Sunday, 13 December 2015

Come and Explore my City.. Drive, Design and Connect in Banaras

Writing this post for a super interesting war of zones.. North v/s South v/s East v/s West.. As a true Indian, I believe that we all are Indians and it does not really matter where we come from.. But then, every state, every city, every place in India has its own charm that is unique in its own sense..

When you ask me to write for a particular zone, I really find it hard to choose one, I am a North Indian, my entire family stays in North, but write now I am staying in Maharashtra.. The love of my life is a hard core North Indian too, but she is also staying in Maharashtra.. I have spent my childhood in Varanasi, I am staying in Pune and I have spent the best days of my life in both Mumbai and Delhi.. When you talk of North and West, how can South lag behind.. I have completed my graduation in Kerala, God's own country and trust me, the place is beautiful, simply awesome.. I still miss it a lot.. I have spent a lot of time in the roads of West Bengal on an official trip..It was a learning phase for me.. Clearly, each so-called zone has contributed in making me who I am today..I feel thankful to God that I was born in this country and I could explore so many states of this beautiful country..

Before I begin with the post about my favorite city, I would like my readers to visit this link, for all Tata Motors and Lionel Messi fans, do check out the website, you can not afford to miss this..

Guys, no matter where you go, no matter whom you meet, whom you dislike and whom you fall in love with.. there is a place that defines you, the place where you belong- your hometown. Yes, my post is for Varanasi (Banaras). Even if I travel the whole world, I would never forget this city and what it means to me, for it is my birthplace, for I was born in this city and my childhood memories belong to the streets of this amazing city called Kashi/Banaras/Varanasi/Shivnagri (I love to call it Banaras only)

Coming to the tile, Drive Design and Connect, for all those who must be wondering about the logic and connection between these three words and Banaras, let me tell you.. this city actually drives you, drives your inner conscience.. Right from the ghaats to the aarti, this place is a synonym to spirituality.. Yet, it symbolizes all materialistic desires and attachments of all human beings..Everything can be seen as a long journey, a tour of whatever happens between life and death..Yes, if you have watched the movie Masaan, its tag line says, "A celebration of life and death and everything in between".. There could not have been a better description of this city.. and that is how it drives you, to move ahead, to celebrate life..

When you think of the word design, let me tell you the four famous things about Banaras.. ghaats, paan, saree and temples..The ghaats are simply wonderful and give you a blissful and calm feeling, so do the temples.. All these places have a historical significance.. Banarasi Saree and Banarasi Paan are really famous all over the world..All you need to do is to sit back and observe.. Everything about the city, even the narrow streets have a uniqueness, have creativity and this is why this city inspires you to design..

Towards the end, they may say that metro cities like Mumbai are cosmopolitan, but if you really want to witness people who are actually connected to each other, with love, compassion, tolerance and unity.. This city, its people, its aarti, its ghaats, everything has a wonderful feel that connects you to it with something that you will not forget in a lifetime..

I guess whatever I wrote was not even five per cent of what all I can say.. To sum up, I would request all readers to visit this city once..You will love it..Trust me..

Next Blog Soon

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Sugar Free Dessert Challenge : Karachi Halwa

I am a real foodie..and when you talk about sweets..I simply can not resist them..If you ask me about my favorite sweet dish, I really won't be able to name one..Right from sheer khurma by my Ammi during Eid to Gulab Jamun.. Right from shahee tukda that we usually have for iftaar to caramel custards and sizzling brownies..everything is really mouth watering..

I have always enjoyed helping out Ammi when she cooks..I know how to make most of the sweet dishes..I love eating them all, but there is one sweet dish that I simply adore only because of the way it looks, the way it glitters and shines and its different shapes and sizes..Yes, the title says it all. I am talking about Karachi Halwa..

Karachi Halwa is traditionally made in orange, red, saffron or yellow color. My favorite color is yellow, so when I make it, it has to be a bright yellow colored Karachi Halwa only.

Without much ado, let's begin with the recipe.

