Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Aloo chops - the Indo-Italian way
Accidentally, I happened to make the most amazing Aloo (potato) chops I had ever eaten. It is Saturday and I wanted to go to eat Aloo Chops (quite a delicacy in East of India, also called Aloo Bonda in other places). So I decided to make these today. I wanted to add a touch of experiment and the outcome was delicious.
I had some Italian seasoning and red chili flakes sachets which were left over from the earlier times I had ordered pizza from Papa John's & Pizza Hut. I used them as well to create the stuffing for the Chops.
3 Big Potatoes
3 Green Chilies
1 table spoon Dry Mint Powder
Salt (as per taste)
3 Red chili flake sachet from Pizza outlet [coz I used them ;)]
3 Italian Seasoning
- Boil the potatoes and peel off the skin.
- Chop green chilies and mash the potatoes. Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl.
- Make small round balls out of the stuffing and keep aside.
- The stuffing is ready.
100 grams Gram Floor (Besan)
50 grams Corn Flour
1 tsp Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
1 tsp Cumin Seeds powder
Salt (to taste)
Water - 1/4th cup
Vegetable Oil - 1 Cup
- Mix gram floor, corn floor, carom seeds, cumin seeds powder and salt in a bowl.
- Add water and make a semi-thick paste but it should be on the watery side.
- Add the balls to the paste and roll them well so that the balls are covered properly.
- Boil the oil in a frying pan(kadai) and keep the gas intensity to medium.
- Now, add the rolls to the frying pan such that only 4-5 rolls are fried at a time and keep the gas intensity to low.
- Keep turning the rolls so that they get cooked in all parts.
- Once the rolls are light brown, take them out of the pan and keep on a newspaper or tissue to get rid of the excess oil.
- Serve hot.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Garlic Chutney Rajasthani style
This is one of my favorite chutneys and I am always thrilled in eating as well as preparing it too. :D
- 3 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- Cloves from 3 full Garlic bulbs which should be peeled
- 5 Green/Red Chilles chopped
- Coriander Leaves
- Mint Leaves
- 4 Tomatoes chopped
- 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Red chilly powder
- 1 tsp Pavbhaji Masala
- Salt as per taste
Add the coriander powder, garlic cloves, chillies, coriander and mint leaves and tomatoes in a mixer. Grind the mixture until it becomes a thick paste. Once done, keep the paste aside.
Now, boil some oil in a pan (kadai) and add cumin seeds. As soon as the seeds start to crackle, pour the paste in the pan. Add red chilly powder, pavbhaji masala and salt to the chutney. Keep stirring while added and keep the flame to a minimum. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir for 5-10 minutes until the oil separates from the mixture and is visible on the top.
Voila! The chutney is ready.
Note: If you want to make it more tangy, you can try adding dry mango masala or chat masala.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Ambigram - Salvador Dali
Thursday, May 15, 2014
So what next?
I have been following Politics since childhood and have always been vocal about my preference. Being an idealist with staunch nationalism, BJP always coincided naturally with my ideology as far as Indian polity is concerned. But I am an educated citizen and I reserve my discretion as far as choosing my government and the adequate candidate for the constituency is concerned.
But in this post, I want to talk about the fledgling political party of India, AAP, which has been in news since they formed the government in Delhi and then quit the government for legitimate reasons. AAP has been able to galvanize good people from different places of India and bring them into Indian polity in these elections. That, in itself, is an indication of success of the party.
Nevertheless, I just want to talk about the things AAP should have done more strategically and things they should do going forward. Please note that this post is only my personal opinion and I only talk about the critical mistakes they have done which they should have handled tactfully.
First, people have been critical about them forming the government in Delhi with 'forced' support of Congress. They formed the government after taking a referendum from people of Delhi which in itself was an innovative and mature way to finalize on a difficult decision in this age of information and connectivity. Their opposition have been critical about them taking support from Congress which is quite natural as they had been blasting Congress before the elections. But this should have been the biggest learning for them as modern politics in India is a team game in which you have to collaborate even with enemies.
