Friday, December 19, 2014

Eclairs Diaries

Once upon a time when I had no fear of calories and embraced them with open arms, Eclairs used to be one of my favourites. Not the hard to crack version by Cadbury but the elegant French dessert. This oblong pastry with a coating of chocolate looks pretty innocent till you bite into it and your mouth is filled with sweetened thick cream...orgasmic!

When I got the invite to attend a special event that would explore new perspectives on éclairs with celebrated pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini at Le Meridien, I decided to let my taste buds do the thinking.

As part of the hotel's culinary program, Eclairs Diaries, Chef Iuzinni has been creating eclairs inspired by locations all around the world. From the maple and bacon to Texan honey pecan to the Dulce de leche eclair,Iuzinni fuses local flavours into his unique creations.



It's not everyday you have a good looking, tattooed, motorcycle-riding chef give you a masterclass on how to create the perfect Eclair with blueberry compote and thickened honey cream that filled the pastry shell from end to end. We also got to sample Chef Iuzinni's Indian inspired creations created in partnership with Le Meridien. I especially loved the Ginger Jaggery version - the sharpness of the ginger beautifully complimenting the sweet earthiness of jaggery. Another favourite of mine was the Hazelnut Tamarind Eclair, even though I couldn't taste the tartness of the tamarind, I loved its smooth chocolatey taste infused with the smokiness of hazelnut.


Le Meridien Delhi will now feature Clotted Cream Kalakand, Coconut Jaggery Cardamom and Rose Cardamom to unlock the flavours of Delhi and Kochi respectively.

If this has gotten your tastebuds tickling, you know where to head!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Nightie too naughty, you must be kidding!

This post was also published on Huffington Post India 

Source - Google Images


In what is seen as yet another blow to women’s liberation movement in India, residents of Gothivili of Navi Mumbai imposed a Rs 500 fine on women wandering around in nighties. It’s better to be born a cow in India that can move around in the nude without a care in the world and yet get so much respect that even their shit is considered holy.

Only those who have experienced the untethered pleasure of wearing a nightie on a hot summery day can understand why it’s the preferred garment of so many women who don’t give a damn about what others think of their sartorial choices. Essentially a sack with armholes, it’s the female counterpart of the lungi that’s also a sack but is wrapped around the waist to let the climate in. The lungi does a splendid job of keeping men in heat cool as a cucumber. They say the secret of Gandhi’s Ahimsa movement lay in his dhoti. It’s another matter that the same dhoti turns Khaap taus into imbeciles who never tire of issuing diktats against crafty women for instigating gullible men to rape them.

The nightie as the name suggests was originally meant to be worn at night. But such are its magical abilities to rejuvenate the body after a hectic day - multitasking as the family’s alarm clock, motivational speech giver, conscience keeper and the database of her man’s past mistakes -that women refuse to get out of it. All it requires is a couple of washes to turn as soft and absorbent as a well-used dusting cloth. It’s a forgiving garment that doesn’t hold you back but let’s you spill out in all your paunchy glory.

It’s the closest a Sanskari woman can get to a dress. Since buying a nightie is a usually a choice between “grandma don’t give a shit” and “the porn star (available in blood orange, traffic light yellow and all shades of “ewww”)”, most women end up choosing the former so as to not offend others with the suggestion of a body underneath the garment. It is a known fact that men get agitated at the mere hint of boobs and butt and the grandma nightie does a perfect cover job of it. Coupled with a dupatta or a towel slung over the shoulders, nobody can even make out that you’re a woman.

So it beats me, why a shapeless ugly garment that has a better coverage than Airtel and Vodafone put together, has managed to offend the residents of Gothivili so much. It’s not as if she’s turns into a blood sucking hound that targets men and sings like Himesh Reshammiya once she dons the nightie.

Is the sight of a woman’s body so ghastly that it has to be covered in a shroud lest it distracts men from their noble pursuits? Or is the nightie an ugly reminder of a woman’s nightly procreational activities? Hey, if she’s wearing a nightie, she must be having sex, which is against our Indian culture that prefers getting babies home-delivered by storks.

Will it offend people less if we stopped calling them nighties? After all night is when people do hanky-panky things and that automatically gives nightie a sinister connotation.

