Do what you love,Love what you do!!

Author Archive

Dream Company!


So what’s your Dream Company? We ponder over this question right from the day when we chose our specific education stream to getting a graduation. Coming from a technology space, we look towards few of the leading technology giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft etc. These companies have a huge impact on the psyche of a technologist and all people who are using their product in one way or the other. With due respect to all other such companies, one company which still has more mind-space is Google. I, like most of the other folks, cannot imagine life without Google. Over the years, they have created a whole range of products some of which we are dependent heavily. Mind you, all of their products are not successful, some of them have miserably failed.

Take for instance, Google Search which is the topmost revenue generator and is market leader in this space over the years. With amount of data each of us generate minute by minute, and we want to seek more information about something or the other, search comes handy. And more often than not, we get the required information within seconds whatever we are intending to find. Google is more of a verb than a noun. Google Maps is been a integral part of us which gives us a street by street navigation details, traffic information etc with accurate details. Some of the businesses like Uber, Ola thrive on Maps. Google acquired Android 13 years ago. In 2005, Android smartphone market share was 0.5% and today in 2018 it is 85.9%. These numbers are staggering. Gmail as a email client and Chrome as a browser platform are some of the other winning products from a wide range of products Google offers.

So how does these products thrive and continue to delight us every time we use it and take benefits from it? Its simply because they continuously reinvent it. These products have adopted upcoming technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning in a big way one can ever imagine. For instance Gmail, after coming up with auto replies based on the content of the mail, now can auto compose mails. A bot can take the place of your customer executive and can take your pizza delivery through a phone by having a human like conversation with your customer giving you a feeling that you jst conversed with a human. With Augmented Reality, one can navigate using Maps quite easily like never before. Being a AI/ML enthusiast, and by early adoption by Google for these products which has already created a mind space, it delights the customer even more and without knowing one acquires new habit to deal with the product.

With innovation at its core, it’s vibrant culture, conducive environment to create more innovative products and lead by someone like Sundar Pichai (I admire the most in tech industry), Google is still the dream company I aspire to work for some day.


Netflixing!


One of my recent obsession is a wide variety of TV series available on Netflix. My friend quipped, so many content to consume and we have only one life wherein we have some finite free time for TV consumption. Yes, we have been bombarded with lot of content these days, and what stands out is quality content. Netflix has a great following because of his rich content, TV series depicting whole range of stories from different genres, cultures, languages etc. Also, one notable fact is Netflix produces original content which possess great production values, book adaptations, other compelling stories etc. Some of the content comes by buying television and licensing rights from other service providers and streaming it on Netflix. Also, Netflix comes up with binge-watching shows wherein multiple episodes from a season are released at one-go. This creates lot of anticipation among fans and encourages audiences to watch season at one sitting.

Now, Netflix is eyeing Indian market in a big way and why not? As internet adaptation in India is happening in a big way and Netflix sees India to produce next million consumers. However, like in every market there is competition and Netflix has to compete with the likes of Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Voot, AltBalaji and even Shemaroo which has a huge repository of Indian movies. The approach Netflix is adopting is to produce more Indian content as other existing players like Hotstar generates great amount of local and multilingual content.

As a Original based out of India, Netflix started with a series called Sacred Games, based on a book by Vikram Chandra. It received rave reviews because of its performances, brilliant direction by ace directors like Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya Motwane, the setting where Mumbai city is one of the key characters and more so because of its riveting writing. Given that it is a TV series, it gives a liberty to directors like Anurag who doesn’t have to withheld his storytelling style because of censor or the so called Indian sensibilities, so in that sense gives great amount of creative freedom. With Sacred Games, Netflix India has got a great start and looking good for more India based original content.

Recently, Netflix India announced a series on Baahubali, a prequel based on the novel The Rise of Sivagami by Anand Neelakantan which according to me is a masterstroke. Baahubali, a Telugu movie initially produced mainly for regional audience, capturing the imagination of pan India,was quite a story in itself. Given the grandeur, vivid imaginary of a visionary director like S.S.Rajamouli and backing of leading Bollywood production company like Dharma Productions for its sequel, it created a record of sorts by being expensive Indian movie to be ever made followed by record collections. Now that Netflix has joined the bandwagon, with it’s great production values, it will surely receive new wings of encouragement to fly high and soar new heights.

Exciting times for Netflix India ahead..


Need a Quick Ride?


If we were to list major problems any Indian metro city is grappling with, traffic would be an foremost choice. The amount of time one spends waiting at a traffic signal is enormous. Simply put, Traffic is a menace for most of us. So if we know the problem, why aren’t we able to solve this problem convincingly? We know that we are staring at a complex problem here and many factors/variables come into play.

For a city like Bengaluru, over 70 lakh vehicles ply daily for a population of around 1.2 crores. This number of 70 lakh has more than doubled with more than 40 lakh new vehicles for the past 10 years. Staggering, isn’t it? Its a pain to see most of the commuters dealing with traffic woes on a daily basis adding to more frustration,stress etc.

Bengaluru Metro Rail are a great blessing for many ever since its inception as one can cover distance in less time and more importantly can be doubly sure of reaching a place at a specific time. But there is still a long way, until whole of Bengaluru is blessed with seamless metro rail connectivity.

For people traveling by road, public transport helps a great deal in terms of reducing the vehicles on road but may have to spend considerable amount of time dealing with the traffic head on. Commuters availing services of cab aggregators are ever increasing, their USP being point to point travel with all the convenience it offers. With growing population and ever increasing number of vehicles plying on the road on a daily vehicles, it’s a pain to see people traveling on their own car alone as big as SUV/MUV, isn’t a sheer waste of resource?

Pooling seems to answer this and helps a great deal to reduce the number of vehicles plying on road and these aggregators have solved the problem if not convincingly. They have their own set of problems like there are many detours one has to take for a different pickup, one may lose time considerably in pickup/drop of co passengers, not to mention some co passengers may be tough to deal with.

Quite recently, I got introduced to a car pooling mobile app called Quick Ride and ever since I have had a great experience. Compared to cab aggregators there are many benefits one can get from this car pooling exclusive app. First of all, one registers through corporate mail id after which one can get/offer a ride. Quite recently, they have added registration through Facebook account as well.

 

It provides an opportunity for a person owning a car and commuting to office daily to offer a ride to co rider who is traveling to same IT park. Rightly so, it takes riders convenience into account and offers ride through the route which he normally takes, without a point to point pickup/drop facility. So if you need a ride, you need to ensure that you on-board somewhere on the route taken by the rider. This helps in saving precious time for pickup.

Rides are very economical charging 50-80 for a 25 km ride. One can suggest a ride price too, if one thinks it is expensive. Based on the source and destination of your commute, one can select matching riders, check their profile, coordinate through messages/calls, GPS tracking etc. Some of the features are great like it gives a voice command for a rider for updates regarding upcoming pickup etc knowing that he will be busy riding the car. That’s really sweet, isn’t it?

Ride safety which is paramount is assured as the rider one is dealing with is a professional  himself and may be a colleague working in same firms as yours. A rider also knows that his co passengers are professionals too and are of no nuisance. I have seen more women availing this service as they are convinced of the ride safety. Moreover, it gives a great company to spend your time commuting with healthy and lively discussions and build your connections. In a way, you’re reducing your expenses(both for rider and ride taker), having a good company during your commute, building your network,  and more importantly by pooling, you’re reducing carbon footprint by efficiently utilizing the resources. One can see their Eco-Meter which provides stats like amount of CO2 reduced, number of kms shared etc. By quantifying , making you feel good and encouraging to share analytics among your network is a master stroke. Also, one more feature which is of great use is if you follow a fixed schedule, one can set a recurring ride so that you are notified and assured a ride every time. Also, all the transactions are done through wallet only and no cash is involved, one can redeem the points won at a fuel station too.