Second, AAP had raised eyebrows with its 'vigilante' governance. It might not be correct legally and conventionally but it should be acceptable if it solves the purpose of serving the people. This might seem incorrect as it defies and undermines the structure of governance and administration. But if you know about how the Indian police machinery works in practice, you would be aware that these kind of vigilance on them is required. This is not meant to denigrate and belittle the police, but to make them realize the importance of their duty of serving the people in the right way. AAP should have tried to avoid Public Media for the raid which they conducted. This wouldn't have bloated the issue and solved the problem of the public as well.
Third, AAP has been questioned about so many candidates in the general elections. Their defense is that they got unprecedented response from good people throughout India and they couldn't deny them from contesting elections from their respective constituency. In a way, this is justified but it is yet to be seen as to how much does it convert to votes. If AAP candidates are able to garner sizeable votes at their constituencies, this would be remarkable even if they are not able to send many MPs to the Parliament.
Fourth, AAP is a phenomena which resides in the subconscious of every Indian. Every person in this country wants good people in the Parliament and good governance. Over the years, the vested interests of different parts of society have spoiled the administrators and the 'aam aadmi' had to bear the brunt of it. The idea of AAP is to address this issue comprehensively. Their clean image is their strength and appeal as well. The performance of the MPs sent by AAP should set benchmark for the MPs of other parties. This would address the criticism that AAP doesn't do its duties adequately.
Fifth, AAP should be very meticulous in selecting each member hereafter. They should work as if they have to build a world class company destined to prove its point. They should strengthen district and state level units and recruit people at those levels. This would give them a bigger and better base and foundation for the future. Additionally, AAP has to take preventive measures to mitigate the risk of political vendetta. They suffered heavily from it in Delhi for which they paid heavy price.
There are many more suggestions which can be given to groom this idea of alternate politics for India. AAP is analogous to the Five Star Movement of Italy from 2013. In their first elections, they came as third largest party in Italy. But India is a much bigger country than Italy where we have innumerous factors governing the choice of a voter. Nevertheless, AAP should continue to ignite the dormant souls who want to have a better India in the future. The platform which AAP has provided to the country should ensure that we head towards a mature democracy and a mature society.
AAP, Best of luck for the results tomorrow. Be an excellent opposition and a perfect representation of your people.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Derek O Brien - Ambigram
Saturday, May 03, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Ambigram of Google - 2
This is much different from the one I made here.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Bangalore South, who should I vote for?
[Pic Courtesy: http://www.electionsinindia.com/karnataka/bangaloresouth/electiondata.aspx]
I have stayed most of the time in this constituency of Bangalore since I started working here. I have made it a point that I will be voting this time and to the rightmost candidate from THIS CONSTITUENCY. Voting should be done for the representatives and not for the leaders.
So who should I vote for? It is a difficult question as the candidates looking to contest from this place have pristine credentials. But do credentials matter with us, hypocrite Indians? Yes, they do. We will always fall for the bigger player irrespective of the vices he/she might have committed. That is why the marketing agencies are thriving and making big bucks. Nevertheless, coming back to my point of voting in my constituency.
I went to this website of Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka and looked up for the candidates from this area.
They are Ananth Kumar from BJP and Umadevi M from Socialist Unity Center of India (Communist). If you kept track of news, you'll know that Nandan Nilekani from Congress and Nina P Nayak from AAP would also be contesting from this constituency. They are yet to file their nomination though.
As I earlier said, that being a responsible citizen, I would like to choose a responsible representative and I am least bothered about the leader who this representative would be talking to. A right representative would always fight for his own people. Hence, I have thought of doing a catharsis of this portfolio of the candidates from this constituency based on the details available on-line. I am no political expert to give judgement but this is only my personal opinion.
Ananth Kumar is a veteran in politics and supposedly an honest politician. He is son of the soil and a well-qualified person. I am really not sure of how many good things he might have executed in this area in his last five outings in the Parliament but I know that he is a down to earth person who is always ready to help out people. His wikipedia page shows that he was alleged with involvement in misusing funds in 2005.
