Showing posts from October, 2014

Flavour of Goa: Spicy Goa Sausages Curry

Woohoo!! I am just back from a fabulous trip to Goa – the bestest trip ever to Goa. I am bursting at the seams with so many stories and so much to share with you guys. I hope I will be able to keep the excitement intact for the next few weeks, because, oh woe is me – I have a tremendous work schedule before me at office and I have to travel from tomorrow. Nooooo! *shudders in horror* Okay, let’s just stick to our happy ‘woohoo’ for the moment and not think about work. 

Now, I am not much of a shopper, more so at touristy places, but I make it a point to buy at least one local-made thing from the places that I visit. This time in Goa, I bought the famed Goa sausages (they are not called Goan sausages, apparently). We get them in the cold storage shops in Bangalore (Lusitania Foods, Frazer Town), too, but it is more fun to buy the same thing from the place it actually belongs to, no? 

Luckily for us, we were there on a Friday which turned out to be Market Day in Mapusa. And so, while the …

A World More Indian...

India has always fascinated the world since times immemorial. Its rich cultural heritage, civilization and commercial wealth was renowned even in the ancient eras, attracting traders from the far corners of the world that led to the establishment of historic trade routes. Every person who came in touch with India took a little part of the country’s culture along with them as they went back to their homes.

Thus, the world had been ‘Indianized’ long before we recognized the signs.

Memory flash: Snippets from the 70s and 80s

My dad tells me of a story that took place many years back, in the early 80s, when he had visited United Kingdom. It was an official visit. In a place called Slimbridge, he was asked by the owner of a cafĂ© where he hailed from. Deta promptly replied and the next moment he realized that he had made a blunder. For, instead of saying that he was from India, Deta had unwittingly said “Assam”. How would anyone in that corner of UK know where Assam was when most Indians thems…

The Day of the Jackals

We were visiting Cauvery WLS after a long hiatus. Life had got in the way of our weekend-birding routine and we just could not pull ourselves out of the rut. Finally, with a conscious effort, which was something we never had to do earlier, we bundled ourselves into our car one early October morning and started off for Cauvery.  

We stopped by for a few minutes along the way to check up on a few of our hotspots that were frequented by painted storks and pelicans. However, the water pool had quite dried up and there were no one to greet us that morning. Only the pale orange glow of the just-risen sun stared balefully at us through the gloomy clouds. 

We had planned to spend just a few hours at the wildlife sanctuary and hoped that it would be enough to spot a few birds at least, if not many. To our delight, we ended up catching sight of quite a number of them. Cauvery, it seemed, held no grudges against us for having neglected it for so long.

Apart from the usual suspects, like the grey ho…

Birding on a foggy morning at Nandi Hills

What a foggy day it was yesterday at Nandi Hills. We could barely make out what was in front of us. Not a good day for birding at all. 

How our priorities have changed! Any other time, before we got hooked on to birding, we would have been thrilled to see the white blanket of fog. After all, what could be more romantic than the mist shrouding us on the hill top, away from the bustling world, and the fresh dew drops on leaves and flowers? 

But while things had changed for us, it was still the same for the crowd that visited Nandi Hills. The crowd was larger than ever, at that early hour, and their senses seemed to have heightened in the midst of the fog. For, they were louder, their laughter more raucous, and some even attempted to imitate the roar of tigers. I did not mind that much – fun quotient is different for different people. But the thing that irked me most was the car stereos blasting loud music, quite spoiling the beautiful ambience of the morning.

Anyways, I digress. We went ar…

The farmhouse at Sainik Farms

Image source: Wikipedia
I have realized that it’s a bad idea to write ‘stay tuned’ at the end of a travel story which I had been too lazy to complete. Because, that next part just doesn’t get to see the light of the day. I had started Wayanad Diaries and Shillong Trip with much fanfare and signed off each with a happy and excited ‘stay tuned!’ Till now, I haven’t been able to start the sequels. Bad idea, I tell you.

