A Bowlful of Butterflies by Ritu Lalit
A Bowlful of Butterflies by Ritu Lalit is written with teenage charm and at the beginning I will suggest to read it; reasons being – it is cute (okay, it is a girl’s way to describe!); it reminds you of your teenage days and all you people who have siblings will relate to the book, once in a while we all have fought with them, shed tears with each other, tried hurting them etc. but at the end of day we just hang out together because they are the best people available out there!
The story is set in NCR region for a change and it is not so and so NRI visiting India or something like that. The story is about Chandni who is appearing for her class 12 boards with her two best friends Amrit and Soma. Readers’ will see the world through Chandu aka Chandni; what is her relationship with her friends, what happens when her friend starts seeing her cousin Jogi, the jealousy pangs; Chandu’s two elder brothers – Vicky and Vinni; the antics done by these boys.
Chandu’s world revolves round the home, school and her family and the sleepy town of Majhi Nagar. Her world goes topsy-turvy when her cousin Jogi arrives to stay with them for couple of days before he gets the room in the Enginnering College. She, Vinni and Jogi spy on Vicky and realize that he is gay and then one fine day Vicky leaves home because he wants to become a singer and he is participating in the reality contest. Admist of all, Jogi and Amrit become a couple, Soma has her own problems, Jogi’s parents are separating, his father is seeing someone and so on and so forth. Each chapter is defined, short and crisp. There is melodrama, fun, fight, love, hate….all emotions outlined clearly. Slowly, Chandu realizes her calling in life, even finds love in Avni, a guy who is 25; thankfully he also falls in love with her
As a first time book writer, there is refreshing feel to the book, no unnecessary love scenes thrown in; there is a light – hearted feel to it. It is a transition story of Chandni – a teenage girl to womanhood.
Ginger Chai verdict – Please read it, it is a sweet and cute book.
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Xcess Baggage by Varsha Dixit
Xcess Baggage comes with a strange baggage with it and I can’t figure out if it is a surprise or a shock or I guess it is a mix of both….
At the onset I will say, please read it at your risk, I mean I am not saying don’t read it but then the beginning was not great, one has to hold on to ensure that one hangs on it. It is plain boring until the Vampire hits you on your face full on! Unbelievable but true, it is a story about a female in US who falls in love with a Vampire who is a werewolf, the one who is hell bent to kill her; reason, they want to set free ‘Unquiet Dead’ inside her by killing her and which would have benefited the specie of the Werewolves! Ok, I can’t explain these things detail, simply meant, the female protagonist must be killed or rather sacrificed for the well being of male protagonist ‘s clan….you can draw inference in whatever way you may like it.
So we have Meghna Chandra who resides in some part of US (off late I am reading all such books where the setting is always in US, I wonder why?) and Byron who is Lord, I mean not in literal sense but yes he is because he is a werewolf, a rare combination of vampires and wolves. There is a big clan though not so big lead by Byron the Beast as Meghna calls him. So as you move on, the story unfolds like a true fiction like a movie with all special effects with hero flying out of aero plane with heroine, saving her from dying etc. Oh yes! He excels in almost everything, literally yes, he has even studied medicine.
I hope and believe that it is a pure fiction (I am not sure if werewolves exist). You will enjoy the verbal repartee between Meghna and Byron, you will also hope that he will finally fall to her charms and you will also hope that they live happily after but that is not the case. What exactly happens? To know this, you need to read on.
The first book – Right fit wrong shoe – was really enjoyable, so the second book came with the excess baggage of expectations of being a better one than the first but somehow it is not so. Or, may be we had so much of expectations that it failed to meet so. The book is different in its own way for the simple reason I never knew or could think of this kind of plot so it was seemingly fresh to say. After you have managed to stay put through first five pages then there is no way you can put the book down without completing it which makes it clear that it is good in its own way. I mean if you ask the author which book is better, she will have no answer. My only wish was the different ending; yes a true happy ending would have sent my spirits soaring. I actually imagined that it will be a one bollywood ending but that was not the case alas! It is not even sad, it is just painful and leaves you with a question why or rather “Oh Noooooo”!!!
Over all I suggest to read it in leisure, reasonable price, sweet & sour story, not meant for those who do not believe in fairy tales, or who always believe in happy endings J
Yes, the review was late, I have been writing it for ages; I had read the book in its first week of launch itself….I managed to read some chapters again in order to write the review….and yes I can read it again (but not the first 4-5 pages !!!!).
The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
As the name suggests, it is a story of a Mistress of Spices! Sounded interesting hence I chose this one to read. It is written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni who also wrote “Arranged Marriage”, a book which I honestly did not know until I read this title.
