Showing posts from June, 2015

Kuala Lumpur Diaries: The IIFA Awards Extravaganza

My first international trip to Kuala Lumpur will always be special, especially since there was a national element – something that I am quite passionate about. Think movies, Bollywood, stars, premiere shows…. IIFA Awards! *drum roll*

Like every other Indian, I, too, am a starry-eyed movie goer. For years, my address in Mumbai was “Amitabh Bachchan ke bungalow ke peeche” (I stay behind Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow). Once, my colleague who was visiting from Delhi heard me telling the same to the autorickshaw guy and had sneered, “Oh please, no need to show off to me just because you are from Mumbai and I am from Delhi.”

So, let me take the chance here and tell you that for five years I used to live in Juhu, bang opposite Hrithik Roshan’s apartment and the adjacent bungalows included those of Hema Malini’s, Yash Chopra’s and Dharmendra’s (besides AB’s three bungalows) and a little way off were the residences of Anupam Kher, Sanjay Khan, Jeetendra and other stars from the golden bygone era. …

The Anniversary Gifts

Chumki counted the number of coins in her pocket. 

“One, plus two, plus two again,” she tallied the denominations on her little fingers, just as her teacher had taught in class. 

“Thirteen!” she exclaimed, holding the third little toe on her feet, as the last two-rupee coin clinked into her silvery pile.

It was the fourth time she had counted her treasure and the third time it had come to thirteen. Thirteen must be correct.

Chumki carefully bundled up the coins and put them in the small sling bag that Ma had given her on her last birthday, the day she had turned six. 

“You are a big girl now,” Ma had told her. “You must have your own bag to keep your belongings safe.”

Chumki wore the sling bag everywhere she went. There were always treasures to pick up on the way. That smooth white stone, the curly yellow leaf, the puff of cotton seed – everything went inside her bag.

Today it tinkled with her saving of two months – the coins that Deta (her dad) would sometimes hand out to her after making a…

Flavours of Malaysia: Lemongrass Chicken Curry

One of the key highlights of my Kuala Lumpur trip was its delicious food. 

On second thoughts, perhaps I should re-phrase the sentence as “the key objective of my Kuala Lumpur trip was to gorge on its delicious food.” There, my confession is out. *grin* 

I absolutely loved the lip-smacking, finger-licking Malaysian cuisine and would look forward to the gastronomic delight that awaited me every day. I promise to write more about my food adventures (oh, there were many) in a separate post. But till then, I just could not resist the desire to re-create one of my favourite chicken dishes in Kuala Lumpur, and share its recipe with you.

Back in the Renaissance hotel where I was staying, the breakfast spread was a huge one where you could choose to partake anything from dimsums and seafood noodles to our very own dosas and idlis. I deliberately decided to steer clear of Indian food and stick to the other cuisines they had on offer. After all, it is not every day that I get to visit a foreign co…

Kuala Lumpur Diaries: The first few hours

It was 12.45 am when I left Bangalore for Kuala Lumpur, my eyes groggily scanning the lights below as the flight took off. Shucks, I have chipped nails, was the last thought on my mind before I dropped off to sleep. That’s how I had left for my first trip overseas, with one hand bag and one luggage where I had hastily dumped a few clothes. Chipped nails and a splitting headache came (or went to KL) free.

I woke up just as the captain of the flight announced that we shall be landing shortly. I squinted blearily through the window and saw a carpet of dark green trees below. So, the city is not all concrete, ran through my mind. 

I passed through the customs fairly fast and decided to wait for Deepa, who was representing Tourism Malaysia, near a Dunkin’ Donuts at the exit. Mumbai flight had landed and soon a flurry of Bollywood stars passed me by, pushing their heavily loaded trolleys. I did tell you I had come to attend the IIFA awards, didn’t I? 

I recognized some of the actors, even with…

My Kuala Lumpur trip - A prelude

The ageing astrologer took a look at the two little girls in front of him. His nephew’s daughters whose horoscopes he had drawn up.

He remembered something.

“You,” he looked at the younger girl. “You will go abroad.”

“And you,” he turned towards the elder one. “You won’t.”


Later, the girls’ mother had to pacify her eldest child – a six year old.

“Of course you will go abroad,” she said. “You are better at studies and you will earn enough money to visit other countries on your own.”

The girl seemed unconvinced.


Years later, the mother was visiting an astrologer with an urgent query. The question that every mother wanted to know – when will her daughters get married.

As the consultation was coming to an end, she suddenly remembered something.

“Sir, can you tell me if my elder daughter will travel abroad?” she asked hesitantly.

“Aaaah well….,” the astrologer tried to concentrate. “Hoom.”

“Hoom?” the sound seemed to be ominous to the mother.

“She will,” the astrologer finally spok…