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-16 at 1.32.38 AM

By traveling alone in your car with 3-4 seats empty and complaining about traffic, one doesn’t realize they are also the traffic. So, if possible its great to carpool and Quick Ride has been solving this problem quite convincingly. If only they could market this product better, as I see people are getting to know and availing the benefits mainly through word of mouth.

This post is not a promotional post but my bit to promote the benefits of a really good app which is solving a problem which was waiting to be solved.


Mumbai Rains!!!


I love rains, especially when you’re living in a city like Mumbai where rains are a big respite after a spell of scorching summer. The first rains are always a special occasion because of petrichor. I love it!! The cool breeze, watching rains from the balcony with pleasant smell of mud, a hot coffee by the side and reading my favorite book, Nothing like it! I am a book lover too but past month or so, have been very hectic. My niece, who is one of the leading architects from the city, had suggested some modifications in our interiors. After lot of persuading, I managed to convince my husband Amol, for the planned changes. Last week was special, we did the interiors and our home decor is looking like a million bucks now. After setting up my home clean and organized with the help of my maid, I got sufficient time to relax for a while. And just then, when I sat on my cozy balcony chair with my favorite book and a cup of coffee, Mumbai received first rains of the season. It’s been a week now since it’s raining almost daily, looks like the season has caught up and monsoon is here to stay.

We live in Nava Bharat Housing Co Operative Society in D Block 7th Floor in Dombivli East. Basically I am a housewife, taking care of my family and managing household affairs. My husband is an Advertising Professional in a leading Ad agency setup in Jogeshwari, a western suburb in Mumbai. He is working in a senior executive role. His work requires him to travel often and stay in office at odd hours too. He says that it’s a challenging job because in a creative profession like his, one has to always think out of the box, come up with crazy ideas and thought process to create a product of compelling value to the client. I am pretty much impressed by his hard work and dedication towards his work apart from his loving and caring nature. We had a love marriage 21 years ago and it has been a great one, with lot of ups than downs. He trusts me completely in whatever I venture into and has been a great support system. In domestic affairs, he doesn’t heed much and gives me complete freedom in running it. For any additional support, he is always there for me. We have a sweet daughter Navya who is turning 17 this September. She is doing her 11th grade in Vidyaniketan College in Kalyan, one of the top colleges from the city. Navya is apple of our eye, our source of happiness. She completed her Class 10 with flying colors finishing 9th rank for the CBSE board. Being good academically throughout her schooling, she is as good as a sportswoman as one could be. She is the captain of Basketball team and has competed at state level for 2 consecutive years. And like her loving father, she is creative and pursuing painting as her hobby. She has successfully completed an international assignment too, connecting with like-minded people across the globe. Overall, she is an all-rounder. I take care of her studies when she is home and needs my help; for creative pursuits she connects with her dad.

Last week, Amol won a contract of a leading FMCG conglomerate and it was a great moment of joy and pride for us. But on the downside, he has been very busy since then to leave no stone unturned to restore the immense trust the client have bestowed in him and his team. So these days, he reaches home very late sometimes past midnight. Yesterday, Navya had basketball practice sessions after her classes and post-practice, she had to attend a birthday bash of her best friend Ramya, my namesake. So I was told she would be late and reach home by 9pm. I was out for shopping to get some traditional sarees for an upcoming family event and just when I reached home at 8 pm; it started raining cats and dogs. I called up Navya to enquire where she was, didn’t get a reply, thought she was busy enjoying the party, so texted her instead. And some time later, I got a reply from Navya that she would be home soon. Amol had back to back meetings yesterday and I was told he would be late. The rain was relentless as could be seen from the balcony and I got busy in setting up my wardrobe and getting the dinner ready. It was 9.30 pm now and with no signs of Navya, I called her again; this time I couldn’t connect her phone. It was getting late enough to be worried. I once again stepped into the balcony and looked down. Except for a drenched street dog that was lying down miserably near the gate, there was not a soul to be seen anywhere. Rain water had puddled under the lamp post. A breeze ruffled the mango tree in the courtyard and a few twigs fell down and broke. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Did I hear a soft knock at the door? I turned back.

It was Mrs. Srivastava who lived in the same block on 11th floor; she came to enquire about her son Rohan. Rohan was Navya’s friend, studying in the same college as her and had accompanied Navya to the birthday party. Mrs. Srivastava was worried too as her son who was supposed to be home by 9, had not returned. She came downstairs to check whether Navya was home. But when she realized that even Navya had not returned, their phones switched off and with relentless rain and thunderstorms, she became more anxious and worried. Even their other friends were unreachable on phone. To further enhance our predicament, even the news showing up on the TV in the background was talking only about the Mumbai rains, inherent water logging and traffic logjams. We had to do something, but were in dilemma. I was about to call Amol when someone ringed the doorbell again. When I opened, there was no one to be seen. But there was a beautiful bouquet of red roses placed with a birthday card on it. I could make out that it was in Navya’s handwriting. It read: Thanks for being here, for being you, I love you lots. Happiest of birthdays. XOXO. But why was it lying here? And who ringed the bell? I checked the whole corridor, checked the staircases, lift etc. but no one to be seen anywhere. And when I returned back to my flat, lights were switched off almost instantly. What was happening?? I got scared now.

I was sweating and shivering with fright and when I tried to switch on the lights, I heard someone was waiting for me eagerly. I could sense that somehow. And once I managed to switch on the lights, I could hear familiar voice of Navya and Amol singing Happy Birthday to me, well supported by whole lot of people singing in unison. The birthday crew included my nephew, my sister, apartment acquaintances, friends from the gym, family friends, Amol’s colleagues, some of Navya’s friends, all led by Mrs. Srivastava holding a delicious cake. Navya came forward and hugged me tightly, wishing me a happy birthday just few minutes before I turned 50. She jokingly said- Mom, I told you I would be late as I was to attend birthday bash of my friend Ramya, I was just doing that, albeit planning it and moreover you’re my best friend too. Amol, who was busy all these days, I didn’t knew he was busy today planning and scheming this surprise for me. If I were his client, I would be mighty impressed by his ideas and the surprise element and sign the contract on dotted lines very happily. He hugged me and presented me a gorgeous dress and a diamond necklace which was exquisite. OMG!! What a stunner it was!! I was delighted by his gesture. And Mrs. Srivastava turned out to be a natural actor, didn’t give me a hint of what was coming. Apparently, Amol and Neha had invited all the guests without my cognizance and were plotting a plan all this while in the community hall beside our flat and it turned to be a huge surprise to me. I went in to change to my birthday dress along with the necklace. And when I was back, I was awed again; the living room was decorated with flowers, balloons, birthday craft bunting, lights and lanterns. Navya, had specially prepared a beautiful cone shaped birthday hat and a sash with Birthday Girl written on it. I felt like a pampered child again. And every guest had a birthday prop put on- someone had a headwear, wigs, feather boas, mustaches and beards, party ties, hair bands, funky eye glasses, face masks, wand, headband and wings. It looked like a well thought out plan and I was very much overwhelmed. Then, it was time to cut the cake and everyone started singing happy birthday for me. Amol had ordered my favorite food from the nearby restaurant and everyone set out for the birthday bash dinner. All this while, my nephew captured all the proceedings of the event, those precious moments of shock, surprise, happiness and bliss on his GoPro camera and we looked at it again and again and had a good laugh over it.

