pretty cool. Well, literally too. I had to ask for 2 blankets :). I boarded the flight at 12:30 in the night and then we were served dinner after an hour I think. I had to wake up from sleep to have the dinner which wasn't really worth breaking my sleep for. Then I was mostly drifting on and off sleep. And eating every now and then what the folks were serving on the plane. Many people in the plane weren't so much into sleeping as I was. They were watching movie after movie. I watched only one movie. I love my sleep :) And when I reached New York, it was 6:30 in the morning and it was raining. By the time I finished all formalities and checked my luggage into the connecting flight, it was 9:30. I had 4-5 hours to kill before my flight. I roamed around the "HUGE" JFK airport a bit. There was a terminal only for Delta Airways. And to me only that part looked bigger than the Bangalore Airport. I settled down in a quiet place with my book. And well, after a few hours I landed in Charlotte. Anurag, Sumit and his wife were there to receive me. It was a nice ride back home. I remember the first thing I noticed was how empty and smooth the roads looked. And then I noticed the beautiful houses. I felt as if I was in a movie. Coz the houses looked like the ones I had seen in Hollywood movies. Funny thought that one! I was still a little dazed and couldn't feel this was real maybe because of the jet lag.

Anurag's nice friends made tea and dinner for me (and for him ;)) We reached back home at 10 in the night with the house littered with my huge suitcases. We were late in calling back home. And miraculously the phones were also giving some problems. Finally we opened a skype account and called up and everyone was ready to reprimand us for being so late in calling. Things like this happen so often. When you are in a hurry, everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. :) I have too many instances for this. Lesson to be learnt? (still not learnt) "Don't wait till the last moment to do something." 

Wow...I just wrote a post...not bad!! Let me just go ahead and publish this. Stay tuned for the next.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Experiments in my mom's kitchen

Some big changes happened in my life since my previous post. For one, I am unemployed right now and totally enjoying the break. I am at my mom's place for about 2 weeks and using her oven for my experiments.
The first experiment is not really an experiment. I made a baked pasta dish. Made it in 3 parts, first were vegetables, I sautéed onion, tomato, corn, cauliflower, basically whatever was at hand with salt and sugar. The second part was boiling the pasta in salted water. The third was white sauce. About a tablespoon each, of olive oil and butter. Some whole spices: pepper, cinnamon, clove. Added 4 tablespoons of flour and roasted it and added a cup of milk, some salt and pepper and a bit of water as the whole thing started getting thicker. Take care not to cause any lumps. In case you are lazy to avoid lumps, just run it in the mixie and you have a smooth sauce, just like me. :) In a borosil glass dish, add the veggies and pasta, mix and pour the white sauce on top and spread some cheese over it. Bake it in a hot oven for 10 mins and delicious pasta is ready. I think it would taste equally good even if its not baked.

The other experiment was baked bread rolls. Bread rolls here are the potato stuffed bread which are generally deep-fried. But deep frying bread completely puts me off. So I just stuffed the bread with the usual potato stuffing, applied oil over it with the brush and baked it for a long time in the oven. It doesn’t look as brown like the deep fried version but definitely better than oil sticking in your throat. Usual potato stuffing : boiled, mashed potatoes, grated ginger, chopped coriander leaves, salt, dhaniya powder, bit of garam masala.

The third was truly an experiment. Biscuits, which can be eaten for the fast or "upwas" as it is called. And this being the "Shravan" month of the Hindu calendar, lot of religious fasting is done, though I don't follow this. I took equal amounts of shinghada and rajgira flours which was about 2 and a half cups. Added 3/4 the cup sugar, 1/2 cup beaten ghee, one and a half cups of chopped pista, cashew, dates, dried apricots, 1 tsp of baking powder, some cardamom powder and mixed everything up. Added some milk to get dough. Shaped it into rounds and baked for about 10 minutes. They tasted divine, obviously considering the tasty ingredients that went into it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Read at your own risk!!