Ingredients :-

Corn flour : half cup
Sugar Free : One and a half cups
Water : Two and a half cups
Ghee : one-fourth cup
Cashew nuts : one-fourth cup
Cardamom Powder
Soaked almonds (optional)
A pinch of food color (yellow color for my recipe :-D)

[Note : The cashew nuts must be finely chopped and the soaked almonds must be peeled off and finely crushed/chopped. ]

Method :

1. Take corn fluor and one and a half cups of water in a bowl and mix both of them. Whip them continuously and make sure that there are no lumps in the mixture at all.

2. Add food color to the whipped mixture of corn fluor and water and keep them aside.

3. Take a non stick pan and saute the finely chopped cashew nuts/soaked almonds in two tablespoons of oil till they become light brown. Keep them aside.

4. Now its time to prepare my favorite part- chaashni. For preparing chaashni, take sugar free and one cup of water in a non stick pan and boil it till the sugar free completely dissolves and the mixture becomes sticky enough.

5. Add the cornflour mixture to the chaashni and start stirring continuously on low flame. Once again, make sure that no lumps are formed.

6. It will start thickening and having a glossy texture. Just when you notice the thick halwa like texture, add ghee and stir again.

7. Once it starts to leave the sides of the pan, add cashew nuts and almonds that were kept aside.

8. Take a plate and grease it with ghee. Add this mixture to the plate and let it set itself. This will take between half an hour to one hour.

9. You can finally cut it into any desired shape. My favorite shape is the heart shape, which may look like a difficult shape, but looks really classy and presentable.

And our Karachi Halwa is ready!! Take a look!

Hope you enjoyed the recipe.

Thanks to sugar free, we can now enjoy all our favorite sweet dishes. Do check out this link for more details.

Next post soon

Sunday, 25 October 2015

McCain Smileys to Make Her Smile..

And in her smile, I see something more beautiful than the stars..And it was her smile that made me fall, fall in love with her..I can go on and on talking about her smile.. I can write poems, blogs and even books about her smile..

It was our very first date.. when we were about to order food, she told me that she really loved honey chili potato and all types of potato fries, McCain smileys in particular..We ordered that..and the smile on her face was so attractive, so intoxicating that I can't put it in words.. I told her how her eyes became brighter when she saw the food coming in and I had fallen in love with those eyes, that smile..She told me that the food was awesome, but McCain smileys are even better, Mc Cain veg nuggets and McCain Aaloo Tikki in particular.

So the first date made me realize that she was a real foodie..and that's what makes her even more adorable..She looks perfectly cute when she eats something she likes..She is the biggest fan of potato fries and tomato ketchup..But she is very particular about food brands..All she wants is McCain smileys and Kissan tomato ketchup only.. Her favorite food makes all our dates very special.. I keep on staring at her and her smile when she eats those fries..I can't take my eyes off her, not even for a second..

It was in the last Ramadhaan when I had my roza (fast during Ramadhaan) that she had given me a surprise, something that showed how loving and caring she was, something that made me fall in love with her, all over again. She had ordered food for me from

She had ordered a lot of fruits, many ready to eat food packets and as expected, her favorite McCain Smileys.. I was already very happy.. I told everyone at home about this gesture of hers..My Ammi, her would be mom-in-law, as she calls her, was really impressed too..She cares about each and everything, all the time.. And to add on to the surprise, she came to my place.. I was on cloud 9.. We made McCain Smileys together.. I had McCain Smileys for iftaar..

She asked me to guess the reason why she loved McCain smileys so much.. Its her hobby you know, asking me to guess something all of a sudden, asking random questions. And this is the conversation that followed :-

So she asked, "Why do you think I love McCain Smileys so much?"
I said, "You love McCain smileys because you love potato fries and they are actually delicious."
She replied, "Well, that's right.. That's one of the reasons, but not the real reason."
" like the shape of the smileys..You find them cute, right?"
"That's true again..but that's not the reason too"
"Then why don't you tell me on your own"
"Idiot! Its because of the way you stare at me when I eat them.."
"I don't stare at you..I just do not want to miss any moment that makes you smile..Come on now, eat these smileys..I want you to smile again..I love you!"
"I love you too.. Now stop eating them all..Leave some for me.."
"We'll cook McCain smileys again..Don't worry..Making them together is fun.."

