Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Date a girl who loves her 'Phuchka'!

I am catching up on lots of things these days. And one of them was a fad about dating a girl who apparently read, travelled and what not...there was one on Biriyani also. Needless to say, the foodie in me said the most thumping 'aye' to that one! But I was surprised to find that nobody had written about dating a girl who knew her 'phuchka' well, very well. And so, I decided to write one. My ode to the girl who knows her 'phuchka' too well.

Ask any 'phuchka' lover and the person, if he or she is as crazily moonstruck like me, will answer by saying that the flour balls laced with tamarind water are sheer poetry making their way through your lustful hunger. Ok! jokes apart, there is no doubt that knowing one's 'phuchka' is an art. You either know it or you do not.

Date a girl who can tell you the difference between her 'phuchka' from the close counterparts called 'golguppas' or 'panipuris'. If she swears by her 'phuchka', know it for sure that she is loyal (at least to her city), headstrong and has a great taste to match.

Date a girl who can tell you the exact places where to find the best 'phuchka' in any geographical location she is. Be it Dakshinapon's Rajender's Phuchka or Vivekananda Park's Dahi Phuchka, the amazing phuchkawallah outside CR Park Market Numbe 1 in Delhi or the one in Sindhi Colony in Hyderabad- a girl who knows her phuchka well, is a connoisseur of the best tastes in the town. No less! :P

Date a girl who asks you to accompany her for random 'phuchka' eating sessions. It is not only romantic if it drizzles a bit but more importantly, it is extremely easy on your pockets. You can have a date by spending only around Rs 20 to 50 (depending on the place) on the food. Mind you! I am not a big fan of McBabbar. One thing that you can be assured of that if the place is of her choice and she enjoys the 'Phuchka" she is in one of her happy frames of mind and it is a cakewalk from their on.

P.S. Date a girl who fights for her right over 'phau phuchka' (free one). If she does, she is going to save you a whole lot of money while arm twisting her way through bargaining for Diwali or pujo shopping :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Amartya Sen debate-Why am I enraged as a woman?

I have been watching the election circus which will soon be telecast live in our drawing rooms, with as much interest as any other ordinary Indian of my age. To put the record straight, I have a habit of reading up stuff. I read up the newspapers and I am in the loop. But I am simply disinterested! Why? because it is all the same. The mumbo jumbo that goes on every 5 years. Every time there is this towering figure who is the centre of attraction. Our politicians prefer talking about the person more rather than concentrating on issues. Issue based politics and policy decisions are not part of our Parliamentary system and it is high time we accept that.

A few years back the entire Indian polity was utterly confused about what to do with Sonia Gandhi and her origins. The 'bahu' brigade justified her lineage with our age old 'culture' and what not and the people who proclaim themselves to be the true upholders of ancient Indian culture detested her. This time it is none other than the charismatic Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi who is in the limelight. I have heard from my peers that Mr. Modi is an excellent administrator and after hearing a few speeches on youtube about his vision of Bharat and her development, I am a tad convinced. May be because it will be  a decision between who is the lesser evil(?)- the kid who refuses to grow up, who does not show up to take any responsibility anywhere, anytime, whose party has been responsible for some of the biggest scams in the recent times and someone whose credibility for some (high funda?) inclusive growth is under scanner, always.

Yes, we all like development. Economic ones per se. I come from a state which is a living example of how economic decay has led to the complete destruction of the moral fibre of the society. I am from West Bengal, I am from Calcutta and I proudly say so. But the incidents and the facts and figures that I encounter everyday makes it a very difficult decision for me to stay back in the city I love. I had given up a well cushioned job in another city to be here. I took a pay cut. But I was happy. Not that everyone will be. I am talking about the very little opportunities that the place offers nowadays. It's a hard truth that I have no option other than accepting.

But this post is not about that. I see a point in Modinomics because my state is an example about how your basics in economic growth needs to be in place for you to survive. A world renowned Economist, a Nobel Laureate does not agree with me. Fair enough, Amartya Babu, you are entitled to have your opinion. And so are you Chandan Babu. Everyone can have their opinion. The fundamentals of our Constitutional practice, which is so eloquently depicted in one of the brilliantly written documents of recent history, records and recognises that. A little knowledge of our ancient Indian culture and scriptures will reveal that it has always been that way. 'Sahanshilata' is a part of our Indian way of life.

