Friday, April 30, 2010

Bedekar Tea Stall - Legendary food places of Pune

Bedekar Tea Stall, popularly referred to as Bedekar Misal has been the mainstay of Pune’s Misal aficionados for more than six decades. Established in 1948 by Dattatrey Bedekar, this quaint little establishment has withstood the passage of time and changing tastes of new generations. In its 62nd year it’s being managed by a duo of third generation Bedekar’s.

Located in the busy environs of old city at Narayan Peth, reaching it is akin to a pilgrimage with lot of penance and pain on the way but a desired and pleasant objective at the end. Yet, if one expected place with such history to be old & musty with an aura of nostalgia around it you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Apart from a small Marathi paper clipping adorning the wall, the establishment gives nothing away about the fan following it demands. To the casual visitor it might be just one of those random Amrutalays dotting the cityscape. One could come in have a meal and get out without ever realizing that we were one of those footfalls that have been coming to this place for more than half a century. The interiors are modern, functional and Spartan. The entire premises consist of a small hallway with tables on either sides, the serving/billing counter at the end, a board announcing the menu items on top and kitchen at the back.

On to the food then. Those accustomed to ordering Misal Pav everywhere else, don’t be perturbed by the missing Pav. Bedekar take their Misal very seriously and serve it as they have always done, with sliced bread. The bread soaks up the Tari better and offers a unique experience with focus completely on the Misal. As the bread soaked with Misal hits your tongue already salivating at the wait, the bread lets go as easily as it absorbed, the juice breaks out and assaults the taste buds with its medley of spices. The crunchy onion and Farsan sprinkled with lemon juice adds the tangy crunch and texture. That’s when you lose track of your surroundings and every bite becomes a step towards food nirvana. Bedekar’s Misal is not the hottest Misal around but still ranks up there with the rest. A word of advice? When the tongue starts burning, cool it down with a bowl of fresh curd (it still doesn’t stop the nose from flowing though).

Some purists argue that, the Misal not being fiery enough which traditionally seems to be the standard measure of a Misal’s quality, and consequently Bedekar does not deserve the accolades reserved for it. Historically, hotness is attributed to its Kolhapuri cousin. What Bedekar has succeeded in doing is to put Pune on the Misal map with its own unique taste and characteristics. The repeat visitors and the very fact that Bedekar is still around after 60 years is a testament to the fact that they are good in what they do and deserve every adulation that their fans afford.

Having Misal at Bedekar befits the image of a traditional Puneri Manus relaxing with a soul satisfying cup of tea after a plate of his favorite Misal, an ideal culmination to a slow day at work before he heads home to be with the family.

They do a mean Kharwas too but hold off ordering any of the cooler drinks there. Bedekar’s Misal is best washed down with flavored sugarcane juice at ‘Cool Cane’ on Laxmi Road a minute’s walk from Bedekar. Cool Cane offers cold sugarcane juice without ice in 9 different flavors with or without ice cream and is a treat for the taste buds. I would recommend mixing them up and found the Mint, Lemon, Ginger and Chat masala combination to be very refreshing.

Food - 3.5/5
Value For Money - 4/5
Ambiance - 2.5/5
Service - 3/5
Hygiene - 3/5

Overall - 3.2/5

Please share your opinion on this post in the comments section.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi - A Book Review

The Immortals of Meluha is amongst those rare breed of novels that dare to delve into Indian Mythology and come out unscathed.

The book's premise is based on the possibility that modern day gods were normal Men during their time and by lieu of their greatness and accomplishments came to be worshiped as Gods. Though the very religious might find it blasphemous, the theory does have it's merits and takers. Amish builds on it and has scripted a wonderful story that keeps the reader hooked from start to finish.

The Immortals of Meluha follows the life of Shiva, a mountain tribesman and his adventures through the country's lands. Shiva obviously is a reflection of Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu Tridev (Three Gods). The author's ingenuity is particularly reflected in the way he makes popular characters and incidents associated with Lord Shiva become a part of the fantasy world he weaves around the mythology. It really is nothing short of genius and very innovative.

Though his writing is not winning The Nobel anytime soon, it is lucid and clear enough to be read at a trot without hiccups. That said, it could do with a bit of refinement that would have raised the book to a higher level.

I haven't been as entertained by an Indian author since Samit Basu got done with his Gameworld Trilogy. Interestingly this one is going to be a trilogy too and Amish runs the risk of having set high expectations to meet. Now that the characters have been fleshed out adequately, I would like the story to pick up momentum and for the author to raise writing quality by a notch as well. I can't wait for Mr. Tripathi to release the next one.

There is a video trailer designed for the book that can be viewed at

You can also follow the author on twitter at:

Buy the book with 25% off at Flipkart:

Buy at Amazon: The Immortals of Meluha

Please share your opinion on this post in the comments section.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Zero Percentile Missed IIT Kissed Russia by Neeraj Chhibba - A Book Review

Of late, everyone who can or sometimes cannot write a sentence is running to the presses in an attempt to sell their college life.  

Zero Percentile is an earnest book written by first time author Neeraj Chhibba. The book follows the story of Pankaj, a young Delhi lad from his school days to his student life in post communist Russia.

What makes this book stand out of the clutter is it's major part of the story being set in Russia. Russia has always had a special place in the hearts of Indians. At a time when the country was isolated, it was only Russia that we could count upon as a friend and for whatever political reasons the friendship evolved and has stood the test of time. As a result Russia does evoke more emphatic feelings of brotherhood than any other country in the world.

The book takes the reader through Pankaj's school life, college life in Russia, a brief shot at entrepreneurship, taking on the Russian Underworld and matters of the heart with equal fervor.

The book is peppered with anecdotes and incidents that help the reader identify with it's main characters. As noticed with the Chetan Bhagat and other authors of his ilk that's what they intend the book's USP to be and Neeraj Chhibba follows on the same path.

Though largely autobiographical, Neeraj does spin a good yarn with the necessary masala elements thrown in. From parental disappointment, to sex, mafia and romance. In fact one could be forgiven to think that the book is tailor-made for a bollywood screen adaptation yet it delivers on the entertainment front so no qualms there.

If you are on the lookout for a college life story to pass your train journey with, this book comes recommended.

Zero Percentile is available with considerable discount at

Please share your opinion on this post in the comments section.

Adsense Image Banner