Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Huge HeartFelt ThankYou!!!!

I am excited, I am thrilled!! Ecstatic!!!  Yes, it’s my first award. My lovely, awesome blogger friend Divya from You Too Can Cook –Indian Food Recipes nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  It’s amazing to be acknowledged by other fabulous bloggers and a massive confidence boost I must say. I am very humbled and touched by winning this award.

Divya is simply a great chef. I call her Master chef of Indiblogger.  I have tried her recipes and they are run away hits among my friend circle. I love her recipes, they are incredible!  One visit to her blog, you can see how you get hooked up with the gorgeous presentation of mouth watering recipes. Do check out their pages and comment on how fantastic her recipes are...!  Divya is definitely an encouraging, informative and sunny blogger and I’m very thankful, I found you in this here blogosphere.

When I started this blog just about one month ago, I wasn't even sure if anyone would read it, well other than my very loving and always supportive family and friends. But getting the overwhelming response for this blog has really boasted a new confidence in me. These past few weeks have been very exciting in the world of blogging, and I must say, I couldn't be happier!  I am meeting so many kind and talented bloggers and I am extremely flattered to see that they enjoy my blogs and what I do. 
Today, I would also like to say a HUGE Thank You to Anshika Srivastava.  She is the one who introduced me to the wonderful world of blog. She is my secret blog editor. She patiently read all my post and emails me if I’ve made any accidental spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Any techincal error in blog, its always Anshika who comes as a troubleshooter for me. Thank you so much Anshika!!!!!  I am so lucky to have a friend like you.

Now there are certain rules to be followed;
1. Create a new post
2. Thank the lovely person who nominated you for the award. (I've already done it).
3. Pass it on to your fellow bloggers.
4. State 7 random facts about you.
5.Claim and post the award pic.

So now I must pass this lovely award onto other fabulous bloggers!!!! 
  1.  I would like to nominate Ankita from Anki On The Move. She is a vibrant blogger and I love to follow and read her travel experience.
  2. Prashanth Kishan from Road Blok. He has good blog with interesting travel stories.
  3. Ashwini from Tales of Wandering Mind is another fantastic blog that everyone must visit.
  4. D.Nambiar from Odds and Ends,  she has a very notable blog with her beautiful thoughts and writings!! Do visit her blog.
  5. Navin Mathew from Hold the thought, Get the point. He is great writer and has awesome blog.
  6. Sheetal from Thoughts Unrestricted. She has awesome collection of superb pics in her blog.
  7. BhaviKK Shah from BHAVIKK SHAH's BLOG. A blog which can give you all the information related to finace, gold rates and stock. A must visit blog.
  8. Vajra from CafĂ© Adda  owns a wonderful blog with good collection of stories and thoughts.
7 Random facts about me:

  1. Most of the time, I enjoy cooking especially for parties and holidays. I love to give people surprises with my new experimented recipes. I am a big fan of Cookery shows. I can watch those shows even in the middle of night or early morning..
  2. My Favorite writer is Sophie Kinsella. I love reading chick-lit novels.
  3. I am hygienic fanatical girl. You can call it an obsession but I keep washing my hands again and again.
  4. I love reading and knowing about Indian history. More than beaches and hill stations, I love to visit forts and historical monuments.
  5. I love giving surprises with unusual gifts especially on birthdays and anniversary to my friends and family but  I hate if someone forget my birthday.
  6. I love soft toys. From my first salary I bought a huge doll for myself. I have a room full of soft toys.
  7. I am an impulse buyer. I love street shopping especially in Delhi and Jaipur market. I am very fond of colors and I love to buy all colorful items.
That’s all for today…

Thank you!!!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dinner Party Disaster

