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Bombay at war… November 30, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
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I don’t need to express to all of you, how dark the past few days have been for Bombay, and for India in general. What seemed like the possible plot of a high action movie, came true right before our eyes. And left in its wake a sense of destruction, desolation and anguish the likes of which Bombay, and for that matter, India has not seen in recent years. Innocent lives were lost. People’s sense of security and peace have been shattered. Those of whom who had the fortune of surviving this ordeal are probably scarred for life. And, last but not the least, Bombay may have lost one of its most iconinc landmarks forever. It is undeniable that at least to many of us, me included, the majestic Taj was – i stand corrected, IS – as symbolic an image of Bombay, as the Twin Towers were to New York. All i can hope and pray for is that the Taj is also rebuilt in all its glory, just as i hope our faith and trust is as well.

But amidst all this, a few thoughts come to my mind. Like all other Bombayites, I too cheered and thanked the men in uniform for all their bravery and for putting their lives on the life, so that we could feel a little more secure about ours. The Mumbai and Maharashtra police, the National Security Guard, the marine commandos, the Army, the Navy, all those who put themselves in the path of a bullet deserve credit for their role in making our lives a little safer tonight than what it was last night. Be it outside the Taj, the Trident, Nariman House, CST station, Cama Hospital, outside the airports, railway stations, or at any crossing and signal in Bombay. I felt more safe yesterday going back home, than i felt the day Bombay was closed down due to the riots over local politicians being arrested. However, in all of this, I fear that once the initial cheering and euphoria dies out, we will soon forget their bravery. After a few Indian victories in Cricket and a few hit Bollywood movies, we run the risk of forgetting all that these men in uniform have done for us in the last few days, and we shall soon get to the point where we are brazen enough to complain that these cops take Rs. 100 everytime we break a signal and question the discounts the military gets in army canteens. I feel that we should thank these men in some way, before we forget.

A bigger worry is that we also run the risk of forgetting all that has happened in the Bombay since the 26th. We, me included, get too involved in our lives to remember that something like this ever happened in our city. Because we have seen it on the television so many times, in the news in other countries and in the movies, in my opinion we run the risk of being desensitised towards it days after it has happened. We just think “It’s something that happens inside the TV. It doesn’t affect me.” But it does, and if it doesn’t, it should before our apathy kills us. And even then if it doesn’t, I think at some level we are dead already. I think all Indians, at least those of us who call Bombay our home, need to visit “Ground Zero” and see for ourselves what has happened there. Unless we see it with our own eyes, we will never fully understand the trauma of those who lived to tell the tale, and we will never realise that today, more than ever before, we need to stand together as a city, as a nation, as one person and scream out in one voice, “WE WILL NOT LIVE OUR LIVES IN FEAR! WE ARE GOING TO MOVE AHEAD!! AND WE WILL STAND UNITED AGAINST ANY ENEMY!!!” We cannot be consumed with our petty differences anymore. We cannot put up with a North – South divide, we cannot allow our politicians to break us further based on religion, language, caste, economic status, or any other grounds. We all have said it before, and we all have heard it before, but it’s time we started acting up on this for a change. It’s time we learned NOT TO FORGET!

I am sorry for venting out my feelings out to you in this manner. I had a similar outburst in front of my family last night, and i think the after-effect of the outburst that remained with me all night, has forced me to share my views with you. I would like to propose that we, as Indians should put our money where our mouth is, and do something to thank our heros in uniform for whatever they have endured for us. In whatever way possible. Be it monetary, in kind, spiritual, time or any other way, that benefits them the most. In my limited capacity, I have proposed an idea, but I am sure it can be bettered and I would appreciate it if a thought was put into this, and a plan is worked out. But the critical thing is doing something. Now is the time to do, and not debate, and discuss.

