From the Land of Usal, Misal and Pav

Thukpa at Shaolin in Pune

Thukpa at Shaolin in Pune

When we moved to Pune from Hyderabad, we were quite apprehensive about the food. While Mumbai and Hyderabad are considered food heavens with choices to die for, Pune was known to be low key without many options, and most of them vegetarian. While we’re strictly non-vegetarians and big foodies, we did eat in vegetarian restaurants (mostly when other options were sparse)!

After relocating to Pune, we began house hunting. It was a tedious job and we looked for places to eat in Pune after toiling whole day visiting apartments for rent. Since our areas of target were in the outskirts, it was more difficult to find restaurants of our choice. Hyderabad had literally spoilt us crazy with its food platter and spice buckets. Pune seemed more toned down and traditional. Though the traditional Maharashtrian food is far from bland, it’s spicy and blazing hot. While M loves the Misal Pav, I’m more for Pav Bhaji and Vada Pav. The idea of slathering dry sev into the spicy gravy and mopping it up with buns, somehow didn’t appeal me.

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Book Review : The Guitar Girl

Blurb  View: 

The Guitar Girl_Cover_Kindle

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Sixteen year old Rhea Shah never thought that she would find herself falling for her brother’s best friend, Joy Fernandez, when they come home from college. Because she never thought that the dork who used to go to school with them would suddenly reinvent himself in college.

The only people she’s able to talk to about her absurd crush, are her best friends, Sophie and Arjav. Both of whom at first encourage, and then almost blackmail, Rhea to confess her feelings, which leaves the poor girl more muddled than ever!

Plagued with upcoming Board Examinations along with her friends’ suggestions, Rhea finds it difficult to concentrate, because she’s fallen for Joy, hook, line and sinker. In an attempt to vent to her feelings, she begins a blog, where she publishes all her songs and poems, dedicated to Joy, keeping her identity a secret.

But things do not go quite how she planned when a certain blogger named J. Fern begins to read her blog, and wishes to work with her…

Will Rhea ever confess her feelings to Joy? And will Joy find out the real identity of The Guitar Girl?

Review:

How many times have you revisited childhood reading a book and felt familiar? Aniesha takes us to that precious time of our lives where each one of us has had crushes and infatuations, knowingly or otherwise, for people they know or just random strangers, at school or in their neighbourhood. We’ve all tried to ignore them, or fallen hopelessly in love, discussed them with our best friends or siblings, and hoped for more, some day.

The Guitar Girl is Rhea Shah, who has a pesky elder brother and his handsome college friend Joy Fernandez who she falls for when she’s sixteen. Yes, such things happen mostly at sixteen. Joy was a dorky senior in school who turned hot in college and stunned his best friend’s little sister. We also meet Rhea’s best friends – Sophie and Arjav – who turn a couple later.  There are ample teen elements in the story, love, maths, economics, homework, study sessions and love again. Young love is tender and Aniesha explores it quite deftly.

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Book Review : The Accidental Wife

TheAccidentalWife-ebook

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Blurb View: 

From the author of Inconvenient Relations Simi K Rao! If you enjoyed Inconvenient Relations, you’ll love The Accidental Wife, a new contemporary romance from Simi K. Rao. Some accidents are meant to happen… Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead? Scroll up to buy The Accidental Wife now to experience this contemporary romance with a multicultural twist.

Review:

Snow in New York, some love and hate romance, an intelligent Indian couple and a twist in the story. If you’re familiar with or like any of these, you’ll like the book too. Simi K. Rao seems to weave her novels effortlessly, if you follow her books closely. I’ve read her earlier one, and liked it much, which made me pick up this one with much anticipation.

Simi chooses her characters carefully – while Rihaan is a typical New Yorker, Naina is our strong urban feisty lady. When they meet, sparks fly and they fly to New York together after a series of incidents and mishaps. They are married accidentally but what transpires between them is beyond explanation. They debate whether it’s really love or only biology, as per Rihaan, the neurosurgeon. Naina has a past, is a teacher and clicks photos to bring about a change.  Continue reading

#ScholarShip – One That Should Never Sink

“Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”John Dewey

‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan.’ These were the fundamental rights entitled to an Indian in every Bollywood movie. And somehow, most people thoroughly believed in this, which led to negligence of another basic right – Education. It’s true that we need the three basic rights to be fulfilled before we can actually ‘live’, instead of just breathing-eating-excretion-procreation. The malady of education has been gnawing at India since ages, when only a fraction of the society needed education to sustain the rest. But it can’t be so now. We have been realising over years that education, not only literacy, is imperative for everyone, especially in a country like ours.

We keep hearing about ‘free schools’ for children of lower strata, but aren’t most of them just to make them literate? Someone in Varanasi has realised the difference between ‘literacy’ and ‘education’, and jumped into a boat. Ajeet Singh has created a unique boat school for the children of Varanasi, who would spend two hours every day after their regular school hours in this boat. Is it a boat? Is it a school? No, it’s a #ScholarShip.

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Untold Ray of Hope

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

Last week was categorically difficult for us. With our passport renewal process being initiated, it was a huge mess of documents – to be verified, attested, photocopied, arranged in order and filed neatly in separate folders for M and me. Once the appointment was through, we heaved a sigh of relief in unison as you know how exasperating these Government processes are. A little celebration was on its way in the evening when we received a call post dinner. One of M’s uncles had to be admitted to a hospital near our place owing to severe abdominal pain.

Things turned astray, anxiety crept in as uncle is above fifty years old. What’s strange was, we had met him just the weekend ago and he had seemed to be totally fine. We rushed to the hospital early in the morning and found him sedated, just okay to talk to us. Aunt-in-law was obviously distressed, and the fact that she was inexperienced in handling these corporate hospitals added to her nervousness. M and I tried to tackle the situation. It’s quite tricky, if you’ve dealt with any of the new age private hospitals in India.

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Where’s the Party Tonight?

Most of us have loved this song though we might not have liked the movie with equal fervour. Whenever there’s a party lined up, the first phrase that pops in my mind is the title – ‘Where’s the Party Tonight?’ There are house parties and then there are house parties. Since all of us are slogging the whole day working, be it household chores or our jobs, it is difficult to arrange a house party on a weekday.

So what do you do when you crave for a party with superb friends on a weekday (or even on a weekend)? You, like me, would look for places to party in Kolkata. The perception even ten years back among people was doubt about any nightlife in Kolkata. Which was partly true, Kolkata wasn’t too vibrant at night for reasons unknown. But if you search on Askme dot com now, in 2015, there is no dearth of discotheques in Kolkata and places to party.

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Blue Martini

Since I’ve moved into Kolkata just a few months ago, I’ve been searching for places to party when there’s no energy left to arrange house parties for large number of guests. There are easier options obviously – browse your phone or laptop, place your choices on Askme dot com and bingo! They offer so many choices that you’re spoilt and dazed for a moment. Try to filter according to your preferences and you’ll land up into a wonderful lounge or banquet for an amazing party with friends or family.

My preferences usually lie with Park Street, even to the extent that I’m a little biased towards the area. There are the oldest and best pubs and restaurants in Kolkata, with splendid food and much choice for beverages. If you search well, there are many new places which are creating a buzz in Saltlake, Rajarhat, Kasba, Gariahat and other vibrant areas of Kolkata. In a gist, you don’t need to worry about the nightlife in Kolkata now, if you know where to look at, you’ll find everything that you need, at your convenience and right near your doorstep. Kolkata is a city of 14 million people and a vast area, so rest assured, you’ll find hundreds of party places in Kolkata and gather beautiful memories with your friends.

Happy Partying!