Friday, April 29, 2011

Hands free

A little thought hit my head on observations I made over many many days.

The sight of many solitary souls walking down lanes – empty lanes with canopy of tress sending a hiss through light breeze and busy streets teeming with people; brimming with vehicles - struck my head with a whiff. These troglodytes whispered mushy secrets with a cheeky giggle, walked and muttered things, gesticulated with hands and elaborated the most incomprehensible things, blew their tops off with furious reactions and nasty words. Upon taking a closer look, a pair of slender, black cords dangled from the ears and it dawned,  they were hands free on their mobile phones.

Who said size zero is trendy these days?  At least in phones, it is definitely not. Scenes from Bangalore roads make me conclude, people, by large, buy phones of considerable thickness that snugly fit between their cheeks and helmet’s inner lining. May be they carry their helmet to the mobile phones vendor for all practical checks. The phone sneaks out mysteriously like an extended appendage from the helmet of the driver of a two-wheeler. Again, when in a car or an auto, the phone should be, preferably, of considerable thickness to be supported between cheek and shoulder blade, not sleek that it slithers away from the neck.

People prefer to look like aliens, adorning a blue flashlight Bluetooth headset. Gone are times when grandparents were shy and reticent to wear hearing aids that shone explicitly, lest their grandchildren should make fun of them. Now, wearing these devices, like extended antennae from ears was in vogue though the purposes are clearly different. Who has the time to sort out the purpose or intent? As long as some gadget appears in the ear, the person is regarded a busy bee, supremely prominent and indispensable. It is cool! Come on; shrug your shoulders to add a little exaggerated effect to the statement!

The latest trend, catching up like a wild fever, is to cover one’s face entirely while talking. Bigger than the palm of your hand, this device does a great job defending your face, say from the sun or other social animals, or may be from a shoegate if you were a victim of smear campaign. These are the pads and the tabs –
I-pads and Galaxy tab. Sometimes, these come with a flap like cover, the flap covers your head a bit when you answer a call, serves as a wonderful sunscreen. Come on folks, throw away your "Fair and Handsome" and "Fair and Lovely" creams into trash can!

The above post may have a tint of jeer. Put those mobile phones to rest for a while when driving, eating and performing some essential daily duties even when you have the privilege of being hands free. It sure keeps accidents at bay.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bocuse d'Or - I

A long weekend and at home in Bangalore, thanks to Good Friday! I came across on TV, a cooking competition/reality show -Top Chef hosted by Padma Lakshmi. From the show, I learnt of a biannual international event - called Bocuse d'Or, based at Lyon, France - considered an equivalent of olympics in culinary skills/art. Though I barely knew the names of recipes and ingredients that appeared in the Top Chef show, I watched it with interest as the format of the show reminded me of my once favorite cooking show on TV - Master Chef India.

I decided to name this post on my blog, related to cooking with this new found word - Bocuse d'Or.
I follow a couple of blogs on cooking ardently and enjoy cooking thoroughly. I added to my kitchen paraphernalia, a Microwave-Convection-Grill combi oven - Samsung CE 104 VD-B this February. In immediate aftermath of the purchase, I carefully investigated the usage of all modes in the oven with a variety of recipes -
Microwave - Veg Pulao
Microwave + Convection - Veg Pizza
Convection - Choco Walnut Brownie (I used the ready mix available in stores from the brand - Fun Foods)
Grill - Pudina Baby Corn
Micorwave + Grill - Tandoori Stuffed Aloo

This long weekend was a joyous one due to heavy, incessant rain. In fact, Bangalore recorded its heaviest rainfall in the month of April this weekend for the first time in 40 years. With rain comes the unquestionable right to binge on some deep fried short eats with hot tea to wash it comfortably down the food pipe.
I made corn vada and pressed them between toasted bread slices, placed few onion rings and gave a dash of Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce to complete the dish.

Thanks to Tamalapaku - a blog on cooking from which I picked up the recipe of Corn Vada.
You may access the recipe of corn vada at -

Along with hot tea, I now wished to have some fluffy, baked stuff. The aroma of baking in home would sure complement the smell of fresh earth drenched in rain outside.
So I went out to make a simple, basic baking dish - Butter Sponge Cake and I referred to Suma's blog - Cakes and More for this. I revere her completely for her expertise in baking.
Here's the link to the recipe -
The only modification to the above recipe - I reduced the number of egg yolks to 4 (from 6 mentioned on the source blog). The number 6 for egg yolks seemed a bit too boggling for me to handle.