Mistress of Spices is a story of a girl who is born to poor parents and regarded as a one who will again put her parents in misery as they will have to pay dowry. Little did they know at the time of her birth that she is born with supernatural powers of foreseeing future. As her fame spread, pirates hear about her and abducts her one day! However, she was powerful enough to overthrow the chief and became the queen of pirates. She was not satisfied and when in search of peace, she comes to an island where she is to become the Mistress of Spices under the rigorous training of First Mother.
The First Mother teaches her along with other girls all about the Spices. These spices are later to be used to cure other peoples’ misery when given to them with the magical chants. Once she manages to learn all those Special Powers, she is to run a Spice Store in Oakland. She is given the name ‘Tilo’. Tilo should never leave the store, she should never use the powers for herself but for others to help and last but not the least she should not make any physical contact with any human being. As the story progresses, readers find smaller stories intertwined where Tilo uses her powers to help others. While helping others, she is so taken into it that one after another she starts breaking the forbidden rules laid for Mistresses. Not only she breaks rules but she also allows herself to fall in love with a lonely American. Once she does that, there is no looking back even though the Spices punish her, First Mother warns her of the outcomes……she overrules all, the adamant, obstinate TILO.
Does she succeed in finding her true love, what happens exactly when she breaks all rules, how do spices punish her, who is the lonely American, how does she help the miserable through her special powers? All this and more in the novel where each chapter is named after a Spice ….I wished and imagined also if actually one can use the spices available in the kitchen the way it is used in the Book . The book is a good read for all those who believe in Magic and also for those who don’t for you can always enjoy the other aspects. How does Tilo re-emerges as “Maya” in the end is for you to read. It is an interesting story of magical powers of a woman who uses her powers to help others and self and finally re-emerges as Maya. A story of a woman who dares to taste the forbidden! Whether she succeeds or not in her search & unknown desires is for the readers to find out.
Ginger Chai verdict – Read it in leisure and you may be compelled to complete it at the earliest.
Bel gira hai shayad!
“Bel gira hai shayad”, on hearing the sound and to my prediction, my mother ran out shouting followed by me. As I struggled to catch with her (you see post-delivery this is what happens!), the damage was done and we saw a fat lady in red suit running away with two ‘Bel Phal” that too large ones. By the time we both reached the gate, she had made to end of road and the gardeners and cleaners of the colony park hurriedly made their way to the work (which they were suppose to do) and looked away sheepishly as we could make out they had helped the ‘auntyji’ in plucking away those fruits. None of us had the energy to chase the auntyji. My mother vented out her anger on the rickshaw puller who stopped and asked if he can pluck the fruit though later she lamented as to why she scolded him when he genuinely asked for the fruit. This whole scene resulted in a quick phone call to my father by my mom asking him to come home early and pluck all the fruits; that she can no longer check on the ‘bel thieves’.
Well, the next morning, my father did pluck away those fruits but not all.
This tree is just outside our front wall and we didn’t grow it but it grew on its own though we nurtured it. I still can’t recall as to how long this tree has been there but yes it’s been there for quite a few years. Earlier my grandmother would keep small uneven brick pieces near the door and as soon as she will feel that someone is up to mischief, she will launch her ‘stone missile’ from the verandah itself without thinking as to where it will hit! By the time ‘that someone’ realizes what has happened, she used to be at the gate with the stick in hand and a volley of abuses will be hurled at him left, right, centre! And by any chance if anyone has managed to pluck the fruit, she used to ensure that it is back in house. We definitely miss her at these times.
When it fell down, my father made a brick pillar to support the tree so that it didn’t fall and to date it stands tall.
Bel-Phal is beneficial in various abdominal disorders and it stimulates the digestive system and especially in summers it is in too much demand. Each year we wait patiently for the fruits to grow and keep a mental track of all those people who come asking for the fruits once they are ripe. Also, we keep a tab as to when the fruit will fall down on its own as well. Amongst friends, it was always a joke that we should make our enemies stand under the tree and shake the tree so vigorously that the fruits will fall on their heads and it will be broken . Well, it never happened like that but it did fall on my head once when my father was standing on the wall with the stick trying to pluck the fruit and I was standing under the same fruit to catch it lest it falls down on the floor and breaks! (We had tested one catch earlier). The second catch failed and it straightaway hit me on head and went down in the drain. My head didn’t break though!
There was no apparent reason for me to write this but the struggle to save those fruits and again the hard work done to pluck those fruits safely made me wonder as to how much we are attached to the tree. It is a yearly ritual to see those fruits growing, asking our neighbors to lend us the big stool to pluck the fruits and then looking at the heap collected and distributing them. One of my father’s colleague will call him regularly asking for the fruit to make the medicine out of it for her diabetic husband. We drink the sherbet regularly.