I didnt know what title to give this post written in the middle of a Sunday night (if 11 o'clock can be called middle of the night ;) ) It might be a depressing read so proceed at your own risk!! So, I gave the warning in the title :)

Why is life full of difficulties? Well, it has its share of happiness too. But sometimes I think about this a lot: why life? I really cannot understand why millions of people exist on earth and each one goes through similar hardships and ups and downs, one birth after another, if the reincarnation theory is to be believed. It baffles me, why god, if there is one, wants not one or two but millions of people to go on living completely insignificant lives. I mean ok, some people have made history and all that, but fine, I fail to see the importance of all of this.
I wonder why I am alive. It wouldn’t make any difference to anyone if I was not born. But now that I have already lived a few years, some people would be sad if I am not here but they will recover sooner or later. And to think, people want to give birth to bring more people to live through miserable lives!! The kid would fall sick, cry while going to school, get bullied at school, get depressed at not doing as well in exams as the other kid, worry about getting admission to college, struggle to get a job, find a spouse, learn to adjust into married life, become a parent, struggle to take care of finances, child’s education, parents health, his own health, grow old and suffer all the aches and pains of old age, and then die only to be reborn and live through all of this again!! Sounds very terrible to me.
The saints/gurus say that happiness/bliss is within you and all that stuff. It sounds good to listen to. But what bliss are they talking about. And it is within you! Are you serious? I can only see misery, tensions with a bit of happiness here and there.
Well don’t get me wrong. I am not unhappy or leading a very miserable life as per the normal standards. My life is pretty much above average: I have wonderful people in my life and there are a lot of people to care for me and look after my happiness.
I haven’t even completed half of my life; considering average human lifespan and I already feel like I don’t have much more to do in life. I don’t want to go on living just for the sake of it. I feel like vanishing somewhere. Hey, the Himalayas sound like a good idea ;)

You know, I think I found why I feel all this. Maybe it is because I don't like to face hardships or difficulties or anything which requires more effort. I love running away from difficulties and I want difficulties to run away from me. Is there any way I can do that? other than going to the Himalayas and getting buried under the snow :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend stress buster - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta

This weekend was not a long weekend. But the itch to go somewhere was strong. We had a few options - Bandipur and Gopalswamy Betta, Nagarhole and Irupu falls, Yellagiri and optional Vellore. Finally at the last moment, we picked Bandipur and just packed whatever we could lay our hands on. We had had a lazy Saturday morning and an even lazier lunch of yummy mango custard and brown chana sprouts. It was 5:15 by the time we could leave home. We filled petrol and bought water bottles and we were on NICE road by 5:45. A break for tea and a dosa at the restaurant behind Coffee Day after Channapatna. We were at our hotel room in Mysore by 8:45. The room was small and nothing great but still cost us Rs 700.

Next morning, we left the hotel at 4:30 in the morning. We took a break by the road side to eat the biscuits we had got with us and reached the safari office at Bandipur at 6:45. The van was already filled and ready to leave. The driver cum guide told us to join him in the van. We got to sit on the wooden planks next to the driver's seat which offered the best view. But there wasn't much to view. There were lots of deer; some bison, some orange mongoose, some peacocks and one of them was dancing with his feathers spread out. There was also a lone elephant eating some leaves. We had more elephant sightings on our Ooty trip than this safari. The van had a noisy family who just couldn't keep quite in spite of the driver reminding them again and again that we are in a forest and should maintain silence. That was the irritating part.
With the safari done, there wasn't much else to do at Bandipur. So we had a nice breakfast at Pugmark restaurant and had a walk around the resort.

