Tuesday 12 August 2014

Weekend Plans?

Hills bloom at Palampur
If you haven't made vacation plans yet for the long weekend, here is help. My curated list of memorable weekend getaways for you to enjoy getting away from the city.

Read the article on Rediff here.  

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Republished article on Churu

Churu refuses to hide behind the dust from the decades gone by. My Rediff article on Churu was recently republished by the travel website 'The  Better India' that aims to find hidden unspoiled secrets of India.

If you did not read it before, read the article here


Thursday 10 July 2014

The time when foodies rocked Bangalore

Lovely terrace seating at The Fatty Bao

You've heard about my Bangalore weekend. Now, it's time to get jealous. My latest article on Rediff takes you on a food journey through the legends and the new-kids-on-the-block in Bangalore. Read it here

The BEST dosa in the world @ CTR



Sunday 6 July 2014

I'm happy

I'm happy. At this point, right this moment, I am happy and unapologetic about it. It does not imply that I'm unhappy otherwise, it simply means what it says. I'm in Bangalore for the weekend to meet my friends. To make new happy memories and feel like a giggly teenager again.

I don't want this to be a justification post. That's all I have been doing recently. Justifying to myself why I am here, why it's not criminal for me to leave my daughter with the husband in Mumbai and come hang with my friends. When I was explaining to N why and where I was going, I caught myself telling her that mama is going to Bangalore for work for 2 days like papa goes. I quickly corrected myself and told her that I did have some work (which I do) (*still justifying*) but I was going to meet my friends. And she understood. I did not want her to grow up thinking that there is something wrong in wanting some time to yourself. Kids are amazing creatures, stronger and more perceptive than we think.

So what have I been doing? Lazing, eating, drinking, chatting....days filled with my girls thinking of what all they can do to make me feel special. Not many people are blessed like I am.

I also surprised myself by missing home. I miss him, I miss my baby and I miss normalcy. I'm looking forward to taking that flight home today. Which is what makes me more happy than anything else. The realisation that this trip wasn't an escape of sorts. Rather, it was simply a break from being responsible and letting myself feel like a girl again.

The full story of the places I scouted will be out soon when I publish the article. But the crux of the matter is this - that I'm happy. 

Friday 27 June 2014

5 Things you must discuss with your partner before you marry

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love and being true to it far tougher. When we're young and meet someone we think we want to spend our lives with, we often dive in headlong. We don't really care about peripheral issues like money, in laws, children etc. Love shall conquer all, we think.

Love is important but it is not all pervasive. There are other factors in a couple's life, which if both partners are on the same page for, can make the journey of life much smoother.

My latest article on Rediff talks about 5 such decisions a couple must make or be aligned on before they decide to get married. Read it here

Monday 9 June 2014

10 Things I Will Miss About Delhi


Nostalgia and homesickness galore, my latest article on Rediff lists out the Top 10 Things I Will Miss About Delhi. Ofcourse, listing only 10 is close to impossible, but it's a start.

Read the article here.


Friday 16 May 2014

D-Day like never before - Lok Sabha Election Result 2014

16th May 2014. The day that will decide the future of India. The most awaited result of the Lok Sabha elections post the emergency, the results of this are as sure as they were in 1977. And like that year, the Congress once again is sure to be shown the door. But unlike that year when we punished a party for inciting communal imbalance, today we will be celebrating the rise of another one that did just that. For some, it is a day to rejoice, for others, to despair. For me, it is a day that I shall pray, pray very hard. Not for a miracle because I know what the result of this election will be. But pray that this empowerment does not unleash a catastrophe, immediate or subtle in the balance of this nation. 

India is a complex country. A diverse democracy, the only thing that keeps this balance in place is an immense level of tolerance for all other communities. But politics is a dirty game. And to ensure longevity in its corridors, people have made what history can only name as gross blunders. 

I know that the leaders are a savvy lot. They know what works at a state level can not work on a national scale. They understand the global checks in place and the perception that must be maintained. And I pray that this pragmatism keeps their attention towards the economic development for which they will be chosen today. But fractal politics has its way of creeping into the hearts of the ambitious. I hope that the government that is formed today honors the faith of those millions of people who (unlike me) believe that they can change the fortunes of our country. I hope they prove me and my fears wrong. I will be only too happy to accept my biases and my belief that people can change will be re-instilled. 

