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Monday, 30 July 2012

chappatti goring

previous night's chapattis with a makeover result in this amazing dish called chappatti goring. i would like to believe that this dish gets the name because it is made from chappattis that 'go' a long way!

 this is a wonderfully easy recipe for a lazy day... i simply love it.

the name is chapatti goring. not goreng with an 'e'- that would mean fried rice in malaysia or indonesia.

it is my favourite breakfast if there happens to be leftover chappattis from previous night. the dish is very simple yet versatile. it can be made nutritious with a little imagination. and can be made in no time.

let me share both the original and the improvised versions here.

original ingredients: 2 chopped chapattis [use left over from previous meal], 2 tbsp chopped onions, 2 chopped green chillies, 1 egg, 1 tsp oil, salt to taste.

original method: saute onions until they are pink, add green chillies, break and egg, add salt, add chapatti and stir fry all the ingredients. serve hot. you can eat it with coconut chutney powder [it is an enjoyable combination if you keep aside the thoughts on how healthy it must be ;)].

i have given some healthy tweaks to this wonderful recipe and have got 7 different variation of gorings over the last few weeks. trust me i love each one of them. keeping the common ingredients as chapatti and egg, try adding various vegetables.

here is the recipe of my favourite chappathi goring that i had this morning.

ingredients: 1 chapatti, 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped green chilli, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, 1 egg, a pinch of garam masala, 1/2 tsp of virgin olive oil, salt to taste.

method: saute tomatoes until water disappears and they gleam in the oil, add chillies, egg, garam masala, salt, coriander leaves... mix and add chopped chapattis. saute.

[skip the chutney powder and serve hot... with a smile ;)]

ps: if in case you are wondering what happened to the chapters of the novelog '13 Until I Die'... let me please assure you they are right behind. and one more thing. my paintings are showing at radisson blu yas island all this ramadan, until August 20, 2012. these days event related work and travel keep me a bit distracted in learning new things all the time - so i think i can skip a 'sorry for the delay in my posts'. am also writing something interesting on my coffee on canvas paintings and it will soon show on stay tuned!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

13 Until I Die! [Chapter 4: The Blue Bedspread]

The commercialisation of the media in India's Mecca of journalism, New Delhi, was a cause for worry to many.

I dreaded the thought of buzzing around Page 3 glitterati for a quote! The reason being, I did not grow up watching a lot of TV and could not relate to the joys of ‘an opportunity to know stars closer’ [neither did I  appreciate free booze and gourmet kababs!]. How papers sell an opening when they are in a hiring spree is absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I had to leave the city's two leading papers despite the offer... I thought a news journalist had no job at the city's party scenes.


Here is that story...

In the early 21st century a well-dressed journalist was probably as strange as an ill dressed diplomat. Those days TOI (Times of India, a popular newspaper in India) and HT (Hindustan Times, another popular newspaper in India) were poaching for new blood to brighten their newly launched all-colour ‘city’ pages. They picked a few of us from the Centre for Mass Media during one of the placement sessions [I was already working for UNI but was keen to know how different a paper's newsroom was like].

Thank you Sourish Bhattacharya (then MD and Editor of HT City) for having thought of me as ‘someone who must cover the city’s party scenes for page 3’ because I ‘appear’ different. Had you not said that in the first meeting I would have got worried thinking what on earth I did to be asked to cover the parties in Dilli. You actually solved that dilemma before it began. And it was easy for me to leave (HT) after a week in your office. [I absorbed the newsroom ambiance - noted that no one thought it was important to smile or greet strangers - and I thought they liked it being really sad].

In just a few weeks this episode repeated in TOI when they picked a few of us again from the campus. Like an idiot, I was happy to share the news 'TOI asked me to come from tomorrow!' But this time I asked if there is 'an opening in another beat than parties'. The city editor stopped pouring through the papers on his desk. Looked up from above his reading glasses to take a good look at me... and made a few calls [while making rangoli designs with his red pen]. He asked me to wait [making a lotus bud mudra].

And I was waiting, sitting, waiting, reading at various desks he asked me to perch on each day. On the fourth day of waiting I finished reading The Blue Bedspread by Raj Kamal Jha... at the then new 'careers' desk (supplements). The desk had an identity crisis whether it belonged to ET or TOI [I overheard some writers mumbling that at the Press Club].

The editor was clearly torn between many upcoming sections. I was waiting and he was busy... [to even introduce himself!]. He didn't seem to know what he could get out of me despite having gone through my UNI stories in the folder [I hope he did!].

'Oh! I need to brief you... just catch me when you see me next' [and then disappeared only after a few hours to show the lotus bud mudra and disappear again - this happened all day long]. After the 5th day of sitting, waiting, and starting on my second fiction at TOI [and nodding OK to the lotus bud mudras] ... I picked up my folder from his desk. Walked up to him while he was arguing with a colleague who let pass a misprint.

'Excuse me please... just want to say good bye.' And we shook hands for the first and the last time. I smiled at him and the colleague who looked worried. They looked puzzled [like the rest of the newsroom, had forgotten to smile].

And I disappeared. The ed threw a 'bye' back when I was almost out of the floor [he probably thought I left for the day]. I never returned to sit, wait and read fiction at TOI newsroom. No one was sent searching for me [he probably didn't know my name. I didn't know his name either. I did not turn back to see the lotus bud mudra another time].

Meanwhile at work in UNI, I was misunderstood to have liked being sent to cover boutique launches or saloon openings may be because I 'appear' the sort. 'So what did they tell you at the city desk?' [now you know why I called my self an idiot]. The news had reached the agency [and I thought nobody cared if I existed].

