Aunty’s momo

Found this momo (Tibetan dumpling) place in Greater Kailash 1 M block market and I was charmed by how good it tasted. The stall is right near the end (or beginning for some) of the market and is always swarming with people. Who can blame them though?

 

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There were two different kinds of sauces offered with these dumplings. I liked the lighter one, the darker one seemed to have some funky taste to it.

Overall, next time you are there to shop, do try this roadside stall. So worth it!

Pujo Fever

With Durga Pujo, which is celebrated as Dussehra in some parts of India, right around the corner, I curated some pics taken in various localities in Siliguri, West Bengal to help you get into the pujo frame of mind (if you aren’t already thinking about it night and day).

 

An ode to the biggest Bengali festival, music, loudspeakers blaring, coming together of near and dear ones, good food and a total festive spirit.
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Credits: Maharshi Ganguly

Let’s CHEW

With dwindling options everyday for us to dine out, Alison and I, settled for the Pan-Asian Cafe in Connaught Place, the last time we hung out together.

 

What Al had: Her favorite, Pad Thai noodles

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She said she loved it.

 

What I had: my favorite, the Nasi Goreng

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Now here’s the thing about me, if you are serving me shrimps, I want to taste its flavors in my food. This Nasi Goreng tasted awfully bland in terms of authenticity. The good thing was the huge portions of Prawn Tempura. Nevertheless our hunger took the better part of us and we finished everything served to us without complaining too much.

 

Will we be back there?

Sure when we are short of money and couldn’t care less about a great meal or maybe simply to admire their interiors.

 

Lessons to be learnt from Brandon- HONY

Two consecutive posts about Humans of New York, you see how obsessive I am? Well, this is just a prelude.

 

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1. If you have a dream, go out there and plant it without any fear of it being trampled down.

2. No matter how broke you are or hard things get  don’t doubt your passion enough to abandon it completely.

3. ALWAYS stand up for the right thing. If you have no idea what the right thing, check out virtues like justice, love, kindness- globally accepted ‘right’ things. Which means you probably have to let your pride vanish and make everyone else more important than you and NO in noway does it mean letting your self-respect be lost.

4. Learn to have certain boundaries and never compromise on them. Once you start to get where you have always want to go to, people will ask for a lot of favours, learn to say no.

5. Stop dreaming of fairy tales. If you intend to do something no one has done before, be prepared for a lot of hardships that may come your way because humans don’t readily accept change. So get ready to completely fall but always be ready to rise too.

6. Etiquettes. General courtesy, valuing the cultures and perspectives of other people, always pay attention to them.

7. Success often comes slowly so keep moving forward consistently even if the growth is slow.

8. BELIEVE in your dreams because if you don’t nobody else will either.

9. Want your dreams so bad that the Universe is obliged to give you what you want. (That does not mean God will always grant you all your irrelevant wishes)

10. Last but not the least, if you have an idea do not wait for perfection thereby letting procrastination overrule your life. Go and start with whatever you wish to do because if you wait for circumstances to be better then chances are if today it doesn’t seem perfect to you, it may still look the same tomorrow. Also chasing perfection may lead to a lot of disappointment because we weren’t created to achieve perfection. We were created to pave pathways of happiness.

Kind of like the English version of the Hindi saying: “Karm karo, fal ki chinta mat karo” (do your work, don’t wait for the result for it will take care of itself)

 

Go out their and create history humans!

Humans of New York- capturing one heart at a time

“Itna dhyan se toh koi desh ki prime minister ko bhi bolte huye nahi sunta, ab koi bahar se aa gaya toh dekho kaise sun rahe hai log”

Which translated goes something like this: Nobody pays attention to the Prime Minister’s speech but a foreigner speaks and see how they all listen to him. Quite a hurtful sentence spoken by someone right behind me when all this was happening today….

 

It all started with a dream- a dream to settle down in Manhattan someday and then the dream got slightly bigger- to go to New York, hunt down Brandon Stanton and get a picture clicked with him. No, I don’t care about being featured on his blog, the very famous Humans of New York, although if I did get featured that would be AWESOME!

Brandon Stanton, the man behind #HumansofNewYork

Brandon Stanton, the man behind #HumansofNewYork

I only wanted to meet him, say hello, smile, take a picture and know that I got a chance to meet my biggest inspiration in life and I kept dreaming about it since the past couple of years because going to USA was out of question. And then, the United Nations decided that Brandon needs to go on a tour to a number of countries and bring forward the customs, people, cultures, impoverishment, women from different countries and help eradicate such problems, break stereotypes relating to certain countries and unite us all HONY lovers, which should actually be called HOPE now, Humans of Planet Earth and surely hope he gives. A Hope to see a better day. A hope to have more people like Brandon emerge and a hope that someday these barriers will no longer be there amongst us.

