Sunday 29 April 2012

The City of Joy - Restaurant Review


My never-ending quest for interesting food took us to a small restaurant in the area within south Delhi where I have spent a majority of my childhood - Alaknanda. Nestled in the colony's Aravali market is a small Bengali restaurant called 'City of Joy'.

Diamond Fish Fry

 My exposure to Bengali food is limited to Oh Calcutta. However, fine dining and eclectic as it is, it can not possibly represent this state where people take their food (and most else) very seriously. Thus, I am happy to announce another winner in this category.

Being novices in this department, we asked the server for his recommendations. How Punjabi do I possibly look that he rattled off the likes of Chicken Curry, kaali daal etc. Only with some help from him did we finally manage to order. The menu has various options, for most of which you can even order half plate.

We started off with the Diamond Fish Fry, which the name really explains. Half plate has two fabulously crusted and fried fillets of boneless Betki. Very moist, extremely well favoured and fresh fish! We followed that up with Chingri Kalia (two tiger prawns in a rich tomato based gravy) and Betki bhapa maach (also known as patter maach) which is fish steamed in a banana leaf with a mustard paste. The latter was a unique taste to our pallete yet it was something so perfectly balanced that we could have asked for doubles. The mutton curry was nothing special but did have a different take to it from the version familiar to North Indians.

The Spread
My vegetarian friend seemed quite happy with her Phool ghobi malai roast and Chanar kalia (paneer in a thick tomato gravy). The cauliflower dish was actually quite tasty and I surprised myself by taking more than just a bit!!

The total damage for 4 people was Rs.1600 and I do believe we had ordered lavishly. All in all, well worth the drive. If you like Bengali food, and even if (especially if) you've never tried it, head off to 'The City Of Joy', it won't leave you disappointed.

Rating: 3.5 on 5
Meal for 2: Rs.800
Alcohol: Not served
Home Delivery: Available within Alaknanda

Monday 16 April 2012

Perspectives


My creative writing classes at British Council have taught me more than just creative writing. I never thought that the day would come when I would say this, but I actually look forward to meeting people twice a week. I am perhaps the person least likely to enjoy meeting new people. I love my own company and hold on to old friends like a comfort blanket. But put any person for 12 months in a house with only a 2 footer for company who demands that every waking moment be dedicated to her (and most of the sleeping ones too); and watch that person be a social butterfly when the opportunity arises! 

(My professor insists that we limit our use of the exclamation mark!! That’s a tough one!)

My classmates are a varied bunch, as different from each other as possible. The age groups range from 18 to 42, career aspirations, marital status, purpose of attending the course – each variable has all sorts of representation. But meeting new friends also gives you a glimpse of what people perceive your life to be (and are too polite to spell it out). So while we’re walking to my car the other day, my new friend T  comments on how relaxed my life must be now that I don’t work (I have VERY strong opinions on what constitutes ‘work’ and how it’s not limited to an office but let’s not go there). I smiled benignly and told her that I had a 1 year old baby, a house to run, freelance writing assignments, a travel company to keep afloat and atleast enough responsibilities to fill 20 A4 sheets. “But” she replied, having quit her corporate job a while back too “don’t you just love the freedom of not waking up to go to office, answering to your boss for everything?”

I let the conversation go, after giving her some advise on sticking to her current status (unmarried, living with joint family, taking up freelance assignments relating to her previous career for pocket money) for as long as possible if she wanted to relax. How could I explain to her that I had woken that morning at 6:30am to supervise the cook (woken up is to be taken with a pinch of salt as I slept for a total of 1 hour that night my daughter having caught a cold). While my baby was blissfully asleep (finally), I spent the next 2 hours setting the house in order and serving my husband breakfast. The moment I bid him adieu and sat down on the chair, my baby woke up and thereafter started the process of cleaning her, bathing her, dressing her, feeding her (after cooking her breakfast), cleaning her again. By now, I had all of 10 minutes left to get dressed and rush for my class. Which can be a challenge when your baby wails if she can’t see you even for a micro second.

So finally I rushed out, dropped her to my mother’s place, drove for an hour in terrible traffic to reach British Council and managed to make it in the nick of time.

I wanted to tell T that the 2 hours twice a week that I have class is the only time in my week that I can ‘relax’. That I would perhaps love the opportunity to have an office to run to and forget all of the above for 10 hours everyday. No, I don’t regret my decision even for a moment. I can never do the corporate thing again, it’s just not me. Neither do I assume that my life is tougher than that of my husband who toils tirelessly at work. But a cakewalk it is not. I do not have a minute to spare and despair. I do not sit around the house and have a ball. Superwoman I am not... but I’m pretty sure I’m doing the darn best I can.  

   

Sunday 8 April 2012

Assigment 2 - The Senses

As my second assignment at the British Council class, I was asked to dedicate one experience for each sense to someone whom I loved (if I believed in love). One for vision, one for hearing.....you get the drift.

Here are my dedications...what are yours??
  • The smell of mud wet from the first rains following a scorching summer. 
  • The sound of waves rolling towards the shore and crashing into each other. 
  • The look of pure joy on your dog’s face when she sees you after a few hours.
  • The taste of a decadent gooey and warm chocolate cake.
  • The clasp of a baby’s fingers around your little finger.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Raison D'Etre

My Advanced Creative Writing course at British Council is getting more interesting by the day. As are the homework assignments. So I figured what better place to post them and get feedback than my own blog.

In a class where we were discussing poetry, we were asked to close our eyes and imagine that there are no humans in this world and thus, no relationships. Given that situation, what is it that we would live for? What would we find meaning in? Below is my submission for the assignment. Please feel free to critique or comment.

Raison D'etre


Drops of rain caressing my face,
Fresh warm bread that I’d love to taste.

A little pup who keeps me warm,
A cup of tea helps me brave the storm.

Wet sand that slips from beneath my feet,
The rising sun I like to greet.

The sound of birds chirping by,
Hidden beauty in the colours of the sky.

True meaning of life if I ever do seek,
These little pleasures are my reason to be.