After shifting to Gurgaon, this was the first time I invited two of our friends to our home for a dinner party on this Saturday night. Nimish was a very good friend of my hubby from Engg days and  Anshika was my office colleague. To impress my colleagues and friends, I have always told them that I am a very good cook. Well I am a good cook, I make dishes reading cookery books and blogs!!!!! Trust me, it comes out really well.
 So overall, I have to prepare the dinner for 6 people(Me , my hubby, Nimish, his wife , Anshika and her hubby). I was dead sure that it would be a cake walk for me. I found out cookery blogs for starters (Kabab and Tandoori chicken) and my very own signature dish Hydrabadi Biryani and Chicken Do Payazza.  I was all set with menu and ingredients by Friday night to organize a lavish dinner. This is the occasion, when I can impress everyone with my culinary skills.
On Saturday morning, I got up only when my hubby said “its 11 am, get up otherwise maid will go”. “OMG!!! I got up and rushed to kitchen, I have to marinate Chicken for Tandoori Chicken”.
Thank God!!!  With the help of my maid I was able to marinate chicken, prepare the dough for kabab  and  naan. My maid went homw with a promise that she will be back by 5pm. I started making Biryani and after 3 hours of hard work, it turned out really well. I saw the clock was already showing 4’O clock. So I thought to take a little rest before my maid comes. I don’t know when I slept and got up at 7 pm. My maid has not turned up. Oh God!!! I was all on my own…. I kept the tandoori chicken on grill and suddenly there was no power in house. We have a power back up but of no use as I can’t operate oven. I thought of skipping Chicken do Payazza and started making balls from  Kababs dough.I asked my hubby to fry it till I get ready for dinner as they were about to come at 8 PM.  By the time, I came back to kitchen, I saw my hubby was struggling with the Kababs and all Kababs were  burned into black. I was not knowing, what to say him as it was my fault to assign this work to him.
I was feeling restless as there were nothing for starter but I was happy that my main course was ready. My hubby suggested that we can serve chips and Knor soup to them.  Finally power was back and I grilled my tandoori chicken. “Ahh!! Now all huddles are over and rest of the show will be perfect”. 
But sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to.
My guests came and we were having lovely conversion. Everyone was teamed up for playing cards.
 After the serving the starters, I thought of making Naan so that I can serve the main course properly. I have never struggled so much with Naan. The dough refused to form the right consistency and as soon as I got it into a ball I knew it had been over handled, which once baked would be very, very hard and unpleasant to eat. After making the Naan three different times, I finally gave up and thought I will sever biryani and Raita.

Worst was yet to come!!!!
I thought to warm my chicken biryani, so kept on burner. Anshika entered to my kitchen and said that lets come and play cards. I went to drawing room and started playing cards with my friend. Suddenly my hubby asked did you put anything on burner, its smelling….. “Oh God !!! Please no, please no… it can’t be my birayni. It’s my trump card to impress everyone”.
But it was over, all my biryani was burned as I left flame on high.
So here I was, with 4 guest in my house and I was nothing to serve them. It was such embarrassing situation for me. I did not know what to do. It was already 11 Pm and we called few restaurants but they refused to deliver the order.  My Hubby started surfing for the restaurant names which are open after 11 pm also. 
Anshika came to rescue me and  said “let’s all of us make something unique to eat.” I was so depress that I did not know what to do. Nimish came to my kitchen and said “let me make cake for you”. Anshika and Nimish’s wife boiled few eggs and started making egg curry. I quickly put rice at one burner and started making chapattis.
What a fun it was!!!! We all started playing antaksahri while cooking. Anshika and Nimish’s wife prepared a delicious egg curry where as all three male members made a beautiful chocolate cake.
My hubby  also prepared a unique starter for all of us from left over of Bingo chips.

Here are few snaps of our creative dishes:)

Bing Starters from Left Overs Prepared by My Hubby

Cake made by Nimish
Egg Curry
That night we had our dinner at 1 am and after that we all sat in one car and went to India Gate for having Icecream. We all were singing and teasing each other. WOW!!! What an experience it was!!!!!
Furthermore, the experience was a necessary reminder that the best cooking comes from a place of love, not from trying to impress others. Had I just relaxed, taken my time and had the confidence to just be me, the evening would have turned out far better. I just hope my friends will consider responding to a future dinner invitation. No fire extinguishers required.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