Umadevi M of SUCI doesn't have enough online presence but I found an article on Hindu which says it all. Coincidently, she is also an activist which shows the nature of the election 2014.
Nandan Nilekani is a well-known face globally and he has proved his worth in the corporate sector. Mr. Nilekani surely has an impressive resume of management which is unquestionable. He is also one of the architects of India's IT dominance. But.. If anybody has worked in the corporate sector as any kind of employee, he/she knows about the corporate politics and what it takes to rise to the top. He seems well suited for the kind of politics India has seen over the years as he comes from a similar background. Corporate and politics are almost similar with the difference that corporate has everything done in professional way. He seems a progressive candidate but the irony is he is sitting in the wrong boat destined to drown.
Nina P Nayak is the candidate of Aam Aadmi Party. If you google about her, you will find that she has been working as an activist for child welfare for over 30 years. She seems a person who is more connected with the dilapidated women and children of society. I am not sure how she is going to represent this constituency. Bangalore South is predominantly a mash-up of small villages and posh layouts. She might have done a lot for the state but how is she going to value add to this constituency is uncertain.
My view? I reserve my right to choose the right candidate until I reach the polling booth. I will weigh all the aspects which might benefit the people of the constituency and the country in the long run.
P.S.: If you like writing and have a blog or similar thing, just do write about the candidates in your constituency. It might help people make a right decision for their constituency and for the country.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
We are so proud to call ourselves a part of civilization which has spanned thousands of years. Back then, we were so progressive. Our minds were free and we were focused on achieving the best for our people and simplifying their lives with proper amenities. With time and influence, our administrators lost the focus and moved from a people-centric agenda to a self-centric agenda. This trait in the human behavior of we Indians became a common thing and we kept moving towards the direction of mental and behavioral evolution.
So why am I saying that we are so typically hypocrite? I know it is an avarice to call a society as hypocrite in general but I am taking the liberty to do so. But why? You will find the answers in the following paragraphs.
Let’s take the contemporary India we are living in. Heading to a granular level, lets head to a society in some second tier city in India. Inspect the area carefully. A no-parking board somewhere on the road and a slew of two-wheelers parked beside it. When you ask anyone why aren't they bothered about the ‘no-parking’ boards, they will be very vocal about the inefficiency and incapability of the local police. In the same area, you can find loads of garbage dumped below some electricity pole or near a culvert. In the same area, you can find clean water tankers supplying water and there will be people spilling it for no good reason. The tankers themselves would be defective and water would be leaking all the way. The irony is that the people who blame the administration about the problems in the society are the architects of their problems.
I think I started from a small society, where as I should have focused on the families. As I said earlier, we are the architects of our society and lifestyle.
There was a time when people were India were very skeptic and offensive about Love Marriage. Falling in love was considered a sin and many a couples have been forced to die when they committed such a sin. We live in a country where we pray Krishna and Radha who were lovers and they never married. Such is the height of hypocrisy in our system that we hate love but we are ready to pray lovers.
Long back we were a matriarchal society, but with time we moved to become a patriarchal society. Male dominance in families made the weaker sex even more weak. They lost their rightful place and the reason was the female gender herself. Today every now and then we see women agitation and most of these women would hardly know the relevance of their lives in grooming their society. Most of them have their vested interests or they are just part of the herd ignorant of the real goal. We crib about gender equality but we never try to solve the problems of women at its roots.
Indians have always been miserly. They have always worked hard to meet their daily needs so we understand the value of money. Do we? When we construct an apartment for renting out, we will make it a point that we give the ‘value for money’ amenities in the apartment so that we save the most and earn the most. When something goes bad in the apartment, we will always replace it with lower quality stuff as we ourselves are not living in the apartment. When the tenant buys an apartment for renting out in the future, he does the same thing and this cycle continues. Needless to say, is this hypocrisy or not? Saving money is one thing and ensuring good life is another. We are ready to spend millions on our loved ones if we have it, but we are not ready to spend a single rupee on some people who are indirectly dependent on us.