Coming back to today, Brandon had just posted a picture of Central Park, Connaught Place in New Delhi saying that his fans could meet and say “Hi!” and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what I did next. I dropped everything I was doing, got ready and left. I was two hours early from 6pm when he was supposed to be there but I knew I had to do this, I knew I had to step ahead and make my dream come true and also for some reason, I knew he would reach early.

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A million onlookers stared, some passed snide remarks and some found it funny that a girl sat there alone in the park with a roving eye (not in a bad way, I was only keeping an eye on every foreigner guy entering the park). But I waited there patiently for an hour and half till I got bored and got up to do some walking and the moment I did, I see a guy in mint green shirt walk towards the central area of the park along with his loyal fans tailing behind him. The very sight of him radiates optimism like I have never seen before, one immediately becomes joyful. Atleast, that’s how I felt. I walked up to say “hi” and his smile stole my breath away; he was such a warm human, exactly how I expected him to be.

I wanted an interview with him for the company I work with but he was not going to be in Delhi for a long time so instead I decided to settle for a picture with him and he gladly obliged, making me feel important, accomplished, satisfied and most of all, happy. It was a different kind of happiness, a happiness that meant, “go ahead girl, you got this!”

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not the kind of pic I hoped I would have with him but I am happy.

He was really eager to have a small talk with us and that was simply a bonus for all the fans that started to gather soon after he reached along with people like the guy I quoted above thinking, “who the hell is this white guy?” There were even some teenagers wanting to know if Shahrukh Khan was there. The blissful joy of ignorance, I say.

From the moment he began with his speech, I decided there was no speech more inspiring than this. Whatever he said was scary, nerve wracking, bold yet had every bit of magic in it. It wasn’t a rosy tale of how things fell into place for him since the very first day, it was his journey telling how many times we may fail before we see that first real fan who obviously isn’t our sister, mother or best friend. The first real fan who doesn’t know you but appreciates your work like no one else and that is when you will know that you have succeeded and truly, there couldn’t be anything more real than that. It just made me want to hone my creative skills day in and day out to achieve even one-fourth of who he is today.

He spoke about how when he started with HONY, he was broke, slept on a mattress in a tiny NY flat, persistently kept clicking pictures of strangers and kept believing in his passion that is making people come alive, bringing out their struggles, show how we all are alike no matter which part of the world it is, making it a common platform of encouragement and most of all being a hunter of humans- the ones that still prove that humanity isn’t long gone.

Through The Lanes, can never be HONY, heck! I don’t even want it to be HONY, but from what I have learnt today, I will work consistently no matter how bad my days are, no matter how tired I am, no matter how few places I have been to. I will always manage to bring to you guys the promise that this blog made, i.e., to dish out one lane at a time!

 

And also to believe, that when you truly want something, nothing and nobody can stop you from achieving it. Even if it was only an ambiguous dream.

Junk Morphia- The pioneers of ‘upcycling’

With growing emphasis on sustainable development each one of us should be doing our bit to save the Earth in any way possible for the future generations who may or may not be left with anything at all. Keeping that in mind, I was quite impressed to have met this whole team that has taken an oath to protect and conserve our environment through “upcycling” a term we will soon be familiar with. So let’s look at Junk Morphia’s story and how they are progressing as the protectors.

What is ‘Junk Morphia’? And let’s know a little bit about its formulation…

“MORPHIA” originated from the name of Greek God of Dreams Morpheus and coined by great Roman poet Ovid. Morphia means Form!

Junk Morphia by Design Mafia and Architecture Live! is the first of its kind International Student Design competition open to all undergraduate student community of SAARC nations. We invite students from across all academic fields with a creative bent of mind, to churn their creativity and design useful products and shelter concepts from the waste around them.

Upcycling like recycling is a waste management/ prevention method. This is the method of using waste materials as a resource present in the environment which shall cater the needs in a small but effective scale. As opposed to recycling, this needs less energy to make a product and in addition it doesn’t decrease the quality of material and rather enhances it.

The competition aims at the tremendous difference that can be made in the society by the innovative and creative ideas that will be generated through diverse participants.

The ideas and the ingenuity from our upcoming ‘socially conscious’ generation will be showcased on an international platform.

What Is Upcyling and why upcycle rather than recycle?

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into useful and often beautiful outputs.

Recycling takes consumer materials — mostly plastic, paper, metal and glass — and breaks them down so their base materials can be remade into a new consumer product.

