Month: January 2011

A Touching Story

I started blogging way back in 2005. I took a hiatus for 3 years and came back to blogging in 2009. I still don’t blog as frequently as I would like to; but atleast I’m keeping it going. Thanks to blogging, I got introduced to some fine writers and their blogs. I still follow the blogs that I first encountered in my early blogging days. Most bloggers have become infrequent but when they do post they share some lovely stories.

Manjula Padmnabhan is a famous writer – I’ve not read her books yet but I follow her blog YES religiously till date. She shares some amazing tales and I had to share this with you all, not through twitter or facebook but through my blog.

You must read this lovely story about love. You must. I began my day reading this touching story about a 20 year-old and his loving family. I wonder why we search for inspiration from our idols  when the common man around us can teach us so much more.

Read this and pass it on.

Against All Odds, A Beautiful Life

Dhobi Ghat

Arun says at his art exhibition – My paintings are about  Mumbai – My muse, my whore, my beloved.

And his description of my favourite city in the world lay stuck in my head long after the movie was over. I saw the movie 2 days back and that line just keeps coming back. Kiran Rao plays with her muse – her Mumbai.

The rich Parsi house by the sea, the 100 square feet shack by the railway tracks, the Eid festivities in the by-lanes of Mohamed Ali Road, the rat-infested gutters, the non-moving traffic, the age old yellow-black fiat taxis and the four wheel Audi zooming at speed of 10Km/hr on the roads, the gang-war in the slums, the rich doing drugs, the city that lights up when it rains, the jar that holds the water through a leaking roof, the sea that comes alive as the sun sets in and the Queen’s necklace shines.

And while she gives us a taste of the ethereal Mumbai, Kiran Rao also introduces us to the “real” people of this city. The New York returned investment banker who is attracted to a reclusive painter and her smart-looking laundry guy at the same time, the painter who runs away from relationships and gets emotionally entangled in a tape of a young Muslim bride’s video letters, the laundry guy who juggles between his night duty as the rat-killer and his dreams of being a Bollywood actor.

Of the 4 protagonists – Monica Dogra as Shai had the meatiest role and Aamir the star value. Both disappointed. For the first time since his debut in 1988 – I did not notice Aamir’s existence in the film so awed was I by Prateik Babbar’s innocence. Kriti Malhotra did a good job of a new bride in awe of Mumbai and her people – she introduces us to our Mumbai. But Dhobi Ghat is and will be Prateik Babbar’s film. Clearly we know whose genes have dominated when you see the boy act – when he is falling for the gal from the high-society, is building his muscles so that one day he can be like his hero Salman Khan, is snubbing the girl when he realizes she is attracted to another guy, is restraining himself from kissing the woman he is in love with, is narrating that hunger is what made him leave his hometown in Bihar and fetch a job in Mumbai, and is finally saying goodbye. In his every emotion, his every dialogue, his every mannerism, Prateik’s Munna charms his way into our hearts.

Dhobi Ghat is not a movie for the average movie goer. It left me confused. I had my hopes way too high as it was an Aamir Khan film and hence was disappointed even more. The story moves at a slow pace, and you keep waiting for the climax but there isn’t any and it strikes you that movie is over without any fanfare. The starters were well served and the meal seemed good too until you tasted it. I do not have the artistic sense in me to appreciate this movie and which is probably why I came out feeling a bit confused and lost.

I would still recommend though that you all go to see it once – for Prateik and for Kiran’s portrayal of my Mumbai. The Mumbai I hate, she irks me, she is going from bad to worse, she is chaotic, lacks discipline and is noisy, she differentiates between classes, she is the ground for religious hatred, she turns a blind eye to the crimes, she has become immune to injustice and she makes me cry; but when I see her, I can never forget that it was she who taught me to love, made me laugh, gave me moments I’ll treasure a lifetime, made me believe in miracles, taught me to be fair & treat everyone equally, taught me the dignity of labour, taught me pride, made me practical, and taught me to fight. She is the essence of my existence, and even though I live far away from her – she lives in me day in and out.

Mumbai is every Mumbaite’s muse, whore and beloved, she was, is and will always be – Kiran Rao you did great justice to that line and made that beloved looked divine.

Veggie Cutlets in 30 minutes

I’ve said often on this blog I’m not a veggie fan – I am very finicky about what I like and in which form. Many a times fed up with my stubborness my mother saw only one way to ensure I ate most veggies without making faces or cribbimg about the look of the food. Later on when I started managing my own kitchen I realised I was often left with some small portions of veggies lying around in the fridge. The quantity used to be too small to be made into a proper dish and too much to waste it.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrot or cabbage vegetables – prefer them in salad or along with mayonnaise. Yam I love but boiled not in a vegetable form. So I was left wondering what do I do with these veggies. I realised that my mom’s method would prove very handy in finishing off the leftover veggies in my fridge. 