My First Ever Marketing Campaign: Habbada oota

Some days are good and some are bad in life. At one point of time in my life, I thought that these worst days will never be over for me but today when I look back, I feel those days taught me so much in my life.
My so called worst days started in July 2007, when I joined Pantaloons Retail India in Bangalore as a management trainee.  I was fresh from MBA College and full of energy to do something in world. The first day of my job, we (batch of 40 people) were sitting in an auditorium and completing the joining formalities. I was eagerly signing my papers, as I wanted to see my cubic or perhaps the cabin. I was dreaming of handling difficult marketing campaigns and projects of Pantaloons and everyone is appreciating me. But suddenly a cracking voice of a lady (who was our HR) broken my dream. She said “Welcome to Pantaloons family!!! You all are management trainee now and for next 6 month, you all will be given training in different departments to understand how retail company functions. So here are your uniforms of Bigbazzar, Please wear it and you all have been posted to different Bigbazaar as a sales person for next one month”. I got a shock of my life. Common!! I am a computer Engineer and MBA in marketing. How can I do the role of a salesperson??? I confronted her “Why we need to do the role of a salesperson?” She said coldly “You need to understand the pain of a sales person.”

When I saw everyone is picking up their uniform, I quietly picked up mine and wore it. I was feeling quite terrible as I didn’t do my MBA to become sales women. I came here to handle difficult projects, to increase the top line and bottom line of Pantaloons but not to sell clothes.
With heavy heart, I joined BigBazaar of Jayanagar, Bangalore. I went to store manager’s cabin and he asked me which department you would prefer. I thought for a second and said “ Give me books department!!”. I thought, at least, I am saved from selling saris and shirts. He looked at me and said “ OK !! but it’s not doing very well… Since you are a management trainee, I want that the sales figure should go up by 60% in next two weeks.“  I thought “OMG!! I got the target also in less than 2 minutes of my joining” . He got up and looked at me and said ” Remember your performance review is on third week of this month, so if you don’t perform it well , you may need to repeat this training again”. “Uff kya musibat hai!!!! I don’t want to do this for whole of my life” that’s the exact words came to my mind.
I went to my department and saw most of the books were in Kannada. “WOW!!! That’s called sone pe suhaga”. I don’t know Kannada and I have to sell books written in Kannada.

Next day I stood stiffly in front of a dressing room mirror wearing a god-awful concoction of orange uniform. The salesgirl within me ooohed and aaaahed, telling me how adorable it looked. There was no way I was going out into the world dressed like that...but…..
I reached to my department and started glancing those books which can contribute to sales figure deeply in database; I got to know that most of the books belong to cookery book. But my problem was, all the cookery books were in English and belong to North India cuisine. The customer profile of this bigbazzar does not speak English and selling north Indian cuisine was a tough job.

Than, I made my first “so called” marketing campaign plan to sell these recipe books to traditional Kannadigas.
I went to the promoters of “India Gate Basmati Rice” in food bazaar and asked them if they can support two day campaign where we can allow customers to taste biryani made up of India gate rice. After much persuasion they agreed. For me, it was like half battle won. Now the next tough job was to release fund from my store manager for the campaign. After so much of discussion, my miser store manager agreed to give me Rs 1000 for the campaign.

After a lot of google search, I got the name for my campaign “Habbada oota  (Food festival)”.
Oh God!! What a pain to find a suitable name for food festival in Kannada.

I designed a flex in Kannada where it was written about food festival. I prepared Biryani in my house and took it to store for promotion. With the help of other staff, we created a stall in ground floor where we have kept our biryani in small plates, recipe books and India Gate basmati rice packets.
At first, people were not even ready to look at our stall. By afternoon. I was losing out my patience to wait for customers. Than, I thought of organizing one minute game show which I use to see in my childhood. From customer service desk, I announced that those who will eat maximum number of biryani plates in one minute, we will give a surprise gift to them. After announcing for few minutes, there were few customers who were ready to play this game.

