Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carmel School, Rourkela

Some 5 years back when the school celebrated our (silver jubilee) alumni meet I was not aware and hence did not attend but happened to see a picture of our school in the internet. That picture was instantly downloaded and was my desktop picture for a long time. That’s the bond that I will have forever with my school.

When I stepped into the school after all these years, all else was forgotten. I wanted to first go and visit my classroom but held on patiently. But once beyond Sister’s room, I bounded two steps at a time to go to ‘my’ classroom…XB. My steps faltered as I stepped into the same class room after all these years. The first image was that of Mrs. Bose sitting in that chair and knowing that she was our class-teacher and the first day in her class…uff...soooooooooooo many memories…can go on…I literally started jumping up and down JUST to think that I was back here. Everything came rushing back as Valson and I recounted all those days.

I was excitedly pointing out the different things/places and it is thanks to my son who unknown to me was quick in capturing all those memories which excited his mother so much. I am so glad my son was there with me as he could actually see where his mother studied. And did I imagine all those years ago that thirty years later my son would stand in the same place where his then 16 year old mother’s feet had walked?! Amazing feeling. For those 40 minutes everything was forgotten as I floated dreamily to each of these special nooks.

It just DOESN’T seem like 30 years. Especially when you revisit, all those years simply vanish.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Going back to Rourkela

1992 was when we people left Rourkela and after that I never went back. Every time longing to go back and re-live those carefree days. My breath, my life, my existence everything seems to have been left behind in the air of Rourkela.

Being a part of Rkl-mates group, there was a get-together planned of people from across schools. I was truly looking forward to it hoping to meet some of my class mates.At the same time I was prepared to be disappointed with the meet and it truly was. But the point was to be at Rkl and that succeeded.

As I stepped on to the Rkl soil and took a deeeeeeeeeep breath of Rkl-air, I was vibrating with life. The 22nd of December when winter had begun and the breath condensed into smoke circles...As I stepped outside the station, I tried to look back and recall whether the railway station was the same or had it changed? The rickshaws outside were still there. Our hotel was at old Rourkela...imagine coming home and having to stay at a hotel!

As I entered the township, my eyes were greedily lapping up the ring road scene...not sure of where it started...some roads seeming familiar and some we were taken through the Engineering road with which I wasn't too familiar even then..all that I knew very well was the road from sector 20 to Old Rourkela...the road which led to our college and the road from Sector 20 to Carmel school via IGH & Nehru maidan. It seems the Nehru maidan is no longer used for the Dushera celebration when we kids used to gather to watch Ravan getting 'killed' year after year by 'Rama'.

The sad part was seeing the houses which were our first homes in such dilapidated conditions. What were the vast beautiful garden where we played seemed to have shrunk to just a pocket sized piece of land.Had the house and the accompanying space shrunk or is it because I was seeing it after so many years? The gardens which had won so many prizes for being the most beautiful one in the township...

Meeting people from back much has changed and so much has remained the same...but what I came back with is enough memories to last me this life time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Small, little big things of life

The last week son comes home with a certificate in hand endorsing his work at office. The certificate was not like a generalized one but typed out specifically praising the work done by him for a project well-executed in Singapore on his own.

Even when the work was allotted, he was a bit skeptic about handling such huge project single-handedly especially given that he is still green behind the ears.Yet, venturing on a foreign soil and handling a project of this size successfully will sure fill him with a confidence to handle bigger responsibilities in future.

Handling the infrastructural set-up, working with the vendors, following up, support and maintenance...all this within one year of his first job...his skepticism is gone for sure! :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Being in your 40s

In your 40s you aren’t really that old but definitely not young anymore. You are at that anvil of life where you start realizing that your efforts have been directed rightly or wrongly. You are at that juncture where turning back and making a fresh start is difficult. So much water has passed by. Either in relationships or career, you are set on a path. All that can be done is either seek improvements on the chosen path or keep making compromises. You are at that juncture where on one hand you feel sad at things left unachieved, yet glad that you still are physically strong enough to do things on your own. You still earn and that adds to your feeling of self-esteem.

Dreading that age of 60, 70 or 80 where you become so fragile and infirm that you need someone to support you all the time. Can still achieve but feel frustrated at things which cannot be changed and now wishing that you had taken risks and chosen a path that you had desired, not succumbing to pressures of life. In the middle of life and from here things cannot be bettered…physically your health is only going to deteriorate. Imprisoned by these circumstances and making the best of what you have till it lasts…that’s what being 40 is about.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tabu, Nag and Love

Read news of Tabu getting married to one business man sometime early next year. A piece of gossip? Yes…but what really caused an interest is that the 40 year old has been in love with the 51 years Nag for the last 14 years!

When one thinks of marriage, one can only ruminate on what it means…no other living being is bound with such ties except the human being. Is it love that binds two in marriage? If yes, then why does one tire of the relationship? Nagarjuna was married once. I am not aware of the circumstance of his first marriage but the second one with Amala was surely one of love. Marrying her and bearing a child with her, what then drew him to Tabu while making the film “Ninne Pelladutha?”

A feeling of sympathy persists when you look at it from the wife’s perspective. The drama being drawn out in Prabu Deva’s case…married for 15 long years and with three children what now draws him to someone a good 11 years his junior?

Is it possible to logically analyze the feelings of love? Tabu who hasn’t sought any relationship beyond that of Nag’s, still will not bear him a child as the child will not have social sanction. And especially in the Indian context, one feels incomplete without a child to make up a family. Your heart does go out to Tabu when you see the emotional investment that a relationship involves. It must not be easy for Nag either to see her get married to someone else. But when you think of Amala…how do you justify these actions? Is something called ‘Love’ really the binding factor for marriage? Is that what keeps a relationship going? Then when does a person realize what’s really love? Wasn’t it love that bound Nag-Amala? Is love just a convenience? Someone you are attracted to till you find someone better? I find this quite bewildering and too complex to analyze.