After that we were ready to go to Gopalswamy Betta. It is about 20 kms from Bandipur on the way to Mysore in Hangal village. It was nice to pass through the sleepy little village. Most of the fields had a “machan” because wild animals come to the area after dark. At the forest gate 25 Rs fee needs to be paid to climb up the hill. The road is open only from 7 am to 5 pm. It was nice to experience a couple of steep curves. It reminded us of the Ooty trip. At the top of the hill, we were greeted by some amazing views and a temple. After going to the temple, we sat at the temple compound for a while soaking in the greenery and the silence. We are suckers for greenery and silence ;) Finally at 11:30 we left the temple and were on our way back to Mysore.

At 1 we were near the bangalore by pass road and for some weird reason, we decided to take that route instead of going through Mysore city. That route seemed nealy 10-15 kms longer!! And it got quite frustrating when the White Orchid restaurant before Srirangapatnam said they are booked and cannot allow us to have lunch there. It seemed the Punjab police had booked the hotel as there were lots of police cars standing there. There go our plans of eating a relaxed lunch in a nice place. We were thinking we could have found an A/C restaurant in Mysore and had a good lunch. On the way we saw Fun Fort which had a restaurant. We decided to find out if we could have lunch there. The sun was beating down hard and we just needed a break. Thankfully, for restaurant entry they charge 50 per head which would be deducted from the bill if the bill amount is more than 100 Rs. Otherwise the entry fee is 275 per head. The restaurant was called seafood restaurant but we were assured of getting vegetarian food. Thankfully, we got vegetarian food which wasn't too bad.

At 3:45 we were on the road again. This time there was some Sunday evening traffic along the entire stretch between Srirangapatnam and Bangalore. With nothing else to do, I started reading the sign boards along the way and found some funny ones "Sri 'some name' parboiled by rice" !!! , 'Sachin heir saloon'

We stopped at Kamat for tea. And as soon as we were about to finish our tea, the rain and wind started coming down heavily. So we waited for a while for the rain to subside a bit. We left from there at around 6 and were home by 7:30.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Welcoming the microwave oven

Last week, we bought a new microwave oven. So, this weekend, I made complete use of it. I baked a brownie using this simple recipe. I didn't use the brown sugar and orange zest and forgot the salt. I also used the normal wheat flour instead of maida. It was good enough but slightly overbaked. First I baked them for 15 mins at 180C but it was slightly undercooked. Then i microwaved it for 3 mins and it got overcooked. Next time, I will try out the egg less brownie recipe by tarla dalal. I also made rice in the microwave and I think it is better than the pressure cooker for making rice. The grains puff nicely and are seperate from each other. I boiled potatoes in it and also roasted peanuts. I made mint flavoured peanut butter also for the first time. It is pretty simple. Just put peanuts, mint leaves, sugar, salt. I added a bit of chilli powder and run it in a mixie with little oil till it looks spreadable.

Brownie Update (4/28/2008) :
I did make the brownie using tarla dalal recipe. I added flour, curd, baking pwd, baking soda, cocoa pwd, walnuts and oil. That called for a lot of replacements like replacing butter with oil, dark choclate with cocoa pwd and flour with a mix of whole wheat and refined wheat flour. But after all this, the batter still looked a bit dry so I added milk till it looked wet like cake batter. This time I just microwaved it. It was done in about 6 mins and was moist. I think the moistness was majorly due to the added milk otherwise this time too it would have dried out. But the problem this time was, it was a bit too choclatey...more bitter than sweet...and thats not the way I like it. Either the sugar I have is not sweet or the recipe proportions are not correct or brownies are not meant to be sweet....
Well....hope to have better luck next time. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Food updates

Some of the things I made. Theres gula chi poli (jaggery stuffed chapati), til gul (sesame and jaggery ladoos). This I made in January for Makar Sankranti. Too late to be posting it!! I know but I always fall back on the proverb "Better late than never" ;) Then there is the home made equivalent of tandoori roti and chole. Also featuring my version of vegetarian momos with homemade sauce. I know they hardly look like momos...blame that on my poor photography skills....but believe me I followed the googled momos recipe I found on the net to a large extent. ;) These are half moon shaped momos which are steamed and lightly roasted on a tawa.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ooty Conquered !!