So, for the sake of all those women who found freedom if not in their lives but in their nighties, let’s start calling them dayties and give them a respectful makeover. A woman in a daytie will keep naughty thoughts at bay and will compel onlookers to restrict their imagination to the wearer’s honourable daytime activities. And if she manages to sprout a tail, she might even get to sit in the middle of a busy intersection and swat flies all day.


http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Rabale-cops-remove-notice-asking-women-not-to-wear-nightdress-in-public/articleshow/45442500.cms

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Women in public spaces, Uber unsafe

This post was also published on Huffington Post India 



There’s something about Delhi December that brings out the beast in certain men. Especially at nightfall, when the air becomes chilly, the roads desolate, the city gets enveloped in fog, giving men with criminal intent a cloak of invisibility. In a country where everybody’s business is everybody else’s business, for some strange reason, when we see a fellow citizen in distress, we drive a little faster, look the other way with a ‘tennu-kee-mennu-kee’ nonchalance.

The Uber Cab incident was yet another glaring example of how unsafe our women are. Only this time the city happened to be Delhi. Too bad that a few chose to take ‘what else can you expect from the rape capital of India’ stance. The thing is, cities do not rape, people do. Not all men, but certain rotten specimens who use their out of control libido to teach women a lesson! Too bad that all Indian men, including the ones who go out of their way to make us feel safe and cherished get tarnished in the process.

We may go hoarse shouting from rooftops that modern women are independent beings who don’t need men to look out for them but the fact remains that a woman on her own is easy target unless she’s walking around with a Kalashnikov is her hand.

But does it mean we ask our girls to pursue their dreams from home because they might be sexually exploited at their workplaces? Do we stop sending our children to school out of fear of assault by sexual predators? Do we adopt a Khap like attitude and insist they be married off early to keep them safe? Of course, we don’t, yet all of us inadvertently end up telling our girls to stay within their limits. Despite telling our girls to conquer the world without fear stalking their minds, we refuse to leave them alone with manservants, male relatives, warn them against staying out late and if they do, make sure they have someone to chaperone them home. We teach our girls to live in fear or put up with consequences.

With a police to people ratio: 3 cops for every VIP but just 1 for 761 commoners, we have no option but to rely on God and our good fortune to be safe.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gurgaon On Foot? Broom Through It!


This article was first published in Gurgaon Times dated 30 November, 2014


In Gurgaon, if you'd rather walk short distances than drive, people assume that you're either poor or mad. After all, the millennium city is India’s very own America where the majority prefers taking out their car, even if it’s a five minute walk to drop their child at the school bus stop. Little wonder the city’s roads during weekdays with bumper to bumper traffic resembles a very long parking lot where motorists honk and swear at each other for entertainment.

Sadly, the number of parking spots in Gurgaon has not kept pace with the number of vehicles that has been growing in leaps and bounds unlike our country’s GDP. Getting a decent space to park during rush hour is like winning a lottery. One vacant spot and at least 5 cars rush towards it gladiator style, unmindful of basic courtesy or consideration for the unfortunate soul who was the first to sight the bounty. If you’re not aggressive, chances are you’ll keep circling like a planet in its orbit.

It doesn’t help that the city’s transport system is a wonderful opportunity to get groped and to exchange sweat and BO with random strangers. The autowallahs think you’re Ambani’s twice removed cousin and quote such exorbitant rates that you’re forced to stage a walkout, much like our revered Rajya Sabha MPs.

So, when you move to a neighbourhood with wide, tree-lined avenues, with markets within walking distance, the air just the right kind of nippy, you give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back, bid adieu to parking woes and take out your walking shoes.

History repeats itself when you’re not paying attention the first time. Your memory loss aided by the few years you’ve lived in a quiet city in Australia with shaded walkways, where pedestrians enjoy the right of the way and cars don’t try to knock them over for daring to cross the road. When you move back home, you’re optimistic that the good times will last, unlike Kingfisher. You’ve conveniently erased from your memory the times you’d decided to embark on a Padyatra to your local market and got cat-called by idle Romeos, knocked over by playful piglets and feral canines, hopped, skipped and jumped over potholes filled with foul water and narrowly missed getting run over by vehicles that mistook your locality’s alleyways for the Buddh Circuit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It’s your Birthday, make it 75 feet large



A cake so ugly that you can have your cake and eat it too

It was a celebration that the Kingdom of UP Yours will remember for the rest of their wretched lives. After all it was not their money that was used to fund the grandiose birthday celebrations of their Mulayam King, the one who refuses to retire. Reports that the horse driven Victorian style buggy used by the king and his merry men to ride to the venue of the celebrations has been imported from London, is nothing but bullshit being churned out by the good-for-nothing-press besotted with Emperor Modi. If unreliable sources are to be believed, Fairy Godmother Azam Khan had turned the pumpkins leftover from Halloween celebrations into Mulayam’s sparkly carriage. The horses were Fairy Azam’s lost and found Jersey buffaloes in makeup.