If being in love gives you such a warm feeling, that you want to do things to make someone’s life worth living, how is this wrong? Should one denounce marriage as an artificially created social binding and keep seeking that love which can only fill you with warmth? Why does one feel compelled to bow oneself to social sanctions? It’s easy to say that it’s wrong to seek an extra marital relationship. But when in love, how do you make your heart listen to your mind?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I am blessed

While returning from office, I got to sit in the seat behind the driver’s partition in the office bus. The bus rapidly filled up. A young boy then jumped up from the back row and came to sit beside the driver’s seat and started chatting with him. I looked at the guy thinking how come the company had started hiring such people…flashy dress, unkempt and long hair…cheap sandals on feet. It was when he started talking, did I realize that he was working as an errand boy in the company. He was happy at being allowed to travel ‘Zara soch’, he was saying, ‘teen hazaar ke salary se 500 nikala gaya tho kitna bacehga? Tho woh 500 tho bacha letha hun’ …with a happy grin. I thought the guy has just started so maybe the salary will increase once his probation/training period is over. Driver: “Tumko teen hazaar hi miltha hain kya?” Boy: “Haan, itnaich… lekin tu soch pehle mujhe 1500 ka salary miltha tha…ab tho teen hazaar ho gaya hain”...again with a happy grin. Driver: “ Kab se kaam kar raha hain?” Boy: “Abhi nau saal ho gaya." This stunned me …salary from Rs.1500 to Rs.3000 working for 9 years ...i.e. 50% hike in 9 years! Keeping longer hours than most of us do, no luxury of working from home— an option that most of the employees of IT companies have, getting a dressing down if caught taking a break in between work unlike our frequent smoke/tea breaks where people gather in groups to gossip for prolonged periods. And here I was feeling so miserable at a growth which I think isn’t commensurate with my experience and keep getting frustrated. Somewhere in the mind the frustration becomes that little less meaningful now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My training touches people across geographies

I happened to browse Google with my name and it threw the above as one of the search results.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this. I had trained the new inductees from different parts of the world at Hyderabad and through virtual training in their part of the globe but this happened 3 years ago and I had almost forgotten about it. As far as I recall this is a trainee from Holland.
Trying to translate word by word to see what it means.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peepli Live

I think I must say just one word about the film...Brilliant!
The movie was like watching a symphony where not one note is in discord. Every character is so well etched. Not one superfluous moment or character in the movie. The vitriolic pen of the writer lashes out against every strata of the society.
In one sentence this movie is about how Budhia played by Raghubir Yadav convinces his younger brother Natha, played by Omkar Das, to commit suicide so that the government compensates for his death by which they can repay their debt and redeem their land. The media descends on this small village seeking to be the first to give the ‘breaking news’ of an intended suicide.
I was first hesitant to watch this realistic movie on a subject as mundane as farmer suicide as I didn’t want to come out of the movie hall feeling blue. But the brilliant narration held me spellbound throughout ...every few scenes you smile or laugh at the irony of things. The humor also has a touch of pathos. The cinematography may not be great but the visual imagery makes a powerful statement.
The film is mostly a commentary on politics and media encompassing within all its smaller and larger an example where the Hindi reporter outsources his work to a local chap who says that he needn’t visit the site or interview someone in order to turn in the article. He can simply write by rote as nothing has changed in the last eight years.
The conscience of a lone reporter who tries to seek a solution amidst all this media frenzy is quieted down saying that –‘it is not for us to find solutions but to seek stories which make headlines.’
The surprise factor in the film is Naseeruddin Shah who shines brilliantly in the ten minute presence in the movie—this time as a smooth politician making glib and easy speeches and promises.
Let me not give away whether this guy, Natha, dies at the end. All I can say is this movie is a must- watch. The A certificate is unwarranted as there are no objectionable scenes except for a few expletives used here and there which again go with the flow of the narration.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Khushwant on life, death & happiness

As said in an earlier post, I do really love this guy and here is one of his articles. I dont think I am even remotely qualified to pass a judgment on his writing. Yet, cant help say that he has proved to be so articulate once again:

Death is rarely spoken about in our homes. I wonder why. Especially when each one of us knows that death has to come, has to strike. It’s inevitable. This line from Yas Yagana Changezi says it best: Khuda mein shak ho to ho, maut mein nahin koi shak (You may or may not doubt the existence of God, you can’t doubt the certainty of death). And one must prepare oneself to face it.
At 95, I do think of death. I think of death very often but I don’t lose sleep over it. I think of those gone; keep wondering where they are. Where have they gone? Where will they be? I don’t know the answers: where you go, what happens next. To quote Omar Khayyam,
    Into this Universe, and Why not knowing
    Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing...”
    “There was a Door to which I found no Key
    There was a Veil through which I could not see
    Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
    There seemed
    and then no more of Thee and Me.”
I once asked the Dalai Lama how one should face death and he had advised meditation. I’m not scared of death; I do not fear it. Death is inevitable. While I have thought about it a lot, I don’t brood about it. I’m prepared for it. As Asadullah Khan Ghalib has so aptly put it,
    “Rau mein hai raksh-e-umar kahaan dekhiye thhamey
    Nai haath baag par hai na pa hai rakaab mein