Also, i feel that everybody must visit the three battlezones within the city – The Taj, The Trident Oberoi and Nariman House, and pay homage to those who succumbed to terrorism. I think this must be done, before these buildings are rebuilt and the blood is washed away from the streets and our collective memories. I genuinely feel that to finally understand how real the threat is to our people, our city and our nation, we must see with our own eyes and feel with our own heart, the pain, the anguish and the terror that has engulfed our city today. If we do not, once again all of us, me included, run the risk of forgetting the shocking incidents that have happened right before our eyes. I understand again that not everybody may feel the same way about this as I do. But i sincerely feel that if we forget this incident, we will forever desensitise ourselves to the most important thing that binds us today – Humanity. And we may have to think twice before we call ourselves Human Beings again.

A Concerned Citizen and a Human Being


Here’s wishing all Indians out there a Happy ID15… August 15, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Random Thoughts....
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Spent the first ten minutes of ID15, (I think more people celebrate Independence Day if it had a cool sounding alternate name, like ID15!), listening to different renditions of the Indian National Anthem…I must say, I haven’t heard the anthems of too many other countries, but seriously, if ever there were an Olympics to determine the most inspiring National Anthems of all times, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ would whip some serious butt. I know there are too many detractors, ready to pounce on an opportunity to have it changed to something else. But, the way I see it is, I really don’t care who it was written for, and for what occasion it was created. All I know, is when I hear the first few bars of the music, and the opening words ‘Jana Gana Mana’, I feel proud of my country like never before. To me, it stands for more than the occasion for which it was created, and for whom it was meant to be sung originally. To me it stands for everything that I love about my countrys, potholes, corrupt politicians, warts and all.

As I type this, I realise that I’m sitting in the country that ruled us for 300 odd years. Surprisingly, I don’t think I feel any particular ill will towards the British anymore. Easy for me to say though, I don’t think I lost anybody in the constant struggles to win our human rights back. As I continue typing this, I remember a line from a good movie, “Saving Private Ryan”. After most of the team sent to rescue Private Ryan from the Bay of Pigs had died, in trying to keep him alive, Tom Hank’s character, said this to Matt Damon, who played Private Ryan. “Earn it, Ryan. Earn this.” Although we just inherited it and have for most of our lives taken it for granted some people really did fight for our independence. I hope someday, as a country, as a united people, we earn the trust of those who laid down their lives, and all that was dear and precious to them, just so that we could have a better future.

Here’s wishing you a Happy ID15! Wish you have a safe, independent and successful life, wherever you are. Cheers!

Silence, please… July 27, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.
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High heels; Flats; Rubber soled sneakers; Platforms; Trainers. But concentrate a little more, and you can recognise certain patterns.

Confident strides in high heels; The decisive walk of formals; the shuffling steps of trainers; rubber soled sneakers pacing the same few yards over and over again; the dragging of the flat soles on the concrete; the thumping of the platforms on the pavement.

Walking sticks. Doors opening. The opening of a crisps packet. Crisps being eaten. The unfolding of a newspaper. Announcements. Jangling of loose change in somebody’s pocket. A trolley being unloaded from a train. Luggage wheels squeaking on the ground. Opening and closing of the train doors. A train horn hooting. Bottoms sqooching on benches to make room for more bottoms attached to various bodies.

Inside the coach.

Ventilation. The slight sigh of air brakes releasing. A distant horn. Plastic bags rustling. Muted whispers. Turning of the pages of a newspaper. Coughs. Somebody putting his hand inside his jacket pocket. Jackets being removed. The sound the train makes when it passes through a short tunnel. The soothing rhythmic sound of the train’s motion. The sound it makes when the coach you are in passes over a switch point. The crackle of the plastic sticker on a Coke bottle. Opening of a Coke bottle. The coach doors gently banging shut. Sniffing. The rustle of my pen scribbling across the page. Me keeping the pen down on the table in front of me. Me burping suddenly (Sorry!). People on cell phones. The cap closing on a Coke bottle. Creaking of the train coaches. Crossing a bridge over water. Gurgling noises. Keys jangling in the air. The vooshing sound the train makes when it passes a station without stopping. The ‘dede de dah dede de dah dede de dah’ sound when another train passes by the train I am in. The drivers announcements. Guards whistles. Laughter. The slow rhythmic sound when a train takes off from a station, before it picks up speed. It lasts for a minute or two, before it settles back to the soothing rhythmic pattern back again. Jewellery.

