Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Proverbial Retrospection: 2013 and Thanksgiving

I'm going to do away with the pleasantries and dive right in as I suspect this is going to be a long post. You've been warned.

Last year ended with quite a bang with me attending a Carnatic kutcheri and a (large scale) music concert (that too ARR's) for the first time in my life. What an experience that was! So, naturally this year had a lot to do to outdo last year. 

It started off slowly... work-wise.. same old project continuing from last year, some friends moving to other cities... +Apoorva Sripathi Don't forget us ;) and some friends from other cities moving in to Bangalore +Ashwini Poovaiah Hello, madam. And some wayfarers +vishesh unni raghunathan. New groups were formed, both physically and on (dreads mentioning the name for the fear of another deluge of spam) whatsapp. New friendships made :) And some lost :( More people from twitter met. Chennai visits put. Festivals celebrated. And being forbidden from celebrating any more for a year because of a death in the family. You know... the routine stuff.
Except... I started to learn French! No, not the swear words that we ask to be pardoned as french. Actual French. Française! Oui. À l'Alliance Française de Bangalore. 

This was totally unexpected. After trying to enrol for German course and failing because of underestimating the demand for it and the limited number of seats, I was contemplating to not wait another 6 months and enrol for French in the meanwhile.After I heard that +Malvika Iyer was also going to enrol in the Chennai branch of AF, she induced more enthusiasm and contemplation turned into a decision and I didn't waste another moment. The very next day, I went to Alliance Française's office and enrolled myself. One of the best decisions this year. Although, later I got to know that +Malvika Iyer dropped the idea because she didn't get the time-slot that she wanted. Here's hoping she gets to join the next time around. This was a weekend course and I had set myself up for no weekend-getaways for the next 6 months. Not that I was a travelling all the time even otherwise but was planning to start. Never found the time, company or the money for it. Meh.
The spontaneous Coimbatore visit gave some impulse to rethink some of my priorities. Though the purpose of that visit wasn't fulfilled, it didn't matter. 

Despite my bloody boring non-drinking, non-dancing life that one might think I'm leading, I had a pretty good time. After all, what are friends for. The numerous movies that we went to. The numerous meets. The couple of game-nights that I had with them. Oh what FUN! Really good times indeed! And the numerous instances of random tweetups. +Vinay Kumaar, +Benjamin Jeevanraj+ershad kaleebullah+Ranjani Krishnakumar, the other +Ranjani S ,+Sreedhar Panaman+Aravind AM+preethi Sundararaman , +Harish V, +Viju R+Gopal Padmanabhan Thanks guys for the memories created for a lifetime!
I also got to know a birthday sharer +Neeraja Nagarajan *Hi5*.

Special mention - My chaddi buddy +Madana Prathap for being condescending as ever and pulling me back to earth when I floated away into the clouds. +Vinod E for the numerous attestations (Thanks to your Dad), for instances where I made you the driver. I owe you big time, brother. +Vinny Wilfred Though I've not seen you in a long time, here's to say that I still remember you :P All the best in the upcoming year, man :)
And how can I forget this crazy fellow +Rajagopalan Venkataraman. Thanks for the free accommodation that night, lifesaver. Welcome back to Bangalore. Here's to more good times. 
One extra-special mention to my new NRI acquaintance who's now become a friend +divya Shivaram. Such a darling she was to carry my lightsabers all the way from UK and hand-delivered to me. Nandri hai very much. Can't wait to see you when you land soon :)

Three weddings from the twitter world were attended - one +Mirnalini Venkatraman's  and the other +Madhumitha Ramachandran's and another +Gopal Padmanabhan's . Wishing you the best in this second innings of your life, guys maamis and maamaa :P

Big thanks to Twitter for helping me getting to know so many wonderful people. 

What was different this year, though was toward the tail-end. As the last quarter of the year rolled in, it ushered in some new enthusiasm and hope about exciting times ahead and Boy! was it exciting. I was asked to come here to Bombay by my office as a leave replacement for a guy at the client's site. He was apparently going on leave for a month for his wedding. I wonder what he will do for that long.. won't he get bored? Anyway, I digress. After my old project came to an end in August and being on the metaphorical "Bench"ever since, I jumped at this opportunity. If you know me, you'll also know how much I wanted to experience staying alone independently. This was all expenses paid, company sponsored grant of my wish.