Never ever I had dreamt of such a surprise. I was overjoyed for this lovely gesture by everyone for turning up, making my 50th birthday a memorable and a special event. This was the story I made up, when I was getting bored on a long distance train journey


Filmi Chakkar..


Love movies? A Movie buff? Then this one’s for you 🙂

Films (read Bollywood films) are based out from the society around, our daily lives, varied experiences with different influences. You recently saw a perfectly etched character in a film? You could relate to the last movie you watched? Yes, that answers the question.Whether it’s a science fiction or any imaginary character for that matter, there are some real life influences, a character with some bit of the writer himself. How about the other way around? How about the influences, movies have on our lives. Some influence, if you ask me. So let’s try to explore this and start our Filmi Chakkar, with some dialogue baazi, naach gaana and some acting vecting 🙂

17qawnYou are having tea in the nearby tapri (tea stall) outside your office and you say to your friend Do dost ek pyale mein chai piyenge. Is se dosti badti hai..

Your mom sounds filmi when she says when you return home after long haul Beta tu aa gaya? Maine tere liye apne haathon se kheer banaya hai..

You believe Cleanliness is next to Godliness. You keep your surroundings clean, meaning you keep your house clean and throw all the waste accumulated from your house into your neighbors place. In one such secret expedition, you get caught red handed when your neighbor angrily says- Mere Angne mein tumhara kya kaam hai ?? 😛

You leave your all important work in your office to attend your friend’s friend uninvited birthday bash and say Hum cake khane ke liye kahin bhi jaa saktey hai..

You are hungry and have ordered your favorite pizza after a long time. Pizza delivery boy looks at the address and reaches you in 30 mins. You live in 21st floor and lift doesn’t seem to work. Delivery boy is like [in Anu Malik’s voice]: Unchi Hai Building..Lift Teri Band Hai..Kaise Main Aau..Dil Rajamand Hai…  You are too hungry to listen to any excuses and blurt out: Aaja Aaja Aaja Meri Pizza Leke Aaja ; Meri Bhook Mitaane Ab To Steps leke aaja..

You work in a software company and after working for 2 years as a fresher, there seems to be no news of any pay hike. You’re like-Mere Khwaabon Mein Jo Aaye; Aake Mujhe Chhed Jaaye, Use Kahon Kabhi Saamne To Aaye..

17qbaoYou are married now and bring lunch box to your office these days. Today, your wife has cooked your favorite bhendi ki sabzi. Though lunch timings is at 1 pm, you get hungry by 12 pm and slowly try to get out of your desk without other’s notice. You successfully get out attracting few glances to the dining area and once you open your dabba to have a first bite, your junior colleague comes out of nowhere and wishes you Good morning Sir.. 

You introduce your fiance to your family & her parents and blurt out of nervousness-This is my mom and my dad. This is your dad and your mom..

Boy loves girl and he is sitting beside her.He reluctantly touches her hand and she hits back funnily saying -Yeh kya hai? Permission leni chahiye. Hum haath rakhne se mana nahin kar rahe hain, lekin permission leni chahiya na? Kisike ghar mey gusne ke pehle, permission lete hein ki nahi?

You are on the verge of studying hard for your engineering exam (meaning you have a paper next day) by checking the syllabus copy and you find your agyakari room mate is revising the topics and you cry out of anger saying- Gyan baatna chahiye re … tu kya apne paas rakhke sadaa-rela hai.. 

You are married and are getting ready to go out with your wife. You are ready in a flash as always and you find yourselves waiting for your wife who is getting ready. You sing a song to pass time Duniya chi pyari tu Aaga naari harnigaa Aaga raani sundaraa..Aali ho aali aali ho aali Aali ali.. when she finally gives you darshan after an hour or so..

Your friend comes first in the class and you say Dost fail ho jaye toh dukh hota hai. Lekin dost first aa jaye toh jyada dukh hota hai..

You are called day in day out to buy a new credit card from a bank. You seem to be interested and postpone the call many times owing to some work and one fine day,relent to their pleading to buy one. Once you ready your documents and sign the form as per their instructions, you hear a song Golmaal Hai Bhai Sab Golmaal Hai 😛

17qbdsYou are hunting for a 3 bhk flat as you have recently shifted to Bengaluru, a IT hub. After much struggle, and seeing many flats, you finally select a flat much to your liking. You have to negotiate the price with your owner and you go to his house which is just besides your own flat. Your owner is bulky, unshaven and if at all he blackens some of his teeth, he will look like Gabbar from Sholay. He lazily is sitting on the couch and once he quotes his price, he asks you a question Kitne aadmi Hai??

You are in gyan giving mode and cry out to your friend- Baabu Mushoy!! Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin..

Your parents are looking for a bride for your marriage and you seem to be least interested. You try to convince your parents to give you more time but in vain. Then finally you argue saying Shaadi ke basic concept mein hi jhol hai.

You are a teacher and get your life’s lessons in the most harsh way and thus learn to live your life in the present by saying it to your students-Aaj…Aaj ek hasi aur baant lo. Aaj ek dua aur maang lo. Aaj ek ansoon aur pee lo Aaj ek zindagi aur jee lo. Aaj ek sapna aur dekh lo. Aaj … Kya pata, Kal ho naa ho..

Your girlfriend sounds filmi when she says Mai tumharay bachhe ki maa ban ne waali hoon! and you get a panic attack.

17qbktYou live your life the way you like to live and sound filmi when you say –Jo Main Bolta Hoon, Woh Main Karta Hoon, Jo Main Nahi Bolta, Woh Main Definitely Karta Hoon!!

One always have a namuna among your friends and you feel like saying Tumhe uthakar museum mein rakhna chahiye, ticket lagni chahiye tumhe dekhne ke liye..

You being a woman want to be a fashion designer and initially your parents don’t approve of your career choice. Then when time is ripe, you discuss it with your father, your best friend with all your passion for your career choice. Then next moment, your father sounds filmi when he says- Simran, Jee le apni zindagi 😛

You seem to be lost in a lesser known town with your wife,when you alighted from the train for tea. You missed the train by a whisker. You find out that next train is only on the following morning. You are very tired and since the whole platform is occupied, you try to find out a cheap hotel for some sleep. Then when u finally find one and deal with the receptionist by saying Bhai sahab, hum room ghante ke hisab se lenge. You find yourself in a awkward situation after the hotelier thinks otherwise. 😛

You sound filmi when in spite of knowing your friends’s name, you ask Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti??

You are Ranchoddaas Shamaldaas Chanchad urf Phunsukh Wangdu. You are like Behati Hawa, Udati Patang, Jo Khud Apani Raah Banaata hai,Girata Sambhalata Masti Mein Chalata Hai,Jo Bas Aaj Ka Jashn Manaata Hai and Har Lamahe Ko Khulake Jita Hai. Be like Rancho 🙂  And when in despair- Honthon ko karke gol, Seeti Baja ke Bol, Aal izz well 🙂

17qbosYou have to adjust to the power cuts these days quite often and on Wednesdays, it is from 9 am to 5 pm. So your’e fed up as you cannot perform various work without electricity. So when at 5 pm the power does come, you  say Bijliiiiiiiiiiiii like that granny from a village called Charanpur shown in Swades who sees the bulb lit up in her hut for the first time in her life.