I was keen to know what moved the buck. Business beat, if possible - I told my friends. 'You refused both HT and TOI?' 'Who do you think you are RD?,' my PG friends looked worried over their cold coffees at Dee Pauls in Janpath. One of us was already busy covering the party circles in the city [and was the new rising star in the group as he had free passes and a new benevolent PR contact who always dropped these 2 lines in quick succession - 'come and have fun, all foreign brands are flowing free all night' 'and girls... I will myself drop you safe to your homes after the event so no issues ok?'].

I could never explain to my friends why I was reserving my byline for news stories... it would have offended those who felt proud covering the parties. I did not want to mess up anything - not my coffee time!

to be continued...

General disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or reincarnated is not a coincidence. No animals were injured during the making of this novelog although some monkeys may have their feelings hurt. Sorry.


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

beautiful new morning

the though was to hold back all regular blog posts till i completed the decided chapters in the novelog. guess that is not necessary. especially when i have had this beautiful new morning today!

yes absolutely new and amazing. here is how it was.

it's the first morning i have made a wholesome breakfast all for myself and read newspapers while having it... with virgin radio playing in the backdrop. it is really an amazing feeling. simple things hold so much in them. inexplicable!

why have i never made a meal for myself when am all by myself? why did i grab anything from the fridge and have never bothered to cook fresh for myself? while am i all enthused to cook for anyone else who is there for a meal even if i may not be up to it some days? why do i not think i am important enough to be served by me?

have been cooking ever since 2006 when i landed dubai. Before that life was mostly spent in hostels focused on academics and career building... and while at home, during vacations and overfed with home treats, never really bothered to know what was happening at the kitchen's end.

could never understand who much food means to a foodie… before i became one.

the joy of cooking, serving and enjoying all at once - really one of its kind. and am loving it! cautiously though - i want to eat to enjoy the process and not over do the experiment and end up being 'unrecognisable' in my pics ;).

here is welcoming new mornings into my life. i am looking forward to working for myself and serve me well - i mean it!

i already feel a bit like my tail name - some king! ;)

here is my first blog with a pic. i enjoyed steaming fresh puttu (rice cake) with banana; bullseye (sunny side up) and black coffee - in my apartment on a week day. amazing!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

13 Until I Die! [Chapter 3: Paint My Love]

Cartoonist Ranga was grieving the loss of his loving wife who passed away that year (2001) but he still drew funny/remarkable sketches. He lived a plain life in his quiet apartment in Press Enclave. The secret of drawing Gandhi in one stroke was revealed by the master while the fan creaked above us and sparrows walked fearlessly into the drawing room. It was my turn. I sketched a newspaper boy with a gulmohar tree behind him. Ranga asked if I paint. He insisted I ‘must’.

[The following year Ranga passed away. My maternal grand dad also died, back in Kerala.]

I did not make cartoons afterwards. Not even when I wanted to poke fun at someone. And I secretly wished that I don’t grieve. [I did not attend grand dad's crematory ceremonies. I was grief stricken in Dilli.]

At work, because I was ‘this young thing’ [sporting a bandanna of biker-boys and a CD man hooked on my jeans’ pocket], I attracted many god fathers [were they agony aunts and uncles?] giving me free tips. Perhaps they mistook my enthusiasm for ambition! [Or did they see me as competition with many breaking stories already to my credit? Nah!] I did have some thing against free advice those days [ok mom you are an exception for those ‘umbilical connection’ reasons and also because you knew the industry before I did].

My first salary was INR13k pm [another 13!]. Needless to say it was a good amount - some13 years back for a single/hosteler yet to pub-hop [despite being addicted to MTV whenever the YWCA TV room was not occupied by serial lovers]. I really thought the coolest guys alive were MTV’s Jesus-like Luke Kenny and virus-like Cyrus. My new freedom exposed me to Indian TV and I loved Hollywood [read - Disney animations] and its eye-popping Jim Carrey.

Love for cinema was hindered by my claustrophobic self that couldn’t bear crowded ticket counters. There was no concept of a queue in Dilli. I had to come to Mumbai to learn what a queue in a public place looked like. Instead of enjoying the new multiplexes with my friends [who loved to venture all the new 'hep' places], I preferred the empty seats at Pragati Maidan’s Shakuntalam [a name most of my pals couldn’t event pronounce despite being Indians born and bred in the capital... many were surprised to know there was this cinema hall in the fair ground]. Shakuntalam played parallel cinema widely misunderstood as movies for the sad people.

I was among the few Delhi dwellers who were delighted at Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj’s announcement that International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held permanently in New Delhi. This decision was taken as Karnataka government failed to play host for the year’s event in Bangalore (from October 10 to 20, 2001).

Claustrophobia took over my life. I used to wait for the IFFI for it was not crowded and it also had friendly film school volunteers at the ticket counter who gave you options if you arrived late.

My salary was mostly spent on 'crowdless transportation' - cabs or autorickshaws - it was among the priorities to escape red lines and blue lines (buses). I was comfortable with my new title – RD, the loner. I smiled defiantly at close pals who advised I must travel cheap and socialise a bit more with my age-group. I did not think it was important to tell them that I was living my future.

Nostalgia was my faithful companion and it was dated minimum a decade back. My CD man blasted MLTR’s debut album all day long. Paint My Love was my favourite song – though yet to fall in love and/or start painting full on!

[It is true that IFFI moved to Goa since 2004. I miss it… as much as I do miss Dilli, my country and its joys.]

to be continued…

General disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living, dead, or reincarnated is not a coincidence. No animals were injured during the making of this novelog although some monkeys may have their feelings hurt. Sorry.