    (Age travels at galloping pace; who knows where it will stop
    We do not have the reins in our hands nor our feet in the stirrups).”
All my contemporarieswhether here or in England or in Pakistanthey’re all gone. I don’t know where I’ll be in a year or two. I don’t fear death. What I dread is the day I go blind or am incapacitated because of old agethat’s what I fearI’d rather die than live in that condition. I’m a burden enough on my daughter Mala and don’t want to be an extra burden on her.
All that I hope for is that when death comes to me, it comes swiftly, without much pain, like fading away in sound slumber. Till then I’ll keep working and living each day as it comes. There’s so much left to do. I have to content myself by saying these lines of Iqbal:
    “Baagh-e-bahisht se mujhe hukm-e-safar diya tha kyon?
    Kaar-e-Jahaan daraaz hai, ab mera intezaar kar

    (Why did you order me out of the garden of paradise? I have a lot left to do; now you wait for me).”
So I often tell Bade Mian, as I refer to him, from time to time, that he’s got to wait for me as I still have work to complete.
I believe in these lines of Tennyson:
    “Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me
    And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea...
    Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness or farewell,
    When I embark.”
I believe in the Jain philosophy that death ought to be celebrated. Earlier, whenever I was upset or low, I used to go to the cremation grounds. It has a cleansing effect, and worked like a therapy for me. In fact, I’d written my own epitaph years ago:
    “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God
    Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod
    Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun
    Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.”
        I hope that when death comes to me, it comes swiftly, without much pain, like fading away in sound slumber.         
I had even written my own obit in 1943 when I was still in my twenties. It later appeared in a collection of short stories, titled ‘Posthumous’. In the piece, I had imagined
The Tribune announcing the news of my death on its front page with a small photograph. The headline would read: ‘Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead’. And then, in somewhat smaller print:
    ‘We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.’
I had to cope with death when I lost my wife. Being an agnostic, I could not find solace in religious rituals. Being essentially a loner, I discouraged friends and relatives from coming to condole with me. I spent the first night alone sitting in my chair in the dark. At times, I broke down, but soon recovered my composure. A couple of days later, I resumed my usual routine, working from dawn to dusk. That took my mind off the stark reality of having to live alone in an empty home for the rest of my days. When friends persisted in calling and upsetting my equilibrium, I packed myself off to Goa to be by myself.

I used to be keen on a burial because with a burial you give back to the earth what you have taken. Now, it will be the electric crematorium. I had requested the management of the Bahai faith if I could be buried. Initially, they had agreed, but then they came up with all sorts of conditions and rules. I had wanted to be buried in one corner with just a peepal tree next to my grave. After okaying this, the management later said that that wouldn’t be possible and that my grave would be in the middle of a row and not in a corner. I wasn’t okay with thateven though I know that once you are dead it makes no difference. But I was keen to be buried in one corner. They also told me later that they would chant some prayers, which again I couldn’t agree with, because I don’t believe in religion or in religious rituals of any kind.
Though I’m quite fit, I know I don’t have much time left. I’m coming to terms with death, preparing myself. And since I have no faith in God, nor in the day of judgement, nor in the theory of reincarnation, I have to come to terms with the complete full stop. I have been criticised for not sparing even the dead, but then death does not sanctify a person, and if I find the person had been corrupt, I write about it even when he’s gone.

I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death. We do not know what happens to us after we die but one should help a person go in peaceat peace with himself and with the world.
I’ve lived a reasonably contented life. I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happywhat one has to do in order to achieve happiness.

First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness.

Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreationeating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes.

Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them.

Fourth, an understanding companion, be it your spouse or a friend. If you have too many misunderstandings, it robs you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to be quarrelling all the time.

Fifth, stop envying those who have done better than you in liferisen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.
Sixth, do not allow people to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.  
Seventh, cultivate a hobby or two that will fulfil you
gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks, or to meet celebrities, is a criminal waste of time. It’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully. I have family members and friends who spend their entire day caring for stray dogs, giving them food and medicines. There are others who run mobile clinics, treating sick people and animals free of charge.

Eighth, every morning and evening devote 15 minutes to introspection. In the mornings, 10 minutes should be spent in keeping the mind absolutely still, and five listing the things you have to do that day. In the evenings, five minutes should be set aside to keep the mind still and 10 to go over the tasks you had intended to do.

Ninth, don’t lose your temper. Try not to be short-tempered, or vengeful. Even when a friend has been rude, just move on.
Above all, when the time comes to go, one should go like a man without any regret or grievance against anyone. Iqbal said it beautifully in a couplet in Persian: “You ask me about the signs of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he has a smile on his lips.”

(Excerpted from the forthcoming Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down on Life, Death & Most Things In-Between (Penguin). The book will be launched on August 16.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sreeram Wins Indian Idol 5!

It is indeed a very proud moment for every Telugu person to see Sreeram win the Indian Idol 5. At last a Telugu won the title.

Sandeep was far below Karunya's talent in season 2 and it felt very sad to see talent losing to mediocrity.
In the same way, very disheartening  to see Hemachandra lose in Saregama to Debojit Saha whom he far surpassed. 

Sreeram, the efforts of your parents in aggressive publicity and garnering votes, the support of the entire Telugu film industry...everyone worked for your victory...every Telugu person wanted you to win and why not?! There wasn't a match to your voice amongst any of the contestants. You have made every Telugu feel proud.

The Telugu news channels were waiting for the results, breath held and for once I fully support the media frenzy. As I type this blog at one in the night, I can hear the continuous sound of crackers in the background.
Feeling very proud and happy to see our AP getting a prominent place in India because of your hard work, Sreeram.
All the best for your future!

