Monday, 22 October 2012

Yash Chopra, My First Romance Teacher

It was Yash Chopra who first introduced me to the world of romance during my pre teen years. Well, not in person, but through his movie Chandni, which released in 1989, starring my all time favourite actress Sridevi.

At the age of 11, I was hardly concerned to know who Yash Chopra was. All that mattered was watching a Sridevi movie on the big screen. The subtle romance between the lead pair Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor against the backdrop of breathtaking Swiss landscape was a visual treat to my eyes. And Sridevi looked gorgeous as she swayed sensuously in beautiful chiffon sarees during the song Tere Mere Hothon Pe. For the first time I realized that sarees too can make someone look sexy. As the movie progressed, it evoked some strange sensations inside me that I had never felt earlier. It was something new, something inexplicable.

That night, I was never the same person as I was before. All of sudden, I wanted to know more about love, romance and relationships. I wondered, how did love happen? My discussions with school friends started revolving around this subject. I started digging various film magazines to learn the names of other romantic films. I started comprehending the lyrics of the romantic songs. Mills & Boons became my evergreen favourite romantic fiction novels (By the way, I am still a diehard fan of M&B and love to read them whenever I can lay my hands on them).

Since then, any Yash Chopra release was a must watch movie for me. What followed then was a series of movies like Lamhe, Darr, Dil to Pagal Hai and Veer Zara, which further reinstated my penchant for love and romance. And there were movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein, Mujhse Dosti Karoge etc which I watched only because they bore Yash Chopra name in the promos and promised to provide enough fodder for my romantic soul. I was looking forward to watch his last directorial venture Jab Tak Hai Jaan, but his sad demise has dampened my spirits.

Yash Chopra and romance were synonymous to each other. He redefined the essence of romance. He was unknowingly responsible for creating romantic junkies like me. Somewhere deep in my heart, I know that romantic movies wouldn’t be magical again without Yash Chopra.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Food Trivia
Contrary to the popular notion that samosas are Indian origin snack; they are actually believed to be originated in Persia and commonly known as sambusak in Middle East countries.

(Fried Pastry with Potato Filling)

Preparation Time:45 minutes
Serving Size:10-12 pieces


For stuffing
6-8 medium sized boiled potatoes
Half cup boiled green peas (optional)
1 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tbsp salt or as per taste
4 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp dry mango powder
1 tbsp garam masala powder
3-4 finely chopped green chillies
½ inch finely chopped ginger
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
3 tbsp oil to make stuffing

For dough/outer shell
2 cup maida
1 tbsp oil
Water to knead
1 tsp salt

For frying

  1. Mix maida, oil and salt and knead into dough. Beat it on a hard surface 3-4 times. The dough texture should be medium soft, somewhere between the texture of the dough for chappati and puri. Cover it with a cloth and leave it aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Mash all the boiled potatoes.  Add green peas if you wish. Mix well.
  3. In a frying pan, put 3 tbsp oil. When it gets heated, add fennel seeds.
  4. Once the fennel seeds change their colour, add green chillies and ginger. Fry them for few seconds.
  5. Then add all the spices including salt. Fry all the spices for few seconds.
  6. Add the boiled potato and peas mixture.
  7. Keep roasting till the mixture and spices blend well with each other.
  8. The stuffing is ready when it starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  9. Allow the stuffing to cool down for some time.
  10. Divide the dough into 10-12 medium sized balls.
  11. Take one ball and roll it to a size a little bigger than a puri. Then cut it into 2 equal halves.
  12. Take one part and apply water on the straight edge.
  13. Join this part together to give a shape of a cone, with one straight edge overlapping another one.
  14. Put the 1 tbsp stuffing inside this cone and press it down gently. Add more stuffing if you require but leave some space on the top to close the shell.
  15. Apply little water around the edges of the cone. Close the cone gently and seal it well.
  16. Repeat the same process with the remaining dough and stuffing.
  17. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until it is hot. Put 2-4 samosas inside the oil and fry them on a slow flame till they start changing the colour. Then increase the flame to medium density and keep frying till the samosas turn golden brown. Place it on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  18. Serve it hot with tomato ketch up or any type of chutney.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Indian Woman – To Be or Not To Be

A 17 year old high school teenage girl was gang molested in Guwahati.  If we leave aside the Assam Police who took their own sweet thirty minutes to reach the crime scene; it is the incongruity of the public and the reporters who captured the video, which is more preposterous.

Baghpat  Khap Panchayat in UP bans women under 40 to go for shopping and using mobile phones. As if this was not enough, these women were also ordered to cover their heads whenever they step out of their homes and get escorted after sunset. 

A teenage girl was rescued from abductors and then raped by policemen in UP. A wife was brutally beaten and tortured by her husband in Goa.

These are merely few incidents that I have pointed out here. You pick up any newspaper or an online news website and you will find a number of similar incidents these days. As an Indian woman, I feel ashamed, helpless and petrified. What if any of these happens to me? It does not matter whether I live in a city or a village, whether I am at home or out, whether I am educated or not, whether it is a day or night, whether I am wearing a traditional outfit or a modern one. This can happen to any girl or woman anywhere at any hour.

