The God of Cricket


“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives– BBC Sports, on Sachin Tendulkar.”

This tribute is to the man I admire most, the man from whom I picked up cricket as a sport-playing, watching and even imitating to some extent. The Super Man from India, the Little Master-Sachin Tendulkar.
As a kid, used to imitate him taking guard while practicing batting,sometimes people around me used to wonder what am I doing as I used to do it so often. Then went on to emulate the same in the form of HIS Boost ad role-play in a local fancy dress competition dressing up like him. Reminiscing now, realising how funny it was 🙂 Back then, Doordarshan (DD1) was the only source of cricket viewing. Vividly remember many adventures tweaking the direction of the antenna as the TV screen used to go blur when it rained or any other disturance.
I was over the moon when was able to watch HIM for whole 10 minutes standing in front of HIS car when he was in my native for a function.

Back story: We (with 2 of my cousins in a bike doing triple riding) followed HIS car after greeting him in middle of the road when no person in the locality had any clue about his arrival. We had to give up the chase in between as HIS car was speeding up. As luck would have it, HIS car stopped at petrol pump on our way to our home. Didn’t get a chance to get his autograph but was ecstatic to see him from very close quarters. A wave of HIS hand before leaving is something which I cannot forget. Since that day, we call that petrol pump as Tendulkar petrol pump. 🙂 That was the time when he was making a comeback after career threatening tennis elbow injury. Was elated to see him score century in next couple of matches and stamp his authority over bowlers.

There was something about HIS batting which gives nothing but sheer pleasure. Whether it’s dancing down the track and hitting say a Shane Warne (who can forget Sand Storm in Sharjah 98?) for a six and in turn giving the bowler a nightmare even in his sleep or premeditating a bouncer from a fast bowler like McGrath or for that matter a Andy Caddick (Remember 2003 WC Ind/Eng league match?) and hitting a hook shot. In Centurion 2003, Tendulkar’s upper cut to Shoaib Akhtar to hit a magnificent six and then guiding India to win is part of a folklore now. HE had all the time in the world to guide a high pitched ball from a bowler like Brett Lee over wicket keeper’s head by a perfectly executed shot fetching nothing less than six. Not to forget the exquisite timing involved in a text book stuff cover drive or a square cut for that matter. Rarely missed a leg glance when the ball was pitched middle and leg or a paddle sweep for a spinning ball towards HIS legs. Playing according to the field was HIS forte and don’t find any batsman play a straight drive as he does. HIS straight drive with full face of the bat, also HIS straight sixes of Shane Warne and others are as straight as it gets and out of fashion as he has retired now.

Then came the moment to score first 200 in ODI history and it was only fitting for HIM to do it. I was serving for Infy as a trainee in Mysore then. As he was inching towards this unbelievable milestone, got myself a forced break from training session. Since there was no TV access at the lecture hall, got into a call for around 30 minutes hearing the updates and getting expert commentary from my cousin bashing Dhoni for not giving enough strike to the Master. In a span of his career he has given sheer pleasure and tremendous joy by his batting in spite of carrying burden of billion people expectations right through his career. For 90’s kids, it was sense of assurance that the game is in our grasp when Tendulkar was batting and many would switch off their TV when he got out. Just for a moment think you are Tendulkar and you’re coming into bat amidst cheering fans hoping you score in that critical juncture of the match. More often than not you would get bogged down and succumb to the pressure and fail to show your application but not Tendulkar. If HIS batting was nightmare to the opposition he looked ominous with the ball too. He could do off spin, leg spin and medium pace depending on the batsman and match situation. Most of the time, he would get vicious spin and batsman failed to pick him often when it was pitched in line with the stump. He has won us many game with his bowling too.Remember his last over against South Africa in 93 Hero Cup? Apart from this, a great fielder and was good slip catcher. In short, he was a cricketer’s guide to be a champion batsman, effective bowler and a better fielder.

Off the field he was a gentleman and had a great influence over his team mates by his mere presence. He has achieved so many things which no can ever think off but still he looks like same young man who is hunger for success and better himself.Before him we had Sunil Gavaskar who was too good and when the last generation thought there will be no Indian cricketer like him we got Sachin Tendulkar who captured the imagination of my generation. In that terms, we are very lucky to witness his brilliance in his whole career. As he has retired now it pains to write in retrospect rather than introspection. Now that he has retired, we have found someone special who can fit the bill in the near future if he performs well and maintains his class-Virat Kohli. If Virat Kohli is special, Sunil Gavaskar was brilliant during those days of West Indies domination batting without a helmet, Sachin Tendulkar was something else. A place and stature which no one can match.

Good Luck!!


