Thursday, August 30, 2007

Craving Daal Chawal

It's 3AM and I am craving "Daal Chawal". Not just Daal chawal but the whole sensory experience along with the accompaniments.

Daal Chawal with a dollop of hot "Desi Ghee" that begins to melt after landing on the plate spreading its yellow amber liquid and drenching the rice.

"Keri achaar", the one that makes you smack your tongue and lick your fingers. At least a little bit of the pickle must be had with every mouthful.

Roasted "Bikaneri Papad" on the side. Take a bite after the Daal chawal is in your mouth or alternatively the Daal chawal can also be scooped up with the papad.

Have it along with "Chokha". Mashed potatoes with "sarson ka tel", "Kati hui Pyaaz", "Jeera Dhaniya" and "Namak". Mix some with the Daal chawal before having it.

Alternatively one could also have, Sliced Pyaaz with squeezed "Nimbu" and sprinkled "Kaali mirch". Like papad, half a ring after every mouthful of the daal, chawal, achaar combo. Alternate with papad.

Wash it all down with "Masala chaas". The kind garnished with "Kala Namak", "Adrak", "Bhuja Jeera" and "Pudina leaves".

To heighten the entire experience, the meal must be had with hands, without any fork or spoon.

For the International audience:
Daal = Lentil
Chawal = Rice
Desi Ghee = Clarified Butter
Keri Achaar = Raw mango spicy pickle
Bikaneri Papad = Papadum or spicy indian wafer from the region of Bikaner
Chokha = Mashed Potatoes
Sarson ka tel = Mustard Oil
Jeera Dhaniya = Cummin Coriander powder
Namak = Salt
Kati hui Pyaaz = Chopped Onion
Nimbu = Fresh Lime
Kaali Mirch = Pepper
Masala Chaas = Spiced Buttermilk
Kala Namak = Black Salt or Rock Salt
Adrak = Ginger
Bhuja Jeera = Roasted Cummin seeds
Pudina Leaves = Mint Leaves

Entering your ATM in the reverse order DOES NOT ALERT THE POLICE

There's been an urban legend going around which says that entering your ATM pin in reverse will still dispense the cash and also summon the authorities sending them an alarm that you are being made to withdraw the money against your will.This is not true and is only an urban legend. Though the technology to implement such a system exists, it has not been implemented by any bank anywhere in the world.

Reference: (The official website of the system creator)

Converse "Chuck Taylor" All Star Hi Top

Converse has been a legendary brand within the United States but hardly known outside it. They started operations in 1908 and were majorly involved in manufacturing basketball shoes under the sub brand of "All Star". Converse held the position of being the official shoe of NBA for many years before being upstaged by the likes of Nike, Reebok and Adidas.

They filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and were bought out by Nike in 2003, under whom they have seen a revival of sorts.

The Chuck Taylor branding refers to the basketball player who worked with them as an ambassador to promote the shoe. His name has been added to the "All Star" patch since 1923.
I finally got my blue Hi Tops at a fabulous sale in Singapore. I had wanted red but they didn't have any in my size, so that! However, I am now a proud owner of the famous chucks and intend to make the most out of them.

Edge Energy Drink - It Works

I work in a BPO which requires me to do late night shifts. Staying up after midnight is a daily chore. Having recently come back from a good vacation my body is having problems going back to the daily rigmarole of graveyard timings and I frequently find myself dozing off after 11PM. Not wanting to be caught with my head down at work, I decided to do something about it and indulged in the new energy drink "Edge". At Rs.60/- a can it is a little less expensive than Red Bull and whaddya know, it works!!? Just three sips into the drink and my mind was all clear, devoid of any drowsiness and I even unknowingly climbed the stairs up two levels, something I hadn't done for months. Bye Bye elevator.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Orkut goes in for a revamp

The new look orkut is here...

What you must know before entering a Barista, CCD, Mocha, Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Tea leaf, etc.

Jump to the link:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The 2008 Kawasaki Z1400 Spy Pic

Grooooooooowl!! The baap is coming...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Travel - Rebirth

Paulo Coelho writes very beautifully in "The Pilgrimage":

When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life.

At the same time, since all things are new, you see only the beauty in them, and feel happy to be alive.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Transformers - The Movie

Sometimes it hits you when you are expecting it the least. What started out as just toys is now a multi million dollar franchisee spreading its tentacles around the globe, one of which finds its way to India. About time, I say.