16th May 2014. Remember where you were this day. Like the Americans remember where they were when JFK was shot. Whatever the next few years hold, today promises to be a historical day. I for my part, will have my hands folded in prayer, asking for peace, mercy and prosperity. And just in case god is too busy listening to other people...I'll have my passport ready! 


Thursday 10 April 2014

Big changes...

I was born in Delhi. And have lived here for most of my life. I grew up here, went to school, made the most amazing friends one could hope for. I had my first crush here and my first innocent heartbreak too. I traveled to most of North India from here and ate at some of the most amazing places. Barring a few years to do my graduation and post graduation, I have lived in this city, loved it passionately, defended it from the naysayers and can call no other place home.

But change is good and time to change it is. As I move out of the city, I have a flutter of excitement in my belly but also a knot of anxiety. I leave behind family, friends, familiarity and anything that I have ever known. Not one to shy away from an adventure, it is not that I don't look forward to what tomorrow holds. I am. I love the thought of exploring new towns, discovering new joints to feast in, shortcuts to drive through and a new vibe to imbibe. But on some level it also feels like taking a step off the cliff. Into the unknown. Without a cushion to fall on, without a rope to keep me secure.

Mixed emotions. But god is kind. And my faith remains strong. As Maria says in one of the most iconic films of all times:

What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what's the matter with me?

I've always longed for adventure
To do the things I've never dared
And here I'm facing adventure
Then why.. am I... so scared...

Sunday 6 April 2014

Just


What happens when you put a muzzle on a writer? You get stilted content. The past few months, my blog has been just a shadow of what it used to be...and I, a shadow of me. Thoughts that remain in my head, fingers that type but don't save, posts that I delete moments after publishing them.

The biggest complement to me as a writer was a recent post which was written in sarcasm. A satirical piece that got read as the truth. I underestimated my skills in fiction, perhaps a book beckons after all.

On a professional level, I am doing some fantastic work that involves all the areas that I love - food, marketing, writing and social media. Involving myself completely in my work is the new me.

Until later...

Thursday 20 March 2014

Jo tu samjhe


Mohabbat ek ehsasson ki pawan si kahaani hai
Kabhi kabira deewana tha, kabhi meera diwani hai

Yahaan sab log kehte hain meri aankhon mein aasoon hain
Jo tu samjhe to moti hai, jo naa samjhe to paani hai.

***


Saturday 15 March 2014

Tattoo



What could be a bigger complement? A friend loved my line (in my blog introduction) so much that she got it permanently tattooed on her arm!!!

The line- A contradiction, if there ever was one. Me.
posted from Bloggeroid

Friday 7 March 2014

What a wonderful life

It's been 2 weeks since I blogged. And usually that should ring alarm bells if you are someone who cares for me. The only times I wean off my blog are either when I don't have internet access or when I feel something so deep or so dark that I rather not share it.

But no worries, this time it's neither of these. I feel wonderful. Life is amazing, has never been better. It's like walking along the winding mountain trails, cutting through clouds. Like lying down on a beach recliner, sipping on something and just staring at the sea. Like getting lost in a good book, one you just can't put down and read all night long. Like being so loved that you sometimes want to pinch yourself that this is just a dream. Like being the center of someone's life such that he has no want to ever look at another face or hear his name from lips other than yours. Life for me right now, is like taking a bite of a dish which is so phenomenal that I can not stop eating it. Like a helium filled balloon let loose in the sky.

Life is absolutely wonderful. It can never get any better than this :)

Sunday 23 February 2014

And then life happened...


I closed my eyes
And saw the light
I saw the clear blue skies
I heard the flutter
Of a butterfly’s wings
I couldn't help but sigh

I felt the warmth
Of the sun above
Shining down on me
I opened my arms
Embracing life
My heart filled with glee

The cold breeze
The colourful bloom
Heaven it seemed to be
Alas I woke
All too soon
I guess it wasn't meant to be...