But what enrages me and engulfs with utter disgust is the way how the debate about whether Mr. Modi is an ideal Prime Ministerial Candidate or not is progressing. I for one will choose him over the 'other'. But the campaign on various social networking sites which personally attacks Mr. Sen by circulating morphed pictures of her daughter, actor Nandana DevSen, is malicious, hurtful and tragic to say the least. The pictures question the right of Mr. Sen about expressing his opinion on the grounds that he failed to impart moral lessons to her daughter.

My question is even if Nandana DevSen participated in those nude photoshoots, how is that even related to the debate? She is an actor. I do not find her to be a good one, but it is her chosen profession. Ms. DevSen is a well read lady and she is capable of making her decisions on her own. It is her right over her own body and how she prefers to use it (photographed or not!) is completely her domain of choice. Her father has no business being ashamed of it. The point about imparting moral lessons to the daughter about how she can pose and act in such films or for such photographs is a disgracefully patriarchal one. And that makes me even more concerned when we are going through the times when women in our country are raped over their choice of clothes, not on the heinous mental indifference of the man. This very attack again brings to fore that even after those promises of changing mentality, nothing actually has changed.

And I am surprised that nobody is questioning that. Reminds of Charles Dickens all over again :)

P.S. I am equally enraged about 65 elected representatives seeking a third party referral from a foreign government about grant of visa to one man. Obsession has new limits.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Recipes that can save your life!

I have been off from the blog for sometime and there are not plausible explanations probably. The relocation and the settling down here bit took a little toll. But right now I am all set :) First thing first, I am in love with Europe! it's open air cafes, rich history, people, cultural canvas and food! The last one- umm! may be!

I am a Bong who swears by her rice and fish or chicken curry! A 'bheto bangali' to the core and for me to stay in a land where rice is eaten sparsely was a challenge that I faced from the very beginning. And I have a thing for everything spicy. So when I could not figure out green chillies on the racks of the neighbourhood supermarket, I was disappointed to say the least.

But then again, Indians are geniuses! A visit to the Asian store and all my fears about living a bland life here (foodwise only :P) were dispelled. The hilsa available here is no less than the Podma variety. And who does not know the orgasmic expression on the face of a Bong when he hears about "Podmar Ilish".

This does not mean although that I donned the hat of Masterchef within a day. I am lucky that my husband is absolutely non fussy about food. In fact he can survive on Continental fare, bread butter stuff, for days. But I am not naive not to know about the way to a man's heart ;). So my first visit to the the Asian store ensured that I buy "Chicken Masala' and mustard oil.

The Indian style chicken curry is really easy to make and great to eat if you want  a touch of home abroad. Marinate the chicken with Yoghurt (mild variety), salt, turmeric, chicken masala, onion paste and one green chilly if you want the spice count to be high, for 3-4 hours. While cooking add mustard oil in the pan and fry some diced onions, mix it with ginger garlic paste, chillies and add a bit of salt and turmeric again. You can make the chicken curry more bong by adding potatoes (who can forget our fascination with potatoes!) in the curry. But make sure the potateos are well cooked and edible. My suggestion- fry the potatoes a little bit in the beginning. Take them out of the pan and in the same oil fry the onions and the rest. After the onion in the pan turns softer, add the potatoes and mix it well with the mix. After stirring for 2-3 minutes, add the marinated chicken along with the yoghurt mix. Mix the ingredient properly for around 5 minute and then add sufficient water for cooking. Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for some 10 to 15 minutes. You can add a little bit of that Kashmiri lal spice for the colour.

Half and hour and your tasty chicken curry is ready! Eat it with Rice or Roti as your prefer.

I am sorry I do not have a photograph as this not a dedicated food blog, but all I want to say is, this curry can actually taster super and make you feel good :)

(To be continued....)
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