You are in first year of your college. Now, you have the right to bunk your classes and you enjoy doing the same in the name of movies, hangouts, chit chat or doing nothing. But you find one class interesting and don’t wanna miss. Even though the subject hardly interests you, the teacher does. You imagine your good looking madam as Sushmita Sen of Main Hoo Na fame and you are like-  Tumhein Jo Maine Dekha, Tumhein Jo Maine Jaana,Jo Hosh Tha, Wo To Gaya,Badan Ki Khushboo, Jagaae Lagi Jaadu,To Hoke Beqabu, Dil Kho Gaya..

You have to acquire your Aadhar card and have to give your personal details to Govt official. You’re like  Vijay Dinanath Chauhan; Poora Naam, Baap Ka Naam Dinanth Chauhan, Maa Ka Naam Suhasini Chauhan, Gaon Mandwa, Umar Chhattis Saal 😛

Tonight petrol prices are increasing by Rs.2. As you get a wind of it, you head to nearest petrol station and as luck would have it, petrol pump seems to be empty. Just when your done, people throng around you for filling their tank too once the news spreads. You think yourselves-Jahan Hum Khade Ho Jaate Hain, Line Wahi Se Shuru Hoti Hai..

You are alcoholic, you drink to breathe and thus cannot live without it. You are Devdas and sound filmi when you say-Babuji ne kaha Gaon chod do. Sab ne kaha Paro ko chod do. Paro ne kaha Sharab chod do.Aaj tumne keh diya haweli chod do.Ek din aayega jab woh kahenge, Duniya hi chod do..

 

17s4m4You are frustrated and helpless and venture into alcohol and blurt out the harsh truth-Mera haal na Gupta uncle ke jaise ho gaya hai, Gupta uncle ko na cancer ho gaya hai. unho ne kabhi sharab nai pi, cigarette nai pi, phir bhi cancer ho gaya. Isse accha toh pi lete..

Your dad sounds filmi when he says, Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hai naam hai Papa..

You are Mogambo. Whenever Mogambo sees something nice or if he likes any good quality of yours, he appreciates it right away by saying Mogambo Khush huwa. Instead of being jealous, appreciate small things in life. Be like Mogambo. 🙂

You are of marriageable age now and so are your friends. You know that your friend’s parents are looking out a girl for him. From your khoofia network, you get some gossip circulating around and ridicule your friend saying- Tu arranged marriage ke liye gaya aur reject hoke aa gaya..

You are gorging into specially made Gulab jamoon which is just been prepared by your mom and kept in front of you. You are like : Maa kasam, mein ek ek ko chun chun ke khaa lunga 😛

You are Radhe. Radhe sticks to whatever he commits no matter what- Ek bar joh maine Commitment kar di. Uske baad toh main khud ki bhi nahi sunta. Be like Radhe. 😛

A drunkard looking at his desi daaru and sings : Tumhi din chadhe, Tumhi din dhale
Tumhi ho bandhu, sakha tumhi..

17s5ml

Your girlfriend is pissed off with you. She is not happy with you hanging out with your best friend. She has told you to choose between her and your best friend. Now you’re pissed off with her. Your best friend knows all about it and he says-Are usne teri khuddari ko lalkara hai yaar, kya kar raha hai, mard ban, be a man!” 

Talk of love at first sight.  Jab woh ladki saamne aa jaathi hai toh Tumhe lagta hai ki Hawaye chalne lagi hai…..Slow motion mein dupatta udne laga hai….Ya aasman mein Chaand kuch zyada bada hua hai..

Filmein sirf teen cheezo ke wajah se chalti hai – Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment.

Hope it was entertaining. Did you encounter any such filmi stories? If yes, Do share it in comments below.

Until next time we meet – Be good, Do good and Keep smiling 🙂


Hungry Kya??


Warning: This write up with lot of deliciousness might make you hungry as it is a serious drooling affair. Baad mein complain mat karna- Peth mein chuve daud rahe hain 😛

For Foodies, From a Foodie 🙂

All the food mentioned here are essentially Konkani cuisine especially from North Kanara (in Karnataka) with influences from Goan, Malwani and Maharashtrian cuisine. So without any further ado, let’s get the ball rolling….

Lets start our food journey with some breakfast menus.First up is a authentic rice roti called as Mumbri or Cholka (leaf) Baakri (roti) prepared using banana leaf. The ingredients include rice flour,salt,coconut,ghee and onion is optional.This roti goes well with a chutney made from grated coconut and mixed with red chili powder,some sugar and salt. Its like marriage made in heaven. 🙂

Then we move on to Khotto (also called as Hittu), a big hit among all Konkanis which is basically idlis in jack fruit leaves. For khotto, a green chilly chutney prepared with coconut oil, salt, asafoetida (hing) water, crushed ginger and fresh grated coconut is a perfect combination.

Masala mandakki(churmuri), puffed rice, is your best bet for a quick snack which is made using chopped onions, chill powder,tomatoes,oil, green chilies, coriander, salt and lemon juice.

Next on the menu is Appe which is also called as Paddu(in Kannada) which is made from urad dal and rice. There is also a sweet version of appe which can be made from sugarcane juice. Cooked Green peas(vatana) with grated coconut, tempered with mustard, also makes a great snack. Next up, we have, ever so popular Kandhe Pohe, an authentic Maharashtrian offering which can be enjoyed with shev/bhujiya. There is also a Marathi film song to its credit called as Kandhe Pohe.

Moving on, we gorge onto one of my favorite rice rotis (alayle pitta bhakri-flour is prepared using hot water) which are soft and can be taken with variety of sides like Massori bhaaji(as shown in the pic), baigan(brinjal) bartha/yengai/nonche, mushroom curry etc. We also have the sabka the favorite the poori the bhaaji 😛 and vermicelli which is also called as Sewai.

Now its time for some fried stuff. Everyone loves fries whether its of potato,mushroom, cabbage, cauliflower or capsicum.In Konkani, the rawa fries are called as Phodi and deep fried ones as Bajje.

Next we move on to various side dishes which we can create from different veggies.First up is Potato(batate) talasan which is prepared by thin long pieces of potato, salt, bit of turmeric,chilli powder and some water. Then,we have,bitter gourd(karela) kosambari which is small chunks of karela fried with oil and salt upon which small chunks of raw onion are added. Next up is Chana (chickpeas) ushli where chana is cooked with fried onions, water,salt, chilli powder and off course chana masala. Alternatively, chana can also be cooked with coconut masala making a dish called as chana ghashi.

Next item in the line is Cauliflower Nonche which is basically cauliflower cut into small pieces and loosely fried with salt, chilli powder,bit of turmeric and then tempered with mustard. The rawness of cauliflower enhances its taste. Then its tendle(ivy gourd) talasan which is basically frying tendle on low flame after tempering with curry leaves and mustard.

Next up is Teppal (similar to Sichuan pepper) hugge with mixture of potato, bendi and karela as veggies. Teppal (or Tirphal) is a unique spice which is found mostly in Konkani cuisine. It has strong woody aroma and mainly used in fish curries and some veggies (strictly used only for aroma and is discarded later, if it is bitten it gives a tingling sensation :P), hence cannot be ground while preparing curry masala.

Then we move on to a special Maharashtrian delicacies Zunka prepared using besan (bengal gram) and spring onions and Bharli Vangi which is stuffed brinjal. After which we have bendi talasan which is basically fried bendi with chilli powder and salt. Lastly, we have the carrot kosambari which is prepared by grating carrots.

Here are some of the vegan delicacies in Amchigele (Konkani style) from some of my foodie friends courtesy Shamala Bhat(Bengaluru) and Aditi Kini(Karkala).