After I moved to Bangalore, I miss out on all this fun. This year was different as I was here for the delivery and I am enjoying my stay watching over this tree and its fruits. I am hopeful that in coming years I can do so along with my grown up kiddo!
For all you fellow readers, enjoy reading, enjoy writing and don’t forget to drink the Bel-Sherbet, it is healthy…..till the next post.
- Musings by Divya Sharma. For her other articles click HERE
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Dance India Dance Season 2, February 19 – 20
Who will be the four lucky wild card entrants? Will the popular Dharmesh Sir be back into the competition? Our bird says the lucky four are : Dharmesh, Amrita, Jack and Saajan.
Watch the telecast in Zee tonight to see if our bird is right or not.
Visit us again later for the complete detail on this week’s episode.
It was the suspense episode where we waited patiently to hear the results of the final 4 participants who will form part of the Top 12.
The show started with the dance performances of all the 8 participants who formed part of the wild entry.
The first performance was of Parvez & Altaf from Geeta ki Gang and they danced on Dhan tena dhan from Kaminey in hip hop style, followed by a performance in Freestyle by Dharmesh and Amrita again from Geeta ki Gang. They both danced on Mere Haath Mein song. It was a different style for Dharmesh altogether and he did his best to make the performance beautiful.
After these first 4 performances, the results were announced for the 2 participants and yes! Dharmesh and Amrita are now the part of the TOP 12 who will fight for the top slot.
Bhavna & Saajan from Remo Ke Rangeeley performed on Aaja Gufayun mein aa and it was a mix of freestyle & contemporary. Again, it was totally a new forte for Saajan but he did pretty well. This was followed by a very sweet romantic performance from Jack & Vandana from Terrance ki Toli on the song Dil Kya Kare; it was American Waltz. Vandana looked really pretty and again Jack was a surprise package as waltz was again a new style for him.
Now was the announcement of the next 2 participants who would form part of the top 12; Jack and Saajan are in the top 12 now.
Mr.Muscle Tough move of the Day went to Parvez & Altaf.
Over all a good episode, even the old 8 chosen ones also performed and it was a power packed performance.
Feb 20th is going to be a Maha Episode and by trailers it looked to be something cool to watch for.
Till then keep dancing…
I believe that now all episodes of DID – 2 will be most awaited in themselves since the voting has started.
All the top 12 have now started competing for the “Sunhari Taqdeer ki Topi” in full josh! Today’s performances brought out the best of Mentors as well.
Nikkitasha(Tashu) from Remo Ke Rangeeley was the first to perform, and even if you can’t look at her performance, viewers can simply look at her face and enjoy themselves, she looked ravishing in blue outfit. She performed on Jane kya Jaaneman which was Indian Contemporary Dance Style. It was a soothing performance and she is really good at classical dance steps.
Saajan from Remo Ke Rangeeley performed on Paisa Paisa Karti Hai which was hip hop and b boying dance style; Shashank from Remo’s team performed on Dil Ko Tumse Pyar Hua in Hip Hop Dance Style. Punit from Remo’s team performed on Kurbaan Hua and it was Aerial Contemporary Style.
From Terrance ki Toli it was Jack, Kruti, Amar & Shakti – Jack performed on Aahun-Aahun & Mari Pant bhi Sexy in Hip Hop & freestyle. It was really a cute dance performance, he was styled as a radio station and he is picking up fast and really good. Kruti’s Bharatnatyam Style was mind blowing and she performed Draupdi Vastraharan. She was just too good and awesome; enacting 5 different characters was not only difficult but tricky too. However, she did very well and justified the performance. Amar performed on Mahi-Mahi in Contemporary Dance Style and he used a big wheel as a prop. Shakti performed on the song Naach in Contemporary Dance Style and a cage was used as a prop to enhance the performance. Over all Terrance ki Toli’s performance was cool.
Geeta ki Gang – Binny looked so beautiful and bollywood dance style suits her so much and her smile is something to enjoy for and she plays so well with her expressions. She performed on Dhoom Tana Tan in Bollywood dance style along with one of the traditional dance style where she used a head gear which had pots & candles to be balanced on head. This portion was little tacky as she appeared to be conscious but her jhtakas and all were marvelous. Amrita was super!! She performed on Teri Ore in Aerial Contemporary Dance Style and she is just too good & fantastic. She is actually a delight to watch when she performs. Dharmesh performed on the song Premika Ne Pyaar Se in Hip Hop & freestyle. He looked cute in the get up of a Pandit! Again he is a delight to watch, you can just watch him again & again. Kishore performed on Aaya Hai Raja in Huli Kali Dance Style.
