Hawa Hawai – The Queen who Ruled our Hearts!

It was the winter of ’88 and it was our first overnight school trip to Nasik – few 8-year olds attempting to master the steps of Hawa Hawai. Mr India had taken the country by storm and Sridevi with her dancing skills and 1000 expressions had stolen every girl and boy’s heart. Her expressive, lovely doe-eyes, her graceful movements, her impeccable comic timing, her fearless attitude – all combined in that 6-minute number, put us all in awe of her forever.

Little did we girls know then what a fine actress she was; we were not really exposed much to the world of Tamil and Telugu cinema, where she was already an established actress. I had watched none of her previous films or probably have minimal recollection of watching any before Mr. India.

Mr. India is a movie that will always remain close to my heart for many, many reasons – the kids, the story, Anil Kapoor’s innocence, Satish Kaushik’s memorable Calendar, Amrish Puri as the most favourite villain Mogambo; but over and above all – for Sridevi’s stunning portrayal of reporter Seema. It was a multi-faceted character –  a fine example of how a woman should be – fearless, independent, and compassionate. There was no doubt why she was such a hit amongst the kids, especially girls.

As I became her fan, I started to watch more of her movies and few years later ended up watching Sadma, the first time in Tamil (Moondram Pirai) – thanks to the awesome films that DD National showcased on the Sunday afternoon slot at 1:30 p.m. I cried like crazy and kept asking my parents why won’t Viji recognise Cheenu, he took care of her when she had lost her memory, someone get her memory back, make her get off from the train and remember him. The irony dawned on me many years later, when I was old enough to understand. Sadma was one of the most heart-breaking films I have ever watched; the credit for that rests with Sridevi and Kamal Hassan for their outstanding portrayals of Viji and Cheenu respectively.

I ended up watching many of Sridevi’s hits before Mr India, well after the release of Mr. India, thanks to VHS rental libraries in those days.  Then came Chalbaaz and Chandni, and though the latter is not one of my favourite films, I can never forget how beautiful she looked in those gorgeous chiffon sarees which almost became her trademark. Remember the song – Tere Mere Hothon Pe

Chaalbaaz was a complete riot and Sridevi single-handedly overshadowed a star cast boasting of Anupam Kher, Rajnikant, Anu Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor and Rohini Hattangady; hell, she even managed to get Sunny Deol to dance! Na Jaane Kahan se Aayi – The song stayed on top of the charts only cause of her amazing dancing skills and expressions!

In 1991, Yash Chopra gave us a path breaking movie in Lamhe. The movie was well ahead of its times and probably why people could not digest the plot line; but I loved it the first time I watched it and l Iove it even now. The star cast was excellent, the script and dialogues simple, yet poignant and it showcased love in innumerable forms. I cannot pick a single favourite song from the album – all numbers equally hummable. I can’t recollect the umpteen number of times we performed to ‘Morni’ at various occasions! Sridevi again pulled off the impossible – she outshone all the heavy-weights in the star cast that included Waheedaji. Her portrayal of Pooja stole your heart and you kept cheering for her to win her Kunwarji’s love! And even in that serious storyline – the comedian in her struck gold with an equally fantastic actor Anupam Kher; the result was a laughter riot in this medley from the 50-60s.

Her comic timing was exemplary and probably her most underrated talent – just watch this Charlie Chaplin act she pulled off with ease in Mr. India or her hilarious act from the song in Chaalbaaz; you will know what I mean.


As much as she was known for her fine acting skills, she was an extremely accomplished dancer and I will just let you all watch a few snippets from her ‘Tandav Nritya’ performances in some of her films.


She did not give any major hits in the late 90s and then took a sabbatical. I tried watching some episodes of Malini Iyer but I could not continue beyond a couple of episodes; as I did not want to lose any memories of her that were so ingrained in me while growing up.