PhotoGrid_1472532113865.jpg

Process of making Pathrado-Steamed Colocasia leaves with masala

Moving on, its time for a special Mango dish which is seasonal and has been regarded as a Konkani special delicacy-Ambe Humane or Upkari. A special variety of mango locally called as Ghonto– small rounded mangoes with a big seed and very tasty flesh which is difficult to cut into pieces,is used for this dish. Also, we have the mouthwatering(is an understatement) mango pickle prepared by my mom,a Master chef.

We then have black eyed beans-alesande curry which is tasty to say the least.We Konkanis love mushrooms(alambe) which is seasonal and which we get during onset of monsoons. Its like a occasion when during those days, we never fail to ask our family/friends whether they had mushrooms this season during our casual conversation. The button mushrooms which we get throughout the year doesn’t come an inch closer to these natural mushrooms in terms of taste and quality.

Ok enough of love for mushrooms, now, time has come to unleash the humble daal which we all Konkanis are very proud of called as DaaliThoy. When taken with hot rice it is pure bliss.It is simplest of all dishes, everyone’s favorite and the first thing one always learns to cook. This dish is kind of compulsory in every Konkani function. The ingredients include tur daal, bit of turmeric,salt,ginger,coriander,tomatoes,green chilies, garlic,oil(or ghee for enhanced taste),asafoetida (hing),curry leaves,red chilies,mustard. A thick version of Daalithoy is funnily called as DDT(Dhaat(Thick) Daali Thoy) and the one who passionately enjoys it till last trace of it on a plate is called as Daalithoy Burkithalo.

Enough is enough. Enough of veggies. Sounds fishy?  Yes, its high time we introduce FISH and other non vegeterian delicacies. So, bring it ON. Amongst Konkani Brahmins, the Saraswat Brahmins(SB) refrain from non vegetarian food but most of the GSB like me enjoy the meat especially fish(Most of GSBs are pesco vegetarians-fish eaters) as we come from west coast of India. And sea food diet is like see and eat diet. 😛

After one such satisfying fish meal, one of my friends, asked me looking surprised – Harsha, I thought you are a Brahmin? And I proudly told him, that, indeed I am a Brahmin. Legend has it that we were the earliest settlers near the mystical Saraswati river.During a famine,the community leaders advised us to eat fish as that was the only food available for survival.

So here we are, with whole range of sea food which we love from some of the restaurants which essentially serve Konkani cuisine.

12049544_1103159873035115_4999013778462802713_nHaving seen all that and gorge on to these delicious dishes, if you ask anyone, they will say, mom’s fish curry or any dish for that matter doesn’t match to that made in restaurants. I guess Mummy and Tummy rhymes for a reason or for that matter, Mum and Yum. So without any further delay, here’s unveiling-Mom’s fish recipes. If Dubai boasts of Palm island, here is a fish version of Palm island, then we have the Surmai, the Anjal, the Iswaan, the sabse bada, the sabse tasty, the king of all fishes-King fish fry.Next up, we have one of a kind prawns side dish called as kholu, a signature dish which is delicious and lip-smacking. Then, its the turn of a Konkani special- Bangde (Mackerel) Hugge (Dhoddak). The unique thing about this dish is it’s preparation. On a spread of banana leaves, the fish masala with teppal spice as a important ingredient is poured in,along with fish pieces carefully cleaned.Another layer of banana leaves is used to cover the mixture. Then a plate is placed on top of it on which hot charcoal pieces are kept.When kept on a low flame, it gets cooked on both sides to perfection. The aroma factor is catered to through the banana leaves and smokiness is provided by charcoal heating which makes the dish very much unique and mouthwatering. Following up, we have my favorite Nagli Nonche(Lady fish curry)-a heavenly mixture of lady fish, coconut paste with masala and spices.

 

12063621_1219876208030147_7576256102240227631_n

Prawns Kholu, a signature dish

IMG-20160710-WA0005

Bangde Hugge

 

IMG_20160717_171520.jpg

Nagli Nonche

Now its time to have some curd rice and slurp some Kokum Kadi/juice and Butter Milk for a soothing effect. Sol khadi is made from coconut milk and kokum and is good for digestion.

How about some specially home made sweets?

One of the important sweet we prepare during festivals is Patholi. These are nothing but sweet rice dumplings steamed using turmeric leaves. Have a look at the process of preparing the same.And finally let’s gorge on to a ice cream by a fellow Konkani.

IMG_20160807_163558.jpg

IMG_20140328_095148

Perfait from Pabbas(Ideal) Mangaluru

Hope you enjoyed the food journey as much as I did putting up this post for you. Wishing you more of gastronomic delights.

Until next time we meet, be good, do good and keep smiling 🙂

P.S: Unless otherwise specified, all the dishes are prepared by my mom or wife.For whole lot of recipes of authentic Konkani cuisine and other cuisines as well, check out this blog site by clicking here. You will love it 🙂


Alemane..


Sweet!!! Who doesn’t like sweets?? Very few. Even though one is diabetic, he/she longs for it. We prepare sweet dishes during festivals, happy occasions and celebrations mainly to share our happiness. When we spot a cute kid we are like Cho Chweet or say as Tere Munh mein ghee sakkar when a friend states eagerly awaited good news. Sugar has been an important ingredient in our dishes. But interestingly, sugar didn’t originate from India, but from China, hence also called as “cheeni” referring to China. So how would Indians get their sweetness sorted out before sugar came into our kitchen? The answer is Jaggery. Jaggery called as Gud/Gur in Hindi/Marathi, Bella in Kannada, Bellum in Telugu and Vellum in Tamil.

Jaggery is an unrefined healthy sweetener prepared using concentrated sugarcane juice.It is made up of Sucrose, Glucose, Protein, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Phosphorous. It is believed, daily use of jaggery may increase human life span. Jaggery strengthens the nervous system, improves bones, prevents anaemia and protects the body against environmental toxins. Also, less cases of diabetes are found by jaggery consumption as opposed to that of sugar consumption. Jaggery relieves fatigue as magnesium in it helps to relax the nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Jaggery has religious significance too. Many of festivals involve offering of jaggery to deity, its eaten before commencement of any good work or new venture.

My title of the post goes Alemane. Ale-mane? Sounds strange, isn’t it? So what does it mean? It simply means jaggery producing units (in a small scale). Its a festival, a sugarcane juice extraction festival to prepare jaggery in a traditional way mainly for domestic use. It’s a seasonal festival celebrated during winter in some parts of Uttara Kannada district (in Karnataka) mainly in Sirsi, Yellapur, Sagar and Siddapur taluk. If you have been there at least once, it will evoke a multi-sensory experience. 🙂

20

I come from a place called Sirsi and have fond memories of attending such events organized by family friends who are into farming and cultivating sugarcane. This is no ordinary event, it requires lot of planning and a mammoth effort. I remember vividly when I visited such event, back in 2012 and would like to share some wonderful memories.

So here we go, let’s take a tour of a place called Tudugani, a village, 20 kms from Sirsi. This place is ideal for areca plantation and also rice fields which is a staple food in this part of the world.

Let’s go to the sugarcane field where farmers must be busy getting sugarcane.

Now that we got the sugarcane, let’s place it near our setup so that juice can be extracted out of it.

5

Adults or children alike feed the sugarcane into a machine.

Now, buffaloes come into action as they are made to revolve around so that juice can be extracted. It’s all about hard work for them as you can see from pics.

The juice is then collected and transferred to a tank through a pipe. This is the purest form of sugarcane one can ever get.

The sweetness of the juice is such that you can hardly drink a glass of it and best way to enjoy this drink is with some spicy snacks like khara mandakki (churmuri) or sev/chiwda as sides. Lime/Mint or Ginger can be added to the juice, to enhance its taste. And the sweetness can’t be compared with anything we get in market these days.

