Monday, August 30, 2010

Zandu Balm

You know, when I first heard about Sonakshi Sinha making her debut with a Salman Khan starrer called Dabangg, my thought was - well, there goes another starlet. Didn't she learn anything from Sneha Ullal and Zarine Khan? And considering her brother made a rather forgettable debut, I didn't have much hopes from the other Shatru bhaiya offspring either. But the Bihari (and Sindhi) girl might just do us proud.

After having seen the trailers multiple times and having listened to Munni Badnaam Hui, I can't wait enough for September 10th, when it will be out. Of course, I should admit here that I absolutely loved Wanted and do think Salman Khan has the ability to carry off some really corny stuff (haven't seen Veer though, and have no intention to). But, the crazy thing is I don't even consider Dabangg, from what I have seen of it, to be in that same corny territory. Yes, it's going to be a full-blown masala movie. Yes, it will play to the gallery. Yes, people in single screen halls will throw coins at it (I hope they still do it). But, it reeks of such awesomeness.

And Sonakshi Sinha's smile is quite off the scales. As is her forehead.

I will kill Arbaaz Khan if this movie sucks.

Who the hell is John Roy Hill btw? Google says he is on Facebook, but it surely can't be the same man who apparently said - WHEN YOU LOSE THE FEAR OF DEATH, LIFE BEGINS

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tamarind Rice

I normally feel inspired enough to write here either when I am really happy or feeling really low. Thankfully it's happy right now. Of course, having read the post you would realize that it takes very little to make me really happy. Or really sad for that matter. Sometimes nothing at all.

The reason for my happiness right now is that I made some absolutely brilliant Puliyogare. It's tamarind rice from Karnataka, and even though I used the ready-made Puliyogare mix available in the market rather than preparing all the ingredients myself, it still feels great to make something so delicious in my kitchen.

And, I am also glad I used ghee instead of the oil the recipe on the back of the packet instructed. The best South Indian food ought to be had with ghee not some refined sunflower oil.

Even though the Wiki article says that it's meant to be had as a snack, it goes very well with bhindi (as I tried it last night) or shimla mirch ki sabzi (as I am trying tonight).

I have always felt that people living South of the Vindhyas have a better deal when it comes to food. Not only do they have the amazing variety of dishes from their respective states, most South Indian cities today seem to have restaurants that serve really good North Indian food too. And if you are in Hyderabad, you are living in culinary heaven. Because, according to me, the Hyderabadi Biryani is the epitome of Indian cuisine.

But, in the north, and by that I mean even in a city as cosmopolitan as Mumbai, one pines for a place that would serve a half-decent Bisi Bele Bath. North India's understanding of 'South Indian' food seems to be limited to a satisfying breakfast of idli-vada or masala dosa.

To be fair to some of the Udupi joints in Mumbai, and even in Delhi, they do serve some exquisite dosas, and even quite reasonably edible sambhars, but after having lived in Bangalore, I know they are not the real thing. The road-side minimal darshinis serve better stuff there. And even if the joints in Mumbai were authentic, I wish they would go beyond the basic idli-dosa stuff. There's so much more to food from every region in the South, which is largely lost on us uncouth Northies, who are wont to douse every thing in oil and garam masala.

Ok, I am being a little too unfair to North Indian food now. I know Bihari food (and am not even talking about Litti-Chokha) is quite something and so are dishes from other parts of North India, but it just gets my goose that finding good authentic food from the South is so difficult here. A good avial or meen moilee should not be so difficult to come by in this city, without having to shell out a large fraction of my salary on an upmarket fine dining restaurant!

Ah well, I'll get going with my Puliyogare then. Can't resist the inviting fragrance anymore.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Missing Topi

I have been wanting to make a post on the magazines I love reading, but like everything else I want to write about I get bored midway through the post and move on to something else.

But, I chanced upon this piece by Aatish Taseer in this week's Lounge, the HT Mint supplement that I am a huge fan of, and felt like writing about it. The piece as well as the weekly.

First about Lounge. It is by far the most intelligent supplement that any newspaper has in India. Considering that Mint is by far the most intelligent newspaper in India, it might not come as a surprise, but the wide range of topics Lounge covers, and the phenomenally great columnists it has on its menu, it deserves mention several times more. If nothing else, just the fact that a mainstream paper comes out with a weekly column that very often talks, very intelligently at that, about graphic novels must be a proof of how great it is.

And now coming to the piece itself, which is about the moderate Pakistan. It took me back to the short time I had spent there in the spring of 2006. Pakistan is a beautiful country, almost as much as India, and it is one of humankind's greatest tragedies that the two countries are not together. For we could have achieved so much more if we had not wasted so much time fighting each other.

It is also a waste because we are so alike. One story I love narrating is how my friends and I were having a great time talking to people around us in Urdu till the time we crossed the border at Wagah and came to India where we could not understand anything because everyone was talking in Punjabi.

Personally, walking around in Lahore, singing obscure Hindi film songs on the bus trip to and from NWFP with other students, enjoying some random gupp-baazi after the debates on the rain-soaked stairs of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, even the abuse from that woman whom I accidentally dropped coke on during the bus trip back to Lahore - it all seems part of another world now. A world I miss every day, for I don't think I will ever get to go there again.

A world we are unfortunately doomed to see as foreign. When we could have been brothers.

Believe them when they tell you - 'Jine Lahore nai dekhya, o janmya nai'.

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