Transformers is about cars and robots and fighter jets and guns, big guns and tanks and metal...ok you get the drift. A planet in a distant galaxy is overrun by the evil Decepticons being held back by the goodie Autobots. In the words of a character they are NBE's, (Non Biological Entities). Chunks of metal with sentient thought, which (or who?) can shapeshift into almost any piece of machinery with moving parts, to hide their presence on earth. The Decepticons are in search of "AllSpark", a cube which will enable them to bring alive all the technology on earth and help in their cause of world domination. The only thing standing between their goal are the Autobots, a lanky teenager who wants to mate (snicker), a hot va va voom with a dubious past record and a pair of spectacles. I hope this doesn't make sense and I hope that you watch the movie so that it does because I am still reeling in the aftermath of the brilliant spectacle that Michael Bay has brought alive on the screen. It's good guys versus the bad guys through and through. Metal against metal. Nothing prepares you for the scene of a vehicle changing itself into a robot and no matter how many times you see it, you just can't have enough. The CGI is cartoony in a few scenes but I am not going to fuss over that you wuss. This is Car Wars.

This for me is the movie of 2007. I haven't been so immersed in the story since star wars or Lord of the Rings. Nor have I been so on the edge of my seat since Lagaan. Amazing action scenes coupled with snip snip editing, Transformers is what every testosterone driven male must watch. Not that I am a sexist but boys like blue and girls like pink. There is A certain truth in that.

Optimus Prime

For everything a man should know about fashion:

P.S. Check out the book style presentation with folding pages

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Kite Runner - the Trailer

The trailer for Kite Runner is out. Watch:

Faux Patriotism

I hate the jingoistic rambling that passes as patriotism these days. Suddenly, for one day it becomes fashionable to spout flags all over the place and wish each other Happy Independence Day. I hate it when I am forced up by glaring eyes in a cinema hall before the movie starts. Don't force patriotism down my throat. I am only going to want the movie to start earlier.

Besides, regional boundaries are becoming redundant day by day. Pride in one culture's and pride in one's history is one thing but patriotism for the sake of it is not cool.

The time to discriminate against men on the basis of regional boundaries is long past and It's not going to take anything less than an alien invasion to make men acknowledge his kin.

However, I am not a complete cynic, atleast not yet. Here's a heart touching rendition of Jan Gan Man that never fails to move me. I am searching for the video of the old version which used to air on DD1, if you have it drop me a line:

Also, if you have been following the Jan Gan Man controvery about it having been written for the King and Queen for england, here's something that might interest you.

In a letter to Pulin Behari Sen, Tagore himself wrote: [7]
“A certain high official in His Majesty’s service, who was also my friend, had requested that I write a song of felicitation towards the Emperor. The request simply amazed me. It caused a great stir in my heart. In response to that great mental turmoil, I pronounced the victory in Jana Gana Mana of that Bhagya Vidhata [ed. God of Destiny] of India who has from age after age held steadfast the reins of India’s chariot through rise and fall, through the straight path and the curved. That Lord of Destiny, that Reader of the Collective Mind of India, that Perennial Guide, could never be George V, George VI, or any other George. Even my official friend understood this about the song. After all, even if his admiration for the crown was excessive, he was not lacking in simple common sense.”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Spider Pig

Here are the lyrics for Spider Pig song from the new Simposon's movie.

Sing along to your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman theme:



Does whatever a SPIDER PIG does

Can he swing

From a web

No he cant

He's a pig


He is a SPIDER PIG!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sample Chapters from Among the Chatterati

Sample Chapters from Among the Chatterati by Kanika Gahlaut
What you have known all along but needed someone to confirm it...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Simpsons - The Movie

Finally it arrives and right from the word go it holds you spell bound in a vice like grip of wit and humor. You need to put on your thinking cap for this one. Nothing is spared, not even you. The writers seem to latch on to your every thought, predicting the next and spoofing it as it beams into your head, just as I know what you are thinking now. This is the best review far!! :-)


P.S. A scene, I still can't get enough of. As certain destruction threatens the town, the church and bar are shown standing side by side. The church goers run out screaming and so do the bar patrons, only to cross sides over into each other's territory.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Haywards Black - India's first genuine Stout beer

Adapted from the company's web site and advertisement

Haywards Black, India’s first genuine stout beer , is handcrafted from a rich blend of the world famous Caledon valley dark roasted barley malt along with a blend of imported and locally produced pale malts. New Zealand’s super alpha hops give Haywards Black a unique and pleasantly bitter taste with a hop like aroma. The Dark Roasted malt provides a rich dark colouring along with a unique smoky taste and aroma. The Slow brewing process which incorporates specially managed yeast creates the creamy head and the rich smooth taste that stout is so much loved for.