It was raining cats and dogs. The clock struck 12 A.M on Shimla office tower in Shivajinagar on a wet Saturday night. People were rushing to their shelters since the rain started around an hour back. Farshid Chacha was driving his car across Apte Road when he found a lone girl standing at the dark corner of the alley drenched in rain, feeling helpless. It was pouring and in the revelry of an outing with her friends at a nearby pub in Ferguson Road, Neha realized later that she had dropped her phone somewhere. The street looked deserted and there was no one around to drop her. Now with no phone, she looked restless as she couldn’t book a cab or an auto rickshaw. Some rickshaw passed by her but didn’t heed to her request to drop her 15 kms away to her place from her current location. If they agreed, they were charging her exorbitant fees taking advantage of the situation. She had handful of cash as she heavily relied on phone wallets. She was anxious as she couldn’t inform her parents of her whereabouts. That’s when Farshid Chacha stopped by her to offer any help.

Farshid Chacha was like God Send to Neha as he readily agreed to drop her to her place. He was very mindful and understood her predicament and offered to help after hearing her out. Neha breathed a sigh of relief after informing her parents that she is on her way to reach home by calling through his phone. After settling herself on the backseat, she started talking to Farshid Chacha to start a conversation. She learned that he was on his way home for dinner when he found her. She thanked him profusely as he was going out of his way to drop her home safely. She began to ask him more about himself as she found him very caring, jovial and one who loved to talk. Farshid Chacha began to recite his story.

He was descendant from Iran and his name Farshid meant bright as the sunshine. His grandfather migrated to India with his whole family due to economic reasons in late 1800s. They were put up in Colaba in Bombay where they settled near Fort area. His grandfather started all sorts of business to make ends meet. He used to sell exotic fruits near Gateway of India, put his mind on varied business opportunities like farming orchards, fabrication; stone quarrying etc. His father too followed his grandfather footsteps and was very sharp and street smart in doing various business ventures apart from being a sportsperson. The sport bug hit young Farshid too; especially cricket. Back in those days, Parsis had their own cricket team along with a separate Hindus, Muslims and a European cricket team who fought in a quadrangular tournament in Bombay Gymkhana. The competition invited fierce battles and people thronged to the gymkhana to witness the cricket spectacle. But sadly, teams had been formed on religious lines and it got ugly sometimes. Farshid was an opening batsman and a mysterious spinner and had played a vital role in many winning battles for Parsis. After his marriage, his ageing father-in-law offered him to run his Irani cafe in Pune. Back then, cricket was not a career option and Farshid whose responsibilities had doubled after marriage thought it was a pragmatic option. Since then, he shifted to Pune with his young wife back in 1970s.Iranis were known for running restaurants, cafes and bakeries and once they shifted to India especially in Gujarat, Bombay and Puna, they started Irani cafes and restaurant chains. One such cafe in Pune was started by his father-in-law called as Goodluck cafe. They were known for their Bun Muska and Irani chai. Rather than for commercial reasons, they had served their patrons with love and all the warmth. They were pioneers in terms of hospitality and had customers from all walks of life visiting them on a daily basis. They believed in this adage- Khavanu, Pivanu, Majaani Life– meaning, eating, drinking to heart’s content and leading a cheerful life. Some of the college students who were regulars had a cordial relationship with Farshid chacha. Farshid chacha knew more about the students than their own parents. He was also called as happy uncle by these students for his jolly nature. Under his ascendency, Farshid chacha introduced new items like bread omlette, kheema pao, family recipe berry pulao, caramel custard and raspberry soda from Pallonjis which did wonders and worked out really well. They didn’t venture in expanding into branches though it was always jam-packed. One could get a pulse of Pune through their patrons and everyone had a story to tell about their food and amazing hospitality. Back then, it was such a joy to run a restaurant among his encouraging and loving customers who were like his extended family. It didn’t feel like working for a single day in the company of his customers. But life changed upside down when he had to close down his restaurant owing to health reasons. It so happened that both his kids who was an architect and software engineer in multinational companies in US and Canada decided to settle there with their own families. This old style hotel business didn’t interest them one bit. It was a shocking bit of news to many of his patrons and they only wished him well. Farshid Chacha believed that the real reason for his deteriorating health was not due to ageing or any specific health ailments but the decision of his kids and his anticipation that he could no longer run the restaurant just like earlier days. But still, he knew he had to move on and lead a contented life like he always did.

This was kind of jolt to Neha to hear the way it ended but it was very inspiring nevertheless, as Farshid Chacha was full of life and he had no regrets whatsoever. Just then she reached her destination and thanked Farshid chacha for his generosity and wished him well and promised to meet him soon. It was a great learning for her that nothing is permanent in life and one has to do most of the opportunities life throws at you and lead a satisfying life.