Me getting up. Footsteps shuffling to the door. Luggage wheels squeaking behind me. Doors opening and closing. The ‘ting’ of the door when it opens. Me getting off.

A sigh.

It’s amazing how many things you hear in a 10 minute halt at Southampton station, and the subsequent 20 minute train journey to Poole, if you stop bothering with everything else, and just listen to the world around you. I realised that after about the first 50 sounds or so, everything is more or less a variation on the same. So, what’s the big deal about it, you ask? So, I could hear what was happening around. But what good did it achieve? Well, it made me realise, that we have this amazing gift. To be able to listen to everything around us. To isolate every sound if we chose to and concentrate on what is happening around us. But, how many times do we actually listen?I for one had often hoped that I got a raw deal coz the powers that be didn’t give me any super human abilities. What would have been the point of having super hearing abilities, if we don’t even make full use of the some of the most basic human abilities we have taken for granted over the years.

Before that journey, I thought only Superman had the ability to isolate a sound and identity its source. For that half hour period, I realised later, I was Superman.

Try it sometime.


Well, change is inevitable… June 23, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself....
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“…except from a vending machine!”. And since, when I checked last night, I wasn’t one, I decided to make some changes.

One major visible change is the header. Spent hours trying to photoshop it, and I personally think, it’s kinda sums me up nicely. And it’s got a semi-hidden image too, if anybody looks closely at it. Presenting a little bit of me to the online world, for the very first time. That was a big decision for me. Almost as big as revealing my real name on Facebook. Yes, it’s there. But unless you already know me, it’s going to be tough to figure out who I am on facebook (in case you were trying to figure it out, that is!)

Well, this was a big decision, no jokes about it. I’ve been called paranoid by too many people, with regards to my self imposed guidelines for separating my online identity from my real life identity. Different names, different images, different personas. But the same me. Just different facets, for different people. The online identity was a side of me that I was always scared of revealing in front of most people. Even friends and family. As it so happened, it was mostly an identity that helped me question myself, the offline identity. EspritNoir was able to say and do things the ‘other’ me could never imagine. And the offline me helped me remain grounded, making sure EspritNoir never took off and went AWOL.

Somebody close to me has had a very tough time, adjusting to both these personas. I remember, the person once SMSd me hoping that things never change between us. And I remember laughing and thinking, “Change is inevitable”. And things changed dramatically. Then things changed again, and again, and then life changed. It convinced me of one thing : change is never good or bad. Change is just change. Resistance is futile. You either adapt or you don’t. Does that make me fatalistic. Maybe, but I don’t think so. Does that make me flexible. Yes. And that’s what makes me stand strong.

I hated change at one point of time in my life. I still do, in most things. But, if things hadn’t changed, say a couple of years ago, for me, I wouldn’t have been where I am in life today. And if things don’t change, I won’t be where I want to be tomorrow, or in a year’s time or in ten years time. At the same time, I remind myself that some things don’t change and hopefully never will. They remain a constant. Their intensity may change, or their or their measure. But their nature remains the same. And always will. It’s a skill, deciding what things remain constant, and what things change. And if you question yourself too much in this process, it leaves you with a feeling of insecurity, a nagging feeling of uneasiness gnawing away in your mind. And that makes life miserable. Security lies in knowing that some things are bound to change, and yet having faith that other things will not. It’s up to you to decide what things to have faith in.

What’s the point I’m trying to make? I don’t know. Have faith, and though shalt be happy and contented? Maybe. Be flexible and learn to adapt? I think so…But most importantly, all I’m trying to say is that Change is inevitable. Don’t spend your time trying to change things from changing or questioning the change. You run the risk of missing out on something extraordinary. Did that make any sense? I guess not. But, for once, in recent times, I don’t find me questioning myself over changes done on the blog or on Facebook. If I run the risk of mixing my offline and online identities, well, so be it. Maybe something extraordinary will come out of that too;)

Okay, quick test blog… June 21, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.
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Hi guys, am trying something new here. Hope this works. Pls ignore this one, as this is a test post…!