And here's how my cake looked, yummy it was along with hot tea.

Thanks to Harini and Jaya - the authors of Tamalapaku for the corn vada recipe. I have tried the Bread Uthappam and Black Urad dal idli too from their blog. I loved the former a lot and in case of latter, I would still rate our normal idli (not using whole black urad dal) taste wise unparalleled.
Thanks to Suma for the recipe "Butter Sponge Cake" , I have a long way to go in baking lessons and hope to acheive it with her blog :)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some Ugly moments spoil the Sport

Mar 18, 2007 was a day when cricket as a sport took an ugly turn. Pakistan’s elimination from ICC World Cup 2007 after a humiliating defeat at the hands of greenhorn like Ireland, sent shock ripples across the world.

More flabbergasting was the end, the coach of the Pakistan team, Bob Woolmer met, in just a few hours after the calamitous defeat. The whole world sniped at the unfortunate turn of events, the murder in Pegasus Hotel, Jamaica gave a morbid and cold start to the most important and prestigious event in cricket calendar.

Investigations by a jury, vindications, insufficient evidence to draw conclusion if death of Woolmer was due to criminal act or natural causes marred the professionalism, dignity and camaraderie expected in any sport. I barely followed 2007 ICC WC and virtually lost interest in the sport after this episode.

There were times when my comatose state was awakened – 2007 ICC World T20 cup, Monkey gate scandal of Border Gavaskar trophy 2008, IPL, the Ashes, India topping ICC test rankings, Suraj Randiv-Sehwag’s no ball gate. The multitude of verbal spat between Greg Chappell and Saurav Ganguly, Greg's public, acrimonious remarks on the overall conduct of Indian team increased my doubts if there were any positive attributes left in the way the game was played or managed.

It is difficult, however, to stay away from cricket for long, call it a part of Indian inherited trait or upbringing in a household where people are die hard cricket fans. With dauntless Dhoni leading team India from the front, his astonishing aplomb in dealing with cricket affairs both on and off field and a sensible, grounded and sincere coach in Gary Kirsten, interest revived and became profound as days passed with the pinnacle hitting at 2011 ICC world cup.

Many reasons made 2011 WC special from the start – it was happening in the Indian sub continent and no part of the world can parallel the cricket frenzy here. Sachin had to bag the gift which had long been eluding him. He served the nation against all odds for over two decades, a world cup victory was the only delectable garnish to his palate of zillion individual records. Dhoni definitely weaved magic in all formats of the game and taught all and sundry the importance of being careful with words, being diplomatic, shrewd, clever, composed and most importantly fearless – come what may. And yes, I was only 8 months old when India last lifted the world cup.

We are basking in the glory we earned the hard way for team India’s efforts culminated in the picture perfect victory on April 2nd 2011. India rode majestically as a team, unified in overcoming many a hurdle from league matched to the likes of Aussies, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans. The semi final against Pakistan in Mohali on 30/03/2011 was one such hurdle. Gautam Gambhir’s loose comments on a social networking site that India’s win in semis was for all 26/11 victims made no sense. Such a shoddy, insensitive remark was completely uncalled for and Afridi’s response calling Indians "not large hearted" gave the familiar ugly tinge to the game again. Gambhir has nobody to blame but himself – not just for missing his century by a wisp on the grand finale as quoted by Dhoni in the presentation ceremony but also for his insensible remark on mixing politics with sports. Common man in India would be glad to see this vigor and ire in ministers who lead the nation, to get clear answers for 26/11. They readily shun it all and invited their counterparts from across the borders for diplomatic talks over a cricket match. May be nations’ leaders started it all and Gambhir only followed suit.

Gambhir does not need to look too far to learn his lessons – he has responsible fellows like Dhoni, Tendulkar to look up to, even better - Virat Kohli who stumped the whole nation with his single sentence remark on what Sachin means to India. For now, all I ask for is, there be not too many ugly moments that spoil the fun and agility that this sport brings to its fans. Hope the nation does not wake up to another round of verbal brawls of the Ganguly-Greg Chappell likes through Gambhir-Warne (if Warne were to become the Indian coach as per speculations dated April 6, 2011)