Friday, July 23, 2010

Tere bin...bin tere and Bikanerwala

After a long time, I stepped out of house. Determined to go for full throttle entertainment—good lunch, a movie…the works. I have been working from home and the little human interaction I have was missing too. I skipped breakfast in the hope of stuffing myself with a good buffet lunch.
Some instinct made me grab my helmet at the last minute. I stepped out into the cool environment outside and drove on my scooty. Just as I neared the Mettuguda junction, a light drizzle began. I hoped it remained only that…a drizzle. But this increased steadily so much that by the time I was at St Ann’s, an huge downpour started. I started driving cautiously afraid of skidding in the heavy downpour. I was in two minds whether to go ahead or to take a u-turn and go to some restaurant close by. But I didn’t want nature to have the upper hand. I kept going wondering when the rain will cease…whether the rain gives up first or do I?
By this time my clothes were dripping wet and stuck to the body. Luckily the helmet protected my head from getting wet. I kept on and finally it was at the third flyover on SP road that the rain Gods relented, the roads were dry and that’s when I picked up speed and went as fast as I could. It was 1:45 pm and I was determined to make it to both—a grand lunch and the movie. I reached Bikanerwala at around 1:52 pm and looked hungrily forward to the temptingly sumptuous spread ahead. As soon as I was seated, I was served cold water. I drank thirstily but thought, ‘damn it, who needs cold water when I was already shivering with cold!', but I was thirsty. Luckily for me, a hot hot tomato shorba was served. Shorba is a diluted version of our regular tomato soup with some tadka in it. I was more than glad to have this hot liquid pass down my throat. Then two starters were served—the bajji/bhaaji of brinjal and cauliflower which was quite mediocre in taste and a dish of paneer and capsicum sautéed and served with a teeny teeny portion of mint chutney. The paneer starter was ok in taste. The chutney vanished in no time and also the soup. I asked for more of each. I waited and waited and the starters got over and still no sign of soup or chutney. By this time, the urge to have more soup went away. I looked around to see what else was there. There was the spread of salads. First the Cole slaw— this was shredded cabbage with minuscule portions of diced red and green capsicum tossed in a lot of mayonnaise. This preparation was then placed in ice. The taste would have been enhanced if there were more of the capsicum bits and not the few pieces here and there. Also the cabbage wasn’t really chopped finely…so the end effect was that you were eating a cabbage swathed in mayonnaise. I also served myself some tossed salad made of different vegetables. This was more or less blandish and watery. Then there was the sprouted moong, which I gave a miss, dhoklas and fried dhoklas. The very spongy and soft dhoklas were great with the right mix of sour, salt and sweet taste. The fried dhokla was new to me and I bit into it with great anticipation. But found that the dhoklas had merely been tossed in the khatta meetha chutney …too sweet for me. Raw carrots, vinegared onions and thinly shredded onions were also there. 

After the salad plate, next was the main course. There were three curries: malai makai mutter, a panner curry and the baby corn capsicum. All three were good in taste. The malai methi mutter had a creamy white base, a smooth taste to it and an overpowering feel of butter. The gravy in the paneer dish was quite tasty but because of the huge chunks of paneer, the taste of the gravy doesn’t really come through. The baby corn capsicum masala was just good with no outstanding taste. Next, I eyed the much spoken of and the much anticipated chaat section…the pani puris, the dahi bhaallas and the papdi chaat. Took the 6 pieces of mouth watering panipuris offered, served with a mini glass jar of red and green paanis. So much paani for 6 pieces? Doesn’t make sense! And just as I thought, the pani sure got wasted. Next I tried the dahi bhallas. Served one per plate, the dahi bhalla was soft but had no taste by itself. The taste was rendered by the curd and all the powders and spices added. However, the spiciness was smothered by the overtly sweet khatta meetha chutney added to it. Thumbs down for the chaat section—maybe good for people who haven’t tasted the authentic golgappas… otherwise a major let down. Couldn’t take the papadi chaat as I was almost full but didn’t want to leave without tasting the Chinese food though Chinese isn’t my favorite part of a meal. The veg noodles were done well and I enjoyed the taste though it came towards the end of my meal. The accompanying wet gravy served with onion, carrots and broccoli was a good accompaniment too. Also had biryani with raita. The raita was good but the biryani tasted as though it was only cooked rice. There really anything much to taste in it except for a paneer here and there—extremely bland in taste. Had a peep at the namkeen section and was surprised to see that they had only three varieties. I had expected many more from the famous Bikanerwaala…just some paapad and chips…really not much.
Having done with the meal, I sat down for the dessert. Hot gulab jamuns quite small in size were great in taste. Looked forward to Malpuas with great anticipation but this proved to be a major let down as it was not soft at all and was extremely sweet. I wanted to taste these two sweets made in- house…otherwise it had the usual pastries, ice cream and rasagullas served in any other restaurant in Hyderabad.If you were to ask what amongst all dishes carried the stamp of Bikanerwala, I am afraid the answer is none.
The number of waiters serving is probably not sufficient as they couldn’t quickly cater to your order. The naans that I ordered for also took some time coming, but again what’s good is that the plates are quickly cleared …no mess around on ones table.
Ambience: 3/5. Food: 3.5/ 5. Washrooms: 4/5. Priced at 265/- for buffet was a little too much, I felt.
I had been to the washrooms on my earlier visit but today I found the floor quite wet.