Before I started to Bombay, I promised myself that I'll not be my lazy self and explore Bombay and its surroundings as much as possible and I was keeping up that promise until I fell ill a couple of days ago, but I'm still satisfied with all the places and more importantly food that I got to cover in this trip. Made full use of the opportunity. I thank +Mirnalini Venkatraman and my French classmate Puja for being my virtual tour guides. Thanks a tonne for all the suggestions. Would've never been able to cover all those places if you hadn't mentioned it. If you follow me on facebook/twitter/instagram, you'd have seen all the spam photos from me. If any of you got annoyed by it, Sorry. There were people curiously asking about where all I'd been to and what all I had eaten. Fans, you see. :D Can't disappoint them, can you? I'm very happy with this new me who gets off his ass and goes places. Hoping this continues after I return to Bangalore too, although, there it'll be on my own money, not on-site allowance :( 

Work here is a support based project which is mostly repeated stuff along with some documentation. Yeeeaah... you know the regular. Nothing very exciting, but it is serving  me my bread & butter, or should I say Vada & Pav :P, so a shoutout to work - Yay! :D 

Given my poor memory, I might've forgotten so many other incidents of significance. Please forgive me if you were the "turbines" behind those instances. :P  (Started out as a retrospection and turned into a Thanksgiving post, so edited the title too. )
This year passed real quick like a flutter of a butterfly wing and it is coming to a close, and so is my Bombay trip. I'll be back to base.. to Bangalore in the first week of next year. Hoping to cover a few more places before that, if time permits. Unlikely, considering I'm working all days, including New year's and the following Saturday, but let's see. So, until then... have a super end to this year and let the next one be the best you've had so far!

Thanks for being so patient to read until this point. 

A bientôt! Je t'embrasse. 
Au revoir.

P.S. Yeah, I've actually been learning French. Not just for show off :P

P.P.S. Nothing to see here. You can hit the close button, now. Bye.

Or you can share this on the interwebz.

Still here? Are you that bored? Okay, leave a comment then. :)

That's all.

Really. The End. Now, Go. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Badhusha - Deepavali Special

Ingredients:
For 15 Badhushas of medium size:
1. Dalda - 1 cup (Davara)
2. Maida - 3 cups
3. Cooking soda - A pinch
4. Sugar - 1.5 cups (depending on the intensity of a sweet tooth you have, you can reduce or increase this quantity)
5. Curd - 1/2 cup
6. Water - 1/4 cup (for sugar syrup)
 
Dough:
Take 3 cups of Maida in a basin, mix the 1 cup of Dalda with this flour. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER. This will remain mostly dry for now.
 
Maida

Take a pinch of cooking soda in a small cup. Add a couple of teaspoons full of curd and beat them well together until the soda dissolves.


 
Add the above Soda+Curd mixture to the Maida dough mixed earlier and pour the rest of the curd too, into it. Mix all of this together until it comes to a consistency of soft Chapathi dough. The curd gives the wetness to form the dough. DO NOT ADD ANY WATER. Keep this dough covered and let it rest for a few minutes. About 5.

 
 
Sugar syrup:
Take the 1.5cups sugar in a heavy bottomed vessel. I used a pressure cooker without its lid.


Pour the 1/4th cup of water into this vessel. Dissolve the sugar in the water and  bring it to a boil.



Boil only until it becomes slightly sticky. Do not boil it too much or the sugar will not soak into the dough and will only crystallize on the surface. As shown in the picture below, the syrup should slowly drip.

 
 
 
Badhusha - Final Steps:
Boil oil in another wide open vessel to deep fry the dough.

 
Take a lemon-sized amount of dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it.


Press with your thumb in the middle of the circular dough and then poke a few holes on its surface all around, using a sharp object like a pin.



Now deep-fry these cakes on a medium flame, until it turns golden brown which indicates that it's fully cooked.

 
Strain the oil and dunk these fried Badhusha cakes into the sugar syrup. Let it rest for the sugar to soak in.



 
Serve the sweet to yearning souls. Happy Eating! :-)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Madras bound

The misty mornings in the outskirts. The slow drizzle starting to pour. The welcome messages of my cell phone company as I cross two state borders. The sudden warmth in the air. Rays of the Sun glistening over the coconut trees. Terrace plantations on the small hills. The meeting of the three parched river beds. The endless hills in the background of the beautiful plantations of crops. The petty fights for space in the coach. The unique tune of every hawker trying to sell their goods. The kid who is amused by the goings-on. The old man who's just waiting to get off. The visibly annoyed man trying to elbow for more space for himself through the crowd. The unmistakable indicator of entering the leather manufacturing district - the strong stench from the tanneries engulfing the whole region. The TTE struggling through the crowd to do his job. The woman who asks me if I'm Chennai bound, going to secure a seat for herself if I weren't. Her face turning from a hopeful smile to a frown of disappointment. And now I get back to reading my newspaper, quietly, with hunger pangs starting and quenched with just water, avoiding the stale looking railway food. The humidity hits and it hits one hard, but one wipes it away. The view of local trains - romantic. After the umpteen over-bridges, the passing through basin bridge station. And you you know you've arrived. The city may not be home and one might be just a visitor, but it definitely gives you a strange sense of belonging.
That's Madras for you.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Time