Monday, August 9, 2010

On being a woman entrepreneur

Many such thoughts have been crossing my mind of late. There was this enthusiasm to experience the corporate world after being in the teaching job for a long time. Have seen both the good and bad in this world. Now, at this juncture thoughts are turning to going on my own. So, what do I do? The last 5 generations on both paternal and maternal sides have been only into salaried one has ventured on a business. On one hand is the temptation of earning a steady income through a job...I have still 14 years of service! On the other hand, when I contemplate, I feel so stagnated. Is this what any normal salaried person in her mid-40s feels? Or is it me who feels that there is so much more that can be done and I am not doing it? In this context, I happened to meet up with a young woman of 25 who had started her own coffee outlet/ a tiny restaurant doling out coffee and sandwiches and here is what I gathered from her:

1. A 400 sft place: rent Rs.14000/- pm.
2. Electricity expenses: 3000 pm
3. Gas: Rs.3000; 2 industrial cylinders pm
4. 3 waiters @ 3-5000 pm each
5. Yearly license at Rs 1500 pm
6. Other taxes
7. To look at hotel management schools for chefs
8. Location also is the key to decide the target client
9. Not to make it too exclusive in terms of target clientele or menu in the beginning till we stabilize
10.Takes around 3 years to break even.

All of the above + the cost of raw material every month...well,  to put in that much every month with no guarantee of profits...hmm..requires lot of thinking.

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.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My mother tongue

When I was around 10 years old, Andhra Association in Rourkela invited a legend in the form of ANR, one who stood equal to NTR in his acting capabilities...
My father being an active member of the group took us kids and my mom to meet him personally. ANR himself never graduated from college and so was very insistent that every person must at least graduate. Second, he emphasized that how ever many languages we learn, we must first learn our mother tongue fluently. He also helped fund some Telugu language tutoring schools in Rourkela in those days.
I endorse his views on this subject. At home we were discouraged from speaking Hindi at which we had become very fluent outside home. We weren't allowed to call our parents mom or was amma and nanna in Telugu. We were also given weekend lessons in reading and writing Telugu at home, Today I can read and write English, Hindi, Telugu and Oriya all fluently. In fact, when I got married and had to leave Rourkela, I bought "Mo Chabi Bahi" (a primary text book of Oriya language) so that I would not forget Oriya after coming to AP. I love expressing myself in different languages but I feel what's the use of learning so many languages if one doesn't first know his/her own language?
I keep speaking Oriya at home..(tho broken and not too fluent now) so that I don't forget the language. A side-effect also is that....perhaps mine is the only Telugu-speaking family in AP which has never lived in Orissa but understands Oriya quite well .:)
My son went to a CBSE school and had opted for Sanskrit as third language as the school didn't have Telugu. I taught my son how to read and write the language--thankfully this saved him in Warangal where he went to do his Engineering and where all the boards on display are in Telugu...duniya mein jitni bhaashaye seekh sakthe ho, seekho lekin MT first...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dus Sar Waala

It gives a different feel to see a movie on the first day, the first show… no reviews…just fresh out of the stove and ready to be devoured…
Despite very late booking, I considered myself lucky to have got tickets for Ravan today…
Mani Ratnam movie and a grand London premiere…my fav AB Jr…..i was more than set to watch the movie…
The movie is based on Ramayana… of ravan kidnapping rama’s wife…
ravan is shown in a kind light… perhaps reinforcing the Dravidan concept that ravan was a good guy.
Restrained performances from the otherwise loud actors ravi kissen and govinda come as a pleasant surprise..
Vikram’s role tho not of much length, he made his presence felt…esp praiseworthy was his hard work in dubbing his own lines in Hindi…a imperceptible accent here and there but a HUGE achievement for a person who didn’t know a word of hindi…
AB seemed to replicate his Yuva image…but yes, being at the right age (33) and being tall…he uses his physique to make a powerful statement.
Cinematography by Santosh Sivan is commendable.
Aishwarya is reduced to a screeching, shrieking presence.
Humor…lightly sprinkled in this otherwise dark story also helps bring the much needed relief to this convoluted story line.
Strokes of Mani Ratnam brilliance where AB runs his hand over Aishwarya w/o touching her…just 2 inches away from her skin…very sensuously picturised…
The concept and the climax were great but the movie pulls you down with its erratic narration and meandering script...a wonderful concept gone horribly wrong in execution…
I would give it a 3 on 10…the 3 perhaps because of my bias to AB jr.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Veggie Nook: Saffron Strings

Situated on the first floor opposite to the Reliance digital store at Banjara hills, Saffron Strings restaurant isn’t easily visible from the road. Having opened recently at the beginning of the year, it probably needs some more time to get completely furbished. The quite atmosphere inside with well- spaced tables and soft music being played sets the mood.
This 90-seater serves only vegetarian food and is known more for its reasonably priced buffet. Priced at Rs. 149 for lunch and Rs. 179 for dinner during weekdays, and slightly more during weekends, the buffet with its ample offer is a treat! All together nearly a 50 -item fare is on offer for the buffet. What stand out in the fare are the starters. The Paneer Ajwaini is a dish consisting of one inch squares of paneer sautéed with some chaat masala and powder of carom (ajwain/vamu) in it. Amongst the starters a must-try is the Crispy Potato. The thinly sliced potato wedges are deep fried, tossed with chopped onion and ginger and a sprinkling of sesame seeds added. This is great to taste as care is taken to drain it completely of its oil content and just the right amount of spices added. Also noteworthy is the Bhutta Sheekh kabab an oil-free preparation of boiled potato, mashed vegetables and fresh corn. This dough-like mix is then baked in the tandoor, sliced and served with green mint chutney. This preparation does call for a second or third helping.
What is also one of the attractions of the buffet is the chaat counter with its offer of papidi chaat and paani puris. Which Hyderabadi would resist this? Also available is the live counter with its offer of dosas and phulkas. The phulkas made of whole wheat flour, just about 3” across, are delightfully puffed and one can keep eating them. The soup can be a bit disappointing though. The Hot and Sour soup which generally makes your eyes water and your nose run was rather nondescript and bland. Perhaps the use of soya base rather than a vegetable stock as a base has weakened the taste. Though care is taken to cook the food in optimum oil, the curries in the buffet could do with a little more amount of spices. There is a good range of food in the buffet with 6 types of starters and salads, around 6 curries, 2 Chinese dishes, 6 types of Indian bread, different accompaniments like papad, crisps and pickle and lastly seven types of desserts which are a part of the sumptuous buffet. The gulab jamuns amongst the desserts are worth trying.Amongst the a la carte offer is the Paneer Adraki in a cashew nut-tomato gravy with a slightly pungent pickle- like taste and is sure to appeal to you.
The attentive waiters are a definite plus to the restaurant. The restaurant runs from 12 to 3:30 pm for lunch and 7 to 10:30 pm for dinner. A la carte for two comes to around Rs. 400. Valet parking facility is available. Free home delivery to around 5 kms is done.
Pluses: Value for money
Minuses: Nothing, really
Food: 3.5/5; Ambience: 3.5/5
Located in Kimtee Square, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Veggie Nook: Methi