Wow!!! What an experience it was, seeing customers filling up their mouth with birayni. We gave a recipe book as a gift to the winner. We repeated this show thrice in an hours of interval. With this game show, customer were eager to taste biryani and started taking interest in our recipe book. By the end of the day, I have sold around 20 copies of Birayni cookery book. Seeing the response of the campaign, Instant mix promoter offered me to help in this. They gave us some packets of veg kebab to prepare and asked me to promote it tomorrow. I prepared those kababs and took it to stall next day. We repeated the same game again but this time the response was much higher compare to yesterday. Everyone one was eager to taste the north Indian cuisine and was also ready to buy Instant mix packet along with my cookery books.
Within three days I was able to increase my department top line by 30%. It was tiring, terrible but an incredible experience which I wouldn’t have got it without getting on floor with Bigbazzar uniform. Well it was start of my training and my so called worst days are yet to get over.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Hydrabadi Dum Chicken Biryani

At last I got to blog the recipe of the quintessential ‘home style’ Chicken Dum Biryani from the royal kitchen of the Nizams. My friends always tell me that I make awesome hydrabadi dum chicken biryani. I learnt this recipie from my cook in my mom’s house. He was from hyderabad and was having his own techniques of making authentic non veg. I prepared this biryani a couple of times, the recipe is perfect and has never failed me. Once the biryani is cooked on dum, as you open the lid, the kitchen smells fragrant, rich with the reassuring aroma of pure ghee and saffron and the chicken cooked to melt in the mouth tenderness.  So I thought of sharing this recipe of Chicken Biryani.

Hydrabadi Dum Chicken Biryani
A few things to keep in mind while preparing biryani. Use best quality aged Basmati rice, good quality chicken and the best saffron available. No short cut methods and all the ingredients listed below are a MUST, in other words, there are no substitutes for the mentioned ingredients


• Chicken - 1/2kg
• Basmathi rice - 1/2 kg
• Pudina paste - 1/2 cup
• Ginger and garlic paste - 1/2 cup
• Curd - 2 cup
• Chillie powder - 3tsp
• Saffron - 1 pinch
• Milk- 1/4 tsp
• Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
• Coriander and green chillie paste - 1/4 cup
• Ghee - 3tsp
• Oil - 1 cup
• Garam masala powder- 1tsp
• Shahjeera - 2tsp.
• Salt as required
• Chopped pudina(mint) - 1tsp
• Chopped coriander - 3tsp
• Slit green chillies - 6
• Maida dough - 1cup.
• Golden fried sliced onions - 1 1/2 cup. 


• Cook basmati rice in lots of water along with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, marathi mogga, elaichi, oil, salt till its half cooked. Strain the water and spread the rice on a large wide plate. Allow to cool.

Wash the Basmati Rice

Rice Prepartion for Biryani

•  Heat 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp ghee in a vessel, add sliced onions, saute for 8-10 mts till caramelized. Remove and keep aside.
•  Add the saffron to the luke warm milk and combine well. Keep aside.
• In a thick bottomed vessel add chicken, pudina paste, curd, coriander and chillie paste, salt, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric powder, chillie powder, oil, slit green chillies. mix well and marinate it for 3-6 hrs.

Wash Chicken Properly

Add all the ingredients for marination

Boil Chicken in low flame

• Then boil marinated chicken in low flame for 15mins and keep it aside
• Now take a thick bottomed vessel and layer chicken at the bottom, then add basmathi rice and repeat the process. make sure that top layer is rice and bottom layer is chicken.
• Then pour remaining chicken gravy on rice and sprinkle golden fried onions, and saffron soaked in milk, ghee, chopped pudina and coriander.

Sealed the vessel with Aluminum foil

• Cover vessel with Aluminum foil and seal it with maida.
• Then put vessel on the top Tawa to avoid burning and cook on low flame for 1hour.

Try out in your home and do let me know your experience.

Devilled Eggs - Easy Escape of a Great Starter

This Saturday, I have invited my few friends on dinner. It has always been my headache to make starters for any party. Since I was already occupied with main course items, I thought of some easy escpae for starter. I finally thought of making deviled eggs. So below is the recipe of deviled eggs. It’s quite easy and  great in taste.


• Eggs,hard boiled and shelled          8
• Mayonnaise                                       ½ Cup
• Mustard Sauce                                  1 Teaspoon
• Red Chilli Sauce                               1 Teaspoon
• Corriander Leaves for garnishing

Devilled Eggs with Mint Chutney
Halve the eggs vertically, remove the yolks and put into a bowl. Mash them with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard sauce, red chilli sauce and mix well. Pass through a fine sieve to make it smooth. Chill in a refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Arrange the egg whites on a serving platter. Put the yolk mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe rosettes into the cavities of the egg whites. Garnish it with Corriander leaves.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Fun Friday with Speechless Classic “Pushpak”!!!