Sometimes I feel culpable of being a woman. It used to infuriate me when people expressed grief over a girl child's birth. But now I wonder if it is the gender of the baby that they really woe about. In fact it is the constant struggle in the future life of the girl that bothers them. The notion of weaker sex is enforced and strengthened time to time at multitudinous occasions. The woman folk often face wrath of immediate family members or society at large to fight for their rights.

The cases of molestation, rape and domestic violence robs a girl or a woman of their physical well being.  But what about the emotional and psychological trauma which occurs as a result of aftermath? Who addresses the lifetime tribulation of humiliation, fear, defenseless, vulnerability, guilt, rejection, anger and so much more?

I agree that such incidents do happen in the other parts of the world. But if you look deep inside your heart, you will be inclined to accept that these occurrences are more rampant in India. Blame it on the government, social infrastructure of our culture or the mindset of the people, the bottom line is that I feel intimidated and unsafe in my own country as a woman and a mother.

I often ask myself, “Indian woman – To be or not to be"?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Romancing the Food with Nigella Lawson

I don’t know how many of you have heard of Nigella Lawson.  She is a British food writer and journalist but famously known for her cookery shows and books. I first watched her on BBC channel where she was presenting her own cookery show Nigella's Kitchen. I was simply awestruck and my fingers froze on the remote.

NO. It was not the recipes that caught me unaware but the presenter, Nigella Lawson. My eyes were only watching her style; I was least bothered with what she was cooking.  I felt as if she is romancing the food, slowly seducing her way to the viewers.  She literally flirts with food but at the same time her eyes hold an intimate connection with the audience. She looks coquettish with her voluptuous body and sizzling appearance while she seeks and gives an appetizing pleasure to the food lovers.

She comes across as a warm and charming woman with certain X factor. She can be described as tangy, zesty and fruity just like her diverse recipes. Her dulcet saccharine voice with a teasing tone sounds music to ears. She tempts you, lures you and invites you to taste her ambrosial cuisine. One look at her and you will know that she is an epicurean and an overly food extravagant. When she handpicks her ingredients or breathes in the aroma of fresh fruits, you just want to be with her right there.  Towards the end of the programme, she is shown waking up in the middle of the night to satiate her midnight appetite.  I tell you the hell breaks loose at that one moment. Here is a lady who is not at all shy of indulging her senses into the divine pleasures of food at any ungodly hour.

I can hardly comment about her recipes, but Nigella Lawson herself leaves with you a scrumptious impression and you end up craving for her more.

Cooking Tips

  1. The knife becomes sticky after cutting bhindi. Rub some salt on the knife and wash thoroughly.
  2. If you run short of lemons while making a salad, use a mix of vinegar and black salt. The salad will taste yummier and stay fresher for a long time.
  3. Add a teabag to chickpeas while boiling them in a pressure cooker. You will get the rich dark blackish brown colour.
  4. While cooking onion gravy for the egg curry, sprinkle few drops of water every few seconds. This will give a rich aroma and texture to the dish.
  5. Add some ajwain to the besan batter prepared for the pakoras. They will get a distinct flavor.
  6. Add little milk to the beaten egg for a fluffier omlette.

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves 1 glass


1 small lemon or half medium size lemon
2 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp black salt
½ tbsp dry mint powder
A pinch of roasted cumin powder
1 glass chilled water
Few ice cubes

  1. Squeeze lemon juice into the glass of water.
  2. Add sugar and black salt. Mix well till they dissolve in the water.
  3. Add dry mint powder and roasted cumin powder. Stir well.
  4. Add ice cubes and serve chilled.

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Food Trivia:
Did you know that cauliflower is available in four different colours: white, purple, green and orange?

(Cauliflower Potato Vegetable in Green Gravy)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 1 person


1 cup cauliflower florets
½ cup potato diced and cubed
¼ cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 cup green coriander leaves
1 green chilli
¼ inch ginger
1 small clove of garlic
½ tbsp coriander powder
A pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
½ tbsp cumin seeds
A pinch of aesofotida
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
3 to 4 drops of ghee

  1. Make a paste of green coriander leaves, green chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander powder in a mixer grinder. You can add water to it so that the consistency of paste is on thinner side.
  2. Put a pressure cooker on the gas and add oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add aesofotida, cumin seeds and turmeric powder.
  4. When the cumin seeds splutter, add the green paste and stir it till the water gets evaporated.
  5. As soon as the consistency of the green paste thickens, add the cauliflower florets, potato and green peas.
  6. Mix and stir the vegetables till they are coated in the green paste. Add salt.
  7. Add little water, almost to the level of vegetables.
  8. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and allow 3-4 whistles.
  9. When it cools down, add garam masala.
  10. Add 3 to 4 drops of ghee.
  11. Serve with chappati or rice.