Methi at MG road, started two years ago is a relatively new restaurant and finds its clientele for its pure vegetarian fare from amongst the dominantly vegetarian residents around the Paradise area. The restaurant can seat around 90 diners and the ambience with its well-spaced tables and chairs lends a relaxing environment.
From 7 to 11 am Methi offers buffet breakfast consisting of 15 items priced at Rs 79. The restaurant then runs from 11 am to 11 pm offering lunch, evening snacks and dinner at the appropriate times.

Though a la carte is provided, the restaurant is known more for its Thaali with its unlimited offer of food; the Bhojanam priced at Rs 95 and the Rajabhojanam at Rs 125. The Rajabhojnam consist of 19 items in all. It serves dal, dry and gravy curries, rasam, sambar, curd, dahi wada, sweet and fruit custard. Most of the fare is made of commonly available vegetables and has a taste of home cooked food. Care is taken of the quality of food served. An example is the sweet served. It is not the usual ambiguous sweet served with thaalis but one which is prepared with care.A very strong South Indian flavor underlines all the dishes on offer in the thaali.

Apart from the thaali, Methi also serves the a la carte. The a la carte offerings aren’t as uniformly appealing as the ones in the thaali. The lemon coriander soup prepared in a corn flour base with thinly shredded cabbage and carrots with a dash of ginger has a unique taste lent to it due to the addition of lemon grass. All soups are priced at Rs 70.
Amongst the starters the generally tasty Paneer Majestic disappoints you with its very oily and soggy paneer sticks. Baby Corn Adraki, one of the specialties of the restaurant has a thick base but tastes more like mixed vegetable curry. Methi Paneer Malai on the other hand is rather scrumptious. It consists of the fenugreek and the spinach leaves paste and has one inch paneer squares. This has a slightly pungent taste to it with a hint of mustard— a very unique preparation.
The rotis are priced between Rs 20 to 35. The stuffed kulchas again are quite thick and not thin or soft as they should be. The mildly spiced vegetable biryani again is good in taste. Some summer special mocktails on offer have amongst them a Banana Smoothie with its vanilla extract, yogurt, honey and ice. This priced at Rs 70 is quite nice and thick.
Home delivery for a minimum order of Rs 250 and within a radius of 3 km with a discount of 10% is offered. The fare comes to Rs 500 for two people. A small cellar parking space is available.
Pluses: The Rajabhojanam
Minuses: Lot of oil used in food
Food: 3/5; Ambience: 3.5/5
Located beside KFC, MG Road

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Veggie Nook: Pizza World

A hunt for a pizza in the vicinity of Malkajgiri will yield none. In this scenario, Pizza World comes as a boon for the one with a penchant for fast food—specifically pizzas. You don’t mind that the outlet doesn’t have a proper dining space. Some chairs are strewn around casually. The place also has four tables. Pizza World is planned more as an eat-on-the- move outlet. This outlet which deals with pure vegetarian pizzas also sells ice creams and sweet corn. But the main offer in the menu is the Pizzas. Pizza World caters to the primarily vegetarian and middle class families in the residential areas in and around Malkajgiri and offers pizzas at very reasonable rates.
Pizza World started barely a year ago offers around 15 varieties of pizzas priced between Rs 55 for a Plain Cheese pizza to Rs. 90 for a Creamy Cheese pizza. A pizza quality is decided by the softness of the base and the 7” pizza bases offered here don’t disappoint you. The cheeses used here are a mix of Process Cheese and Cheddar cheese. What’s also unique here is that the vegetables are found under the cheese layer unlike the conventional way of vegetables used as topping alone. The tomatoes, onion and capsicum are layered on the pizza base upon which the cheese is spread. On top of this are used other toppings like corn, jalapenos, olives etc. The vegetables cooked under the cheese layers find a unique taste to them.
The Creamy Cheese pizza contains cheese, onions, capsicum, white pepper, tomatoes, olives and white sauce. The layers of cheese and the abundant white sauce used in the preparation smother the spices used within.
For people with a taste for a mildly spiced pizza, the Italian Veggie priced at Rs. 80 is the one. It contains cheese, onions, capsicum and topped with Italian herbs like thyme, basil and oregano. The herbs added lend just the right pungency to the pizza.
The alliance of Continental and Indian yields to you the Desi Masala Pizza. Priced at Rs. 85, it contains cheese, capsicum, onion and Indian spices. This pizza has a tantalizing sprinkling of some unusual and innovative combination of spices: carom seed (ajwain) powder which is added to take care of digestion, the inevitable turmeric, and powder of red chilies, coriander seeds and pulses. This very unique combination makes the preparation extremely yummy and is recommended as a must-try in Pizza World. It’s not spicy and can be had by the kids too.
The USP is the customer service that one finds in the outlet. This is proved in the faithful set of customers who return repeatedly and are willing to wait out despite a delay in service. Small things like giving water packets free to every customer adds to that special touch.
Pizza World is open from 3 pm to 10 pm. During summer vacation, the plan is to open earlier to cater to the ice-cream gorging kids on vacation. Parking space is available in front of the outlet.
Pluses: Customer friendly
Minuses: Time taken to serve
Food: 3.5/5; Ambience: Not Applicable
Located near gas company, at Anandbagh cross roads, Malkajgiri.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Veggie Nook:Punjabi Rasoi