Overall this episode was cool, and I believe that now on the standards of performances will keep going high by each episode since now the voting has started so they will leave no stone unturned.
Performers to watch for – Tashu & Saajan from Remo Ke Rangeeley; Jack, Kruti & Shakti from Terrance ki Toli; Amrita & Dharmesh from Geeta ki Gang. It is not that others are no good, but all these have some or the other edge over others. Voting is open till Monday
So India Keep dancing & Keep Voting.
Dance India Dance Season 2, February 12 – 13
I guess, this episode was most awaited as after this one the voting starts. The attraction of this episode was the competition amongst the participants who were eliminated in earlier episodes and those who were on standby from Grand Master’s side. All in all there were 16 participants, 10 were those who were eliminated in various episodes, 4 were standbys and 2 were Masters’ Choice (not sure in which episode it was told!).
The show began with a bang and for a change the performances were far better than the regular episodes. The Masters were looking good for a change, not sure what Remo did to himself or was it the reflection of yellow color on his face but he looked lot fair and cool than his earlier dress up! (I hope that was not the effect of fair & handsome, hee heee). A piece of mind for Geeta, please don’t deck yourself up unnecessarily, you looked simple, elegant and beautiful earlier so be like that. I have kind of given up on Terrance, I guess for a change he can do away with his bandanas and weird get ups. I am left wondering after each episode as to how he would look in a simple jeans and T-Shirt! Never mind that, at least he was better off yesterday. No comments on Grand Master’s dress, I guess he needs to be dressed according to the size of chair in which he sits, else he will be invisible! Soumya looked pretty though.
Ok, coming back to the main agenda – the performances…..
All 16 contestants were split into teams and were assigned to 3 Mentors.
It began with Geeta’s Gang – Altaf Nadmal and Amrita >>> they danced Cha Cha Cha on the song Zoobie Doobie
Next were Altaf Bhatt and Farhina from Terrance ki Toli >>>> they performed on Pehli Baar Mohabbat ki hai from Kaminey. Farhina was awesome in her moves and expressions. Altaf was totally eaten up by her and she was so energetic that no one would have bothered to watch Altaf.
Melvin and Bhavna from Remo ke Rangeeley >>>> they performed on prem ki naiyya from Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani – Bollywood Style, nothing much to say about them (actually I can’t even recall the performance).
Jack and Ameeth from Terrance ki Toli >>>>> they did lyrical hip-hop on Saali Khushi. It was just too cool a performance and they were good. They were the first in the day to get the grand salute from Dada. They also won the Lux Khoobsurat Performance of the Day.
After this Terrance and Remo also did lyrical hip-hop and it was a delight to watch both of them. They should perform more to increase the TRPs of the show.
Parvez & Vandana from Terrance ki Toli >>>>> Contemporary Dance on Sau dard Hain; it was a soft and melodious performance, Parvez was better than Vandana. Let us see what happens.
Saajan, Meenu and Naresh from Remo ke Rangeelay >>>>> Freestyle on Aankhon mein Teri from Om Shanti Om; it was not a kind of Remo but then it was cute to watch. The performance had Mithun Da standing up to salute the performers. Saajan and Naresh did some good B – boying and stunts at the request of Dada after the performance and that one was better than the regular performance lol.
Last one was most awaited (at least by me); Dharmesh, Tina and Shruti from Geeta ki Gang >>>>> it was a freestyle on a song Rasiya where 2 females are vying for Dharmesh’s attention and how he keeps himself in control. May be I am little biased towards Dharmesh or whatever; it was the coolest performance for me. Those 2 females were good (so I assume ‘cos it was overall a good performance) but no one can beat Dharmesh for sure. I am still wondering as to why he was eliminated. The performance also got a salute from Mithun Da.
In today’s episode, each mentor will choose a couple and put them on Junta ki Kasauti for best 12 and here the public voting will come into play. Out of these 16 participants, only 4 are needed to make it to best 12. This means that only 6 best performances will be put for Public Voting ( this is what I interpreted from the show); other 10 will be out in that event and out of those 6 only 4 needs to be picked up for Top 12. I hope that Dharmesh makes it to top 12.
Ginger Chai pick of the day – Rasiya by Geeta ki Gang followed closely by Saali Khushi from Terrance ki Toli
Ginger Chai pick on the performers – Dharmesh, Ameeth, Parvez (it could be a close tie up between Ameeth and Jack). Amrita, Farhina, Meenu but then it is really going to be tough for mentors’ as girls were better than boys.
So India Keep watching and Keep Dancing.
Feb 13, 2010
Finally, the most awaited and happening event started in DID Season – 2 – the public voting.
All the 16 participants who were part of the Chance Pe Dance episode were standing on the stage in the anticipation of being chosen as the Best Performer of the day so that they can be on Junta ki Kasauti.
