Oly Pub

What started in 1947 as Olympia Bar and Restaurant has evolved as a refute to innumerable Calcuttans and tourists alike. The Oly Pub we know changed its avatar from Olympia in 1981, shrinking its name into a cooler and international version. For my parents’ generation, it was still Olympia in their college years, for most of them, it was the ultimate inexpensive hangout. Besides the cheap liquor and food, Oly Pub’s USP was the Beef Steak at an affordable price and lip-smacking taste. Times have changed, Olympia has changed to Oly Pub, which has been renovated again post the fire last year. I haven’t been then pre-fire, hence I can’t vouch for what it used to be, but I can give you a sneak peek of what it is in circa 2015.

Image Courtesy: Kolkataonwheels dot com

Image Courtesy: Kolkataonwheels dot com

The Decor – From friends who were regulars at Oly Pub since college, I’ve heard it was never acclaimed for its decor. The ground floor was shabby and a smoking zone, which in my opinion is very suffocating, though it is ideal for smokers and dopers. Post-fire renovation, the ground floor has been turned into a non-smoking zone with centralised air conditioning. The decor is still shabby, but quite comfortable now with optimally spaced tables and waiters dribbling in the narrow slits between them. The lights are ordinary fluorescent ones, and if you’re looking for a fancy or romantic date, it’s certainly not the place. The floor above has poshier tables and dim lights, oh, and the coveted ‘Ladies Toilet’ that is absent downstairs.

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Book Review : Mandate – Will of the People

Blurb View:

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

This is the first easy-to-read book about recent Indian political history. Pegged on the general elections that shaped today’s India, Mandate: Will of the People tells the story of Indian politics in a gripping, page-turning style.

Vir Sanghvi, the well-known journalist and TV anchor, draws on his personal experiences and memories as well as scores of interviews to piece together an incisive and candid account of what went on behind the scenes. Peppered with little-known details and insider information, this book tells the stories behind the story and brings alive the men and women behind the headlines.

Mandate: Will of the People contains the real story of the declaration of the Emergency, the rise and fall of Sanjay Gandhi, the Punjab insurgencies, the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the bloody riots that followed her death. It tracks the emergence of Rajiv Gandhi and explains the Bofors scandal that contributed to his defeat.

Many of the questions that linger over Indian politics are answered here: how did Narasimha Rao become Prime Minister? Why did he liberalise the economy? What was the Ram Mandir agitation really about? Why didn’t Sonia Gandhi agree to be PM? And how did Manmohan Singh’s weakness clear the way for Narendra Modi.

Review:

Mandate: Will of the People tells an important story : how the world’s largest democracy came of age and how it has affected our lives.

Indian politics is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon in the world. With such a vast expanse of ideologies and scope for work, it provides a great topic for research. 67 years post independence, the Indian people are still unsure about their politicians and their motives. Each election has paved the way for something new in the country and changed the course of its people. Mandate captures bits and glimpses of these elections and their aftermath for our generation and the ones to come.

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5 Reasons You Should Try Haleem This Eid

Haleem. It means Patience. And rightly so. Food that takes longer than eight hours to cook must be great in taste. That’s what I had thought when I first heard of Haleem in Hyderabad. Being a foodie and a Calcuttan, I should have heard of it earlier, but I hadn’t because middle class folks like us residing in Calcutta and suburbs didn’t indulge into niche Ramadan delicacies. Secondly, Haleem is way more popular and available in Hyderabad than our bhaat-maachh loving Calcutta. I have tried Haleem and gradually have become a kind  of connoisseur for the wholesome dish. If you still haven’t tasted this divine food, here are a few reasons why you should.

Irani Haleem at Sarvi Restaurants, Hyderabad

Irani Haleem at Sarvi Restaurants, Hyderabad

1. History – Did you know Haleem dated back to 10th century when it was called Harisah in the Arabian lands? According to historians, the recipe for Harisah has been found dated 10th century and it was a popular dish among the Arabs. It was introduced to the Hyderabadi Nizam’s soldiers by the Arabs and later got modified into Haleem.

2. Heritage – Harisah or Harees was sold throughout the year as a snack in the bazaars, in some faraway land like a fairy tale. Today it is reduced to being available just in the month of Ramadan in India and Pakistan. The rarity of the dish has made it more popular and exotic, with people like me waiting all the year just for a taste of Haleem in the holy month of Ramadan. While Hyderabad has conserved and enriched the authenticity of Haleem, other cities have created their own runny versions, a few very weird at that too.

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Honey, I Shrunk The Carbs!

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

One of my friend’s sister went to a slimming center days before her wedding.  They promised great results and an ideal weight loss for her with crash diet including supplements and protein powders instead of natural food. When I met her at the bridal shower two days before the wedding ceremony, she looked shrunk, totally. The girl I knew, all of 80kgs was looking ill and haggard, flustered at what happened to her. She had relied on them for a makeover to look like a princess on her most special day, and the result was horrendous. I don’t know if she had mentioned this crash diet plan to her would-be husband, but since then I’ve been wary of crash diets and their promises.