When you upcycle an item, you aren’t breaking down the materials. You may be refashioning it — like cutting a t-shirt into strips of yarn — but it’s still made of the same materials as when you started. Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original and doesn’t have embodied energy.

Future of upcycling:

Just as we mentioned, recycling stuff takes in a whole lot of working on them, processing and ultimately, a lot of energy – which has diverse effects on the environment in terms of energy consumption.

However, in some cases, like recycling metal, it is a necessary option. That is why the concept of upcycling is a more convenient option. You and I can upcycle things that we use everyday too, without any need of processing or energy usage – the only constraints being our ideas and creativity. Seen in this regard, in our current social scenario of dwindling resources we need to conserve both resources and energy. The concept of upcycling is a shining beacon for our way to a sustainable social and eco-system.

Why is it healthy for us?

The concept of upcycling is indeed healthy for us – infact healthier than recycle. The products that have been developed by the process of upcycling have zero CARBON FOOTPRINT. The next would be a great reduction in generating and processing waste, which again saves a lot of energy and reduces pollution.

If I am student then what is my responsibility towards promoting up cycle principle?

As a student, we can create a demand of a certain material in the market, we can also bring about a huge change if we use the concept of upcycling in our designs and choice of materials in our projects or day today life. And if we could include a bit of aesthetics and considerable reasons for the society to choose these upcycled materials over their natural or recycled counterparts, we can collectively bring about a huge positive change in the society over a very short time.

Downloads

The brains behind Junk Morphia, in a chronological order:

The Team – (Second sub-head of FORUM)

• Shefali Nayak – Convenor

• Saajan Varanasi – Executive Director/ Marketing Head

• Yaruque Sadique – Creative Consultant/ Sponsorship Head

• Deepankar Biswas – PR/ Design Consultant

• Abhishek Gwaskoti – Visual Communication Head

• Sashank Macharla – Editor- in-chief

• Hirak Hati Baruah – Treasurer

And guess what? You too can be a part in conserving nature! Have the creativity to design an innovative technique that will help the planet in the long run?

Join them in this revolution, be creative by sending them your entries and get recognised amongst the sustainable design fraternity of the SAARC nations.

Grizzzly’s – Eat like a bear!

I was home a couple of months ago and I had been wanting to try out food at my friend’s restaurant. What intrigued me the most, was the fact that, Adhiraj Agarwal (previously known as Ankush Agarwal) had no prior experience in the hotel biz and yet he boldly made the move to pursue his passion in running a restaurant that surprisingly serves really good vegetarian food, despite the lack of authenticity, in this small town named Siliguri.

The menu at Grizzzly’s which is situated at the commercial hub- Sevoke Road, has been made comprising a ton of interesting elements, some reinvention of Cantonese Chinese to suit the large Marwari community (obviously not just them) that lives in Siliguri and thrives on vegetarian food. We started off with a couple of shakes. My friend Alison, tried the regular cold coffee and I, seeing that there was Kiwi Shake on their menu could not really think of anything else. Both these shakes tasted great and we loved their thick consistency, which is a rare sight in that part of the country.

Al's cold coffee

Al’s cold coffee

My Kiwi Shake

My Kiwi Shake

Having to select from a mix of South Indian, North Indian, street food, Chinese and Fast Food was a little difficult but knowing that there are very few places serving good fast food, we had to stick with the quickies.

We ordered the Szechwan Vada Pav, a street popular in Maharashtra that has spread its wings everywhere in the country due to its versatility and similarity to a burger, only few times spicier.

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We were quite satisfied with what was served to us, the vada tasted refreshingly good and the Sichuan sauce was mild enough to exempt one from crying. Jumbo King must take notes.

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Alison, loves pakodas for some reason I haven’t been able to fathom, so she picked out onion and aloo bhajias, which were also really good but the only setback was their liberal use of “Chaat masala” which made the dish unusually salty and gave it a burst of way too many flavours.

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The Cheese burger that came next was our favourite. Now, be warned, don’t compare it with an American Cheeseburger but for its vegetarian counterpart, it deserved brownie points. The potato patty and oodles of cheese and mayonnaise made up for everything else. We were not particularly impressed by the French fries though and also the “chaat masala” that was drizzled on it. But on the upside, there also served potato wafers- win win!

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The last of the dishes was the Chinatown. A very well reinvented Manchurian dish that had crispy corn and potato fritters tossed in spicy manchurian and sichuan sauce and garnished with green onions.