The taste of Punjab

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A Punjabi thaali. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
The Hindu A Punjabi thaali. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

VEGGIE NOOK—Gachibowli
Huge lettering proclaiming ‘Punjabi Rasoi' at Gachibowli cross roads invites you to try out its taste. Punjabi Rasoi has two restaurants: the vegetarian and the non-vegetarian. The vegetarian one is on the ground floor. As you step in, the ambience is not too inviting. A 50-seater, the place seems a bit confining. A few window ACs take care of the cooling inside. Past 2 p.m., the crowd thickens and there are quite a handful of people waiting to be seated.
The menu consists of North Indian fare with the usual Chinese thrown in. There is a strong Punjabi flavour in all the dishes. Care is taken to avoid overt use of oil and spices. It is a relief to find mildly spiced food. What's perhaps a unique preparation amongst the starters is the paneer-baby corn lollipop. The baby corn is swathed at its broader end with paneer to which garlic-ginger and coriander is added. This preparation is then coated with corn flour and deep fried. Despite being deep-fried, it is surprising to find that the preparation is not oily. You get six such pieces per dish.
Another starter is the sheekh kabab priced at Rs. 115: a preparation of whole wheat flour mixed with paneer, bits of carrot, shreds of cabbage, garlic, bits of cashew, coriander and onion rolled in bread crumbs and skewered. It comes with 8 pieces per plate and is served with mint chutney.
The biryani is awesome in taste. The very long and thin rice grains are perhaps specially chosen to enhance the flavours of the spices. Mildly flavoured and prepared with very little oil, the biryani is accompanied with raita of cucumber, onion and tomato.
Try out the Amritsari naan here. The naan is soft and stuffed with grated paneer, thinly chopped vegetables and studded with paneer and cherry bits. Order for the lassi to enjoy the authentic Punjabi flavour. It is very thick and topped with crushed dry fruits, and slightly sweetened.
One cannot come away from a Punjabi Rasoi without tasting the indispensable ‘makai-ki-roti and sarso-ka-saag'. The makai ki roti is made out of dough of corn meal and whole wheat flour. It contains a few shreds of radish as well and served hot with little oil. The sarso ka saag is a preparation of mustard leaves, mixed with bit of spinach, and cooked with onion tomato, garlic and tomatoes, and also cooked in very little oil.
There are also mocktails on offer which run contrary to the prevalent Punjabi flavor in the menu.
Punjabi Rasoi finds many takers for its thaali priced at Rs. 65 for an ordinary thaali and Rs. 105 for the special one.
The busiest times are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and one needs to wait quite a bit before being seated. However, ample servings and the taste of the food make it worth the wait. Home delivery is done for a radius of 5km with a minimum order of Rs. 300.
A meal for two comes to around Rs. 300.The restaurant runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Ample parking space is earmarked for the restaurant.
Punjabi Rasoi
Located at Gachibowli cross roads.
Pluses: Value for money
Minuses: Crowds
Food: 4/5
Ambience: 2/5

This article was published HERE.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Veggie Nook: Santosh Castle

Santosh Castle in Abids, started quite recently on the 20th February is a pleasure to dine in. The subtly-lit interiors with instrumental music playing in the background, well-spaced tables and chairs, impeccable washrooms—all these add to the mood. The 80 seater air-conditioned restaurant situated on the first floor above Santosh Dhaba, caters to pure vegetarian fare.
The thickly-bound menu overwhelms you with the copiousness of pages to go through. Every section of food contains many selections and narrowing your choice is a tough challenge. The soups range from Rs 50 to 70 and have about 18 in all to select from. The appetizers, a total of 32 in number, vary from Rs. 80-120.
Amongst the starters, Paneer Majestic priced at Rs. 110 is a dry preparation of thin 2” long paneer sticks. This is lightly coated with maida and corn flour and deep-fried. This is tossed with sesame and cumin, curry leaves, thinly sliced fried onion, dry chillies, green chillies and some white pepper. It is a relatively oil-free preparation and the added ingredients add to its delectibitly.
Another entrée Paneer Malai Tikka priced at Rs.120 is quite delectable too. Plain one-inch square paneer pieces smeared with gram flour are pierced along with thin onion and tomato pieces and barbequed. The Malai Tikka derives its name from the paste of ginger- garlic and fresh cream that is alternately layered with the paneer, onion and tomato pieces. Once barbequed, the stacks are sautéed with cashew powder, green chili paste, pepper powder and cardamom powder. What also make these paneer preparations special is the fact that all paneer used is very soft and freshly-prepared.
The curries again offer a mind boggling selection of 70 curries. Amongst the curries, Dum Aloo priced at Rs.90 consists of large potato pieces deep-fried and mixed with a gravy of onion paste to which these condiments are added: red chilli powder, cumin powder, paste of ginger-garlic, cashew, sesame, watermelon seeds, chironji, poppy seeds and crushed coconut. Kajal Kofta a specialty claimed by Santosh consists of koftas prepared with boiled carrot, beans, potato, which are bound with corn flour and deep-fried. These are served with a gravy similar to Dum Aloo to which copious amount of fried cashew is added.
Another curry Haveli Paneer has the condiments of cashew, watermelon seeds, chironji, garlic- ginger paste and red chili powder added to tomato-onion based white gravy. This is quite delectable too.
16 varieties of Indian breads priced between Rs.10 to 40 are on offer. Some special ones are mentioned below: Garlic Nan, at Rs. 30 is the usual nan but with tiny garlic flecks which lend it a pungent taste. Baby Nan, another specialty is smeared with butter, grated paneer and grated carrots. Chatpata Nan is probably unique to this restaurant. It consist of nan covered with grated paneer, chilli powder and chat masala. This has a crunchy feel as you bite through. Stuffed kulcha at Rs.40 is something you find in any other restaurant and is stuffed with boiled potatoes, carrot and beans. Yet, what lends a unique taste to this preparation is the way it is thinly rolled out and is studded with plenty of cashews.
Amongst the 19 varities of rice, Shahi biryani stands out.