In our office we usually have fun Friday, once in every month. This time our HR thought a unique idea of showing a movie in office premises.  On Thursday, all the posters were set up saying that do not miss the movie with cold drinks and popcorns. We all got excited not only for movie but also for the free snacks which we will be getting during the movie.

On Friday, we informed our UK bosses that we will be offline for whole afternoon. Being in research firm, it’s all always advantage of getting such off without worrying about the deadlines. Everybody was curious to know which movie they are going to play. We all have started guessing with names like Khahani, Housefull2, Inception.  Sharply at 2 PM we were at auditorium to catch the best plce. It was like a college environment where everyone was chitchatting and ready for enjoyment.
So now the suspense was over and it was quite a shock for me. They were showing some 70s or 80s movie called “Pushpak”. It was starring Kamal Hassan and few unknown actors. All my excitement turned it to shock.  Any way I continued watching the movie with a disinterest. After 10 minutes of movie I realized that there is no dialogue in the movie but movie was looking quite funny.

Slowly I started enjoying this silent movie. Movie  amazed me with is simplicity and depth. The movie is silent, with no dialogue whatsoever, yet it deals with a complex and realistic plot. It manages to pull this off, thanks to the acting genius of Kamal Hassan. . Kamal Hassan was at its best. His on screen presence was supereb in the movie. I think some people born to do some specific things. You can’t imagine them in any other engagements, I feel same about him. 
Movie’s plot is humorous with very deep message. The plot deals with the adventures of a struggling, unemployed young man in Bangalore, who is able to step into the shoes of an extremely rich man by chance. In this guise, he finds love and material happiness, but discovers the other unpleasant aspects of being in that position. Finally, he realizes his folly, gives up his masquerade and returns to his old life.
The movie was such a masterpiece that I didn’t even bother to take snacks from office boy as I do not want to remove my eyeballs from the screen. I don’t remember when I had seen such a good comedy movie in recent times. Very rarely you come across the old movies which not only are timeless but also entertaining in its own way defying the current trend of fast paced movies which sometime lacks the central essence and other times , the purpose.
Thanks to my HR that she has selected such a good movie for our fun Friday. Pushpak is definitely  unmissable, admirable and classical with the finest piece of acting. It’s all time speechless classic movie. You really wouldn’t want to miss watching this movie on a relatively boring Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday - 2

Havelock Islands in Andman & Nicobar Islands

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My Husband's Birthday Gift

I always love to get gifts and especially surprise gifts. Unfortunately, my hubby is very boring in giving me gifts as he can never decide what to give. In fact, it’s impossible for him to give gift to anyone without my suggestion.  So it’s always me, who keep giving surprise gifts to him on my wedding anniversary and his birthdays. This time when my hubby’s birthday was coming, it was a really tough for me to give something unique and unusual which he can never think of it.
After 2 weeks of brainstorming and internet search, I got the idea of giving customized birthday chronicle/newspaper to him. 
It was like a “bingo” expression for me when I zeroed down on birthday chronicle but there were many challenges also to create a customized birthday chronicle. So, like a project, I have divided the segments of the newspaper.
I contacted my hubby’s friends to send some birthday wishes for him and their most memorable stories. I have pen down our lovestory for one of the segment. I listed down his likes, dislikes and his irritating habits for the column. I also created a funny horoscope for his coming year and written an introductory message just like a celeb.
Then I created “Times of India” logo in word and arranged all the write-up in a newspaper format. It took me almost 2 nights to arrange everything. It was the most tiring job as I also need to hide it from my hubby. Finally I took a printout of A1 size and was ready to give surprise.  Here is the picture of birthday newspaper.