The first in line were from Remo ke Rangeeley. Remo chose Bhavna over Meenu and Saajan over Naresh and Melvin. Bhavna performed on ‘Baawra Mann’ and it was contemporary dance style. Saajan performed on ‘Kivve Mukhdhe ko’; it was b-boying & hip hop dance form. The highlight was that Saajan was never a trained dancer but he learnt b-boying by watching.
Vandana was picked up by Terrance over Farhina and she performed on ‘Tere Ishq Mein’ in Semi Classical dance form and it was a good performance. Jack beat everyone in Terrance’s Team and he performed on ‘Tanhayee from Dil Chahta Hai’ and it was a contemporary dance style. It was a mind blowing performance and he was really really cool which earned him a salute as well from Grand Master. He was so sweet when he said that neither in Norway nor in India he is considered Indian.
There is something so good about all the participants this year, they are good in what they do i.e. Dance and they are open and honest unlike last year where the attitudes ran high. So even if the dance performances are bad, the performers are themselves a delight to watch.
Dharmesh and Amrita were chosen from Geeta ki Gang and Dharmesh performed on ‘Kitna Pyara Vaada/Aloo Chat – it was hip hop. And man! He was just awesome (can’t help it but I like him sooooooooo very much). Dharmesh was applauded by all 3 mentors. Amrita was wonderful and she did contemporary on ‘Kaise Bataiye from Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani’. She was just too good and even made Grand Master salute her, her performance justified Mithun’s decision to keep her as a stand by.
The surprise package of the episode was entry of additional two performers on Junta ki Kasauti and they were to be chosen by Grand Master. He chose Altaf Nadlam from Geeta ki Gang and Parvez from Terrance ki Toli. Altaf did contemporary dance on ‘Ya Rabba’ and he was good, I guess this must be his best performance so far. Parvez did lyrical hiphop on ‘Dil Ibadat’. He also tried giving his best and he is more of entertainer so the performance was entertaining.
Saajan won “Mr.Muscle tough move of the Day”.
Yesterday’s episode was too good when it came on performances; I just wish that they keep the same tempo and quality in all future episodes. Also, all the 8 competitors who are already part of Top 12 need to be very careful as new additions are power packed performers.
No comments on Judges get up today, not that it was not noted. I wish Terrance could just do away with his turbans! Geeta Ma, the bun doesn’t suit you and please do away with those dhinchak bangles and those big rings! You look so beautiful when you keep your hair loose and dressed simply. (So much for no comments, huh!)….oh yes! Soumya looked ravishing in red saree, God she is so fair, I wonder how!
Voting lines are open till Monday 10 a.m. I believe.
Ginger Chai picks – Its bit tough to pick as all performances were good. The writer is openly biased for Dharmesh so he should be there in top 12, Amrita should also come, if we go by performances. Jack and Altaf were no less.
The wait will be over next week, so India keep waiting, keep voting and keep dancing.
Right Fit Wrong Shoe
Don’t be confused! This is the title of the book which I read at a pace even I am surprised. I have read it 3 times! Well, I am not sure why did I read it 3 times but I did and I think I can read it yet again.
When I first saw the cover of this book, the thought was “yellow yellow dirty fellow sitting on a buffalo”; why that fellow was sitting on buffalo even I am not aware. Yeah! the cover is all yellow and black with a female figure posing in the centre of the cover page. It was not the cover which attracted me to pick this book but the title! It is written by Varsha Dixit, published by Rupa and costs Rupees 95/-. I guess this is an irresistible price for me when it comes to books
This is a story of Nandini & Aditya, a typical Indian Mills & Boons kind of romance; Just that it picks lots and lots of things and cues from our good ol’ Bollywood. The writer seems to be so very much inspired by Bollywood and she is candid to admit so. The story is set in Kanpur. Nandini’s family and Aditya’s family are old family friends. Their friendship starts blossoming after Aditya Sareen’s family comes down to stay next to Nandini’s house, it starts with hate – love relationship. Nandini is like a lassi in a wine glass for Aditya, he wants a girl for himself who has a class and doesn’t wear sneakers with jeans but with the gym track pants! Still he finds her attractive. The story slips into flash back after the first chapter. Sneha is the best friend of Nandini, through their conversation readers get introduced to Aditya. He is the big shot (the typical TDH hero from Mills & Boon but he is fair in this book ). So in flashback we get to know that initially the relation began as Tom & Jerry between Aditya and Nandini when they are hell bent to show down each other. I actually enjoyed their verbal repartee. They both realise the love for each other when Aditya is off for 3 months on some project. Due to some misunderstanding they both had to part the ways. And now Aditya Sareen is back with a bang and buys the company in which Nandini works and is hell bent on making her life miserable for breaking his heart. The only thing is that he falls short of stamina when it comes to hurting Nandini but he still tries and to some extent he succeeds too. Meanwhile Nandini suffers like good ol’ movie heroine. After a few twists & turns, they make a peace but they keep out of each other; enters the other woman (side heroine) with whom Aditya is going to marry. Some how like a typical Hindi bollywood fare, our hero realises at the very last (well almost the last moment at the time of announcement of engagement) that he is not sure of his steps and he cannot shake off the past and time spent with Nandini and off he goes in search of answer. And then he is back and readers get to know the mystery of break up, the happy ending Hero meets the heroine and both families are happy
One can finish the book flat in 2 hours if you read continuously. The romance in the book is nothing new but you would still read it because it is like a dream kind of story when you are 16-17 year old. All the chapters are the titles of Hindi movies and ringtones are lifted from the songs . There is quite a use of our won typical Hindi gaalis (abuses) which we even use in our daily routine (I kind of liked it actually!). All in all it is a typical known story but I suggest to read it as it has a feel good factor about it.At some places it gets humorous too and you wouldn’t want to keep it down, not because it is funny at times but it is like a good old lassi in our ordinary glasses!