Saturday 15 February 2014

Churu - The Rajasthani town that fell off the radar

Sometimes the road less traveled leads you to discover places others just overlooked. If you're lucky..if you're very lucky..you may find a little gem hidden away from the tourist map.

The stunning skyline in Churu
Last month took us towards Bikaner but we got off a few stops before in a small town called Churu. A place that took our breath away with its haunted beauty.

Just 'another' haveli's door

My latest article on Rediff take you through these lanes that whisper stories yet untold...read the article here.

The opulence of the Jain temple in Churu

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Food Review - Set'z/ Auma/ Cavalli Caffe



DLF Emporio is not just a mall, it is a destination for the privileged. My latest food feature published in the exclusive DLF Emporio Magazine reviews 3 outstanding restaurants in the mall:
  1. Set'z
  2. Auma
  3. Cavalli Caffe
My favorite dessert in town - Hot Chocolate Foam on Rum Granita 

Interiors of the Cavalli Caffe

The review also talks about 'The Cellar', a wine shop that has vintages that you may not find elsewhere. 

Read the article online or get a copy of the magazine from the mall (it is a limited circulation magazine to maintain the exclusivity). 

Review on Page 60 of the magazine available here

Friday 31 January 2014

Don't Date a Girl Who Travels

The husband sent me this link and I couldn't help laughing as I read it. I'm not half as cool as what is portrayed but I would love to project so :)

Don't Date a Girl Who Travels

She’s the one with the messy unkempt hair colored by the sun. Her skin is now far from fair like it once was. Not even sun kissed. It’s burnt with multiple tan lines, wounds and bites here and there. But for every flaw on her skin, she has an interesting story to tell.
Don’t date a girl who travels. She is hard to please. The usual dinner-movie date at the mall will suck the life out of her. Her soul craves for new experiences and adventures. She will be unimpressed with your new car and your expensive watch. She would rather climb a rock or jump out of an airplane than hear you brag about it.
Don’t date a girl who travels because she will bug you to book a flight every time there’s an airline seat sale. She wont party at Republiq. And she will never pay over $100 for Avicii because she knows that one weekend of clubbing is equivalent to one week somewhere far more exciting.
Chances are, she can’t hold a steady job. Or she’s probably daydreaming about quitting. She doesn’t want to keep working her ass off for someone else’s dream. She has her own and is working towards it. She is a freelancer. She makes money from designing, writing, photography or something that requires creativity and imagination. Don’t waste her time complaining about your boring job.
Don’t date a girl who travels. She might have wasted her college degree and switched careers entirely. She is now a dive instructor or a yoga teacher. She’s not sure when the next paycheck is coming. But she doesn’t work like a robot all day, she goes out and takes what life has to offer and challenges you to do the same.
Don’t date a girl who travels for she has chosen a life of uncertainty. She doesn’t have a plan or a permanent address. She goes with the flow and follows her heart. She dances to the beat of her own drum. She doesn’t wear a watch. Her days are ruled by the sun and the moon. When the waves are calling, life stops and she will be oblivious to everything else for a moment. But she has learned that the most important thing in life isn’t surfing.
Don’t date a girl who travels as she tends to speak her mind. She will never try to impress your parents or friends. She knows respect, but isn’t afraid to hold a debate about global issues or social responsibility.
She will never need you. She knows how to pitch a tent and screw her own fins without your help. She cooks well and doesn’t need you to pay for her meals. She is too independent and wont care whether you travel with her or not. She will forget to check in with you when she arrives at her destination. 
So never date a girl who travels unless you can keep up with her. And if you unintentionally fall in love with one, don’t you dare keep her. Let her go.
PS - R, I still need you to pay for my meals coz' you see, I just can't seem to hold on to a steady job :P!!


Thursday 23 January 2014

Top 10 Comfort Foods I Can't Live Without

I read this article recently which defined the author's take on Indian Comfort food. As drool worthy as the article was, it inspired me to come up with my own list. Below is my list of comfort food available only in India that I miss if I don't eat often (and crave like crazy when I travel abroad):

1) Chole Bhature - This has to be highest on the list. My only grouse with a sore throat is that I can't have the spicy chole. Chacha in DU and Sita Ram aside, my fav in Noida are those at a stall outside ICICI in Sector 18 and the ones in Nathus.