Utterly Butterly Delicious


This story is about most loved brand Amul-The Taste of India and their ever consistent advertising campaign featuring The Amul poppet(cute,little,naughty girl in her polka dots more often than not relishing Amul butter and other products).Their chief architect Dr Verghese Kurien was exemplary in bringing in the White Revolution, the largest dairy development programme in the world named as Operation Flood.

White Revolution was the offshoot of India’s Freedom movement, to empower the farmers by freeing them from the clutches of self serving middle men by eliminating them and in turn setting up a milk corporation. A farmer would bring milk cans on a daily basis to his nearest collection centre in his village and would be paid cash instantly based on quality and fat content in the weighed milk. The interesting thing here is, this milk is largely purchased by women thus empowering them economically and socially. 

Anand,once a serene and quiet village is today a symbol of modern nationalism. It is the headquarters of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd(GCMMF) and brand Amul. In the aftermath of 1962 Indo-China war, it was very difficult time for India. Agriculture was the top priority for our honorable Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri. He even went to coin a slogan- Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan. One hugely successful programme was milk co-operative movement in Gujarat under the leadership of Mr. Kurien. In 1964, our PM, wished to spend one night at a farm in Anand without any presence of customary security.He along with Kurien sneaked out into a farmers place to understand and empathize about their current situation, their problems, concerns and experiences with the Co-operative movement. After a good connect, PM requested Mr Kurien to replicate this on a national level paving the way for National Dairy Development Board headquartered at Anand.

It was vital for Amul-the Brand to market its products more effectively to capture the imagination of all its prospective customers. They felt services of a professional ad agency were outright necessary. So they hired an advertising agency to do their marketing and more importantly they gave them free hand and didn’t interfere whatsoever. That was the wisest decision ever taken in what could be a unbeaten partnership(a partnership, one cannot emulate easily) by which Amul grew leaps and bounds.

The positioning statement for their Amul butter was “processed from purest milk under the most hygienic conditions by a dairy co-operative from Gujarat“. And that’s when, to further refine the communication-Sylvester DaCunha who was driving the advertising campaign came up with this winning slogan “Utterly Butterly Delicious” when casually discussing with his wife. Eustace Fernandes, the art director, visualized and sketched a charming little poppet in a polka dots frock with matching ribbon in her ponytail. She was licking her lips to say “Utterly Butterly Delicious“. She was cute, smart, naughty, innocent,cheeky without any malice. This was an outright winner and rest is history. Over 50 years of advertising with the same character expressing varied emotions with diverse messaging theme is legendary. It only brings back memories of The Common Man cartoon created by the master illustrator R K Laxman.

It was decided that the agency would go with outdoor campaigns and hoarding at prime locations of Bombay was the best bet. When the first hoarding with the Amul poppet was put up, it was an instant success. A housewife, was drying her clothes in her balcony when she saw few people gathering on the main road. As crowd grew, she rushed to see, whether there was any accident only to find her kid pointing her to the hoarding with a cute little kid advertising for Amul. Such was the power of their communication and it’s underlying impact on psyche of their customer.

After few stints, the agency planned to go topical with their campaigning picking up topics of national interest. However topical ads, posed a challenge. One had to select a topic, create a rough sketch, present it to client, tweak it to incorporate client’s suggestions and then after final approval,distribute it to hoarding contractors. This would easily take a week by which the topic in hand would loose its relevance and hence the connect.

This was when Dr Kurien did the unthinkable. He gave a complete free hand to the agency to create their own ads without any client interference. The client just like common man on the street had the first look only when it was displayed in a hoarding in select prime locations of Bombay.

This was a great gesture and led to an unassailable partnership, the campaign,the wittiness of the ad, gave us enough reasons to chuckle about over the years. However, it had its own share of controversy when some of the ads didn’t go well with some institutions and was dealt in appropriately when the need arose.

There are no favorites, there cannot be, as one cannot pick and choose few of the topicals which are great. They have been very successful in capturing collective Indian consciousness. Anyone from an 8 year old kid to a 80 year old octogenarian,can relate to their ads and relish them.

So what ticks for Amul in terms of messaging? Is it just about playing with the words and having a popular opinion? In Product Marketing terms, their messaging has a pattern of grabbing the eyeballs of the onlooker by which they reinforce their offerings, why they are best in the business? Why Amul butter is the best butter one can have, why they are ahead of the competition etc. Also, there is some sort of vanity and bragging rights, that using Amul sounds cool. They adopt a messaging which energizes and inspires and in turn persuades their target persona to try their products.

I know some of my friends who have created an album of sorts of their topicals. Personally, this book- Amul’s India has been one of the good reads to understand the story behind these topicals and different point of views from celebrities from all walks of life who have their own Amul story to share. It’s Utterly Butterly Delicious 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it as much I had putting up this post.