Author: Varsha Dixit
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LaaJawaab – Swaad ka Khazana
Well, to start with I am not much of a foodie or rather I was not one until marriage. After marriage I became one in the sense that I started trying out the new dishes and new eateries otherwise I am still one of them who follow “stick to regulars rather than lament later” rule. Today I am in one of those moods when I want to write! Why? I ate good food (not that I eat bad food otherwise but it was just awesome today).
This year I got promoted in my office (thanks for all the wishes ). So with promotion came the occasion to celebrate (literally for others though). Strange are the ways of world, you work hard, burn the midnight oil and get promotion and others want the party for your hard work! However, I kept postponing the party as there were others before me in queue whose parties were due. Six months passed like this only and finally the pending quota got over and my turn came. Thus began the hunt for the restaurant which can give only a small hole in the pocket, near to office (I had put the foot down that I want to take the team out for lunch only!) and most importantly people should appreciate as to what ever they eat. The last reason had given me night mares as we already had quite a few disasters when it came to food. I didn’t wish my name to be added to that list. After much deliberation and hunt I settled on this one in Indira Nagar. The fact is I wanted to go to this place since day one when I had read the first review in Times of India. More so because I was new to Bangalore some 3 years back and I would miss the authentic North Indian taste in hotels/eateries. This place claimed to be authentic and caught my attention.
So when it came to throwing lunch party, I first thought of this place but then budget was constraint (which actually I had never bothered to find out). However, luckily again Times ran an article on this food joint and ‘The Buffet’ price caught my eye (lucky me!). Still the search went on and finally my sweet husband ran over to this place and made enquiries. Ok, hang on! I must tell here the name of this place; it is called LAAJAWAAB, swaad ka khazana (Laajawaab means to which there is no answer or literal interpretation will be to which there is no comparison and swaad ka khazana will translate to treasure of taste).
So after much of deliberation I zeroed in this place and started making the enquiries and rate and menu etc. Well, I still can’t figure out as to why they took so much of time in responding to my emails, or why there was no call back on my number to ensure that there is one customer who desperately wanted to eat at this place! Never mind that, after much of haggling we settled on December 22, 2009, Tuesday as our D-day to eat out. We reached to this place by almost an hour late (bad habits of the Finance Team, can’t help it and this is after when everything was fixed on last Friday itself, huh!). Thankfully, the table was reserved in advance for 2 hours. I will not say much of décor though I liked it especially they played all my favorite numbers (good old evergreen classics from 70s- 80s).