2) Pakode and Chai - These should ideally be separate points but together these are just killer. Crispy hot pakodas teamed with steaming hot ketli type chai can beat away all blues!


3) Samosas and Jalebis - Though I can never eat spicy filling inside the samosa and leave it out, there are few street foods in the world that can beat this crispy wonder. Sharing the crust can start the Third World War! I don't really have a sweet tooth but a bite of the thin crispy jalebi helps cut the spice in the samosa.


4) Gol Gappe - Call it puchka or pani puri or good ol' gol gappa, the satisfaction of savoring this tangy water filled deliciousness is unparalleled. I like mine as sooji puris with a little sonth and lots of cold teekha pani. And yes, staying in Ahmedabad has spoilt me such that I must end my gol gappa spree with a 'sukha', ie. an atta puri with aalu sprinkled with their chaat masala.   


5) Prawn with Vodka in Tomato Cream Sauce - Replacing my earlier favorite Fusilli Chicken Piri Piri, this is my ultimate Pasta dish in the whole world..no literally...all the pasta I have eaten elsewhere on my travels pales in comparison to Big Chill's sinful gorgeousness. I like mine with added bacon and paired with the Belgian Chocolate Shake. Oooohh, heaven! 


6) Aalu/ Mooli/ Gobi Paranthas - As far as my memory goes, every Sunday morning breakfast has been stuffed paranthas. Something of a tradition now, I find my weekend incomplete if I do not start my Sunday with these. I like mine crispy with loads of malai on them and aam ka achaar on the side. 


7) Rolls - The famous kathi roll gets a makeover at every corner wala stall. I love egg in my chicken roll and my new favorite is the Chicken Egg roll at Rolls King. Otherwise, just about any street vendor will do!


8) Dhaaba food- I absolutely am nuts about dhaaba food. Served piping hot, authentic to the core and it doesn't burn a hole in my wallet. My usual order is paneer bhurji, dal fry and butter roti. Food for gods! There have actually been times that we have driven all the way to Murthal, just to eat at the dhaabas and drive back. Yes, we are insane.


9) Hot Choc Fudge - This one is impossible to get outside the city. Nirula's Hot Choc Fudge is unbeatable. Decadent enough to break the strictest of diets, this tall Sundae is something of an institution in itself.


10) Bread Roll - This is a hidden secret of mine. Not something that I eat often, if I get my hands on hot off the kadai bread rolls, I can never stop at one. There was this time I went for a very important and formal meeting and was presented with a plate of lipsmacking rolls and I forgot all about the meeting, shamelessly wolfing down roll after roll :) 

Tuesday 21 January 2014

You're lucky

You don't know how lucky you are. No, truly. Even if you think life is terrible and you hate your job, you're lucky. You have a job to hate. If you fight with your wife everyday, you're still lucky. You have someone to love. If you think your parents are too intruding, you have parents who want the best for you. If your friend doesn't seem to have much time for you anymore, you still have people you can call friends. If you're not with the one you love anymore, atleast you have a lifetime of memories to smile in the dark about.

You're lucky.

I forget to say this to myself sometimes. Human nature prompts me to look at the darker side of life. But once in a while, a jolt shakes me and reminds me, I'm not just lucky, I'm downright blessed.

One of my close friends, an absolute angel, one of those few people who go that extra mile for people they love, is going through a tough time. Sometimes, when bad happens, it all happens together and light seems so far away. I know, because in completely different contexts, I have felt like that myself. But P, this is just to remind you that we're with you, always. You're in our thoughts, and those of all those people whose lives you have touched and made special just by being the person you are. The bad times are gone now...its all good from here on. Be strong... 

Thursday 16 January 2014

Your Lazy Winter Lunch Guide

College like feel at Triveni Tea Terrace
A nip in the air (ok, a little more than just a nip), sun rays filtering through the foggy skies and lazy weekends. There is something intoxicating about winter lunches, especially alfresco ones. Nothing beats good food, pleasing ambience and intriguing company. If you still haven't made plans on where to go this weekend for lunch, here's help.
Crispy Palak Patta Chaat at Cafe lota
My latest article on Rediff lists my 5 top picks for lazy winter lunches. Whatever be your budget, there is an option to suit everyone.