Good Friday holiday expects us to go on a long ride. How could we waste a good long weekend like that? But the weather was playing tricks on us. We had taken permission to leave early from office on Thursday afternoon and had decided to go up to Mysore and take a night halt. But just before our scheduled departure time, the rain gods were out in full force and there was much indecisiveness about whether to go or not. By the time we were able to get out of office and try to decide whether to go or not, it was already 6 in the evening and we didn't feel up to the ride with the tiring decision making and the fact that we worked overtime in office in order to leave early. So we decided we will get up in the morning and check the weather and decide whether to go or not. We filled up the tank and the wallets and went to sleep.
We are up and ready before 5. The weather looks good so we arrange the new cramster bags which we had bought to avoid any luggage problems which we had faced before. The bag design is a genius (that's an exaggeration). I mean, it fits so well on the bike, has enough room to stuff a lot of things in it, and it has a design element for each requirement like some easy access compartments, bottle holders, rain protection and the like. It is an absolute must for people who are serious about going on long trips on their bikes.
Ok, so the ride is on at 5 in the morning. The weather is nice and cold with early morning breeze. It was a smooth ride till Coffee day at Channapatna. After half an hour break for the essentials we are back on the road at 7. There is a light drizzle and all through the way till Mysore, the rain gods were threatening us with a few drops here and there but I guess they like us and so they didn't bring forth a huge downpour. I was thanking the Gods for that.
We reached Mysore by 8:30 and didn't take the bypass road to Ooty and entered Mysore so that we could have breakfast. After searching for a hotel, we finally found a small one and had our staple travel breakfast of idlies and tea. We left Mysore by 9:15 and went through Nanjangud, Gundlupet. The road from Gundlupet to Bandipur is in a bad state. But in the forest, the road was good and the surroundings beautiful. We spotted deer and peacocks near the road but didn't stop to take pictures. The forest on the Tamil Nadu side is called Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
After the sanctuary, there are two ways to reach Ooty. One is through Gudalur and the other through Masinagudi. The only thing we knew about the 2 routes is that the Masinagudi one had 36 hair pin bends while the other didn't but was longer by almost 30 kms. And that most people still took the Masinagudi route. We stopped to decide which one to take and finally decided on '36 hair pin bends' route. The hair pin bends and some portions of the road are quite steep. Even our 350cc Enfield was having trouble climbing at some places and it didn't help that Anurag and my combined weight was around 150 kgs and some more weight for the luggage. We saw even a few cars, specially the smaller ones having trouble climbing. The 25 odd kilometers of ghats took us nearly 2 and a half hours and some stops to let the bike cool down.
At 3:15 we were finally in Ooty in the hotel room. We had booked Hotel Villa Park through Makemytrip. It was slightly cheaper through the site than direct booking. It is a huge place with all types of rooms. We had taken the standard room which was slightly small but very clean. The bathroom was big, neat, functional and very clean. Trying to decide on a hotel in Ooty is very difficult if you are using internet as the source. Every hotel has some bad reviews written about it.
We had to wait till 4 for the restaurant to open and then we had some nice dosas and went back to the room. It was very cold and it was a good thing the hotel provides heaters in every room. We sat with our feet facing the heater and then went to sleep. We got up at 6:30 and decided to go for a walk around the market place near the bus stand. It was very near from the hotel. It was like bone chilling cold and I could feel my nose turn into ice ;) but it was really nice to walk around in the mist and clouds. No sooner did we reach the hotel, it started raining. Thank you again, rain gods!