Dusseldorf. Drupa 2008. June 18, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....
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Back at home (?) in Poole, after spending a week in Dusseldorf, Germany. It’s a really lovely place, with quaint little trams and trains running across the city, filled with trees and greenery. I think I saw more cyclists and roller bladders in Dusseldorf than I saw cars! But more on that later.

Was in Dusseldorf to attend the ‘mecca’ of the printing industry that takes place every four years there. Drupa 2008. The company I used to work with back in India was participating, and had a whole bunch of people coming to Germany for the show. In fact, over just over four and a half years back, I remember, soon after I joined the company as a Marketing Communications Executive, we had started work on the 2004 edition of this exhibition. It was kind of the first big project I worked on. Since I was a newbie, I was in charge of nothing, but just the foot soldier to organize everything that the senior wanted done. Logistics, shipping, crating, speaking to vendors, hunting down old poster designs for references, making sure everybody had their international SIM cards, keeping a track of who was staying at which B&B in dusseldorf, etc. In short, I had my sleeves and jeans rolled up, and I was working right in the thick of things. And I remembered around that time, when my 6 monthly appraisal came up, DC (my ex-boss / more friend) said to me, ‘I know you probably are wondering why you aren’t going to Germany, with the rest of the team. But, your time will come. Soon, you’ll travel out of Bombay, the rest of the country. And maybe next drupa, Germany. You will be there, right in the thick of things, don’t worry! Once you get the hang of handling events, you will fly.’ And internally, I was like, “Yeah right. Like I’m gonna wait four years for that! If it happens, it will happen who knows.”

That was end 2003 – early 2004. After that the team left for drupa 2004, had a good drupa, and came back to India. I moved on to other events. Local first, and then national. Delhi was my first big event outside Bombay for the company. Disaster is the only word that comes to mind. I remember DC telling me at the end, when I was looking at the dismantled stall, not knowing, what goes where, and what happens next : “You look like a babe lost in the woods”. But we came off okay. After that, it had been a roller coaster ride. One event after the other. A lot of things going good, some not so good. But no disasters. It became a pattern, whenever an exhibition came up, working late into the hours. Discussing stall designs. Identifying messages. Looking at poster designs. Making adverts, invites, press releases, hotel reservations, the works. Then the events would start. For 3 days before the show and 2 days after, I was the first person on the site, to oversee the fabrication, and the last person to leave. All over the country. Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi again, Bombay. Hyderabad once more. Even Birmingham, UK, for IPEX 2006, although once again, in spite of doing all the leg work, I didn’t get to go. Things were going good. And in the back of the mind, Dusseldorf was the target. As time passed by, 2008 started coming closer and closer. Preparation talks for Drupa 2008 were in the air. Tentative lists were being made up. Names were being suggested for those who would travel. DC offered me a deal : lost 15 kgs in 5 months, and you can go to drupa. I knew it was a joke, my intuition told me, he needed me in Germany anyways, so I was sure to go. And in the midst of all this, we did an event in Chennai in August 2007. And that’s where I walked away from an event for the last time. Before it got over. I wasn’t there to close that event. For the first time, I wasn’t the last person from my company to leave the exhibition grounds. And I remember, I cried the whole way from the exhibition site to the airport, for leaving a job half done. And for leaving friends behind. While they would be headed for Germany the following year (2008), I had other plans. 15 days later, I was on a flight to the UK.

So, when DC (aforementioned boss / friend) suggested I come along to Dusseldorf from the UK, I jumped at it. Meet up with old friends and colleagues, and help out with some of DC’s work. And more importantly, close the event. I was there for 7 days, and for some time, it felt strange. I saw somebody else do my job. I know him well, and he was good. He did all the rookie mistakes that I had done the first time around. And I had to remind myself not to be too hard on him. But still, he was in my place. It felt strange when people came up to me and told me things, then realised that I’m no longer in charge and I had to tell them, I’m sorry I can’t help you on that. It was kinda bitter sweet. A couple of times, that some of them came to me, it meant that I was accepted once again, it felt great but it felt wrong to redirect them to somebody else. Knowing that I could have done it myself, but it was no longer my responsibility, and that I would be stepping onto somebody else’s shoes. This was supposed to be my show. And all I was, was a bystander. The last 2 days, I teamed up with him, the guy who had taken my place as DC’s right hand man, like I had been for so many years. Right hand man, it sounds so filmi. Like a spineless lackey. Watching them interact together, made me see myself 2 years back. Was I the same way? Did I want to remain the same way? Now, that was a question.