Time, the healer and the malice.
Time, the appointment and the disappointment.
Time, the good and the bad.
Time, your friend and your enemy.
Time, you race with it and race against it.
Time, makes you respect people and suspect people.
Time, makes you laugh and makes you cry.
Whatever you're going through right now - This too shall pass.
So you Embrace it and brace yourself, for this life you're living, is alive!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Comforter

You are the one - there to greet me when I come home.
You are the one I cuddle up to.
You beckon to comfort me when I'm ill or tired.
You never get angry. You're always soft and gentle yet you take all the beating and carry my weight.
You're the only one I can fight with and be happy about it
I would never want to leave you, but I have to, but I always look forward to coming back to you for you are the only one who gives unconditional love.
You're the love of my life, oh memory foam mattress!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Verbal Diarrhoea

Sorry. That's what we're taught to say when we hurt someone. 
Whether we did something intentionally or not doesn't matter once the damage is done. 
Whether the action was intentional, but hurting wasn't the goal isn't relevant. All that remains is the fact that you hurt someone.
It may be something good in the long run, but is it worth losing a friend over is for contemplation.
Do not open your mouth where it's not required will be something you learn, a lesson not taught in the manse.
Or what comes out may reveal the suspense, but rob you off the romance.
The person may forgive and forget. 
Yet, this mind may want to apologise once again for the friendship it begets.
And you will be haunted forever by the trust you lost, to indulge your verbal diarrhoea. For you'd have proved you're a fool by breaking your silence. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Arachi vitta Rasam

Ingredients:
Salt
Sambar powder
Asafoetida
Tamarind
Jeera
Black pepper
Curry leaves
Coriander

Take a lemon sized ball of tamaind and mix it with water and extract its juice.
Take 3 teaspoons of crystal salt, 1 teaspoon of sambar powder, a pinch of asafoetida and the juice of tamarind in a vessel and boil them all together for half an hour.

Boil toor dal with a pinch of turmeric and asafoetida until cooked well and keep it aside.

Take 2 teaspoons of Black pepper and 2 teaspoons of Jeera and grind it with a little water to make a loose paste. Mix this with the broth made previously. Let this mix boil for another 15 minutes. 

Add 4 tumblers of water to the Dal boiled previously. Mix it well and mash the dal. Take mostly just the juice of the Dal, boiled previously, with only a little bit of the Dal itself, (not too thick) and mix it with the tamarind juice broth. Boil until froth appears on the surface.

Take a teaspoon of ghee in a kadai/wok and fry mustard and 2 red chillies in the ghee. Once the mustard starts bursting, pour this into the boiled broth. Add a little curry leaves and coriander for garnishing and taste.

Enjoy it with rice on a cold day.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mature love

Crush the urge and be subtle,
for maturing your infatuation into love.
Brush the lust aside for it has made lose many a battle,
for nurturing relationship to fit like a hand in a glove.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Survival of the Cooker - Part 2

Thenga Podi (Coconut powder):

I'm going to follow the same template as yesterday's post of Molaga podi for this post, as most of the ingredients and procedure are the same.


Disclaimer: Follow the links if you aren't sure what these ingredients are. I have linked them to bigbasket.com from where I buy my groceries. I have no other association with them.

3/4th tumbler of Thuvaramparuppu (Toor dhal)
1/4th tumbler of Vellai uLundhu (white urad dhal)
About 10 MoLaga Red Chillies (Any variety that you prefer. Add more if you like it to be extra spicy) 
About a Rs.5 coin sized piece of Perungaayam (Asafoetida/Hing), if you are using the solid kind. If you are using the powder, add about a tablespoon full. More if you like the smell of it.
About 1/2 a coconut (medium sized one)
About a tablespoon of oil (any oil that you prefer - I used refined sunflower oil)
Salt - As necessary
1 tumbler = approximately 150gm of Paruppu (Dhal). Not sure though. 



Take all the ingredients mentioned above, except the thenga (coconut) and fry it in a pan on medium flame with any oil that you prefer (I used refined sunflower oil) until both the paruppu turn golden yellow. Make sure to keep Sautéing it to avoid burning it. The chilli would also have started emitting its odour by now. Once done frying, keep this mix aside to cool down.