Read the article here.  

Monday 30 December 2013

New Year Resolution 2014

The New Year is just around the corner. Time to reflect on the year gone by. An interesting year, landmark in many ways. A little nephew to love, godmother to my best friend's angel, four new countries visited, connected with family whom I have known all my life but barely ever met, a personal loss for my father, letting go of expectations from some relationships, professionally a mind blowing year having done numerous projects with a leading food critic of the country, a new laptop, a new phone, invested in our second house, daughter's admission in the best school...at the end of the day, so much to thank god for. 

What I learnt this year is also important. I learnt that you can never be truly happy if you keep putting yourself last. Because then you base your own happiness on other people's actions and words. My resolution this year is simple. To love myself. That's it. No long lists, no dramas. I vow to love myself and put myself a few notches higher on my own priority list. To remain fit and dress to kill, not to show anyone but for the confidence that the image in the mirror gives me. To do work that makes me happy and gives me validation of my professional choices. To respect people but draw the line for those who do not respect me or value my feelings. To laugh more, worry less, hope more, repent less. To try new flavors, travel to new places, hold my dear ones close, do all the things that make me happy. 


Happy New Year everyone...what's your resolution??

Friday 27 December 2013

Say Something....

From my favourite television series (Grey's Anatomy):

If you love someone...you tell them...
Even if you're scared it's not the right thing...
Even if you're scared that it will cause problems...
Even if you're scared that it will burn your life to the ground...
You say it...say it loud...
And then you go from there...

Say something....I'm giving up on you....


Wednesday 25 December 2013

A traveller's Christmas


It is 10pm on Christmas and I'm tucked in my warm quilt after a dinner of Maggi and sausages, tired as hell but happy. I had a lovely day today...as is fast becoming a Christmas tradition, we packed our car and drove off out of the city, this time towards Garh Mukteshwar.

Enroute, we stopped at the famous Shiva Dhaba and had lovely kulhar chai with delicious pakodas. They were even kind enough to heat the paranthas mom had carried from home. The pakoras were crisp and yummy, highly recommended. We also stopped to walk into a sugarcane field and took some gorgeous snaps of the farms.


Chatting up with a farmer and hearing stories of progressive India. He has 4 daughters, all having done their post graduation and one living in London.

A Yash Raj set....train in the background, sarson ke khet, village boys running....ghar aaja pardesi tera des bulae re :)

The closest that the Holy Ganges comes to Delhi, people from the city flock to Garh Mukteshwar to wash off their sins. If you remain with the obvious, you'll see a dirty ghat on the banks of a muddy river crowded with touts pestering you. But if you can see beyond that, you may see what I saw. A brave display of faith, with people of all ages taking a dip in the icy water. Or the stalls that sold the most innovative little toys for kids (yes, my Sonu went crazy)! Or as the highlight for me is in any trip- hot lipsmacking food.


The ghats

The streets near the ghat selling interesting lil stuff

We asked around and the locals unanimously pointed us towards Raju halwai who's famous for his khasta kachori and puri sabzi. The puris were gobbled up in no time at all, especially as they were accompabied by a tangy kaddu sabzi, aalu sabzi and methi dana chutney.






200kms driven, a day full of laughter, surrounded by family, enjoying all that my gorgeous country has to offer. A very merry christmas indeed!!

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday 21 December 2013

Twilight - A love for eternity



“No one’s ever loved anyone as much as I love you.”
― Stephenie MeyerBreaking Dawn

There is something amazing about Bella and Edward. Something almost magical. Something real, something pure...untouched. Having someone who can reach inside you and touch your very soul...someone who doesn't judge you. Where words are not needed, you just know how the other person is feeling instinctively. The absolute certainty about each other. Not even a flicker of doubt that this is the person that you want in front of your eyes when you wake up every morning. The sureness, of being born for each other and none else.

My favorite Twilight film is perhaps the one in which Edward leaves Bella and goes away...in the hope that she will be safe. The helplessness that Bella feels, how it drives her crazy. There is nothing that she will not do to get him back, even if it is only a glimpse of him. What happens to her is not important in her scheme of things. How incomplete she feels, how nothing is normal, nothing is real without him.