So out came the veggie cutlets. They seem very unhealthy but then that is why the non-stick pans were discovered. Minimum oil and keep the gas on low flame and let the cutlets cook.

Here go 2 quick recipes for vegeterian cutlets. These have been tried and tested with my circle of friends here who have loved them to the hilt

 Beetroot cutlets: – 15 nos.

1) Boil 2 medium sized potatoes, 1/2 carrot, 1/2 beetroot. 150 gms Yam, and 1/2 cup green peas.

2) Mash the boiled ingredients and add 1 tb sp red chilli powder, 2 finely chopped green chillies, 1/2 tb sp garam masala powder, 1 tea sp. turmeric, 1/2 t sp.coriander-cumin powder, 1/2 tb sp. ginger garlic paste, finely chopped coriander. lemon juice( to taste), sugar, salt to taste, cornstarch for binding

3)Mix well and make flat round pattice, smear pattice with bread crumbs and shallow fry!

Above proportion suffices for 15-16 pieces.

Serve with hot spicy sauce…

Mix Vegetarian Cutlets:

1) Take carrot( 1nos), cabbage(100 gms), yam(100 gms), add some green peas(1 cup) and potatoes(2-3 medium sized.

2) Boil all of them together and mash them

3) Add to the mixture – ginger garlic paste(1.5 tsp), turmeric powder(1 tsp), red chilly powder ( 2 tsp), garam masala (1 tsp), cornflour ( for binding), green chillies ( 2 finely chopped), coriander leaves finely chopped, salt to taste, lemon juice ( 2tsp) 

4) Mix well. Make small pattice and apply some bread crumbs or rice flour and shallow fry with minimal oil in non-stick pans. They make for some quick & delicious snacks – heavy enough to suffice for a dinner.

Above proportion suffices for 10-12 pieces.

Enjoy these and let me know how they turn out

Homemade Soups

Have I ever mentioned to you folks that I love soups. It’s my way of eating the healthy stuff  like greens and all the veggies I dislike. I always wanted to try and learn some soup recipes cause I am not a huge fan of readymade soups and preserved foods. I got the perfect opportunity over the last few days when MDH and I decided to go for light dinners. Some soup and salads, or some tidbits along with the soup.

Over the last year I’ve had minor weight issues – I tend to suddenly put on weight but a little bit of controlled diet (mind you not giving up on my favourite items) and walks help me be fine. My friends from school and college days who have carried with them the picture of a skinny, perpetual 40 kg me, refuse to believe that I could have weight issues.

I’m not obese or over-weight but neither am I that skinny girl anymore. I’m in the right weight range and love the way I look now – it makes me feel good and confident within. Oh don’t get me wrong – I’m not being judgemental. I had been 43 Kgs for 25 years of my life – so you can imagine how good I feel now? Won’t you feel the same if you had been overweight all your life and finely managed to get in a good shape. You feel wonderful from within and there is nothing wrong in it. We may not have the perfect model shaped figures but what is important is to have a fit body and healthy figure. Tell me when you look into your mirror and find that lovely gal staring back at you – don’t you feel good? I do.

I’m also conscious of the fact that I could step onto the over-weight side if I do not control my cravings for chocolates, cheese, chips and ghee. There was a time in my life when I could eat these everyday and not gain an ounce. When 30s set in – all things change – Damn!

Either ways, here are some quick soups I tried on my own during our soup dinner week. I took some help from my aunt who makes some great soups in the world. A word of thanks to Shalmali too. She runs this excellent food blog Bakasoor – where she offers some excellent recipes. Her husband is a friend of mine from engineering days and I used his connection to get some more soup recipes from her as I was running out of my ideas! I have to try them yet and plan to do so in the coming week. Thanks a ton girl.

Ok so here goes some of my own inventions 🙂

1. Quick Fix – Chicken Corn Soup:

I had made some corn soup the previous day and since I got the quantity a bit wrong, I realized I had enough soup to last me for 2 days. I also had some leftover chicken gravy with 4-5 chicken pieces. I took the leftover corn soup, shredded the chicken pieces, added some water, finely chopped coriander leaves, chicken stock and boiled all the ingredients together. The result was one delicious stomach filling soup. Try it and let me know.

Corn soup recipe you ask? Here it goes.

2. Corn Soup

Take a bowl of corn kernels, boil them well. Mince them in the mixer to get a fine paste. Add ½ tsp olive oil in the vessel, pour the corn mixture, add water, some salt and pepper to taste. Take 1 tbsp cornflour and mix in cold milk (2-3 tbsps) . Once you see the soup mixture boiling – add this cornflour-milk mixture and let the soup boil on low flame. Your corn soup is ready.