Scrape the thenga fully and fry the scrapes on a dry pan until it loses its raw smell and becomes dry. 
Keep Sautéing it on the pan without any oil to avoid burning it. You will know if it is done from the change in texture. It should've come to a state where one strand(for the lack of a better term) doesn't stick to the other. This indicates that it is cooked. Remove the pan away from the fire.

Now, take the previous mix of Red chillies, Thuvaram Paruppu, VeLLai ULundhu and asafoetida, after making sure that it has cooled down sufficiently for your mixer, grind it Rock-salt as necessary. (Rock salt lends a better taste than free-flowing powdered salt).

Last step is to add the thenga that has been cooling down all this while to the already ground powder and grind them all together. 
Almost the same procedure as that of MoLaga podi but instead of kadali paruppu, we use thuvaram paruppu. And instead of eLLu, we add the thenga.
Allow it to cool down and store it in an air-tight container. The measurements mentioned here will make the powder last for about a week for a single person, if used everyday. 



This can be mixed with rice, used as a side-dish for Idly, Dosai, Thayir saadham (Curd rice) etc.

Enjoy. :)

Next post - Dhaniya podi.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Survival of the cooker

The display name project 365 of twitter has been keeping me busy and I had started ignoring this blog. Today, though, I have some interesting news. As of today, I'm officially a cooker. No no.. Not the pressure kind. The cooking kind. I mean, I have learnt to cook a few basic recipes that would help me NOT JUST survive, but help me retain sesnsation of my taste buds. 

Yes, I have not just learnt to cook/make the Tambrahm essentials of Molagapodi, Thenga podi and Dhaniya podi, but have also made my first prototype test and I'm pleased to announce that it has been a grand success.

This post is part 1 of the series where I shall describe the procedure to what all I have made.

First up

Molaga Podi (Chilli/Gunpowder):

Disclaimer: Follow the links if you aren't sure what these ingredients are. I have linked them to bigbasket.com from where I buy my groceries. I have no other association with them.

3/4th tumbler of Kadalai paruppu (Gram dhal)
1/4th tumbler of Vellai uLundhu (white urad dhal)
About 10 MoLaga Red Chillies (Any variety that you prefer. Add more if you like it to be extra spicy) 
About a Rs.5 coin sized piece of Perungaayam (Asafoetida/Hing), if you are using the solid kind. If you are using the powder, add about a tablespoon full. More if you like the smell of it.
1/4th tumbler of eLLu (Til)
About a tablespoon of oil (any oil that you prefer - I used refined sunflower oil)
About a two-thumbs sized piece of vellam (jaggery) for a tinge of sweetness. Avoid it if you don't like sweetness. Personally, I feel this is what makes it taste brilliant. I have a sweet tooth, you see.
Salt - As necessary

I hadn't measured it in terms of weight. My Mom hates doing that. Everything is measured only by the eye. "You'll know how much is enough when you see it" is what she says and I seem to follow her.

Okay, I've put up the image of the tumbler below if you still need measurements. 



Note that my hands are huge. Bigger than a typical guy's. So, keep that in mind. :P

1 tumbler = approximately 150gm of Paruppu (Dhal). Not sure though.


Take all the ingredients mentioned above, except the eLLu and fry it in a pan on medium flame with any oil that you prefer (I used refined sunflower oil) until both the paruppu turn golden yellow. Make sure to keep Sautéing it to avoid burning it. The chilli would also have started emitting its odour by now. Once done frying, keep this mix aside to cool down.

Now, take the eLLu that is remaining and Sauté it on a pan without any oil. This has to be done dry. The eLLu will start to burst like pop corn. Be careful not to get burnt by the bursting grains. The raw smell would have disappeared by now and the colour would've also turned to golden-yellow. This indicates that it is cooked. Remove the pan away from the fire.

Now, take the previous mix of Red chillies, Kadalai Paruppu, VeLLai ULundhu and asafoetida, after making sure that it has cooled down sufficiently for your mixer, grind it along with a lemon-sized piece of tamarind and Rock-salt as necessary. (Rock salt lends a better taste than free-flowing powdered salt).

Last step is to add the eLLu that has been cooling down all this while to the already ground powder and grind them all together.

That's it. It's done. That was simple, wasn't it?

Allow it to cool down and store it in an air-tight container. The measurements mentioned here will make the powder last for about a week for a single person, if used everyday. 

This can be mixed with rice, used as a side-dish for Idly, Dosai, Thayir saadham (Curd rice) etc.

Enjoy. :)

Let me know if you try this out and how it turned out to be. And if you have any tips/tricks in survival skills, leave it in the comments.