On his birthday, I got up early in the morning and was waiting for the newspaper. Oh God!!! The wait was killing me, never in my life have I ever waited for a newspaper. As soon as I got the newspaper, I removed the front page and put my customized birthday newspaper.  Since my hubby has taken a leave on his birthday, so he was sleeping till late. I was really getting impatient to show my surprise to him. Finally my hubby got up and as his usual habit went to the door and picked up the newspaper.
He got the shock of his life. Without glasses, he just saw his name in the newspaper and loudly he said, “OMG!! My name is on the front page.”.  I couldn’t stop laughing seeing his face.  He was stumped with my surprise and than seeing me he realized, it was my way of saying happy birthday to him. From his facial expression, I knew it he loved my surprise birthday gift.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday - 1

Hogenakkal Waterfall in Karnataka


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Arranged Marriage or a Blind Date Set up

Arrange marriage which means the marriage is arranged by family members of the boy and girl who are to be wed. I am not against arranged marriage. Many of my friends and relatives are happy after getting hooked in an arranged manner. It’s just that I can’t help looking at the funny side of the whole process of an arranged marriage and how this process has evolved in course of time.

In good olden days (I am talking about 40’s and 50’s), when my grandparents got married, there was a strong belief in Kundllis and Gotras, almost every family belonging to the older generation had a family Purohit (priest). Besides their regular prayers and havens, the main task of these priests was to suggest prospective matches for the children when they reached marriageable age (at that time it was 16 -17 years was the perfect marriage bale age). As the Purohits had a wide base in a number of families, they fixed a meet between the prospective in-law families, after pronouncing the kundlis satisfactory. Another way through which marriages were fixed up was through the Nai and Nain (erstwhile beauticians), who also acted as mediators. Bride and bridegroom hardly use to meet or see each other. The consent of boy & girl involved was not at all taken into account.

In 21st Century, from parent’s perspective arrange marriage is like a market research project. While arranged marriages have become more of a dating thing from boys and girls perspective. Before starting their search for a suitable match, both the boy and the girl have their list of likes and dislikes for their future partner. Just like the way we think before shopping as to which brand of jeans we would like and which we wouldn’t, which pattern and color for the top, type of footwear we would like to have, etc.

Must have lists of Girl & boy looks more like a menu card:
• Job- Must be in MNCs so that girl can move to aboard.
• Salary- A good 6 figure salary, so that they can afford luxurious honeymoon trip in Europe or  Australia.
• Educational qualifications- Must be B.Tech or MBA from IIT or IIM. MBA should not be done in HR as they don't move higher in career ladder. 
• Appearance – Boys should be clone of either Ranbir kapoor, Shaihd Kapoor or Imran Khan no matter how girl looks like. Similarly in boy’s case, girl should be copy of either Kareena or Katrina.
• Family background- In girl case, it’s preferred if they do not have any MIL or SIL.

After getting the must have lists from children, parents do the primary search on bride and grooms through matrimonial advertisements in newspapers and sites. First of all, pre-filtration is done based on must have lists like religion, caste, family background, number of siblings, number of degrees, education of parents, family wealth etc. Than parents shows the Gantt chart of the selected potentials profiles to boys and girls to do the first screening. After first screening, potential bride and groom are set into an artificial setting of a date wherein they are supposed to ask each other questions like in an interview to decide whether they can be good marital partners or not.  The scenario is more like a shopping when the girl and the boy’s family meet each other. The party which starts asking questions first is the buyer while the other is the seller.

For example, the boy’s family will start listing all good qualities of the boy just like a salesman tries to portray his product in a must-buy manner. On the other hand, the girl’s family will try to figure out the percent of truth in their claims, just like the buyers do to make sure the salesman isn’t lying. After the first round, the tables are turned. Buyers become sellers and vice-versa. Now, the girl’s family will start proving how perfect to-be bahu she is while the boy’s family will have some brain-work to do to guess the authenticity in their claims. Most importantly, both of them (girl and boy) check mentally whether the list of qualities in the opposite person matches with their list of shopping!

If the answers are satisfactory, first interviews are quickly followed up by a second round of interviews.  Once those interviews are cleared as well, there might be a third final interview. After the final interview, date for the wedding is set and the interviewer and the interviewee officially become ‘lovebirds’ for 3-4 months before they are made to live with each other and produce children.

In my words - the deal is finalized with both parties getting benefit both as a buyer as well as a seller. In this way, a total stranger becomes the most important person of your life. Wow!

But wait a minute! Where the heck does love figure in this which is the most important ingredient for marriage?