3. Green Peas Soup:

Ingredients: Green peas (2-3 cups), Coriander Stems w/o leaves (6-7)Rice grains – 2-3 tbsp,Black Pepper – 1 no,Cardamom – ½ inch piece,Cloves – 1 no,Ginger – 1/4th inch,Garlic – 2-3 cloves,Water,Salt,Pepper (Powder), Olive Oil (1 tsp)


Boil green peas, clove, black pepper, rice grains and cardamom in water. Let the ingredients boil well. Simmer and cool the mixture. Don’t drain the water & keep it in another vessel. Grind the boiled ingredients along with the coriander stems in a mixer to get a fine paste. Add olive oil in the heated vessel, then add the paste and water ( use the same in which you boiled the ingredients)

Boil the soup for sometime on medium/low flame and serve hot


(Image courtsey:


No One Killed Jessica

Dilli – the capital of India. The power centre. Home to the wealthiest socialites. Home to greedy and hungry politicians. Home to  the spoilt brats of the powerful people – politicians, businessmen, lawyers, dons, elite socialites alike. As Meera puts it in her introductory narration – “Delhi is about power, the power rests with the powerful and the common man only has the strength to bear it”

In this capital, takes place a cold-blooded murder in front of 300 witnesses and yet, the verdict delivered after 7 years of legal battle is that – No One Killed Jessica.

At this point the media steps in, takes the lead in the fight for Justice for Jessica – people sms, mail, call and hold candle light vigils in their protest against injustice, against the so-called powerful people of Dilli. They pledge their support to the brave Sabrina – Jessica’s sister. She finally wins her battle and the Supreme court reverses the verdict. Justice is done and the common man realises the power within.

Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” binds together the Jessica Lal Murder Case Timeline in front of the audience. There is no melodrama, there is no over-acting, there is no sloppy editing, there is no slack in the pace of the film – it is to the point, crisp and brilliantly portrays the case that shook the faith of the nation.

This is a director’s film and it shows in every frame enacted and every dialogue delivered. The casting is almost perfect – the tough cop who will fight for justice but does not hesitate to take a bribe to not beat up the accused, the power hungry politician, the vulnerable witnesses who retract their statements, the actor and friend who refuses to identify the main accused despite being beside Jessica when she was shot, the primary accused, the helpless parents, the common man who includes the scared father, the youth of today, the young girls – all who join in to protest.

I cannot imagine anyone else playing Sabrina and Meera. Vidya and Rani steal the show – it is their movie. Vidya is the star of the movie – her subdued, restrained, brave, strong-willed, defeated Sabrina touches your heart. You feel her helplessness, her anguish, her disbelief, her belief, her fight for justice. She scores yet again. Apart from Kismat Konnection & Hey Baby I cannot recollect a single Vidya Balan movie where she has not done justice to her role and character portrayed. She is one of my favourites post Kajol, and if she continues to keep building her portfolio with roles like these – she will soon find her name among all-time greats.

It was good to see the good old Rani back but she fell short of my expectations in her portrayal of Meera. It felt that she was trying too hard and Meera’s character does not stay with you as long as Sabrina’s would once you walk out of the movie hall. The abuses used by her were a bit overdone and looked forced sometimes. Though I loved the scene where she is directing her deputy in a sting operation against the prime witness and the airplane scene where she shocks the man with her immense vocabulary.

A special mention to Myra – the young lady who plays Jessica. Her lively portrayal of fiery young Delhi girl, confident and brave –  chasing her dreams is perfect. In her limited scenes the girl exudes charm on the screen. Also the young girl who plays Meera’s maid – she has two words to speak in the entire movie in a scene that lasts less than 30 seconds and she impresses too. Pretty much supporting my view that this is a director’s film where he has not missed out on getting the smallest of the characters perfect.

The music by Amit Trivedi is the biggest plus of this movie. I’d be damned if Dilli and Aali Re do not become a rage and the new anthem of the youth. Pal and Dua are soft delights while Aitbaar is another hard hitting number. The music CD deserves a place in your music collection. After Iktara, Ek Lau and Shaam – Amit Trived comes up with a winner again. 

Go watch – No One Killed Jessica and you will realise how this Dilli can rip your heart apart into pieces in a moment but is the only one who can put those pieces back together. Her power hungry people can ruin your life but her common man will give you the courage to face it and fight.

Kaat kaleja dilli, kaat kaleja dilli
Lai gayi kaat kaleja dilli, mui dilli le gayi
Jaan bhi le ja dilli, jaan bhi le ja dilli
Dilli, kaat kaleja dilli, mui dilli le gayi

(Images courtsey:

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