The next process is to remove the scum from juice. So the juice has to be filtered which is done here using a cloth. Have a look.

This filtered juice is put in vessel and placed over a flame which is specially created for this purpose. This mixture has to be boiled to a particular consistency, so that we obtain a semi-solid mass.

Once that is done, it is kept in a vessel for some time to dry. The waste from the sugarcane which is called as bagasse can be further used as a fuel for boiling.

So this is the way we get our jaggery. It is mainly available in three forms- Solid, Granular and Liquid but the process to produce it remains the same. Solid jaggery is obtained by pouring the hot mixture in different moulds. Granular jaggery is got by boiling the cane syrup to thicker consistency and allowing it to cool in a vessel. Liquid jaggery doesn’t require more boiling and once we get thick vicious liquid after condensation,it is cooled off, to pour it into bottles. By switching to liquid jaggery instead of sugar, we can prevent iron deficiencies, indigestion, constipation and mainly obesity.

There is an interesting custom, that farmers set a hen free to move around Alemane as a mark of prayer to God so that the whole process goes on smoothly without any serious hurdles. Such hens are not consumed by people. Once the desired end product is got, it is packaged in tin cans and transported to market for sale. Apart from various variety of jaggery that we get, various local delicacy is prepared out of it like “Todedevu” (when mixed with ghee or milk and eaten, it’s like heaven) and liquid jaggery locally called as “Joni bella”(molasses) which is rich in calcium and iron.

(There’s an excellent Youtube video of how Todedevu is prepared in a traditional way. Click here Courtesy  Mangalamurthy Bhat)

As much as it is about celebration, it is also about pondering, as this unique and interesting festival is slowly dying due to weak response which eventually leads to less profit for farmers. This being a traditional event, carried out since a long time and an integral part of our culture, it is our prerogative, to promote it in a big way.

So until next time we meet, take sweet, talk sweet and be sweet 🙂

Now, this blog can be accessed through travel portal-Tripoto. Please use this link to access this story from Tripoto.

Tripoto

P.S: Entire process of jaggery preparation is clearly depicted in this YouTube video, courtesy Prithvi Media Creations. Click here to see.


Love Story…


Creative Musings..

“Baar baar aati hai mujhko madhur yaad bachpan teri…gaya le gaya tu jeevan ki sabse mast khushi meri”

Those were the days.Those were the days of 90s when we were of school going age. School was fun and very eventful. Cream shirt, maroon shorts/skirt, maroon striped tie, a colorful school bag, a tiffin box with our favorite dish and a funky water bottle was the way we carried ourselves. Except Wednesdays when it was color dress, meaning, u can wear any dress of your choice and on Saturdays it was all white attire with white canvas shoes. If at all you missed wearing tie, belt, shoes you were liable for hafta to be given to special students called as cabinet leaders. A good day earning would fetch them many ice candies and chocolates. 😛 These cabinet leaders reported to the School Prime Leader(SPL).On Saturdays, there would be couple of exercises along…

View original post 1,730 more words


Travel Diaries: Wayanad


Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Wayanad district at the southern tip of Deccan Plateau is one of the popular destinations in Kerala. It borders both the neighbouring states- Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The folk etymology of the word Wayanad says it is a combination of Vayal (paddy field in local language) and Naad (land) meaning ‘Land of Paddy fields’.

I had planned a weekend getaway with Crazy Yatra (a travel group who organizes treks) to Wayanad. We were a group of 33 members all excited to be in nature’s lap in Wayanad for next 2 days. We started from Bengaluru on a Friday night at 8 pm amidst cool breeze and rain.The rain added to our traffic woes due to water logging in some areas. Settling down in the bus after multiple pickups on the way and fuel refill, the organizers started a intro session. Some of them had been to previous outings from Crazy Yatra and others like me were travelling for the first time with them. Along with the intro, each one of them was supposed to share at least one of their crazy moments. It was nice hearing diverse experiences from fellow yaatris like scuba diving, free fall, getting lost during a trek, dancing in the middle of a highway at midnight with onlookers looking surprised, doing cabre dance in a supposedly cultural college event etc.

On the way to Mysuru, we stopped at Maddur for a quick bite for famished lot. Our target was to reach a town called Meppadi at 6 am the following morning, but only managed to reach at 7.45 am. Upon reaching our hotel rooms in Meppadi, got freshened up and had a nice breakfast with local delicacy like appams and sambar smeared with (generous amount of) coconut oil.

Day 1:

Now that we were all set and excited, it was time to scale the Chembra Peak- the highest peak in Wayanad at 6900 ft above sea level. To reach the base point we had to travel around 5 km in a jeep.

Tea estate

Tea estate at the base point- Pleasant way to start the trek 🙂

IMG_2081~2

The organizers got a quick permission for trekking from the forest guards.  If you’re carrying any plastic water bottles, one needs to register their names. If you fail to bring it along on return, pay a fine- a welcome move to prevent littering of the place.

IMG_2072~2

Chembra peak trek comprises of 3 levels- about 1 km easy trail from the base point to watch tower, a 2 km trail through the forests, rugged terrains and grasslands from watch tower to heart shaped lake and finally a 1.5 km stepper trail from the lake to the summit.

IMG_2079~2

Currently, it is permitted only to trek till the lake because of some restrictions imposed by the forest department.

IMG_2132~2

Mist hovering over the hills..

IMG_2133~2

Kya scene hai!!

IMG_2138~2

The trail from the watch tower was through forests and steeper at some points. In between we could catch some amazing views of the tea estates. The sun was playing hide and seek and to our respite there were water streams in between to freshen up.

IMG_20150905_110603~2

Tea estates seen from a height

Traversing the rugged terrains, we reached the grasslands where one could see the misty peak. As it was early September, some of them got bugged by leaches when walking through the tall grasses.

Some insects

Some insects

Tall grasses

Tall grasses

Heart shaped lake also called as Hriday Saras in local language.

Heart shaped lake also called as Hriday Saras in local language.

Finally,we reached the heart shaped lake called as Hriday Saras (Hridayam is heart and Saras means lake in Malayalam). This lake is believed to have never dried up. We then caught some breathtaking views from the top and spent some quiet moments, a sense of satisfaction after having scaled the peak.

Breathtaking views from a vantge point near the lake

Breathtaking views from a vantge point near the lake

We started descending the peak and when we reached the watch tower for a much needed break, it started raining making our trail slippery. We braved the rain to reach the check post where the jeeps were waiting to drop us back to the hotel.

Rain infested trail which was slippery

Rain infested trail which was slippery

After freshening up, we had a quick lunch to board our bus to our next destination -Soochipura water falls. It is also known as Sentinel Rock waterfalls. Locally referred as Soochipara (Soochi meaning needle and Para meaning rock).

Soochipara falls

Soochipara falls

In about a hour journey passing by wide expanse of tea estates, we reached the waterfalls. After issuing of tickets and keeping our bag aside we plunged into the water to reach the base of the waterfall. All the tiredness of the trek went away with the refreshing dip into the water.One of the guys had brought a GoPro waterproof camera with a stick and next half an hour was spent for selfies,groupies.

IMG_2201

Then, it was time to relax for the day, so we went back to the hotel to freshen up. There was sufficient time to stroll through the streets of Meppadi after which it was time for dinner. A delicious dinner was waiting for us after which we went to a hall on the top floor. One of our fellow traveler was celebrating her birthday, so we brought a cake. While she cut the cake, everyone encircled her dancing along as she was the made the center of attraction. Just as she was all excited and happy for a lovely gesture, all hell broke loose when the organiser  took the whole cake and stuffed into her face. No one ate the cake that day except her face. Next an hour or so was spent playing some games as some of them retired for the day.