I made my peace that she had retired for good because not every superstar can reinvent themselves like Amitabh did later in his career. How wrong I was about her! Come 2012 and she came back with a bang as Mrs. Deshpande, aided by a lovely cast, terrific script, fresh director and superb soundtrack; Sridevi took me back to my childhood days. As I watched her dance to the beats of Navrai Majhi, she had wooed me back! I realised that the kid in me had never left and I was back in being in awe of her!

I watched English Vinglish – First Day First show in the Theatres and realised how much I had missed her in the movies. Madhuri was/is my favourite (and there is a loads of Marathi bias in that fandom), but I loved Sridevi to bits and her playing a Marathi lady from Pune was the ultimate icing on the cake.

Since then I have been eagerly waiting to see her in new roles and redefine her career as Amitabh did; and then suddenly out of nowhere, the news of her demise hit me on Saturday night. I can’t quite understand how someone you have never met can bring that feeling of emptiness in you once they are gone. Sridevi was such a huge part of my growing up – especially made those late 80s and early 90s so memorable. Her death brought back all those lovely associated memories and I realised after all these years, I can still recollect most of them vividly.

I still cannot believe she is gone. For the next few weeks, I will go back to browsing YouTube for her videos and movies, and listening to Hawa Hawai in a loop – and when the song plays, that memory of us 8-year olds trying to master the dance step (5:44 onwards in the clip above) from that song will keep coming back.

You will continue to rule our memories dearest Sridevi, even when you are long gone, because you were the only Queen that ruled our hearts!


Harp – Book Review (BlogAdda)

First of all thanks to Blogadda for this opportunity and the patience they have showed. I feel terrible that I could not complete my review in the time they had requested. My work and personal commitments + travel took up most of my time in the last month. These are the most busy times at work and I found it difficult to devote time to the book and then write the review.

I volunteered for the program with intention of getting back to blogging + increasing my reading which has slackened severely in the last few years. I envy those who can manage work, travel, and finish books in the time one takes to finish off biscuits. When Blogadda tweeted about wanting bloggers residing in Europe to be part of the book review, I decided to volunteer , wondering what the topic of the book would entail.

The premise of Harp by Nidhi Dalmia seemed very interesting. The setting in the late 60s – a time when India was in teens and her young generation was eager to seek adventure in the western world. The young breaking free from the norm and the age old traditions. A rebellious streak, a daring to try something anew and nursing a fearless craving to travel the world. The setting Europe – which has some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Ashok the protagonist , born in an educated business family, joins his father’s Dairy products factory soon after college. He is the only son with two sisters and enjoys many privileges compared to his sisters, given the attitude of parents & society to sons vs.. Girls. Much against his parent’s wishes, he earns his scholarships and ventures out to Europe, to intern at different dairy companies. And on this journey, he encounters many a romantic adventures.

This is where my interest stopped, I waited for Ashok’s character to build up, his romantic affairs, the build up to meeting different women on his journey, establishing a reason to get together, his struggles in the new land, far away from the comforts of home or his relationships with his parents and sisters. I barely read through 30% of the book – neither did the language work for me nor the characters; I kept waiting for the story to take a turn.

Europe has some of the most picturesque towns and cities and I was most disappointed that the author did not manage to bring alive the beauty of the surroundings in her book. I kept craving for the minor details that would paint the romantic setting associated with most places in Europe. The writing was immature , where the story had a stop-start-stop-start narrative. The sentences felt cut and there seemed no flow from one sentence to the other. If this was a first attempt, it surely needed lots of editing. Ashok’s character seemed weak, more driven by lust than love or genuine attraction. His interests were randomly established and just felt forced when he met the women. I did not feel any connection or curiosity to what happens next with the central characters.

I did try my best to give this book a shot to complete but I just could not. If the book is good, you will find a way from the busy schedules to complete it but sadly Harp did not motivate me enough to finish it. I hope the next books I volunteer to read for this program manage to hold my interest for a longer time than Harp did.