Pluses: All food is tasty
Minuses: Food is smothered in oil
Food: 3.5/5; Ambience: 3.5/5
Located in the lane to the right of Big Bazaar, Abids

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Veggie Nook: Swaad

Situated beside Gharonda, Swaad, started just about a year ago, is barely visible from behind the bus shelter on the main road of Padmarao Nagar. This ambiguity is quickly cleared as you step into the pleasant ambience of the spacious foyer with its comfortable waiting chairs.
Inside the restaurant, you find well-spaced wooden tables and chairs in an air conditioned room that can hold 72 people. The long buffet table in the center facilitates easy maneuverability. The windows all around are tastefully covered with bamboo chiks. The stark white walls exhibit bronze figurines each posing with an Indian musical instrument. Various lighting fixtures further accentuate the effect. Every effort is made to coalesce food and music— both complementing one another.
As soon as you seat yourself, you are served a refreshing fruit juice made of fresh fruits.
Swaad serves only vegetarian buffet at both lunch and dinner times. The buffet has as many as 44 items in all. On this day the menu is as following:
  1. Three types of soups— Tomato, Sweet Corn Veg and plain Sweet Corn for the more bland palate.
  2. Salads: thinly sliced raw vegetables like tomato, cucumber, beetroot, carrot and onion all arranged separately
  3. Three kinds of chaat preparations: boiled peas tossed with finely chopped tomato and onion; chana chaat of soft-boiled chick peas; third, Kachumer chaat made of thinly shredded capsicum, tomato cucumber and onion. One common ingredient in all three is the lemon juice.
  4. The starters consist of vegetarian Manchuria and ginger paneer. Both these are prepared with well balanced spices.
  5. Rounding off the snacks section is the Indian favorite— the ‘paani puri’.
  6. Two dry curries consist of Gobi and Bhendi fry
  7. Four curries with gravy: Guthi vankayi koora, mixed vegetable curry, Aloo kurma and Paneer mutter
  8. Curd items: Plain curd, curd rice, raita and dahi wada
  9. Chinese: soft noodles and Gobi Manchurian wet
  10. Rice items: Biryani and Jeera rice
  11. Dal items: Dosakayi pappu, rasam. sambar
  12. Desserts: Fruits, fruit custard, beetroot halwa, saboodanaa kheer ice cream and gulab jamun.
  13. Three varieties of Indian breads: roti, naan and phulka
  14. Accompaniments like paapads, ghee karampodi and pickles thus completing the South Indian menu
All food is presented in steel casseroles with uniquely designed hydraulic lids which shut quietly on release. Most of the food is prepared with mild spices and little oil and is easy on the stomach.
And to round up this Indian meal experience is the paan on offer too. All the necessary components are kept at the end of the buffet table. You need to pick them and roll out the paan for yourself.
The buffet is priced at Rs. 150 for an adult and Rs. 100 for a child. The restaurant timings are 12 to 3: 30 pm and 6:30 to 10:30 pm. Ample parking in cellar available

Pluses: Good selection of health foods
Minuses: No special items that you don’t find elsewhere
Food: 3/5; Ambience: 4/5
Located near Gharonda food court, Main road, Padmarao Nagar.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Veggie Nook: Pizza point

Let's meet at pizza point
Photos: Nagara Gopal

Pizza time People enjoying a pizza meal at Pizza Point

T he tiny Pizza Point located in the basement of State Bank of India at Karkhana makes you feel sceptical of the possible quality of food on offer. The place has just about ten tables and a blaring TV in addition.
Everything from orders to the cash counter is managed by Pratap, the owner. The menu consists of 14 pizzas with different veg toppings. It also offers three kinds of sandwiches: veg grilled, cheese grilled and chilli cheese grilled sandwiches. The pizzas which are all six inches are priced between Rs. 70 to 90 and the sandwiches are offered at Rs. 30. An order for the Hot ‘n' Spicy Mexican priced at Rs. 80 brings you a pizza with onion, capsicum, cheese and chilli flakes. The chilli flakes are home-prepared and bring with it the taste of Indian dish. A generous topping of Mozzarella lends a uniquely delectable taste to the pizza. The Veg Exotica priced at Rs. 90 consists of jalapenos and olives in addition. An additional layer of cheese on top of this pizza makes it quite yummy. The Veg-Pineapple also has an abundance of cheese and onion with tiny pieces of pineapple on it. This is a slightly bland preparation.
The Hot ‘n' Spicy Mexican isn't really very hot — only spiced and can be safely had by the kids too. What's amazing is that every pizza has a unique taste to it. Equally amazing is the fact no spices are added to any of the pizzas. Despite this, just by adding different toppings, this outlet succeeds in lending a unique taste to every pizza that it offers. This tiny pizza outlet also surprises you with the offer of a great base, a centimetre in thickness — crisp and soft at the right places. There is no contention on the restaurateur's claim that every pizza is equally tasty.