The next day, the weather was bad with rain and mist all through the day. So we had booked a van tour which would show us coonor and some spots in ooty. At most viewpoints, all we could 'view' was clouds instead of tribal villages ;) But they were beautiful views nonetheless. The tea gardens looked so beautiful especially in this weather.
At Dodabetta peak, I thought we have reached subzero temperatures (exaggeration again!)
We didn't go to the Botanical Garden and left the van there. We went roaming and exploring on foot. We reached Charring cross and saw a nice looking restaurant called 'Sidewalk Cafe' or something. As soon as we entered, we saw Rocky and Mayur and their team. These are the guys who go around eating food on highways ;)!! They come on NDTV Good Times channel in a show called Highway on my Plate. We really like the show and so we were happy to meet them. After some more roaming around and some shopping, we were back to the hotel.

The next day we had a nice Ayurvedic massage at the hotel. After bath and breakfast, it was already 10:45. Anurag went to an Enfield mechanic to show the bike as it had a strenuous ride up to Ooty. The oil needed to be changed and all of that took nearly 2 hours. So, we could finally check out after 1:30 only. We had lunch at the hotel after that and then left at 3. The mechanic had told that Gudalur route is a curse for the shock absorbers and so we went through the Masinagudi route again. I had my heart in my mouth for the entire 30 minutes it took for us to climb down the ghats. I had clutched the seat so tight, my hand started paining. I used to breathe a sign of relief for every hairpin bend that we crossed. Phew! I am glad we made it after all. Climbing up took us 2 and a half hours but we came down in just 30 minutes!!
While crossing the forests, this time, we saw lots of elephants close by. One tusker was almost standing on the road. We stopped at JLR restaurant after Bandipur for tea and reached Mysore at 8. We saw the lit up palace and hunted for a descent hotel. Finally found one and crashed for the night. Next morning, started at 5:30 and were home at around 8 and back to office at 10 in the morning.
Every ride we take on feels better than the previous!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

yummy soup!

These days I am trying to have soup for dinner so that I eat less chapatis and also eat something nutritious. I made this really yummy soup yesterday. I sauteed 1 onion, 1 long red carrot, half of a capsicum, 2 tomatoes, few cauliflower florets and half katori yellow moong dal in little bit of olive oil. Then I pressure cooked it with some water and salt. Ran it through the blender and seasoned the individual servings with pepper. I absolutely loved it. I guess the cauliflower played a great role in the result though I didn't add a lot of it. Even the small bit of capsicum goes a long way. This resulted in a lot of soup and since I am the only one who enjoys soup (Anurag won't eat more than 2 spoons when forced), I am looking forward to drinking it again today and tommorrow :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Its Spring!

I know it am noticing a bit late that spring is here. But atleast I am glad I noticed. On my walk between home and office, I see beautiful purple flowers in full bloom, leaves turning red on the trees. Everything looks so beautiful! I am making an attempt at being a more positive person and so it is nice when you encounter something beautiful in the daily grind and more importantly, you notice and appreciate it, without being lost in the humdrum of daily routine. I will try to keep my eyes open to notice more of such beauty even if it might be rare in the concrete jungle.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar

Yesterday we watched Jodha Akbar movie. The most heard statement about the movie is that, "It is too long". Yes, it is more than three and a half hours long. But I didn't feel bored at any point of time during the movie. I find it really funny to say that my most favorite part of the movie was the jewelry through out the movie. The costumes were ok but the jewelry was amazing. Also they shot some of the scenes in real palaces I believe.
I completely failed to understand how this film could create controversies because no one is shown in a bad light in the film. I read up the internet and found that some people in Rajasthan find the story inaccurate. Some interesting reads about Akbar during my search : Akbar the great and Akbar the not so great. I think the controversy is only regarding the name of Akbar's wife. It is a quite common understanding that Akbar's favorite wife was a Hindu and that he had married several Rajput princesses.