The last two days, while the both of us, packed stuff up, and made it ready to be shipped back to India, 2 Germans brought the whole stand down. And once again, I was the last person to leave the site after an event. That felt good. Other things didn’t feel so good, but that’s just life. You can’t have everything. I told DC that this was a closure, for leaving him stranded in Chennai last year. He laughed. And offered me my old job once again. With newer challenges.

I still haven’t made up my mind. It’s something I would like. But details need to be sorted out yet. Decisions need to be made soon. Let’s see how it goes.

sometimes even a home away from home can be a source of pain… June 11, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself....
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Fuck…and double fuck. This is harder than i had imagined it to be. Much harder.  this was what i had wished for over four years back. and even though i am here in dusseldorf, it’s not the same. not even in the league as being in the vicinity as ‘same’. And even though every sensation in my body and mind says i did the right thing about 9 months back, the pain is still numbing. i have realised more important things, realised what my priorities in life are more than ever before, and found more important things in life, somewhere i still feel a numbing sensation.

but then again, i think of the things iv realised in the last 9 months, and i know its alright. the pain is momentary. for the first time ever, i know what’s more important in life. and some things in life are worth it all. this loss is nothing compared to what iv gained. and i know that even though i feel a slight remorse today i will be alright tomorrow…

cheers. will explain more later.


Cooking for Four May 25, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Miscellaneous.
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The last two weeks have whizzed past in a blur. Trips to London, Stratford-upon-Avon, dissertation meetings, planning a trip to Germany, and amidst all this exploring a new aspect of life. Serious cooking!

Never ever have I cooked for others. All my experiments with cooking have been restricted to eating whatever I have had prepared. Well, I’m not counting the quick millions of half fries and omlettes, and bhurjis I’ve prepared over the years for friends and family. Anybody can make those. I’m also not taking into consideration the once in a while potato sabji and pithale bhaat, and other basic stuff. I think those are like a few basic quick fix dishes that anybody who has lived alone has to learn as a part of survival training. I’m talking about actual cooking, which involves thinking about what spices to put in the curry, gathering them, deciding how much to put in to give the dish the right flavour, etc. I’m talking about the kind of food that my mom makes. Well, my mom only makes vegetarian food, but trust me, it’s great food! To tell you the truth, she isn’t like a chef, she can’t conjure up exotic dishes and she doesn’t have a repertoire of a zillion dishes. But even her simplest food is definitely the most amazing. Good wholesome food, which is nothing less than an art form, I tell you. Now, this is the kind of cooking I’v always wanted to experiment with but never got around to try. In hindsight, I think it was because back home, I was way too lazy and was always making up excuses. We didn’t have the right spices. We didn’t have the right oven. My mom doesn’t like me cooking non-vegetarian food in her kitchen, although for the life of me, I can’t remember a single occasion when she said that. On second thoughts, I think like a lot of other things in life, I had a passion for cooking, but I was just way too scared to actually go and try it out, god forbid it turned out a disaster, and it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I couldn’t cook. Or worse still, if it did turn out good, then I would have had a standard to live up to the next time I cooked. (Having put that down, and having associated that thought to a few other things I’ve done or not done in life, I just had a thought! Christ, how messed up in the head, am I?) Anyways, one thing or the other, and I never actually cooked for people. The only few times I did cook, was mostly just for myself and I must say I was always, too much flash and less substance in the kitchen.