We are ready to become sycophants at workplace but we will try and maintain our authority at home. We say endless amount of nonsense and justify it at motley places like betel shops, tea shops, parties and similar outings but we want people to talk sense when they talk about us. We will talk about different places and people in the world and how our country has lagged behind them and try to pinpoint the negatives in the system. Alas! We never point fingers at ourselves.
We will criticize the religious leaders who have been convicted in heinous crimes. We are the ones who have given them the status and stature they have in the society. In spite of all the bally hoo, we will still keep the posters of these impostors on the walls of our homes and justify them. We’ll say that we don’t have money but we are ready to give donations for every religious occasion. We will fall for rumors every now and then and later pledge that we’ll never fall for such rumors again.
The story of hypocrisy of Indians can’t be described just in a single blog post. There are in-numerous examples of things we do on a day to day basis. We keep blaming the system but we never take the onus of choosing to vote and choose the right candidate from our area. We keep doing things which are hypocrite and never realize that we are doing something which is the basis of the growth of our future generations. As I always say, if a nation has to grow progressively, the mentality of the people should be progressive. As an optimist, I would quote the famous lines, ‘history repeats itself’. It will repeat itself for our beloved country.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
A decade of writing, sharing and learning
It’s been a decade since I have been writing in public. It all started in the computer lab of college where in I thought of placing my thoughts on the newly launched application of Google, the Blogger. Interestingly, it ticked the right areas of my brain and I started to share my thoughts, my ideologies, my creations, my writings and my feelings on a public platform.
This post I would like to be nostalgic and would like to talk about the posts I have written in yester years and are close to my heart. The first - My philosophy. I know most of the people would think me as a pessimistic person after reading that post. But believe me, after encountering Death couple of times in my life, I have realized that she is the most intriguing entity one can talk about. The most fascinating part would be that she cleanses the world. I have written about her here as well.
As I moved on, I started to share my poetry and my artistic creations. I really don’t know how it helped me but being an introvert at that point in time, it was a convenient way of expressing myself. I am a free soul and I have always been so. A bird like creature devoid of gluttony, pain and mirth equally of the cruel world. A bird travels far and wide. I have done so too. It reminds me of one of the train travels and the poem I wrote - Travelling in Diversity.
The emotional side of me can be seen here. But, I have come a long way since then. I have become so tough that my Karma has become my life. Karma reminds me of creativity in me. Long back I did a painting session with Vasundhara Das and instantaneously, I jotted down a poem which came straight from my subconscious.
One of the foremost poems I wrote was on the importance of color BLACK. The rhyming of that poem still makes me curious about that color. It really does. Moving on, I would love to share couple of poems which are really close to my heart - “The road that was” and “Talking to the rain”.
I am a nationalist and it really hurts me to see my country in a dilapidated state. I keep writing on my country and issues occasionally. Here, I talk about the degrading Indian culture in a subtle but evocative fashion. I have always tried be on the right end to make reforms in my surroundings but things never went my way.
The blog does contain few short stories, couple of whom are “The Leaf” and “Meal of Death”. Incidentally, I had mailed ‘The leaf’ to many of my friends who gave constructive reviews which cleansed my writing skills in due course.
The other interesting posts which you’ll find are the posts on Ambigrams. There are many interesting ones. But my personal favorite is the equation of Theory of Relativity.
Apart from these, my blog contains many odds and ends which I have been sharing in not so regular basis. My logo for the Rupee competition made it to the final 17 but couldn't make it to the final list. Then there are few blog awards which blogger friends shared over the internet. There are few reviews based on my vast movie knowledge experience as I am a huge movie buff.