But at the end of the day (movie), I do not care who Akbar’s wife was. All I care about is that I enjoyed the movie and Ashutosh has made a beautiful movie. The movie keeps its focus on the relationship while showing other important incidents in the life of Akbar. And needless to say, Aishwarya looks extremely beautiful and surprisingly, acts well too. While Hritik is a absolute eye candy for all females. In spite of this, you will forget that you are looking at Hrithik and Ash but you would be looking at Akbar and Jodha. And I also wouldn't like to slot it as a 'romantic' film. In fact, it is difficult to put it into a particular genre.

I hope to watch it again over the weekend. But of course, I wouldn't spend ticket money to watch it twice. I love history. I have always been intrigued by palaces and museums and all that links us to history. Not that I know history too well but I find it immensely fascinating to find out how people lived in those times. And this movie was perfect for a person like me. I know, it might not be completely accurate but I am not interested in accuracy otherwise I would have read history books. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Updates - Mysore Trip and bhindi sabji

Last weekend we went sight-seeing to Srirangapatnam and Mysore. This time not on the bike. My in-laws had come and so we hired a car for a day. Tipu's tomb in Srirangapatnam is worth seeing. Then we went to the Mysore zoo. We had no idea that the zoo was so good. Definately worth a trip but the zoo is really huge and would take 3-4 hrs of your time if you want to see it completely. Electric cars are available there, similar to the ones at Lalbagh. It is recommended to use those when you have older people or less time with you. After the zoo, we didnt have time left for Chamundi hills. Then we saw the palace. We were really tired by the time we finished seeing the palace. We had been walking for more than 4 hours now though not at a stretch. But we didnt want to miss Brindavan Gardens. The garden is without doubt beautiful.

Now for the food part, on our way back, we had dinner at Kamat on the highway. Loved the jowar roti and brinjal and everything else that was on the thali (banana leaf) dinner.

Yesterday I made an awesome bhindi ki sabzi. I know I am praising myself but I really liked it. I saw this recipe but didnt follow it completely as usual. Do check it out. It could be the fresh and tender bhindi that I bought that added to the taste. I had made it slightly differently this time. Used a little more oil than usual, around 1 tablespoon and a little more. Added mustard, hing to it. Then finely cut onion, garlic and capsicum. Sauteed on high heat for a min or two till the onion is slightly translucent. Added turmeric and chilli powder. Then I added the bhindi cut into rounds and drizzled with lemon juice. Sauteed on high for a few mins and then turned the heat to low and let it sit for 15 mins with very little stirring. Then added salt, little bit of sugar, sabji masala, coriander powder, amchoor powder. I liked the sweet and hot flavours lent to the bhindi. (sweet from onion and sugar and the heat from chilli pwd and capsicum) I had not expected this to be so good. My mouth is watering as I remember the taste ;)

Friday, February 15, 2008

I am Sleepy

Its a Friday afternoon and I am feeling so sleepy as if I have been drugged. Well actually...I think I am drugged. I am taking a drug (medicine!) for pain which the doc warned makes people drowsy. Or could it be because my house help has suddenly gone on leave and its been nearly a month now....hmm....not really..its been a little over two weeks but I am completely pulling out my hair. And to top it, my in-laws are coming tommorrow!!! So I have been working hard at home and office...maybe I am just tired. I am sleepy..............zzzzzzzzz

Monday, February 4, 2008

'Sunday' and Gramin

After removing the frustration in my previous post, I am back to my 'fun and food' self. Friday morning I won tickets for 'Sunday' movie on Fever 104 FM. Yesterday evening we went for the movie with virtually no expectations (not even expecting it to be bad). We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Ajay Devgan, Arshad Warsi and Irrfan Khan's performances stand out in the movie. Arshad Warsi pairs really well with male co-stars in comic roles. Ajay Devgan as a cop is impressive as he goes about solving the mystery of the missing Sunday from Ayesha Takia's life. She does need a new dress designer and a new personal trainer at her gym. I can hear my friends laughing at me giving out suggestions related to weight. But hey, I ain’t no Bollywood actress. And I try sometimes ;) to control my weight! It definitely is a good movie. Very well made and a nicely told story. There are a couple of illogical things like Arshad running a few days after getting shot on the backside and fighting the bad guys in spite of kidney problem. But I ignore such things most of the times and this is no exception. It’s just a movie. Don’t watch it as if you are reading your science text book. As long as the movie entertains, I have no complains.
If only the ticket prices were lower, it would have been a hit. The multiplex guys really need to do something about the ticket prices. Spending 1000 Rs for a family movie outing is affordable only for exceptional cinema.