“I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore”


Complete and utter love. Selfless. Possessive. Eternal. Hopeless. Unrelenting. Forever...and a day. 

Thursday 5 December 2013

The irony of it all


Never have I been richer
My bank bursting at its seams
Never have I felt poorer
The thought of indulgence being a dream.

People surrounding me all around
Never have there been so many
Yet an island I feel like sometimes
For my thoughts, no one to give a penny.

Never have my hair looked as glossy
Or have I been in better shape
But thoughtless I am now in getting dressed
With a quick pony at my nape.

Ironic as life is
The image in the mirror seems
To others so fulfilled
In real so bleak.

Friday 29 November 2013

On a Thali Trail

One of the best parts of being a food critic is that I get to sample lots of delicious food. My work, besides my interest, takes me to unknown or lesser known places in the search for good food. The last few months, we went around town checking out the State Bhawan canteens and what we found was lipsmacking good food (in some of them) at prices which were a fraction of what you would pay in a fancier place. 



My latest article on Rediff helps you navigate the food scene at the State Bhawans in Delhi. What not to miss and more importantly, what to completely miss. You'd be surprised at some of these, I'm sure. 

Check out the article here. 


Monday 25 November 2013

Balmy weather!

So I am in Canada. In the month of November. There is snow on the ground outside though indoors we are nice and toasty. But I'm not allowed to say it's cold. You see, whenever we step out of the car into the bitter chill and my nose is almost falling off from frostbite, my sister..my crazy Canadian sister...looks around, smells the air and coos "Oh it's sooo niiiiice"!! Atleast that is what I think she says as the sound filters in through my scarf, earmuffs and fur lined cap. And if I wasn't in such a hurry to unbuckle the car seat and save my only offspring from the onslaught of the arctic winds, I am sure I would have a fitting reply (ably supported by an incredulous expression).

Ok I admit it's not so bad. But it IS cold. Whatever your definition is, this fits it! And finally....finally today my sister succumbed! She actually changed plans and we chose to go home instead of shopping because today, wait for it....my crazy sis R finally said "OK, it's slightly cold".

It is only -10°C, with windchill freaking -16°C so yes, you could say that there is a nip in the air!!

AV decides enough is enough...I'm outta here!
Jokes apart, though my first snowfall was at Yosemite in California (and that was surreal in it's own way), yesterday's snowfall was just ethereal. From indoors ofcourse ;). With soft snowflakes gently falling on the ground, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland. The trees seemed like someone had sprinkled powdered sugar on them with a sieve. Time seemed to stand still. It was unreal. It was pristine. It was gorgeous.

If only he was here to share this with me...


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Of Dreams and Reality

You're here, at this point in your life, for a reason.

No, this is not a post about fate and destiny. A few years back it may have been. But today, older and none the wiser, I believe in reality. My profound reaslisation is this...are you ready for it....(drumroll....)

"We are where we are because of the choices we make and those that others make affecting us". 

There is no greater hand involved, no guiding light, no stars of destiny. At every crossroad of life, we are presented with options. And we make the choice we believe to be the best one at that point in time. Sometimes, people make choices or decisions that affect our lives too. And an amalgamation of these choices brings us to where we eventually land up.

Movies and books have us believing otherwise. Entire generations have grown up counting stars and looking for signs or waiting for the perfect moment or person. One often lives in retrospect, fantasizing about 'what if' or look outside your life, dissatisfied with today, with the hope that something outside is better. This post is not about acceptance or resigning yourself either. It is merely about the fact that fantasies are always rosy. No one has a dull one. They seem exciting and promising, for the sole reason that they are untouchable and unreal. Reality has a way of sinking into your life and peeling away the magic. But if you look at your life in the mirror, you may realise that your reality could be the fantasy of millions of others. You may realise that you have been too harsh on yourself and on life. That you have everything around you to smile. And to be grateful. Because of the people who chose to be with you. To nurture you and stand by you, through good decisions and bad. To dream and to live with you. And as far as places go....that is a good place to be....