This place is situated right there on the CMH road, a very posh and convenient location for all. Valet parking is available at no cost which is a cool plus point. Now the food, which is just the best part or should I say in our Indian Standard English – the beshtest part is food! (Few of the good teachers of mine would have failed me in English test for sure after reading this!). I cannot help in expressing my feelings about the food. I believe in my 6 months of pregnancy this is the first time I have become so emotional about food in spite of the fact that I have gestational diabetes and I am on almost 18 units of insulin! But trust me all you readers, you have no choice but to believe me that food was just awesome! The buffet had 2 vegetarian starters and 2 non-vegetarian starters, with 2 non –vegetarian gravies and 4 vegetarian gravies as main course, pulao, plain rice, tandoori roti / naan (served right on your table garam garam), 5 dipping of salad and 4 desserts. Oh yes! I cannot forget the Vegetarian soup and non – vegetarian soup. And guess what, the veg soup was something I had tasted a few days back at some big place and I didn’t like it and so was the case with my colleague. Hence, I didn’t take the soup and as I went back to my seat, I saw my colleague having the soup; I asked him if he liked it and he was like please go and have it else you are going to miss it. Yes, I will not name the dishes. I have a valid reason for this which I will disclose sometime later. However, I can say that one paneer item and one daal is a must in their buffet. The food was not spicy and it was not bland; just the right combination of spices. They say “seeing is believing” and today’s buffet was a live example. When I had first met the manager, he claimed that their buffets’ are jam packed. I actually didn’t believe him because when I had gone, there was not a single soul sitting there except the staff. However, today I considered myself lucky that I had reserved a table for 22 people else we would have waited for ages for our turn to come. The place was actually jam packed! I believe you now Mr.Manager
Coming back to why I can’t disclose the items on buffet; I had asked for the menu as we generally do and we have done so in past with quite a few eating places. However, no matter what these people will have one or the other answer on the menu and till last moment I was not aware of what was there on today’s menu card. I wish I knew as to why they were so secretive of the menu; but then I guess it is this secrecy that drives people to this place. My God! What a pleasure it was to eat there! This is all available at a reasonable price and yes if you are a big team and you have good bargaining capacity then you may get a discount as well (I will not tell if I got one )
Also, I am not sure if the executive chef always sits at the billing counter or was it my plain luck? He was the sweetest chap around who did most of the talking with eyes . If you get a chance to meet him, be courteous to tell him that food was good, he will sure like the appreciation and will keep this place going on with the same quality. My biggest appreciation came my way from a colleague who said that 6 months wait for this lunch was worth it!
The only way you will believe as to what I have written here is go out and try the food and I am 100% sure that you will lick your fingers and you will have only one thing to say ‘Stupendo, fantabulous, fantastic’ (this is a line which Geeta Kapoor says in Dance India Dance when she likes the performance) or as Remo says again in Dance India Dance, ‘this is what I call a performance’.
Bon Appetite kyunki Laajwaab ka koi jawaab nahin hai!
Mom-to-be’s day out!
Other day we went to the Hospital for the Growth Scan of the Baby. Our hospital visit is more of excursion only. Well, it cannot be classified as picnic considering the smell of medicines and hospital environment but still it’s like a day long outing. Whenever my scans are due, we plan almost a month in advance. The date has to be booked one month in advance depending on what date the doctor has suggested. The constant struggle of getting the appointment on Saturdays and then one more appointment with the Gynecologist on the same day – phew! Life is a circus!
A normal day when the scan is due begins with getting on time (imagine the pain on a chutti wala day!), ensuring that we have breakfast on time, puja on time, bath on time & other household work on time along with the lunch on time. Then starts the packing for hospital! Two water bottles, all medical reports, snacks (that too healthy ones), books to read, music to listen (long waiting time if the baby acts funny & doesn’t believe in moving), pens to fill in the forms, mobile phone should be fully charged, sweater because while coming back it is cold, (Bangalore weather is like mood swings of women so one needs to ensure that while going out one is prepared for rains as well) of course you cannot afford to forget the wallet… oh yes! The good old medical card which shows that you are registered with the hospital…. Never mind the list, this is not exhaustive J and I am sure there will still be something which I would have missed out…
Coming back to the other day……..as I waited for my chance, I kept praying silently that baby should not behave funny and should show the movements as & when the doctor says. I knew the pain of waiting for hours just because baby is in no mood to relent and will take his or her own sweet time to change the position. Well, I didn’t know then that God was also on my baby’s side. Any how, as I lay there inside the room and my husband being called in, doctor going back & forth the screen and telling nurse in apt kannad to note down, I was in my own thoughts as to whether the doctor will tell me if it is a girl or boy and assuming she agrees to tell me then what reason I should give as to why I want to know? My thoughts were broken when she asked me how the baby was in last scan, I tried recalling, looked at my husband and while we recalled, doctor told that today baby is bottoms up. I was like why on earth he is bottoms up, and I felt scolding and telling him/her to sit straight like normal human beings, not that my baby is not a human being but then why bottoms up?! Again the hands were locked behind, God only knows what makes my baby lock the hand behind, but this is his/hers favorite pose. After struggling for almost 45 minutes, the doctor gave up and asked me to wait and eat something. And then began the long wait to be called again.