After the movie, we went for dinner to the reliable 'Gramin' restaurant. As usual, a very pleasant experience. It is an exceptional place for vegetarian food. The food, the service, the experience is really nice. And for the first time, I really liked the masala soda. I have never liked it much at other places. Kudos to the Gramin guys!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What’s the world coming to?

I should have rather said what’s India coming to? Just when we thought India is poised to become a great power, we hear news which is as disturbing as it is disappointing. If anyone watched the news channels yesterday, they would know what I am talking about.
First there are the Mumbai clashes. It was disgusting to see the so-called guardians of Maharashtrians in Mumbai go about beating poor hawkers and taxi-drivers. Just because they have come from some other state to earn their bread in Mumbai? What have these so-called guardians contributed to the growth of Mumbai that they think they own the city? It is an utterly childish and completely illogical behavior on display. They are doing a lot of harm to Mumbai rather than protect it if that’s what they feel they are doing. The image Mumbai had, of an accepting city where everyone can come and blend into the crowd has taken a hard beating. Even Mr. Laluprasad said that why are they spoiling Mumbai and creating a divide across Mumbaikars? If he can understand the completely negative impact of this on Mumbai, I am sure the people who did this have no good intentions on their mind. We need to think of ourselves as Indians before thinking of our states. Remember SRK saying that in Chak De! How can one even think of restricting people’s movement across states? People cannot move around and stay wherever they want in their own country? Then maybe they should start giving out visas for people who want to move to another state! If someone moves to the US and settles there, do these people expect him to become an American and do charity in America and forget about India? If he does that, these very people will go around beating up the NRIs for forgetting India. Then how do they expect people from other states to forget about their native place when they move to Mumbai!!

We should take pride of our 'Unity in diversity' principle instead of bashing it up. That is definitely the way forward and not such regressive acts which will only pull India back.

The other very disturbing news was of a small kid being tied to a pole and abused and beaten up by the public. It is a highly shameful and a cowardly act. Try doing that against someone who is stronger than them. What are they trying to prove?

And to top it all, none of the people involved have an iota of guilt or remorse at what they have done. What have the people of a great nation like India come to? Or is it that all people in general have become completely insensitive and lost their minds or their minds are full of dirt? All around me I see people completely disregarding others. You just need to go out on the road to experience it. Jumping of traffic signals, constant honking even if there is nowhere to go.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pav Bhaji meets Pasta?!!

Sounds like a weird combination and it’s not what I had in mind when I started making it. All I wanted to do was make it taste completely different from what I have tasted before :) After thinking about how I should make the pasta this time for the whole day, this is what I did. I boiled a combination of bow and spiral pasta in salted water. While it was boiling, I added a small onion, two small tomatoes, a small capsicum, walnuts, olive pickle (made by me), some olives, and garlic into the food processor and made a coarse paste out of it. Then I heated olive oil in a pan and added the paste into it and sautéed it for a while. Then added some milk, cream, oregano seasoning and chilly flakes (the small packets which you get at dominos, I put them to good use) :) Added the pasta and some corn, covered it with cheese slices and covered the pan and let it warm for 10 mins till the cheese melted.
The verdict: Anurag says it is kind of like pav bhaji meets pasta.
I say it was one of the better tasting pasta I have made. The only problem was the paste was more in quantity compared to the pasta.
Try it at your own risk ;)