Day 2

After having a sumptuous breakfast, we headed to Neelimala View point where all the 3 neighboring states-Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka can be seen from a height. We descended from our bus from the road and hopped into a jeep to reach the point as it was a rugged terrain. What we experienced on the Jeep was one helluva ride with lot of ups and downs. On the way to the point we spotted coffee plantations along with ginger and areca.

IMG_20150906_102726~2

Exhilarating!

IMG_20150906_103113~2

As we reached the point it was misty and the panoramic view was playing hide and seek. After a whole when it cleared up, it was such a mesmerizing sight. No words to describe it, just have a look.

IMG_20150906_104207~2

Lukka Chuppi Bahut Huwi, Saamne aa aaja 😉

IMG_20150906_104527~2

IMG_20150906_104253~2

IMG_20150906_103549~2

Pristine..

We also spotted Meenmutti waterfalls (Meenmutty is a combination of Malayalam words Meen (fish) and Mutty (blocked))  and posed for photographs.

1 

Then it was time to head to Eddakal Caves for further exploration. Eddakal caves are two natural caves at a remote location at Eddakal, 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad district. We had to climb up a elevated terrain to reach there. Here again one was supposed to register for any plastic ones carry which was a welcome move.We could capture some spectacular views on the way.

IMG_2292~2

Isn’t it gorgeous??

Through a guide, we understood the significance of these carvings which was one of a kind. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilization or settlement in this region.The Stone Age carvings here are rare and are the only known examples from South India.After some exploration, it was time to descent and reach the hotel to checkout.

IMG_2285~2

Pictorial writings…

3

Cave Explorers..

As we headed to Bangalore playing games all the way, we halted at a place called SultanBathery for lunch.

group

Groupie..

It was such a wonderful experience and more so because of Crazy Yatra for organizing it in a best way possible.

References: Wikipedia


Calcutta Diaries…


Calcutta(now known as Kolkata)-the City of Joy is a fabulous city to live in, love at first sight you see. After traveling from Bengaluru, I was there for a mere four days which was not at all enough to see the uniqueness and intricacies of the city-the city with a perfect mixture of modern and heritage buildings,reminiscing about the yesteryear India. But I tried my very best to visit most of the places in my spare time and this blog post is entirely based on my experiences with the city and not influenced by anything else.

Calcutta has always fascinated me since I was a kid because of its rich history(served as the capital of India under the British Raj),sporting culture(Bengalis love their football and cricket),art forms whether its literature or cinema(Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray are in itself an institution) and above all Bengali sweets (Anyone here who don’t like RossoGulla?? Handful isn’t it?). I wanted to visit Calcutta at some point of time and I found the opportunity when one of my Bong friend decided to marry.Also I wanted to know more about the Bengali culture especially their unique style of marriage which is quite different from marriages seen in Southern India.

Before we get the ball rolling with our city tour,let’s start our day with a cup of tea by the road side on a kulhar(earthy mug) and The Telegraph newspaper.

Tea by Road side on a kulhar(earthy mug) img_20150227_1538401

Our first pit stop would be a visit to Dakshineswar in Barrackpore.

img_9153 img_9148 The Dakshineswar Kali temple was built between 1847 and 1855 by Rani Rashmoni. Along with the Kali temple, we have 12 Shiva temples(lingas) and a RadhaKrishna temple situated along the Vivekananda Sethu(Bridge) on the East bank of Hooghly River.The presiding deity of the temple is Bhavatarini, an aspect of Kali, meaning, ‘She who liberates Her devotees from the ocean of existence’.

img_91681img_9152 Ramakrishna Paramahasamha, the saint of 19th century, regarded as incarnation of God, set his base here in Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna formed a group of spiritual aspirants which later paved the way for the formation of Ramakrishna Mission. Interestingly,before this temple was built, Nawabs of Chitpur used to hunt tigers in Dakshineswar.

Now that we have seen the beautiful Dakshineswar, let’s head to Belur Math on the other side i.e. west banks of Hooghly river. It is the headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission founded by his disciple Swami Vivekananda. This site was carefully chosen by Vivekananda on the banks of holy Ganges(Hooghly) such that a clear view of Dakshineswar and Cossipore- the two important places related to Sri Ramakrishna could be seen which add to its sanctity.

Belur Math is known for its splendid architecture and devotees want to develop inner appreciation of thought through this unique and beautiful architecture. On the day of my visit, it was 180th birthday celebration of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahasamha and visitors, devotees,media were sprawling from all corners of the world.

Self note:Visit this place when there is less crowd and more peace.

img_20150301_094709 It seems like I am hungry now, so let’s have an early meal. And here in Calcutta, no meals is complete without fish. So let’s try the Bhetki fish along with some prawns from a Bengali food chain- Bedouin Sher-E-Bengal in Gariahat.

img_20150228_154400 img_20150228_154554img_20150228_154345

Now lets stroll to St. Paul’s Cathedral-The Mother Church of the diocese of Calcutta in the church of North India.Let’s gulp some RossoGollas as we get there and a bakery of N C Das- Creator of the iconic Bengali sweetmeat is the place to be. The RossoGolla(highly nutritious,easily digestible and truly a drooling affair) was born in 1868 in a moment of sublime inspiration.Now, the sweetmeat is packaged in a tin and distributed all around the world by his son K C Das.

IMG_20150302_131010 img_20150228_011614 Self note: Get some stock of this sweet rhapsody before leaving to Bengaluru.

St Paul’s Cathedral church and it’s magnificent architecture is a must visit along with Academy of Fine Arts and Nandan-West Bengal Film Centre which is a stone’s throw away from the church. Some of the art installations beside the academy for a exhibition is exemplary.

img_9379

IMG_9408 IMG_9415

PhotoGrid_1432449441324

Lets now head to Kumortuli to have some dossier of information on artisans of the potters’ colony in North Calcutta. By virtue of their artistic and creative creations their clay idols supplied especially during the Durga Pujo on Dussehra is exported overseas too.

img_9502 img_95071img_95141

Their idols are mostly ordered well in advance and their clientele includes Indian communities living in America, Europe and Africa. For a record, this colony supplies idols to around 90 countries worldwide with new countries adding each year.Their creations gives greatest joy to Calcutta(The City of Joy) by transforming crude structure of clay to a beautiful, mesmerizing bedecked Bengali bridesque Goddess Durga. No wonder, this colony is one of the seven wonders of Calcutta.

img_95131 img_95311

img_95271 img_95451 During Pujo, these idols are supplied to countless pandals all over Calcutta. That their creation is going to leave Calcutta in awe and admiration for the entire duration of the festival and even beyond that is of no consequence to them as it is a just a means of survival to these talented and very skilled artisans, most of them creating these idols since a long long time. Needless to say, I was in awe of this place and their great artistic skills.

img_95531img_9525 img_95392 Self note: Pay a visit to Calcutta and this colony during Pujo.

Next stop is Jorasanko Thakur Bari (meaning House of Thakurs(Tagore)) in a place called Jorasanko in North Calcutta. It is the house in which Calcutta’s and India’s pride-Rabindranath Tagore was born and spent most of his childhood. He was the most celebrated poet(Indian National Anthem was his creation along with the national anthem of Bangladesh) and first non European Nobel laureate.

img_94741 img_94781 It was an exhilarating experience to visit this place and to know more about one of India’s jewels who contributed immensely in literature,art,music among other things. His legacy endures in several of his works on display here which is very well maintained and also in Visva Bharati University founded by him in Santiniketan.