As they say, love is all about those small things that make you smile.. Whenever she is angry with me, I make her favorite McCain Smileys and take those to her with tomato ketchup..and then, I ask her to smile.. We always end up remembering those episodes and smiling again..

Thank you McCain smileys.. for giving me those unforgettable memories with her..for helping me to make her smile.

P.S. Guys, do check out this link.. Check out all new awesome McCain recipes to make your loved ones smile..

Next blog soon!
Keep Smiling!


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Land of Kissanpur : Togetherness Calling

When was the last time you had dinner with your family without watching TV, without sending messages on whatsapp, without chatting on Facebook, without any gadgets, without smartphones? When was the last time you went on a long drive without a smartphone in your hand? When was the last time you traveled in a train and enjoyed the view from your window seat instead of clicking pictures from your smartphone?
I keep wondering how our fast lives have completely changed how human beings used to find happiness in staying together, happiness in the presence of the people they love. Something called solitude is clearly missing from our lives and surprisingly, something called togetherness is missing as well.

I had recently watched a movie starring Palash Sen titled “Aisa Ye Jahan”. The movie was all about how kids in cities are busy playing with IPads, Laptops and smartphones and have no exposure to nature and its beauty, while a girl from a small village is always missing the greenery, the scenic beauty of her native place. She then decides to plant a sapling and she waters it every single day. The movie describes day to day problems of fast life in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and shows the way how people completely change after coming to cities, how obsessed and caged we have become, as if we have become slaves to our smartphones, away from relationships, away from friends and family, away from real life.
What the movie couldn’t depict in three hours, this video has clearly shown and depicted in a few minutes. Do watch !!

I am totally in love with this video. It starts with how everyone is busy with their smartphones. Nobody has the time to talk, nobody has the time to smile, nobody has the time to even look at people around or greet them. Everyone is preoccupied and completely engaged all the time. The old man who tries to look into everyone’s eyes, who is looking for someone to talk to, feels so disappointed and so lonely.

And then it rains, somehow people do not even realize how they had forgotten the feeling of the rainy season, the awesomeness of the rain drops. And then, children come to his rescue. They plant seeds, they plant a sapling. Over days, it grows and becomes a plant with beautifully red tomatoes. The way these tomatoes shine, crimson red in color, it brings everyone together once again. People start looking at each other and smiling. They joined hands and watched the sapling become a plant together.

It was wonderful to see how a small bottle cap full of seeds could bring everyone together so easily and make everyone happy. Thanks to Kissan for this initiative. I am sure it must have made every viewer smile. Check out this link for details.

Welcome to Kissanpur! The Kissan group has taken this initiative..You can now order seeds online and free yourselves from the clutches and cobwebs of your smartphones at one go.. Take this one step towards togetherness, towards freedom. 

Let us go to the land of Kissanpur.. Let us sow seeds and spread happiness.

Next blog soon


Sunday, 30 August 2015

My Ammi's Biryani with TinyOwl App

 I have been staying in Mumbai for two months now. Coming from Lucknow- the city of Nawabs, Mumbai was not only a different city but almost a different world to me. On one hand, I was in love with the beaches, on the other hand, I was still getting used to the fast paced life of this city. At times, I used to feel really homesick. I missed Ammi (my mother) the most. I missed the mouth watering dishes she used to make when I was at home.

They say that the most unexpected surprises are the ones that make you the happiest, particularly if the surprises come from the people who mean the world to you- your family.
I had the best surprise of my life around ten days back. No, it wasn't from my friends. The surprise was from my Ammi. She had come all the way from Lucknow to Mumbai from Pushpak Express. The journey takes more than 24 hours. She had reached Mumbai CST Station at around 8 PM and asked me to pick her up. I was totally stunned. I am still not able to find any words to describe the feeling.