The procession was a sight to behold as it passed like wind through 200 welcome gates, especially erected with flowers. Bunches of red and white balloons were strung on spruced up roads, while the surroundings glittered with electric lights. King Mulayam looked luminescent in his pristine white dhoti and kurta specially designed for the occasion. The subjects, who only read about development in full page newspaper ads but have yet to see any, were seen applauding wildly, their chests swelled up with pride.

So what if the land of UP Yours is steeped in poverty, at least their rulers are rolling in riches. Also, this was the first time they had seen so many electric bulbs burning for so long without any power cut.

Nobles, serfs and rascals of the Yadav clan had all assembled to be part of the cake cutting ceremony. Since size is all that matters to men, unlike women who are content with 3.5 inches as long as it looks like a credit card, the cake was as big as the King’s ego. King Mulayam had to swing from a rope from the ceiling to cut the 75 feet cake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

OMG, Look at that L-Ass

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers
Women have come a long way from the days when the sight of a waddling posterior brought out the sniggers and a secret prayer to Goddess to never be that ass. If Nicki Minaj is to be believed, 'his Anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun’.

This comes as a big ray of hope for women who spent a sizeable chunk of their life surreptitiously looking behind their back, wondering if their buns were becoming too ripe for comfort. It is a known fact that a woman can’t pass by a glass window or any shining exterior and not turn it into a rear-view mirror. And why not? It’s the only way that the annoying thing that follows us everywhere we go, but visible to the rest of the world, shows its cheeky side to us!

Now that it’s official, having disproportionate assets is the new booty – oversized, fleshy buns instead of drooping with low self-esteem – and they are perking up, cocking a snook at conventions. But here lies the catch. Not every woman with a humongous butt has a great future behind her unless it’s perched behind an already successful diva who loves flashing her twins for the frenzied cameras. A booty that she has nurtured to perfection, pushing it beyond its boundaries and raising it to greater heights. Once she’s raised her butt like her own babies, lavishing it with care and attention, like any doting parent on Facebook, she becomes her twins’ number one fan and expects the rest of the world to fall for their charms.

Just like Kim Kardashian, famous for earning her millions doing nothing. 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Fishy Affair

Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers

Like most Indian kids, I was brought up in a family that constantly ‘encouraged’ me to study harder and do well enough to make our relatives jealous. Marriage, love, boyfriends were taboo subjects, so much so that I was convinced that my parents had no intention of getting me married and would make me study for the rest of my wretched life. The only time my Mom did mention marriage was when I refused to eat fish. She’d bemoan my un-Bengali like habits and prophesy that I’d get married to a rice and fish loving typical Bengali boy.   


I did get hitched to a guy who loves his fish as much as he loves me. Since marriage is all about trying to change each other for the ‘better’, I have now evolved into a fish loving person and he has his baigan ka bharta without a murmur of protest.

Over two years of having the freshest seafood of all sizes and shapes from the seas of Australia, so under-spiced that you can taste the salt water that your dish ingested, I consider myself a sort of connoisseur. In fact, the last time when the husband kept the Salmon almost raw, because it was so fresh, I forked it into my mouth without going blue in the face.

Whole Red Snapper

Last week, when Sangeeta Khanna, a friend I admire and whose food blog is the holy grail of healthy eating asked me to join her for a fish degustation lunch hosted by Le Meredien, New Delhi, I promptly accepted her gracious offer.

We were a cosy group of six including Anasuya Basu, Le Meredien’s Director of Marketing Communications, high on shared camaraderie and a belly full of expectations, once we had gone through the menu for our luncheon. The restaurant, Le Belvedere, on the 20th floor of the hotel, gives a panoramic view of Lutyen’s Delhi. Despite the smog, we couldn’t help but admire the view. 


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