Well, when I shifted to the UK, into my student accommodation, I brought with me tons of recipes and cookbooks and what not. I was going to experiment! I was going to explore my culinary skills to the limit. I was going to enthral friends with my gourmet skills. I was going to conjure up new dishes everyday of the week, and become the Gordon Ramsay of the student accommodation! In reality, for almost eight months, I ended up doing nothing. In eight months, I must have cooked exactly 10 times. Mostly eggs, Maggi instant noodles, pithale (so whats new?). The closest I ever came to cooking was when I looked up a recipe for Chicken Fried Rice one fine evening, but my friends who I wanted to impress with my cooking decided to go out for dinner that night, and I ended up eating rice for dinner all by myself, as well as breakfast and lunch the next day. And one time, I made palak paneer, (which was good, by the way), but how it got made is a different story altogether. Why did I end up not cooking in the UK? Well, I have my meals with friends from India, who stay in the apartment next to mine, and there’s this one guy who can cook. To his credit, he cooks really well. He is like a thinking cook. He knows how much spices to put in, how long to marinade the chicken, and how to save a dish if it’s too salty, or too spicy, etc. And he’s been nominated the official cook for the apartment. And after the whole fried rice incident, and a couple of others back in the early days, when I was still getting to know these people, I realized that I wasn’t going to be playing second fiddle to a kid who was younger than me. Not in the kitchen, and not anywhere. Also, he had an advantage in the fact that he could actually cook, while I merely fancied myself to be India’s answer to Gordon Ramsay, I never actually tried cooking in earnest. I had to swallow my pride here, and accept the fact that if it came out to a cook-out match between us, I would be the one who was least prepared for it. It was much easier to be a commis cook, and help out with the chopping, and cleaning and occasional making omlettes, all the time taking in notes learning how to clean chicken, how to marinade it and cook it etc, hoping that one day I would put it to use.

That was until he went on a 3 week vacation, early this month. In that apartment, the only girl who could cook was a vegetarian, and despite the fact that we like our greens, the thought of going without meat for 3 weeks was a scary thought. Something in me clicked, there was no excuse this time. And I decided it was time to put on the apron, and take the pan by the handle!

Since then, its been a food fest every third day! Murgh Kababs, Chicken do Pyaaza, Murgh Hariyali Kababs, Alu Gobhi, Alu Mutter. For the first time, in my life, I was cooking for others, and trust me when I started off it was a scary prospect. I didn’t know whether these guys would like my food or not. It was one thing me eating off something I had made, even though it wasn’t palatable, but for these guys to do it was expecting too much. But, they seem to like it. Off course, I’ve taken a few falls. I have a heavy hand with the chillies, coz that’s the way we cook at home, and these guys can’t handle my spice level most times. But, I’ve learned to kinda control it. So, my friends can go easy on the dinner time Coke now!

We decided to put my skills to the test 2 nights back. There was just me and CM, one of my Indian friends here, in the apartment. Out of the blue, we decided to call over some friends over for dinner and drinks, something light, nothing too fancy. I decided to make Kababs, and hoped that everybody – 2 Croatians, a Turk, a German, and a Nigerian – would enjoy them. In the evening, there were 7 of us for dinner, and for the first time in my life, I experienced that feeling that people get when they say feeding somebody is so much better than eating. I’m not kidding, CM and I actually had to go dinnerless, coz all the chicken got over. For lack of a better word, it was a mindFUCK! Watching people eat something you’ve cooked, and liking it (I was tempted to use the word ‘loving’ instead of ‘liking’, but I think that would have been too strong a word) is a feeling that I won’t be getting over soon!

Last night was great too. For the first time in my life I made Chicken curry just the way I eaten at my relatives place ever since I was a kid. All my life, I wondered how the hell, people could cook something so well, so effortlessly, and now, I can’t believe how simple it is. But, the toughest part is getting the portions of the ingredients right. I think I managed it right last night. Hope I get it right in the future too.

So, for anybody who is interested in basic cooking, here’s the recipe. I don’t know where I got this recipe from. Its something I picked up from the net, and I have tweaked it a bit to make it something different.