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The last bit of our experience was definitely the best at Grizzzly’s, they have partnered up with Amore ice creams that are quite famous in some parts of the country for serving decadent gelatos. I tried out the minty and refreshing Pan flavour and Alison decided to try the cookies and cream. Both of these were extremely good and I sighed in relief that someone has finally taken over the food scene in Siliguri and people can get a taste of what real food looks like.

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The experience of meeting a friend and almost dining like a grizzly bear, that epitomizes their restaurant was frolicking. While I am not sure when I can set my foot there again, I do want to make sure that everyone who live there must make this place their regular hang out zone, for its not everyday that fun place spur up in my small little hometown.

 

Calamarized: No really. squid rings in tomato gravy

I don’t really use to space to post recipes but this one, I simply had to.

 

I was at the supermarket a few days ago and I came across frozen squids being sold for only a couple of dollars, which is very unusual in India. Seafood, specially in Delhi is kind of expensive. Although it was frozen which may justify its price.

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After brainstorming for about a day, I decided to try this sauteed Calamari with tomatoes thing. I was a little scared since I never really cooked calamari before and I didn’t really know how the non-deep fried version (opposite of what we all love) will taste.

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Verdict: It tasted amazing, if you love seafood flavours, that is.

Ingredients:

Wash those squid rings and marinate them with cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of lemon juice. I rested mine for about 15 minutes. I would happily let it marinate for some more time but I was venomously hungry.

2 chopped tomatoes

1 sliced onion

2 green chillies, sliced. I love me some spicy food, reduce it to one if you don’t.

1 tbsp- basil and tomato marinara (minus the oregano)

3 finely chopped cloves of garlic

A cup of water

A pinch of cumin

Salt to taste

Chopped coriander leaves to garnish.

 

Method:

Heat your frying vessel. Add olive oil (or any vegetable oil)

Drop in the calamari and sautee them for a while.

Add the garlic, onions and green chillies. Sautee till the onions are golden in colour.

Add the tomatoes and let it rest for a couple of minutes before throwing in the marinara and water.

Let it simmer for 5 minutes, add salt and cumin, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.

You may also add black pepper for that extra bit of kick.

The dish was slightly on the acidic side, so if you don’t have any health issues or you love tangy flavours, go ahead and enjoy your meal. :D

Full Access: Prateek Bhaduri

Prateek is one of the most dynamic, lively and handsome young men that I have had a chance to meet when I was doing a brief stint at the National Institute of Event Management in Pune. Apart from being a singer who is inching towards becoming a sensation in our country, this lad is also charged with great leadership qualities that I personally got a chance to experience while I was volunteering under him at the Pitbull concert few years ago. This is just another side of his passion that led him to start with his own event company Krazybucket Production. I feel honored to have gotten this chance to interview him and this is who he is…

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Tell us a little about who Prateek Bhaduri really is…

Well I was born and raised in Pune. Music is something that has been a self discovery and its been a part of my soul. It was a continuous process of growth where I discovered myself and my passion with it. Am a self trained Singer with loads of passion towards music. Singing and performing gives me a high and an opportunity to express myself to the world around me.

When did music become a part of your life?

Its something gifted to me from the creator , so it was always there and I was always a part of choirs etc from as early as 2nd grade in school but I dint take it seriously at all . However, when I was in my 8th grade my want to sing ,perform and form a band grew very strong . I still remember bunking a marathi class in school and running to the stadium to hear my seniors practice some system of a down and metallica covers since they had a band . Its funny that I directly got driven to a heavier genre of music because of the raw energy and feel it had . Also had a huge rap trip happening thanks to Eminem and 2pac’s older albums back then. That period in school i used to have a rough book where i wrote some bizarre rap songs.However one of them was pretty decent which i wrote in 10th and that was on the “Gorgeous Indian Political System ” . So then I developed this love for Rap /Rock Bands-Linkin Park , Limp Bizkit and Heavy Metal Bands- Metallica, Iron Maiden etc ..I guess they were satisfying both my interests i.e. Rap aswell the expression ,rebellion, anger, energy ,freedom that Rock and metal symbolized .As time passed ,I stuck my guns, Infidels Of Sanity happened and the growth started .Fun journey full of bumpy rides where i dint breakdown when the car broke down ,haha .

How did you realize that this is something you want to pursue?

After visiting some of the gigs around in Pune in early 2000’s where there used to be almost a thousand people coming for concerts to see local and other well known Indian bands play on a regular basis and watching these amazing acts when I was just out of school drove me to form my own band and thats when I realised that I want to go all out and be on that same stage where they are or even get bigger .