It’s true that weight loss has been the agenda of most youth in India with increasing obesity and related diseases due to our sedentary lifestyle. Long hours of desk work and junk food have been culprits in turning us into a nation full of obese and weight-obsessed people. To eat or not to eat – is the question now. What to eat and what not to – comes next. Struggling with the issue of obesity, I’ve tried many regimes of diet including natural food, fruits and at times, honey. Yes. Even I was surprised to know that honey is healthy. We associate everything sweet with unhealthy and unfriendly. But Dabur honey is a lot healthier than sugar and has properties that will astonish you to no end.

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Surf It All With UC Browser

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

I’ve been disconnected from cricket since quite a few years now. From being an avid cricket fan and following every ODI and test that India played, I’ve been reduced to watching the occasional IPL match now. The reason being heavy workload and the breakneck speed at which life is rushing by. There isn’t much time to watch a full ODI match and follow each over, but thanks to superfast technologies, each ball can be followed now at the touch of your fingertip.

Yes, there’s UC Browser for your smartphone which has UC Cricket incorporated to let you be connected to cricket at its best. Our smartphones already have their respective default browsers depending on their operating systems, but UC Browser is a single platform which lets you connect to all the apps that you otherwise download in your phone. With a single click you can connect to all your favourite apps – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, news channels and websites, games and everything else you need – including the cricket world. UC Cricket helps you navigate all the latest and past matches, upcoming ones, scores, schedules, photo gallery and each gossip or news you’d want from cricket.

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Book Review : My Clingy Girlfriend

Blurb View: 

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

Image Courtesy: Flipkart

What is a clingy girlfriend?

A clingy girlfriend will go through your phone.

She will destroy the contact numbers of every other girl on your phone.

She will delete your Facebook profile.

And will give you forty-five missed calls in the sixty minutes you put your phone on silent for an office presentation.

A clingy girlfriend will say

Carry two sets of fully charged mobile batteries so you can be in touch with me. Always.

In my dream, you were flirting with some other girl and then ended up in bed. Dreams are a manifestation of some act that is carried out in daily life. Are you cheating on me?

You have issues. You need to get therapy. Are you cheating on me?

And the worst one – why aren’t we married yet?

Obrokranti Banerjee’s girlfriend ticks all of these and more. Caught between wanting to break up and the fear that he’ll never find another girlfriend if he does, Obrokranti finds himself doing things he never imagined – watching Shah Rukh Khan movies, having to fast with her on karva chauth and perhaps worst of all, having his girlfriend join him on a boys night out!

Bestselling author Madhuri Banerjee brings to you an uproariously howlarious account of a simple Bengali boy in Mumbai who copes, mopes and hopes to find logic and reasoning with his clingy girlfriend. It’s writing Madhuri’s never done before and promises to change her name if you don’t laugh at least five times while reading this book!

You know you have one too. This is your story. My Clingy Girlfriend.

Review:

A bestselling author. A Bengali protagonist. A man’s story written by a woman. These unique features made me read ‘My Clingy Girlfriend’ and write this review. While the book seemed interesting in its concept and presentation, somehow the narration failed to attract me. I haven’t read Madhuri before, though I’ve heard a lot about her books.

In this one there’s a story, yes. Obrokanti Banerjee is our man and his life is dissected in this book, well, mostly his love life. Narrating in first person, Madhuri gets into details of Obro’s life, his obnoxious Punjabi live-in girlfriend Radha, his obscure colleague Menon and other morons in his office. His life is almost doomed with a clingy girlfriend, someone who defines the very concept of clingy and is nearly abominable. She keeps track of every minute in Obro’s life, with frequent calls surpassing the man’s irritation level. She controls every move of her boyfriend, including whom he should talk, meet, or call.

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Of Scents, Stinks and Whiffs

Image Courtesy : BlogAdda

Image Courtesy : BlogAdda

Each household has its distinct orbit of odours. When you enter a house, the first thing that hits you is how it smells. I’ve been put off quite often by living rooms and corridors that reek of sweaty socks, possibly the worst stink in the world. Given the fact that we live in a humid sub-tropical country, it is extremely difficult to maintain a house free of any bad odour. Our food habits lead a big way into this phenomenon too.

Since we belong to the Bengali clan, our staple is fish and meat (as you may already assume)! Living in Calcutta, it is well accepted that every family cooks and eats fish, rather the exceptions are looked down upon. But in other cities, especially in other countries – I’ve been sceptical cooking fish in the apartment. While we may savour the aroma of freshly fried fish in mustard oil, I’ve heard neighbours complain and frown, which is pretty normal in the circumstances. It even happened that in our student condominium, we used to pull open the fire alarm, take out the batteries, cook our fish fry/curry and assemble the alarm again. The property laws in USA are so strict that we’d be fined and warned if the fire alarm ringed owing to the fumes while frying fish. So much for comfort food of fish and rice!

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