Chicken Curry

Serves: 3-4 approximately
Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • Appoximately 800 gms chicken, thighs and breasts, with some gashes on the fleshy parts (That’s roughly 4 drums and 3 breast pieces in all. If you like it boneless, cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces)
  • 3 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • About 4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste.
  • About 1 cup curd (set yogurt)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 cup(s) hot water
  • 3 sticks of cloves
  • Some cinnamon sticks, for flavour
  • Oil, for cooking and shallow frying
  • salt to taste

NOTE : The way I cooked this dish, it requires some multitasking, and cooking 2 things on the hob at the same time. I am going to explain this just the way I made the dish. You can prepare the chicken in advance first, and add it to the curry later, but I think this way makes it better, so pay attention.

  1. Blend the ginger garlic paste along with about half an onion, finely chopped. Add a couple of chillies to give it some kick, if you like. While blending, add a little water, and a pinch of all the dry spices in the list. You can keep it just a little bit coarse instead of making it a very fine paste, but that’s your call.
  2. Coat the chicken with the ginger-garlic and onion paste and keep aside for a few minutes.
  3. In a heavy bottomed wok, heat oil. Add the rest of the onions and fry on a medium flame till they are golden brown. Add some chopped garlic, green chillies, cloves and cinnamon and continue frying for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the yoghurt. Stir constantly. Fry for about a couple of minutes more or till oil separates.
  4. While the oil in the wok is heating up, put another saucepan on the hob, and heat some oil for shallow frying the chicken. Then, while the onions, and then the tomatoes are frying in the wok, shallow fry the coated chicken pieces for about 5 – 6 minutes each, turning it over to make sure that it cooks evenly on all sides. Once the chicken pieces are done, place them on a dish with a paper towel on it, to soak up the excess oil.
  5. Here’s where the multitasking begins. While the chicken is being fried, add in the rest of the red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt to the wok with the onions and tomatoes. Increase the heat. Fry for about 5 minutes or more till the mixture in the pan looks well blended.
  6. When the onion tomatoes mixture looks well blended, add in the shallow fried chicken to the wok. Let the chicken cook in the mixture for a while, and absorb the flavour of the mixture. Coat the chicken with the mixture to make sure that it catches the spices.
  7. Add hot water and mix well. Add more garam masala on top, if you like. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes or till chicken is well cooked and has soaked in all the flavour & has become tender.

It’s not the most complicated of dishes, but it is one of the best. It has a bit of a kick, so if you like it to be a little less spicy, go easy on the chillies and the chilli powder. If anybody ever gives it a try, and likes it, lemme know 🙂

the most dreaded words from a song, for an NRI to listen May 7, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in I, Me and Myself..., Random Thoughts....

…chhodkar teri zameen ko door aa pahuche hain hum,

phir bhi hain yehi tamanna tere zarron ki kasam,

hum jahan paida huye, us jagah hi nikle dam…

– from the movie ‘kabuliwala’

it’s like ripping your heart out from within, and watching it roast on a spitfire…


A New Review… May 6, 2008

Posted by espritnoir in Miscellaneous.
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So, okay. 2 days back was what you might call it an exceptionally brilliant day for me. So, I didn’t go to Brown Sea Island with the others. So, I didn’t do too much of research on my dissertation topic. So, I didn’t cook an awesome meal and dazzle friends with my culinary skills. So what? I did something even better.

I saw three movies in one day! And not just mediocre ones, either. The three movies ranged
from a very faithful adaptation of a poignant novel (The Kite Runner), to the funny-if-you-learn-to-appreciate-the-dark-humour (Grosse Pointe Blank) to a fast paced cerebral action thriller (21). (Note to myself : Cerebral action thriller? Is that even a genre? Does it even make any sense? Well, it does now!!!)

Okay, I don’t think I will take you through all three of them right away, so I will go through just one of them for now.

Started off the day bright and early, at 7 am. Made myself a cup of coffee, and sat down in front of my computer to check my emails and stuff. And just checked on the download status of a movie I had been trying to get for a couple of weeks, The Kite Runner. Finally downloaded. So, I start up Media Player, and off we go.

To read the review, click on the ‘movies & books’ tab on the top and then click on the page for ‘the kite runner’. Or if you’re really lazy, just click here


p.s. yes, i know, i promised a review for “Death At A Funeral” soon. Hopefully, that’s coming soon.