Finally, I would say that it has been an experience to write. I think writing runs in my nerves as I never have to think before writing anything. It just flows when I have a pen in my hand. I want to confess something though. In my higher secondary, I got poor marks in English whereas in Secondary and College, I ended up with excellent scores. In the exam of higher secondary, I wrote fluently but I used some exaggerating adjectives throughout the paper. Then I realized, that we must feed a person only as much as his hunger. On a final note, I would like you to read these two poems - “Love - an artist’s edition” and “Google as a person”.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Dedh Ishqiya is one and half spoon headache
Over time we go into theaters to watch movies which should entertain as well as enlighten us. Many of us spend lots of money for watching these movies. The spectators expect a honest and entertaining movie to digress from the daily tensions of life. I went to the movie theater yesterday expecting the same.
This movie is a sequel to a movie named ‘Ishqiya’ which was a landmark movie encompassing ‘cheating’ and ‘treachery’ with an umbrella of stellar performances by Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan. It had a decent story line packed with dialogues in crude language of Uttar Pradesh. Needless to say it was a success at the box office.
Coming to the sequel, the movie is perilously slow in the first half. We are not able to get the thick and thin of the story as something seems wrongly placed in the initial part. The necklace which is stolen doesn’t really have any meaning in the whole story even though the writer tries hard to introduce some meaning to it. The movie wriggles in between when the poetry competition is being shown. This should have been fast paced and a bit of humor should have been introduced.
The second half tries to create a plot of kidnapping which again is ruthlessly marred and misses common sense. It seems more humorous than tragic. The climax seems to be derived from a few Hollywood flicks. You can easily make out a Tarantino style of portrayal in the scene. The action scenes are very similar to the ones shown in Desperado. Also, I must admit that there are few scenes which have been inspired by other movies. For instance, the one scene when Huma Qureshi runs to hug Madhuri, Arshad expects that she’ll hug him but as it turns out she goes behind him and hugs Madhuri. I saw this enactment in the Tamil movie Boys which released in 2003.
Legendary actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit have been their self in the movie and have given power packed performances. Arshad Warsi plays the vagabond thief but it seems that his potential has been under used. Huma Qureshi has come of age but her role in this movie is very similar to the one she played in ‘The Gangs of Wasseypur Part 2’. Vijay Raaz is good but still lacks the impact he used to create in his earlier movies.
A lot of native profane language has been used in the dialogues but they don’t create an impact and the storyline is unimpressive. A similar movie made by Vishal Bharadwaj in the backdrops of Uttar Pradesh was ‘Omkara’ which derived its story from The Othello is still appreciated even though it had similar kind of dialogues. I liked the use of Urdu language in this movie but better movies have been made which have used the language in more beautiful manner.
The good part in the movie is cinematography. Appropriate lights have been used and give the movie a periodic feel. Editing has been pristine and one can’t easily find glitches. Choreography of Birju Maharaj deserves respect and Madhuri has done justice to the same. Music is impressive as it has always been with Vishal Bharadwaj’s movies.
Overall, I was disappointed with the movie as I expect a decent story with Vishal Bharadwaj’s movies. I think he should get back to making movies based on Shakespeare’s literary works. I hope he is not working on a two and half spoon headache now.
Saturday, January 04, 2014
This is a post which I have written digressing from my conventional Artistic and creative writings.
I have been following Indian politics since last few days as a new party in India has raised expectations of changing the way politics is prevalent in the country. Somewhere, I think this curiosity is shared by most of us. We do realize that we are related to the system in one way or the other but with our ‘chalta hai’ (let it be) attitude we always get back to the status quo.
I am bewildered as to why there is so much fuss even about the petty things the new party is doing. A decent sized home along with an office space was chosen for the minister so that he can stay in Delhi and work but even that is being questioned by people. This is very unfortunate for our country that such small issues are being highlighted in the Media and elsewhere. This also exposes the very nature of human psychology of relenting to accept a change. A political change is a massive change as it would, in long term, mean granular changes in the society. Do we realize that we need a change in the system?