Haywards Black is brewed under the special care of renowned brew masters with many years of brewing expertise and rich experience from the SABMiller stable , One of the largest brewing companies in the world with a brewing heritage of over a hundred years.

Serving Temperature:
Stout is served at temperature ranging between 4 C and 9 C, but ideally at 6 C.

Stout Beer
Stout is a deep, dark and flavourful beer, made using highly roasted dark or black barley malts. It also features noticeable acrid burnt and caramel flavours, and depending on the malt variety and blend, ranges from sweet to dry and distinctively bitter. Stout originated in Ireland as a variant of Porter beer.

Originally, the word "stout" meant "proud" or "brave", but late in the fourteenth century, stout adopted connotations relating to "strong". Later "stout" was eventually associated only to Porter type beers, which then became synonymous with dark beer.

About this brand
Country of origin : India
Beer type : Stout
Alcohol content by volume :<>
Carbohydrates :-
Taste :Rich Foam with a thick texture, strong flavour and full satisfying taste with a hint of caramel
Malts : Black Malt roasted in a coffee drum
Hops :New Zealands Super alpha hops to balance the sweetness
Colour : Black
Availability : Select markets of India
Fermentation process :Bottom-fermented
Serving temperature : 4 °C
Packaging : 650 ml and 330 ml glass bottle Bike trip to Lavasa

Trip Log

Man what a ride this one was. Though I don't have the specifics we must have had around 20 bikes on this one with Rubber Smokin Angels (RSA) and Absolute Insane Riders (AIR) having thrown in their lot.

It was raining right from the word go, reminiscent of the B'day G2G to amby valley, and this one was equally fun.

However, the trip was marred with incidents. To begin with, at a halt for tea and snacks we noticed some riders going off ahead without realizing that most of us had stopped behind. I thought it apt to catch up with them and bring them back. I was able to do so with all except one who was nowhere in sight. I later on realized that he was an AIR rider who was literally throwing the bike to the curves and didn't stop before reaching the top point. With my numerous halts talking to guys and asking them to turn back coupled with phone calls back to the base, it was quite impossible to catch up with the errant rider. I turned back from after the dam without him. Still, this was the highlight of the ride for me as I rode back and forth, as hard as I could, with low visibility, leaning, sprinting and hardly a soul in sight. Biking nirvana at its best. As a side note, the white lines marking the lanes are a biker's nightmare come true. Paint that offers almost 0 traction and makes your bike fish tail like crazy. Stay on it too long and you are bound to have a spill. I survived a few scares today. :-)

Later on as we all rode as a group to the top, my friend prasun had a tangle with three locals on a boxer. Apparently they met somewhere on their side of the white line with their bike suffering some cosmetic damage and one of them being gifted a cut on his feet. It was all sorted out by paying them off 800 bucks, arrived at with the help of rash and a few other riders. Thanks guys.

But the worst was still to come. On our way back the same AIR rider I wasn't able to catch initially had an accident in one of the villages. Apparently he was hit by an Indica in the wrong lane causing him to lose his line and pile into a group of locals on the other side of the road. One of them was in a bad shape and was taken to the hospital right away. The locals ganged up on our guy and bashed him up even though he was himself bleeding with a very broken finger. Things cooled down by the time all of us arrived and he was taken to the hospital as well for some much needed attention. Needless to say he was wearing a helmet and protective gear without which it would have been a different story altogether. Dude, I sincerely hope for three things. That you recover from this as soon as possible, that you have a comprehensive insurance policy and that nothing untoward happens to the local.

The locals at the foothills of the ghats are pretty miffed about the gang of bikers who invade their terrain every Sunday. As I heard one of them of complain, they would rather have pot hole ridden roads than the new smooth tar ones which cause horde of bikes to descend upon their measly towns.

Ride and ride safe!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Agatha Christie - Graphic Novels

I Occasioned to buy two of agatha christie's graphic novels which seem to be selling like hot cakes these days. Varsha Book Centre at Vashi Plaza, Navi Mumbai have an indefinite sale going on offering upto 50% discount. I manged to pick these up at Rs. 160/- each on a MRP of Rs. 199/-.

The two I bought were:
Murder at the Vicarage and
The secret of Chimneys

Firstly, none of these stories feature Poirot, which I realized much later to my dismay. Secondly, the novels were very hard to understand. Translating Christie's scenario's into the graphic form is no mean task and this one falls quite flat on its face. Though the illustrations are quite professional, it's quite hard to fathom the clues and finer nuances of the story through the sparse dialogue.

Being published by Eurobooks India and targeted at the young audience, I am not confident of their readability. My bet is to stay away from them and stick to the paperback kind!

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