Was coming out to society difficult? (Pursuing a passion sometimes gets difficult specially if its unconventional)

Society and what they think has never mattered to me . If your mind is positive, your energies are positive and your thoughts are positive then what you do will have a positive effect on society .Our Indian mentality is to think “log kya kahenge ? ” .I never have had that thought bother me . Its best to do what you love to give society love ,peace and happiness.

How has the journey been so far?

Pretty good . I would always love a journey full of obstacles and I have had quite a few and crossing them has been fun .
So things went well with my band Infidels Of Sanity , where we grew as Progressive Rock band from Pune,won competitions , travelled around the country doing some college fests and other shows and festivals.Opened for International bands .I remember we had the honour to play in front of Pain Of Salvation ,a big inspiration for us back then, at Chennai for a Pre-Gig Event . We also opened fora German band Fire On Dawson .Then with Livewire we did some good stuff together doing multiple Hard Rock Cafe gigs at Bangalore,Andheri,Worli and also gigging in Lucknow and ofcourse regular gigs in Pune.

Any prior musical training?
No.

Any particular genre that you adhere to?
Rock and there are too many sub genres I like so lets not go there .haha..

Drift Deeper- it has a country touch to it, is it something you find peace in? Also tell us how this concept came in mind- what are your thoughts behind the song?

Well I find peace in any music expressed with utmost honesty and with a want to bring out a message to the listeners.So I can find peace in a heavy metal song and to a love song aswell as a country song . So this is just that Drift Deeper is the first release from the lot am composing and have composed .Each song in the EP has its own shade and flavour .

The kind of projects you are involved in right now?

Apart from Prateek Bhaduri am involved with a superb Alternative Rock Band from Pune called “What Plough ? ” ,And another band I have formed myself is called Moonstruck Project .We play Alternative Funk /Blues and Classic Rock..

Apart from music what are your other passions?

Events , Sports and Fitness ,Food
I run an Event Management Company called Krazybucket Production.Its my own baby and I have been running it for over a year doing a few decent scale events and also have done some gigs. Am focused on conceptualising the things am passionate about in the form of events so that the people, clients and investors can cherish the experience. Though I havent done much with Krazybucket Prodcution because of the time spent in Music in times to come Krazybucket Production will get its due as far as more visibility and commitment goes from my end.

Sports and Fitness are an integral part of my life : I love yoga, running and gyming .Its another kick and i’d say its far better than the drugs people like to do .haha. I am avid footballer and football lover. I play the sport , follow the game and contribute towards Indian Football in any possible way I can because I know we have the potential to make it big in this sport.In the past I have organised football festivals on a professional scale for local talent to gain from it. Rest I play Basketball,squash ,pool aswell.Runs in the family ,Dad’s a sporting phenom so developed the love from him.

We want to know where Prateek Bhaduri comes from? The people behind who you are today….

Well I have a beautiful family comprising of my father whos been a great contributer in his field of work ,has huge respect and has been a fantastic sportsman back in the day with national level laurels in boxing and other sports .My mom whos a teacher and into dance and drama ,shes a classical kathak dancer and executes some brilliant Plays and musicals .Has her own fan following.
My Sister is now settled in the UK and is a very strong dynamic woman and a wonderful human being. Shes in the media, marketing and advertising industry in the UK and is head marketing manager in her organization. Also my brother in law is a huge inspiration ,hes an NRI and is a part of the British Army and the way hes gone about with his life inspires me .

Have alot of friends going back to school , they all contribute in my happiness in some way or the other even if we cant meet all the time. Some close friends have been strong contributors to believing in the artist that I am and its because of them I have had a lot of positivity and greater belief in my abilities.

What are your future goals?
Launch the EP , Tour around the country spreading my music to as many people as possible ,working on an album and achieving greater heights in this journey and accomplish greater endeavours .

How is it that you find yourself unique to others in the same industry?
I am fearless and dont give a damn to what critics say and others say . I express myself on stage , express myself with my music .
If you believe in your music and connect with your audiences no competition in the industry can stop you from growing .Those who have tried to stagnate my growth I have smiled back at them with love .

Anyone/ band in particular that you really idolize?
Quite a few man, back in the day Angra this Power metal band was a huge influence, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Riverside, Tool ,Stone Temple Pilots, Creed,Pain of Salvation .Can go on and on they are just so many.

Message to those who are walking the same path:

Stay honest to yourself and believe in yourself. Keep working hard and enjoy this journey full of sweat. Dont care much of what haters have for you or to say to you .Just smile at them .

And now that you all know him, go and find out what Drift Deeper is all about.

 

So if you are lucky enough to be living in Pune, go catch him at one of his gigs. Info available here.