To be fair, I had opened a Word file to write about my Shillong trip, but suddenly my mind went elsewhere. My mind has the attention span of, let’s say, a goldfish. Or a squirrel, if you prefer. It veered away from the blue hills of Shillong and started thinking about Sainik Farms and the time that I had spent there.

So, since the file was already open, I ended up writing about Sainik Farms in Delhi. Poor reader, you. 

I had stayed in a medium sized farmhouse in Sainik Farms, towards the south of Delhi, for two years while pursuing my MBA. It was a PG accommodation, meant for …

The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 27

Team name: Scribbler's Orchard

Part 1Part 2 Part 3 Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8 Part9Part 10 Part 11Part 12 Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18Part 19 Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25Part 26

Arjun stood shell shocked for a second as he tried to gather his bearings. He could hardly believe what he was seeing and motioned his officers to hold their arms.

There lay in front of him a scene straight from a nightmare. The Ulema of Jama Masjid sat bound tight in a kneeling position on the ground. A huge fire blazed in front of him. Horror and pain was written large on the Ulema’s face as he squirmed, the ropes cutting into his arms and legs.

“Please let me go,” he was crying out, his voice hoarse from screaming. “Please, sir, I beg of you!”

Towering above him, with the smoke of the raging fire swirling around him, stood a fierce figure enrobed in white.

“Prime Minister Sir…”

Arjun silently mouthed the words, disbelief washing over him. Even with the ashes smeared all over the …

En route Shillong: A precursor to the Shillong trip

It was hot and humid at home in Guwahati when I visited my parents this September. I had almost forgotten how it felt to be in my hometown at this time of the year. The past few years I had been visiting Guwahati only during the winters – the months of December and January. Besides, I don’t remember September being so muggy earlier. It would be one of the ‘pleasant’ months of the year – neither too hot, nor too cold. My birth month, after all, which reflects my own temperament, as I would like to believe.

As I cooled myself in the only AC room we had in our house, I longed for some natural coolness. The coolness of the hills. Shillong! The idea popped into my mind and I immediately relayed it to my parents.

“Shillong is not exactly the same, you know,” Ma said with some trepidation. “The weather there has changed drastically and at some points it is no worse than Guwahati.”

I knew about that. My sister had travelled to Shillong a year back and returned a bit disappointed.

“It’s not how we…

The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 22

Team name: Scribbler's Orchard

Part 1Part 2 Part 3 Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8 Part9Part 10 Part 11Part 12 Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18Part 19 Part 20Part 21

There was an eerie silence in The Orchard, a pall of gloom hanging thick over its residents. The AC hummed despondently, cutting through the humid Mumbai air, as Tara, Shekhar, Jennifer and Arjun lay inert on the sofas, each lost in one’s own thoughts. The occurring of the past hour where they had glimpsed upon Roohi only to lose her again had taken shaken them to the core.

They were so near to rescuing Roohi, and yet so far…

Tara excused herself and retreated to the bedroom, breaking down into uncontrollable tears as she flopped down on the bed.

Arjun took the chance of an awkward silence to venture outdoors for a smoke. Perhaps a drag or two would help him to dismantle some of the cobwebs of his mind.

Shekhar was still thinking about what Jennifer had told him about Ahuja being present at the same premises where t…

The Man in White

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I have a somewhat morbid fascination towards ghost stories, though I am not sure if I feel the same towards ghosts as well. I remember spending quite a few nights swapping ghost stories in the company of cousins, college friends, hostel mates and others. On separate occasions, of course, and spanning several phases of my life, from childhood to present. 

The fact that I moved my residence several times also helped to substantiate my collection of ghost stories. Each place that I stayed in fed me more such stories, vouched for their authenticity by the story-teller. At every late-night gathering I would wait with eager anticipation for one of the guests to start with an account involving the paranormal. More often than not, we would be sitting around a bonfire and all of us would take turns to relate such a tale. I recall I was sitting absolutely quiet as a new bride, just a few hours into marriage, and all it took for the husband’s cousins was to sta…