I was forced to give a bribe when I was a minor and the concerned official asked me the bribe amount stating I should give him some money for chai-pani (tea and water [A way of asking bribe]). I was a naive back then but I realized the implications of that occurrence when I became mature. Our own existence is on a hypocrite platform. I am sure there would be less than 10% of people in this country who wouldn't have given a bribe to the Travelling Ticket Examiner of a train. It raises a big question. Can any entity in this political system cleanse it?
I have traveled almost all of India and noticed that even though the country is diversified but the people have common requirements. People are very similar in their thought process, their daily proceedings and in their familial and professional lives. But the element of hypocrisy has always been there. And unfortunately, political people who have exploited this weakness of the countrymen have been successful in reigning this country and pushing it into a dilapidated state.
So what should be politics all about? Should it be about people? Should it be about issues people face? Should it be about power and power mongers? I am not a political science grad to answer those questions. I am just a normal human being who wants to live a decent life in my country which should be hassle free (at least free from the troubles created by mankind).
So when I asked those questions to myself, I came up with a few answers.
First, translation of Politics in Hindi is ‘Raaj neeti’, which literally means ‘the policy of governance’. Politics word is derived from the Greek word ‘politikos’ which means "of, for, or relating to citizens". Any person can differentiate between the meaning of the word in different languages I stated above. The latter is the real politics for a democracy. We can’t be sticking to the conventional politics where in the rulers decide the policies for governance and the citizens are asked to comply. Ironically, very few politicians in India show the difference in India by their actions.
Secondly, Politics is about policies which the representatives of people should decide and implement in favor of the people of the country. The policies might be harsh or liberal but they must have a purpose and a ‘long term’ impact of positivity on the people and the country. In a diversified country like India, critics will say that the aforesaid might not hold good. But, if politics is not done for the people, it is always against the people. It is a different question that the current scenario in India is all about the vested interests of the different parties and their agenda and desire to gain power.
So, what is the role of people? Is it all about casting a vote, selecting a representative and forming a government? Don’t we have a bigger role to play? Are we just meek spectators of the political gimmicks of the politicians. Don’t we have a right to question the misdoings of the government. The constitution of India says that the Prime Minister and the council of ministers are collectively responsible for any of wrong charges made against them and they should quit the office for the same. In the last 10 years of this government, they have had lot many cases of corruption against few ministers, but they never took any action. Unfortunately, the Indian polity has forgotten the meaning of the words ‘collective responsibility’. So I would say in the current scenario, the people have taken a back seat in the Indian polity. The people power has vanished and the political power has taken over.
Issues. I would say A BIG LOL. There is a small country called South Korea. It also got independence in 1947. But today, South Korea is a developed country. What are we? We are dragging that ‘developing nation’ tag since long time and it might continue for many years to come. Our political leaders might say that in the last 65 years they have done enough for the country and for the people. They forget to mention that they have done twice for their own family and their OWN people. This is ridiculous as well and unfortunate. Since my childhood I have seen basic issues with everybody around. The issues of water, electricity, infrastructure and the list goes on. I understand the biggest problem of our country is the massive population but it is also the biggest resource. But sadly, the political fraternity has not done enough which they should have done. There is no urgency shown in government offices for developmental issues. When an employee earning 10L a year work in a private company for 15-16 hours a day, why can’t a government employee (whatever grade he may be) do so?
Power mongering is something which comes when a person comes into power and starts to enjoy the privileges power brings with it. The ailing political class of India doesn’t want to let go of the immense power it has been enjoying. I remember once I saw a Member of Parliament from my city at the airport. He was drunk heavily and was being carried towards the flight and few bureaucrats were flocking him. This is something which I have witnessed personally and I must say I was very disappointed with my countrymen at that point in time. We never bother to see what people we are sending to the Parliament and just go and vote based on our meaningless loyalty towards parties, based on communal agendas, based on regionalism and based on fake promises. A very significant reason for that is illiteracy as people don’t have the intellect to decide on basic right of ‘choosing the right’.
There might be many more aspects to Indian Polity which we can’t understand as those come out only in Cabinet and assembly meetings. But Politics for me, should be for the people. If we were governed honestly all those 65 years, things would have been really different today.
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