Baked eggs in Avocado

Since we are on avocado , here is my next love – Eggs! I have never figured out how folks survive without eggs – there are so many ways to make them and have them. So one of my colleagues mentioned to me that she had scrambled eggs and avocado one day for breakfast; and could not stop thinking about me given my love for both these food items. This was stuck in my head and I kept wondering how could I combine the two instead of making separate items. So I thought what if I bake the egg in avocado, and then all I did was checked online if avocados could be baked directly in the oven and viola!

I took 2 avocados (ripe) and cut them in half. Removed the seed and scooped the flesh out leaving a thin layer on the skin. I sliced out a small portion from the oval skin portion from behind so there was a flat base for the halves to stay steady on the tray without the egg mix spilling out. In another bowl, I took 2 eggs, added milk, italian herbs, chilli flakes, coarse black pepper and salt to taste. Mixed well and poured it steadily with a spoon in the split avocado halves.

I had pre-heated the oven at 180 degrees and then put the tray with the avocados inside. I kept them in till the egg mix was well cooked. Once the layer was formed and solid I removed the tray from the oven. Of the scooped out avocado made quick guacamole to serve on the side. The result in 20 minutes preparation time below – another quick fix delicious appetiser for any avocado-egg lovers you know and a good item to convert new folks to avocado-egg lovers !


P.s: You can also add mozzarella cheese as a topping when the egg is about to be cooked. Melted cheese just adds more yumminess to the already tasty dish!


Roasted Potatoes with Guacamole & Hummus

My latest addiction (ever since I got to London) is Avocado. I love all things avocado and guacamole. In fact, my sister is jokes that I will stuff it into any food item just so that I can make an excuse for a new dish attempted! I also love potatoes – I mean who does not? Roasted, mash, boiled, fried, as a veggie , in biryaani,  in prawns or chicken/mutton/kheema curry – I love potatoes in all forms.  So I was thinking how can I combine these two items and hunted for some recipes online to chance upon the one below with the added delicacy of hummus!

I took 4 medium sized potatoes and semi-boiled them, soft enough to scoop out the insides to form 2 equal hollow portions from each potato. Then rubbed some olive oil, rock salt, coarse pepper and italian herbs (dry mix of basil, oregano and parsley) to them. Then I put them on a baking tray and placed them in a pre-heated oven (180 degree celcius) and kept them in for 20-25 mins till they turned light brown.


Then I mixed guacamole and hummus (bought the ready mixes available in Marks&Spencer Food). You can even make them at home – recipes easily available online.

Then I stuffed the hollow potatoes with the above mix, topped the stuffing with half sliced cherry tomatoes and some cheese to serve it as a perfect appetizer.


Try it out – the hot potato + cold guacamole/hummus combination is absolutely delicious and one of the easiest starters to make when hosting a party!


The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

If you have ever chanced upon this blog and landed up on this post and yes this one too from my cricket blog – you should not be surprised when I tell you that I can’t wait to watch this movie! 

It releases this weekend. Cavill here & Fassbender in the latest X-Men edition are competing for too much panache in their movies – it is too much to handle! 


Slam Books

As years go by you can only dig them up and read the wonderful words everyone wrote and the promises made ………..only to realise none of those mean anything, anymore to anyone who wrote them and you are clinging on to threads broken a long time ago! 


Garides Saganaki

We have a delicious family-run Greek food restaurant Mosfilo near our place. I tried the Garides Saganaki (shrimp saganaki) and fell in love with it. I have been wanting to try this dish at home for ages since I first tasted it. I hunted for the recipe online and found many variations and finally attempted it at home. It is an extremely easy recipe. This is the recipe on YouTube I followed and here is the final result:


Garides Saganaki


Chicken Enchiladas

For a quick fix dinner on a work evening – this dish turns out filling and very easy to make. 