No less enticing are the sandwiches. The sandwiches are grilled grilled with plenty of butter, the edges sealed, and with every bite, the cheeses — again Mozzarella spill out .
The restaurant runs from 4 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. The small pizzas give you the advantage of choosing more than one kind of topping. Two people can share four pizzas easily. Special Jain preparation with only capsicum, tomato and cheese topping is also prepared.
Though no parking space is specifically marked, yet the outlet does have plenty of parking space. A meal for two would cost around Rs. 400. Home delivery is offered within a 2 km radius.

This article was published HERE.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Veggie Nook: Rajdhani

This 10 Janpath serves good food



The thali It will satiate your hunger
10 Janpath, Rajdhani Hotel
Plus: Cordiality of the staff
Minus: Poorly-maintained washroom
Food: 3/5
Ambience: 3.5/5
Located close to Masjid, Main Road, Siddiamber Bazar
Inside Hotel Rajadhani in Siddiamber Bazar is 10 Janpath–– a restaurant. This 75-seater AC restaurant, which began in 1977, serves pure vegetarian food and is counted amongst the oldest restaurants in the twin cities. The well-spaced wooden tables and chairs and the accent lighting add to the aesthetics.

The menu consists of a tiffin section which runs from 7.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The tiffins range from Rs. 25 for a plate of idli to Rs. 48 for a paper dosa. Amongst the beverages and juices, the selection varies from tea at Rs.16 to the milkshakes at Rs. 55. Blue Crusco must be tasted here. Prepared from a cocktail of litchis, Sprite and sugar syrup, this is slightly over-sweetened drink tastes mostly like a litchi drink. There is the fruit punch too, prepared with orange and pineapple juices with mango ice-cream, which has a slightly sour taste.
All the soups are priced at Rs. 55. Amongst these, the lemon coriander soup is quite delectable. The soup in this restaurant is made in a corn flour base unlike the conventionally prepared clear soup base. Two unusual but tasty combinations here are the Amiritsari chole paneer and the corn 65. Amritsari chole paneer though unusual in combination isn't unusual in taste. It has the usual red onion and tomato paste gravy. The corn 65 is crisply fried and served with pudina (mint) chutney. The pudina chutney is yummy and the combination of the starter with the chutney tickles one's taste buds to no end. The curries are priced between Rs.75 and Rs.120. Amongst them, methi chaman hariyali is highly recommendable. Made of fenugreek leaves and spinach paste, it has an onion-tomato paste, spices and is garnished with grated panneer. The fenugreek and chopped garlic makes the dish slightly pungent but the experience is enjoyable.
The dal makhani too is a specialty here. Thick in consistency and cooked in a good amount of butter, this dish has almost a home-made touch with sparingly-used Indian spices. Amongst the rotis, priced between Rs. 15 for a roti to Rs. 30 for the masala kulcha, the masala kulcha is quite tasty because it is rolled out very thin and stuffed with boiled vegetables like carrots, beans, potato and grated paneer. The South Indian thaali with about 12 items is priced at Rs. 74 and is served both for lunch and dinner.
A meal of soup-starter-roti-curries-rice-dessert comes to around Rs. 600. Ample parking space is available.

This article was published HERE.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Veggie Nook: Shyam's

Started 3 years back, Shyam enjoys the status of being the sole caterer of pure vegetarian fare in the vicinity of Lingampally. The entrance to the hotel is not too inviting. Yet, once you step into the restaurant situated on the first floor, the ambience is quite pleasant with neatly laid out tables and chairs. The absence of an air-conditioned environment might be annoying in the summer though.
The restaurant claims to serve a multicuisine fare but actually specializes in North Indian food. Most in demand is the North Indian Thaali. Priced at Rs 50, it offers a range of dishes consisting of two curries, dal, chutney, curd, papad, six phulkas and rice. Every section of the menu has a wide range to choose from.
The soups ranging from Rs 35-40 have amongst them a forgettable taste in the tomato soup. Abundant use of color deters you from trying more. After the rather tame beginning, the tasty paneer Tikka comes as a pleasant surprise. There are just about 8 pieces to a plate. The paneer cut into one- inch square pieces are cooked in very little oil. Though not much masala is used to spice it up, it does carry its own distinctive taste—slightly sour, slightly pungent.
Amongst the main dishes ranging from Rs. 40 to Rs.100, the restaurant claims the Marwadi Veg as its specialization. It consists of very finely chopped carrots, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower cooked in gravy of cashew, watermelon seeds and poppy seeds. The gravy used in the preparation of all curries seems to carry the same taste.
The dum aloo kashmiri is quite enjoyable. The potato scooped out and stuffed with paneer is not cooked too soft and only one potato is served in a dish. The capsicum also served one to a dish, is stuffed with potato and masalas. Not using the normally used paneer to stuff it, lends it a quite a discernible taste
The rotis are priced as cheap as Rs 4 for a Phulka to Rs 25 for a Gobi paratha. Shyam is one of the few restaurants in the twin cities which offer you a phulka made of wheat flour and cooked on the coals. The puffed- up hot phulka is then offered to you after having it smeared with ghee. A must try!
Amongst the cool beverages, the lassi is quite filling as it has an abundance of lightly crushed dry fruits within. Shyam also offers Rajasthani fare of dal-bhati-churma on Sundays. To one’s surprise, the ubiquitous biryani is offered only on Saturdays and Sundays. Shyam draws its clientele mostly from the business class people around Lingampally
The restaurant timings are 11 am to 4 pm and again 7 pm to 11 pm. A meal for two is Rs 200. Ample parking space is available.

Plus: Judicious use of oil in preparation
Minus:  Small quantities per dish
Food: 3/5; Ambience: 3/5
Located near Balaji Jodhapur Sweet House, BHEL, Lingampally