Monday, February 23, 2015

The Obsessive Foodie

Image Courtesy  - Google

All these years I used to fancy myself as a foodie. Not anymore. It appears that rubbing your belly in satisfaction after an enjoyable and describing it simply as good only qualifies you as lazy. You are not a true blue foodie till the mellifluous notes of hand ground spices in the bhutta korma makes you want to run down the hills singing – the hills are alive with the aroma of cumin! Experience heartbreak when the much hyped restaurant churns out mediocre fare and write scathing reviews to warn your foodie brethren. Happily brave traffic rush, smelly markets to scout for exotic ingredients, and always have a camera along with your cutlery.

The only thing I can come up with after a spectacular meal is – Oh shit, I should have clicked a pic!

Till a decade back I don’t think the term ‘foodie’ even existed! Or maybe it did but we were too busy burping our approval for a dish well cooked and preferred licking our fingers clean rather than reaching out for the camera to click the chicken corn soup with enough cornflour to bind the world. If you loved your food, you didn’t have to shout from rooftops and you definitely didn’t have to click your meal from different angles to get the perfect lighting and shot. If you did, you’d risk getting laughed at by strangers.

We didn’t mind having chicken curry cooked the same way meal after meal. Experimenting was something that was confined to Chemistry labs. Eating out was a monthly, low-key affair and ambience was still a word in the dictionary. Having fun was something we did in moderation. If we were watching a movie, there’s no way we could follow it up with dinner at a restaurant because according to your Maa, too much fun was akin to corruption. Our parents never failed to make us feel guilty by regaling us with their frugal living stories. A childhood denied of luxuries, where they had to wait for birthdays and Durga Pujo to get their two sets of clothes and eating out was an alien concept.

Modern living is out to prove that our parents were wrong and boring. It has seen a quantum shift towards a lifestyle which is all about excess. One look at Facebook and Twitter feeds and you’re inundated with images and vivid descriptions of exotic vacations, fun-filled evenings and gourmet meals your friends are having, while you stab miserably at your bowl of chopped papaya.

The new age foodie is now a gastronome, chef extraordinaire, food critic, photographer rolled into one. His taste buds have a high emotional quotient that can feel the butter-laden, cognac-kissed suavity in the pumpkin soup and sheds tears of ecstasy as he bites into a juicy, succulent, bursting with flavours tangdi kabab.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aham Bhumika Needs Your Help

It's always nice to come across NGOs that extend a helping hand to the underprivileged, empowering them with opportunities denied to them otherwise. A lot of us want to do our bit but are either constrained by lack of time or unsure about which NGO to support.

Aham Bhumika is an NGO ( Registered ) based in Bhopal. Besides providing basic education to rural children, the organization has trained over 30 rural women in hand embroidery. This enables these women to earn by working from home.
This where you and I step in.
Aham Bhumika desires to make this hand embroidery initiative self sustainable. From past three months they have been marketing the sale of hand embroidered products mainly through Twitter and Facebook. Besides this, the organization has also tied up with a  retail store based in Jaipur to sell their hand embroidered cushion and bags.      
So, why don't you hop over to their  Facebook page, take a look at their wares and if you like something, order and spread the good word around?

I particularly liked these designs.


Monday, February 9, 2015

RIP, Voice of Reason?

 Image courtesy -

Barely had Modi come up with his ambitious program ‘Make in India’ to transform India into a global manufacturing hub, that self-appointed patriotic Indians went into an overdrive to make his dream come true in the shortest possible time. Thanks to their untiring zeal, we are now the largest manufacturer of ‘outrage and intolerance’ (O&I).

I am not suggesting that other nations are free from such predilections. But what sets us apart is our talent to overlook the obvious like the appalling state of security and crumbling infrastructure, but forage for the unusual. Like one fine morning, Khundak Sharma will wake up with a bad case of acidity and decide he doesn’t like Amir Khan’s face in the PK poster and claim his religious sentiments have been hurt. And before he can belch, his outrage has spread like Ebola afflicting thousands who will claim similar symptoms. And who would then bestow on themselves the licence to go out in droves, vandalise public property and create nuisance with utter impunity.

India has a vocal constituency of sentimental citizens who can draw from neat buckets of topics like minority, religion, region, caste, gotras and the ever obliging ‘sanskriti’ so that they are never short of sentiments that can get hurt at any point of ‘time’. A ‘time’ that consults no calendars or astrological charts but comes unannounced like Khundak Jee’s acidity.

The moralistic Indian when hurt will drag girls from pubs for sullying the much venerated image of the adarsh naari, hound a celebrated author so mercilessly in the name of religion that he’s compelled to announce his death as a writer, force one of India’s most gifted artists into exile because someone decided that he insulted our goddess with his depictions. Getting offended comes as naturally to this breed as coughing to Kejriwal. They like to position themselves as guardians of Indian morality and culture, protecting it from corrupt, purportedly western influences. Interestingly, the same heritage they safeguard like a possessive lover, actually advocates expression of unpleasant facts and unpalatable opinions as a means of arriving at the truth. Upanishads, Puranas and epics have asserted that truth itself has many facets and dogmas and doctrinaire rigidities are totally out of place in Indian philosophy. 

But hey, we adopted hypocrisy as a religion that finds it perfectly acceptable to preach with no intention of following it, but will expect others to toe the line or be prepared to face the consequences. So, we have enraged mobs burning books that they haven’t even read or a state government ordering a probe into a celebrity roast because some bloke who was neither at the giving nor the receiving end of it decides it was obscene and files a written complaint. The same state where Shireen Dalvi went into hiding from fringe elements after her publication carried Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, yet the same government machinery, this time, chose a frosty silence.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

May the Most Beautiful Face Win the Delhi Elections

The keenly fought Delhi Assembly Polls are proving to be the Bigg Boss of elections with each party stooping lower to conquer. Just a few weeks back, Kiran Bedi, BJP’s brahmastra against Aam Admi in muffler, anointed Modi as the most beautiful face and leaving Amit Shah heartbroken.

Ironically, gushing about your leader’s beauty is far from a foolproof way of towing away your electorate’s heart, especially when it belongs to form

Image courtesy -
er Press Council chairman and retired Supreme Court judge, Katju. After a close inspection of Kiran Bedi from all angles and a round of questions grilling her on world peace and her beauty regimen, he declared Shazia Ilmi as the most beautiful, hence deserving to be BJP’s CM candidate.

He said “If Shazia had been made their C.M. candidate BJP wud(sic) have definitely won the Delhi elections. People vote for beautiful faces, as in Croatia. Even a person like me who does not vote wud(sic) have voted for Shazia.”

He further added that almost all Indian politicians are rogues and scoundrels, so, it makes more sense to elect a beautiful face to betray the electorate’s trust.

This is yet another milestone moment for women who are solely judged on the basis of their looks, irrespective of their achievements and the accolades they win. This comes as a great relief to the Australian journalist who in writing the obituary for the bestselling author (and neurophysiologist) Colleen McCullough, chose to focus on her lack of looks and ample weight and how she, despite these shortcomings, managed to attract men.

It’s hoped that Katju’s counsel will have many takers since “90% of Indians are idiots” (and most of them in Delhi).

Interestingly, much before Katju came up with this well-meaning advice, Indian voters elected the ‘most beautiful face according to Kiran Bedi’ to show them achhe din.