Picture credits and References: Amul’s India- Based on 50 Years of Advertising by DaCunha Communications

Reflections on Cricket..


We have been through in what could be The dramatic Cricket World Cup ever. When 99 happened, aka the gripping semifinals between South Africa and Australia,everyone thought that was the best match, ODI cricket has ever seen. [SA, 9 wicket down needed 9 to get off last over,Klusener hit 2 boundaries and he along with Allan Donald couldn’t manage one more single buckling under pressure].For the fact that it was a tie, for the fact that Australia made it through to the finals because of their better run rate, the dramatic scenes, everyone thought we had seen it all. But NO!! We had to witness another drama unfold, one could never have imagined,that too in a prestigious World Cup final at Mecca of cricket-Lord’s. Every since,much has been talked about,debated at lengths,with generous amount of What if’s, because the match ended in a TIE, AGAIN on a World Cup FINAL TWICE. Notwithstanding, Some one of a kind, never seen before scenarios.CRUNCH moments got Crunchier as the stakes were high. To start with, in the dramatic final over, a grounded shot of quick 2 runs near the boundary turned to 6 runs(invaluable in the context of the game) because of a deflected overthrow (When have we seen this happen in the past?Ball ricocheting off the bat and across the boundary for four) due to which England managed to get 14 runs. At this moment, they were happier to go into Super over as they got 14 runs of Boult’s last 4 balls after scoring nil in first 2 balls.So to break the tie, Super over was undertaken(Introduced in place of Bowl-out.Remember India v Pakistan in 2007 T20 WC? ) and to the surprise of it, we had SAME result, a TIE. So what you do? Rules come into play and team which hit more boundaries(during the entire match including the super over) wins the match(This rule which is under scrutiny was introduced from T20 international and professional leagues). To be fair to England,  this rule was well known to both the teams, but for the fact that this scenario of Super over ending in a tie never occurred.

Not too far away from Lord’s, during the same time, in Wimbledon there was an equally engrossing match between two champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.[Lot for work for the TV remote as alt button was pressed umpteenth time to switch between channels.Cant miss both the matches, you see :)] In a very rare occasion, the 5th set moved to a tie breaker. And the match continued until one player bowed down to hand over the trophy to the deserved winner. Match ended in 13-12 in favor of Novak, a historic win in 5th set tie breaker.To take a leaf out of Wimbledon, it would be much better if winner was decided based on some valid criterion. May be, another super over to break the tie.Because New Zealand never lost. It must have been devastating and frustrating to end their successful World Cup campaign like this. Lot of practice, hard work, strategic thinking goes into the preparation(over a period of 2-3 years), to compete in a prestigious and high profile tournament like this. All 22 players on the field played well, but only 11 players were celebrating. Lots being said about Kane Williamson’s leadership and state of composure he showed in such a heart breaking/devastating outcome. It was only fitting for him to carry the Man of the Tournament award for steering his team through from challenging situations in many occasions. So,England,gallantly fought their way through to win knockout games at the fag end of league matches against tough opposition and in the semis with their nemesis,to win the World Cup for the very first time. In the end, they looked like the tough team to beat and deserved to win, albeit with a fairy tale ending.

Pic courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo

Usually the cricket series just after a high profile tournament like World Cup looks boring or too much of a overdose. Not this time though, as Ashes series is starting soon.There is always a sense of excitement within cricket fraternity leading to the build up to the series, as it is most celebrated series amongst the Cricket’s most enduring rivalries.Oz would be hungry to get their act together against the newly crowned World Champions. What makes it more exciting is there is lot of context coming in for Test series starting from Ashes series. For next 2 years, Top 9 Test teams will be competing for World Test Championship making all the upcoming Test series more alluring and exciting. India is set to start their Test championship campaign with West Indies tour. Each team is ought to play 6 Test series (3 Home and 3 away) over the next 2 years to grab points after each match. At the end of 2 year cycle, Top 2 teams will compete in 5 day match to own the first ever prestigious World Championship(in line with ODI and T20). In a move to make Test cricket popular(especially dwindling young fans) and grab the attention of spectators at the ground and cricket fans in general, this seems to be a very good move. After lot of pondering over reducing Test matches from 5 to 4 days,  introduction of Day Night matches, this is a welcome move.

Pic courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo

For cricket connoisseurs, just like the cricketers, TEST cricket is the ultimate contest. I am excited and looking forward for pulsating encounters of Red Ball Cricket,a mouth watering prospect. Are you excited? Thoughts? 

Netflix.ing


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 🙂

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You 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..

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You 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 😛

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You 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.

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You 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 🙂

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You 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..

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You 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..

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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).

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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.

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Having 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.

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Prawns Kholu, a signature dish
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Bangde Hugge
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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.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

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