I guess we waited almost an hour or so and on top of that sitting there with full bladder was painful. I was left wondering as to what happened to Bhagwaanji, why he is favoring the baby and not me by showing the movements on correct time. Somehow I sailed through and my chance came again, this time the baby did not want to tease the mother anymore and had changed position, the nurse rushed to call the doctor and then my husband. Along with my husband came the receptionist running and calling at the same time after him. She was not in good mood that day and we had seen her foul mood at the arrival only as she gave the piece of mind to couple of people. I was like what did he do to call her wrath on him. As he entered the room, there she was asking and ensuring that he reaches the correct room. He nodded still not understanding as to why he would go to some other room. Realizing the confusion she went on to narrate the incident. It went on something like this.
A few days back a female called Sunita was undergoing the scan; the nurse came out and called upon Sunita’s husband. Two men stood up and approached her saying that they are Sunita’s husband; she looked from one to another and said, “No, only one husband is allowed!” Both of them went red faced and were wide eyed with shock. The nurse didn’t realize that there were two Sunita’s undergoing the scan at the same time. She didn’t bother to mention the surname either. As the receptionist narrated this, we were all in peels of laughter. She then said there was one more Divya inside undergoing the scan and hence she came running lest my husband ends up in wrong room. I guess my baby was more than happy listening to all this laughter because my scan got over soon after that!
2 States & the story of my marriage by Chetan Bhagat
It’s a story that will make you feel delighted! Yeah! At the onset of the review only I must mention this. Three reasons to beg buy or borrow this book – 1) Most of us will connect to the story instantly. 2) It is simple & sweet, you will not be burdened with loads of complexities. 3) Last but I guess not the least – it is a cheap book available! A mere 95 rupees will not burn a big hole in anyone’s pocket. Well, we picked up at a discounted rate under the launch offer scheme.
I am not a big Chetan Bhagat fan but then I have read all his earlier 3 books. I had to redeem my earned points in my Saving Bank Account so I went ahead and ordered “One Night @ Call Centre” and man what a weird feeling I had after reading that. I could not understand what was so great about it! Even till date I don’t understand. May be by the time book had come out, I knew as an observer how the BPOs are. After all I had devoted good 1.5 years as Manager Accounts in a BPO so it was not new to me and I was able to relate to the story yet I was baffled why it was a rage! Then I picked up other two books by him – Five Point Someone & “3 Mistakes of my life”. Both of them were picked more out of curiosity rather than liking and yes his books are really cheaply priced so I never felt the pinch of spending. In fact, I was surprised at the price but then why not. I mean if books are available within a reasonable price reach, one would have more reason to buy and read rather than borrow or buy second hand. Long story cut short, all these 3 books had only one plus point that they were written in simple English. One doesn’t have sit with the dictionary to translate the meanings so they are like simple story books which you can finish at a stretch.
Coming back to the latest one – I will not say it is a master piece but yes the writer has actually evolved from his earlier 3 books. Though many may not agree but this one is the best out of all the four books now available in the market. Story is very simple. I was almost smiling throughout the book. And why not? I had a very very special and specific reason. I am a Pandit Brahmin from North India married to a Tamilian though not Iyers. So it was like a replication of things though neither I nor my hubby is from IIT or IIM. The similarity ends there, this is the reason I said most of us connect to the story immediately. It is a story of a Punjabi Munda (boy) meeting a Tamil Ponnu (girl) in IIMA setup. We will say, what big deal in today’s scenario but then yes a couple of years ago it was for sure a big deal. The story progresses at a reasonable pace. The first phase of the book introduces the lead characters – Krish & Ananya. It begins with how they meet each other. In spite of being in one of the biggest institutions where studies are a priority, they manage to fall in love. People will love these tidbits of life. The second & third phase involves the introduction of families, their dislike of each other, their disapproval of the relationship and how Krish pataofies the Tamil Family. Each chapter is a delight to read and the familiar settings of the places makes it all the more fun to read. The fourth section of the book has the reverse act where Ananya has to ensure that everyone in Krish’s family likes her and how she manages that. The fifth section focuses on the meeting of two families. And the last section concentrates on the end, well yes a Happy End where the boy marries the girl with the approval of both the families and then they live happily ever after.
I cannot say which section of the books is most enjoyable. All sections have their own importance in their own way. The story emphasizes on the family bonding, the togetherness and yes the never ending love in the relationship. The story also dwells upon the relationship of father-son, son-mother, husband-wife, the in-laws, the typical Punjabis born and brought up in Delhi, the staunch Tamil Brahmins. This reminds me of the instance, when I had told about Rajan to my mother, her instant reaction was – a Madrasi! Between, one even finds the touch of the spirituality in the story and a moral teaching on Forgiveness which is beautifully put in by way of interesting relationship between ex-army father and IIMA graduated son. There are some funny incidents picked from day to day life which I am sure each one of has gone through so it is easy to relate.
All said and done – the final word on the book is that it is worth picking up and makes a good read. So, please go and check it out for yourself on the shelves in bright red color.