IMG_9485 IMG_9466 Self note: A visit to Santiniketan when next time in Bengal.

I am a foodie and I am on a see food diet- I mean see the food and eat without much adieu 😛 A satisfying meal will only do good at this stage. So lets move to Peter Cat restaurant in Park Street where they serve a dish called “Chelo Kababs”- The protected regional product of West Bengal. A dish consisting of mutton kababs-the best kababs I ever had, perfectly cooked egg, juicy and very tasty chicken, butter and aromatic rice. Such a perfect meal. Touché.

img_20150301_1407081

Lets now head to Eden Garden reminiscing about the memorable matches played here in this very ground. Who can forget tat famous victory on this ground during Australian tour of India in 2001. Laxman’s and Dravid’s epic partnership, Harbhajan’s hat rick and moreover India’s unreal comeback into the match and then to wrap up the series in Chennai. Unbelievable to say the least….

img_94521 img_94551 Calcutta has very unique facilities unlike some cities with respect to their public transport- Yellow colored cabs, cycle rickshaw, underground Calcutta metro and most fascinating of them all- Calcutta trams(mini trains on the road along with the other vehicles on the road). Have a look

img_9625IMG_9538img_20150302_112259 IMG_20150302_112618

Calcutta Metro is the first underground metro rail system system in India operational since 1984. Those Rickshaw walas are one of the most hard working people around toiling hard in the sun for their bread and butter. The Calcutta tram is currently the only operating tram in India and the oldest operating tram in Asia running since 1902.

Let’s stroll now to Princep Ghat and then to ever so magnificent Howrah bridge. This bridge also known as Rabindra Sethu is symbolic to Calcutta and is the busiest cantilever bridge in the world.

img_9627 IMG-20150523-WA0000

Now we head to The Victoria Memorial, a large marble structure built between 1906 and 1921 dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. It is now a museum and a major tourist destination by the bank of Hooghly river.

img_9561 img_9567

img_9613 img_9572

img_9617

It’s dinner time to end a fabulous day and what better way to end it by having Hilsa fish-probably the best fish in town. Bengalis love their fish and can swear by fish and I ain’t any different in this matter 😉

img_9659 img_9662 IMG_9658

After an excellent city tour which I thoroughly enjoyed, I witnessed an interesting Bengali wedding(my first time).But before we get started to experience its uniqueness, let’s know more about Bengali people and their culture through my retina display 😛

Bengalis are very emotional and passionate people.Given a chance they can lecture or talk continuously for hours together.But they are sweet people owing their love for sweets. I think Mishti (meaning sweetmeat) comes a close second next to their first love which is Fish.A meal without a fish is very rare and incomplete.They can swear by fish literally. Apart from fish,they love their football and off course cricket. Mohan Bagan/East Bengal match at Salt Lake stadium garners as much attention and interest as a World Cup cricket match elsewhere in the world. Cricket in Eden Gardens is as electric and noisy that most parts of Calcutta near the Maidan can feel the atmosphere when a game is on. And Durga Puja in Calcutta is one of biggest festival of India. What Ganesh Chaturti is to Mumbai, Puja is to Calcutta. I was told that Calcutta experience is incomplete without Durga Puja which is reveled and celebrated with as much pomp and glory as one can ever imagine.

IMG_20150302_074007img_20150301_225025

For my friend’s wedding, I lived with his family among his relatives and friends for four days which was an enriching experience. I was welcomed and treated very warmly and the icing on the cake was when I was given Mishti on arrival which bowled me over completely 😉 Since Hindi was the only common language we both knew, that was the mode of speech used for interaction. Bengali’s sound funny when they talk broken Hindi as most of them are not used to speaking Hindi. Also it was difficult for me to get their Bong accent and managed to get what they were saying or at least the context when they used some Hindi/English keywords. When they converse in Hindi, they pronounce some words such that its funny to a non Bengali who knows Hindi. My name being Harsha, over the years I have been called as Harsh, Harshu and off course Harsha but for the first time I was addressed as ‘Horsho’. Yes Horsho-The Bengali version of Harsha 😉 So Harsha becomes Horsho, Vidya becomes Bidya, Gaurav as Gourab and Rituparna becomes RituPorna. They say Jol Khaana(meaning eating water) for drinking water and Cha khabe( meaning eating tea) is what they sound when they ask you for tea. I found it sweet and funny and taught the kids out there multiple times that It’s spelled and hence pronounced as Harsha and not horseshoe amidst lot of laughs 😉

Unlike most of the wedding here in Southern part of India, a Bong wedding usually starts in the evening. On wedding day early morning at around 4.00 hrs the wedding rituals began where the groom and bride in their respective homes were made to have some food after which they were not supposed to eat anything until the next day when all the marriage rituals ended.

On the wedding day before lunch hours,a ritual called as Nanni Mukh took place where the groom remembered his ancestors before tying the knot (later in the evening) followed by haldi where all the women out there put haldi on the grooms face who was made to stand firm on a stone viz the most interesting time to click some candid and funny photos 😉 To wash off, he was poured with a bucket of water and then the groom had to crack open 4 small cups surrounding him made by mud. Once this was done, the haldi used to put on groom was passed on to bride’s place along with her wedding dress and some gifts generally called as shagun where bride is put up with same haldi. Amongst this, Rohu fish was decorated as a bride.

img_9210 img_20150227_113948 img_9240 After lunch it’s generally a break time where most of them overlooked about different arrangements and had a good nap after a satisfying meal. Then in the evening we started to the marriage hall with band baaja and baarat 😉

img_20150227_194300 img_9264img_9267

The groom was greeted with all the necessary special attention and offered some mishti by bride’s side.During the mahurath, groom was made up to stand firm at a fixed place and the bride was carried to the mandap by her brothers while she covered her face with beetle leaves.The bride was made to take 7 rounds around the groom which signifies 7 vows of marriage and then to remove the covering from her face only when she faced the groom after saath phere amidst lot of cheers and clapping.Then they exchanged garlands 3 times followed by Sindhur Daan viz maang barna.The marriage rituals ended after a yagna(Agni shakshi).

img_20150227_214727 img_9366 IMG_9266

After having a special meal viz as I said earlier, having quality time with Bengali fish, we had a friendly interaction between both the families which was playing antakshari in this case. We played for over 2 hours such that all the songs were either already sung or we had no new song to sing for a particular word. Led by the groom, we won when the bride’s side was deliberately and repeatedly given a particular word and the game ended when they finally gave up at 4.30 am.Before that we had to negotiate a price with the bride’s friends, for making the couple enter a particular room.They were seven in total for which they demanded 20k and we gave them only 3.5k(500 per head) after making them wait for a long time and hence succumb to pressure and impatience.

The next day it was vidhaai time at bride’s place and a reception on the subsequent day on the groom’s side which panned out nicely.It was a most fruitful and enriching to experience a Bengali wedding as unique as this. Hope you enjoyed it too through this blog post.

Until next time we meet, Be good, Do good and Keep Smiling 🙂

You can also view this post on BlogAdda and rate it using this link

Also, this blog has been published in Tripoto. Please use this link to access this story from Tripoto.

Tripoto

P.S: Here in this post, Calcutta(old name of the city) is used instead of Kolkata as someone rightly said “Kolkata is a city whereas Calcutta is a emotion”.

P.P.S: On my last day in Calcutta, early morning when I was listening to music in shuffle mode, coincidentally this beautiful song by Hemant Kumar cropped up which sumps up my visit quite brilliantly.