I will follow-up with posts on the recipes of Thenga podi and Dhaniya podi soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Indha Avinasi oru visuvaasi - MMKR Dialogue compilation

After +Mirnalini Venkatraman posted some dialogue reference to a dialogue from Thilli Mullu on twitter, I had asked her what she meant and got blasted for not getting the reference. This +Ashokha Varshini gave me the imposition to write for such a grave ignorance. Then, @_curses tweeted another dialogue from MMKR which also I didn't seem to "get". Just like Avinasi, I am also one visuvaasi so, as an alternative to writing imposition, I decided to download a watch both Michael Madana Kama Rajan and Thillu Mullu again and live tweet both movies' dialogues and I did. This blog post is to compile all those tweets into a single source for future reference as suggested by +bala kumaran So, here goes:




































Thanks to all of you who had tweeted, for making this as comprehensive as possible. Please @reply tweet to me or post here in the comments, some of the dialogues that we (everyone tagged in the tweets above) may have missed.

Next post: #ThilluMullu based :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thank you, Knowledgeable Chennai Crowd

The idea of visiting the town of charm - Chennai originated with a friend moving there in April last year. I had been there on May but that was the worst time of the year to visit a place like that. Everyone knows the 3 seasons of Chennai - Hot, Hotter and Hottest! And May is falls in middle of the hottest months of the year.
Anyway, this blog is not about my earlier visit, so I'll stop there.
I will not talk about how I despise Chennai Summers, either. This being the winter, I expected it to be bearable, if not pleasant, but to my surprise it was actually VERY pleasant.

'Twas the Season to be jolly. Yeah. The Christmas season had arrived and it had been over a month since another friend had moved to Chennai. That was an incentive for me to visit the city. Thanks to twitter, I now know a lot more people from Chennai than from my own town. So, took the opportunity of the year-end-shutdown at office to visit all of them.

Boy, was that a great decision! I may not have partied for the New year's. I may not have drunk. I may not have traveled, but what could be better than meeting some awesome people! As an icing on the cake, I got to go to the ARR live-in-concert.

Was that brilliant or what! My first ever concert. Rain-drenched. Soaking-wet. The crowd had not moved an inch. I, being what's known as "Enthu pattani", went to the venue at 2PM for the 6PM concert to put towel and hold seats for my friends (you know who you are, #giuTreat). Rained all through until the concert began, but I got to hear the songs being performed even before it did. All the artists were there rehearsing back stage with the mics ON. :D
The man's called AR RahGod for no silly reason. We were literally drenched by "Isai Puyal" (Musical cyclone). Whatte Man!
Except for a few screw-ups by Hariharan and  the ads for Jaya TV serials in between the songs, I had the time of my life at the concert.

I made sure I met as many twitter folks as possible over multiple tweet-ups. First one was a small one in a posh tea kadai called Pascucci and the second one was over dinner at a restaurant called Kailash Parbat. Both nice places. Was blown away by the crowd that was waiting outside Kailash Parbat when we exited. Didn't think the food was THAT great. The ambiance was good, though.

Stood in the queue for 5 hours to get to see the deity at the Singa-Perumal koil on Vaikunta Ekadasi day.

Wasted money in watching The Hobbit. Before you outrage, I Haven't watched LoTR series, so...

After the itching wait, finally got to watch Sivaji 3D in Dolby ATMOS at Sathyam Cinemas. I owe an apology to everyone who turned up that day for I had all their tickets and ended up being terribly late. Sorry. Really.

You! Yes, you! Go watch it. If you haven't watched it yet or even if you have, book a ticket to Chennai and watch it in ATMOS. Mind-blowing it is. And it is a completely different movie in 3D.

Watched NKPK - One hilarious movie this one is. Watch it if you already haven't.

Went to the Vandalur Zoo. Whatte place! Spent one entire day there and if you love animals, this is a must-see. One suggestion - Don't take the golf cart. Take the cycle or walk, if you want to see all animals leisurely.

Met some long-time-no-see friends, but only briefly - Most of them being busy. Looks like only I was completely vetti this time of the year. :P Anyway, I could use this as an excuse for going again. Chennai is just 6 hours away from Bangalore.

If only Chennai had Bangalore's weather, I'll gladly move. Whatte town. What warmth. What people! Love the place, although I have no deep connection to it.

And did I mention my romance with trains? Chennai's sub-urban trains - oh my love!

With that came the time to pack-up and get back to the grind. What a way to end a year and start another one. Thank you Chennai. Thanks to all the people who made it to the tweet-ups and to the ones I met. Yuvaar the bestest!

Here's wishing you 2013 to be the best year so far, in your lives. Take care. Be good. Until next time... :)