Ammi was tired. I knew that the journey must have been really hectic, but the moment she saw me at CST, she was in all smiles and tears simultaneously. Both of us talked about Mumbai, its beaches, its people, its buildings and everything under the sun in Mumbai on our way back to Chembur.

I asked her about the journey. I told her that she should have taken a flight. She did not listen. Perhaps she was looking out of the taxi, at the buildings. Perhaps she was really enjoying her ride on the Freeway. We had just reached home (my second home, which happens to be a one room kitchen flat in Diamond Garden, Chembur).

I just gave her a glass of water. Ammi told that she was feeling really hungry. She went into the kitchen to cook something. And I told her very strictly that I shall not allow her to do that and I asked her to sit and take rest. How could I ask her to cook? She had traveled for more than 24 hours in a train just to meet me, to give me an unforgettable surprise. I simply couldn't let her cook after that hectic journey. I went into the kitchen. All I had was a few packets of Maggie, ready to eat pasta and a few onions. I was cursing myself for not buying a refrigerator, for not keeping edible things and fruits at home. Ammi simply detests pasta and Maggi. I couldn't even get sandwiches or pastries from the local shop. The mall close to my house served only Pizzas, burgers and ice creams. I wanted Indian food. It was the best surprise of my life. I couldn't ruin it. I couldn't let my Ammi stay hungry and I didn't want her to travel anywhere once again. I wanted her to stay at home and have dinner with me. But what could I do? I was totally stuck.

I just took my smartphone in my hand to make a call to a friend. Probably it was a coincidence or God's grace, I saw the TinyOwl App which I had downloaded in the morning after receiving an invite coupon from an acquaintance of mine. I opened the App and once again, to my surprise, probably it was a coincidence or God's Grace again, this is what the App showed me :-

Ammi's Biryani was the name of restaurant. This came as the very first suggestion when I opened the app. It was heart touching to say the least, a restaurant by the name Ammi's Biryani with a recommendation to order Biryani and Achari Aaloo. I ordered it for my Ammi immediately. The App also had a COD option and it was delivered within half an hour.

We had Biryani together after a long time. It was such a delight to have dinner with her. It was such a relief to find such an easy solution to this food fix. Ammi said that she couldn't believe one could find such perfectly prepared Biryani in Mumbai. Ammi loved it.

Ammi told me that I had lost weight. I told her that it was because I couldn't get Biryani made by my Ammi. She then asked me to order food from that restaurant. I explained her about the Tiny Owl App. It was not only one restaurant. I could now order food from a number of restaurants with a variety of cuisines just with a click of a button. All thanks to the TinyOwl App!

The pamphlet from the restaurant Ammi's Biryani said "Authentic. Awesome. Always."
I would now say that the same holds true for the TinyOwl App. I have been using it since and believe me when I say this, it is authentic, awesome, always !!

Thank you TinyOwl.. It was all because of you that I could make my Ammi so happy.. It is all because of you that my mother is now relaxed thinking I won't have to stay hungry looking for my favorite food.

I recommend TinyOwl to all my readers. Download it asap. It is a really useful App. It indicates timelines perfectly. It gives you discounts. It recommends the best possible dishes. It is a very user friendly App. It has now become a permanent solution to my surprise parties, food fixes, hunger and temptations.

Guys, do visit these links. Download the TinyOwl App.

1. Android Link

2. iOS Link

Food tales are always awesome for foodies. I am a real foodie. If you're a foodie too, you simply cannot afford to miss the TinyOwl App. Do download it right now.

Keep Blogging. Keep enjoying food. Keep enjoying life.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

ABC of Life : R for Relationships

As Chetan Bhagat had said, who will remember power point presentations on your last day. We would only recall all smiles and tears and all those people who made us smile and whose absence made us cry.

Life is nothing without relationships. Learn to value them. Learn to value each and every person who ever made you smile.


ABC of Life : R for Relationships

As Chetan Bhagat had said, who will remember power point presentations on your last day. We would only recall all smiles and tears and all those people who made us smile and whose absence made us cry.

Life is nothing without relationships. Learn to value them. Learn to value each and every person who ever made you smile.