Saw that the time was already 2:50 pm and the movie is at 3 pm. I rushed with the desire to drive as soon as possible to the theater just about 3 kms away when suddenly the rain started through the sun was blazing. I knew that I will not make it as my driving will again be slowed by the rain. The damn rain stopped exactly ten minutes later as though only to stop my going to the movie.
While returning I saw that the entire SP road stretch which had been washed clean by the incessant rain in the morning stood innocently dry and dusty as though it hadn’t seen rain in years. Had to concede that the rain Gods won today.
Tere bin laden has no more shows from Friday...Tere bin...bin tere ghar wapas aana pada.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My promotion

I was thinking in the afternoon today that I dont get angry any more...I used to have fiery tempers earlier...not any more. I felt saddened at the thought that all passions are slowly dying inside me...I was wondering whether I am just living like an inanimate object. In the evening, I happened to see my annual appraisal letter and saw that I was promoted...a long awaited one.I couldnt believe what I saw and then all barriers broke down and I cried and cried for 2 hours...tears of getting acknowledged at last! I am still capable of passion?!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Making and Eating of Aloo paratha

As you make a cup of the dough , and fill the cup with a small ball of boiled and mashed aloo, let deft fingers take over and seal the edges making it like your ‘modakas’ made during ganesh pooja.
Quickly make a ball out of it and roll it out….as thin as possible. Put it on the waiting hot tawa. Turn it over. Wait for it to turn a little brown…smear some oil/ghee/dalda and then see it browning nicely, puffing in places. As you keep pressing with the spatula that you hold…it keeps puffing. Watch the brown spots getting fried in the small droplets of oil simmering around the paratha and turn a little black.
{If the paratha is just about seven inches across, it has more chances of puffing rather than the large ones…moreover it is of the right size to eat before the next hot one is on the way.}
Slide it on to your plate. Put a dollop of butter and some achar at the side. Tear the hot paratha with your hands, dip in the butter. Before the paratha gets a chance to melt the butter, quickly dip in the achar, roll it and put in your mouth. The combination of fried potato, achar and butter makes it so uuuuuuuuummmmmm ……..yummy!

Disclaimer: This post is not about giving a recipe or profess proficiency in preparing the (slurp! slurp!) aloo paratha

Thursday, July 1, 2010

God's hand...

The weather in Hyderabad is playing had rained for a few days and then suddenly it had become hot and oppressive once again. Here's one day when I was taking a hot water bath and another day a cold one…all this and the hectic roaming around the last week took a toll on health. I was down with a sore throat and cold. Didn’t go to office for two days and then finally ventured out today. The sky looked threatening but how much longer can one stay at home? I parked my bike at Mayfair and got into the office bus.

As I walked into the office, it started raining just as I thought. And when it rains, it pours! In the evening, I started back from office and walked towards the parking lot, sure to get drenched. I didn’t have any option but to keep walking as otherwise, I would miss the bus. Just as I started walking, there was another girl who was also walking towards the bus , saw me and came close to me to share her umbrella. I was so touched and happy. The existing condition of cold and cough would have aggravated if not for this help.

When I reached Mayfair, there was still a drizzle. I took out my bike hoping to reach home as soon as possible. And saw to my dismay that someone had deliberately taken the air out of the back tyre. I despaired. I set out when people assured that there is a puncture-wala shop nearby…I kept going but found that all those road-side shops had closed due to the rain today. To add to the woes, I saw that the regular route I take was inundated because of which I needed to take a detour. All this happened with my driving at 5 kmph.I didn’t know what to do as there weren’t any shops to help me with my problem. Towards the end of the road I saw a mechanic who was helping accessorize a car . The name of the car accessories shop is ‘Solar Shades’ at Minster road. When I approached him, he said that there wasn’t any way that he can help me. But there was another person from the same shop standing nearby who overheard this conversation and turned to the shop window and spotted a car air pump which was on display. He asked his mechanic to try that. They opened the new box for me and plugged in the air pump to fill up the deflated tyre of the scooter. This man who helped me is Dilip. I am so grateful to him. In that rain, if it weren’t for his help, I don’t know when I would have reached home.