Main Stuffing :

Boil chicken cubes 3/4th in hot water with 1/2 chicken stock. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a pan and sauté crushed garlic (3-4 cloves) , fine chopped onions (2 small) red/green/yellow pepper (one each) fine chopped, canned tomatoes, salt, add chicken , spicy fajita mix , chilli flakes, oregano and fresh parsley. Then add 2 cups of chicken stock, let it simmer, once water dries out half way add sour cream and some tomato sauce, let it cook on slow flame. Add cheddar/mozorella cheese to the mix. 

White Sauce

Heat 1 ½ tablespoon of butter in a small vessel, add 1 ½ table spoon of maida (Wheat Flour) and stir well. The mixture should stay in liquid state. Then close the stove, let it cool down a bit and then add cold milk, shredded mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well to form thick white sauce.


Take tortillas ( I used the wheat ones here) , spread butter, put chicken mix,white sauce, corn and cheese.
Fold and place on baking tray, add remaining white sauce, gravy sauce , cheese and bake for 15 minutes



Avengers : Age of Ultron

I do write about movies that I hate and vent my frustration here, like the time I wrote about Cocktail & Bodyguard; but you can imagine how bad the recent edition of Avengers was that I don’t even feel like venting it out against it. Maybe I have attended a zen like state in ignoring bad movies or maybe it was so damn yawn worthy that it is not even worthy of my rants anymore. I’m so disappointed with this Marvel edition that I would rather watch Dolly ki Doli once more. 


My comfort food – Cauliflower and White Peas Veggies

As much as I love non-veg, I love my Maharashtrian veg food. My mumma makes these two awesome simple delicacies which take minimal effort and time. These are cooked without onion and garlic and serve as excellent veggies to make on days you fast and need to break the fast with foods without onions and garlic.

Cauliflower Veggie

500 gms of cauliflower chopped into small buds
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Kala masala – 2/3 tbsp depending on how spicy you want. If you don’t have this famous Maharashtrian spice powder substitute it with a mix of red chilly powder and Garam masala in 2:1 proportion.
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Coriander and fresh grated coconut to garnish
Oil – 1-2 tbsp

Marinate the chopped cauliflower with salt, sugar, turmeric and kala masala.
Set it aside for 15-20 minutes.
Heat oil in a wok/kadai and add the cauliflower once oil has heated well. This dish tastes better with a little bit extra oil.
Set the gas on medium flame and place a lid (preferably a big steel plate) with water on the lid.
Keep checking after 5-7 minutes, stir to avoid it from sticking to the pot and reduce the flame.
The vegetable should be well cooked in about 20-25 minutes.
Garnish with fine chopped coriander and a dash of freshly grated coconut .

Best had with varan-bhaat (traditional marathi daal and rice).

White Peas in Green Masala


White peas – 1 cup soaked overnight or minimum 8 hours
Green paste – 14-15 coriander sticks with 2-3 green chillies ground to a fine paste in the mixer.
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/2tsp
Turmeric – 1tsp
Freshly grated coconut – 1 cup
Oil – 1-2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 6-8 pieces
Tamarind and Jaggery pulp: 1tbsp tamarind & equal quantity of jaggery, mix and soak it in water in a small cup.

Ideally cook this dish directly in pressure pan or cooker (small size of 1.5-2 ltr). Heat oil in the pressure pan. For seasoning add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, turmeric , green chilly paste and curry leaves. Add salt and sauté the mixture, add the White peas , add warm water and bring it to boil in the cooker. If you have a normal gas 2-3 whistles suffice but if you are stuck with hot plate like I’m currently with, try atleast 5-6 whistles. Taking too many whistles may result in melting the peas completely ruining the taste entirely.
Let the mixture simmer down and once the vapours have died down, open the pressure cooker.
Now add the tamarind and jaggery pulp and then the freshly grated coconut . Bring to boil to your desired thickness for the next 4-5 minutes.

Serve with hot chapattis ( wheat bread )


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