Thursday, June 30, 2011

I ♥ Google

Valentine's Day Google Doodle.
Don't you?

I am a big fan of Google.
It's like my best friend.
Whenever I'm in need, Google is a friend indeed.
Don't you feel that?

Starting with it's name. I love just saying it.
Whenever anyone asks me a question I don't feel like really answering, which is most of the time, I just say Google it.
It seems to have all the answers.

Sometimes it even has just the answer you're looking for.
My sister conveniently uses it to prove the existence of words like 'equators' while playing Scrabble which she's bound to find in some article written by someone who doesn't understand that there is only one.
I, on the other hand have used it more constructively for things like projects. And then sometimes to stalk people on Web & Images. Movie-stars and the common man.

I love how google connects everything.
My email.
My chat.
My photos.
My blog.
It also helps me find places I didn't know existed. Hello Curry Road.

I also use iGoogle. This is what's on my page.
  • Currency Converter - an attempt to prove that I'm quicker than a computer at converting currencies.
  • Joke of the Day - for one more laugh.
  • A to-do list - my life would be incomplete without them.
  • A Hindu God of the week widget - I have no clue why I have this. Today I learnt that Ravana was the demon king defeated by Rama. Hmm.
  • Hangman - to feel like I won at something.
  • Word of the day - so I can use words I'm sure you've never heard of just so I can see that puzzled expression on your face while still trying to look like you have great vocab and are intelligent.
  • And pointless other gadgets like a clock, calendar and weather.

So why all the Google  all of a sudden?

Google has introduced Google +.
And that + does a pretty good job of summing it all up.
Here's an article from yesterday's Times of India that sums up what it's all about.
And you can Share the article on Facebook.
It's like using the enemies ammunition to win the war. Brilliant!

Let me explain it the Godfather way.
Google is going to the mattresses.
And soon Facebook will be sleeping with the fishes.
Cause Google sure is making you an offer you can't refuse.

What do I think? Well, I think it's the future. And it seems to be a pretty bright one.
And now the +1 symbol on my blog makes a lot more sense.

Check out the Google blog.
I am clearly a Follower.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Good fight

Is your week ever complete without a fight?

For me it isn't.
And it's generally Vodafone that I fight with.

But, this time it was Crossword bookstores.
A few weeks ago I was ill + lazy + found out that Crossword has an online store + it gives discounts.
So, I chucked my never-been-used crossword discount card and went for it.

At this point I was thinking Wow, Indian stores actually sell online and it works?
I've thought of selling my art online many times but feel like there isn't a market for it yet.
Unless I'm buying my own art. Which would be pointless.

So, I ordered a book 3 weeks ago.
And waited for (a maximum of) 18 days before I called them to see what's going on.
This was followed by a rude email to the Crossword e-store about how I was so impressed with them and then how they disappointed me (with little notes about how I don't mean to be rude and that they should look at it as constructive criticism - an issue I have yet to deal with). And how they shouldn't provide the online credit card-using-book-buying facility if they're not ever planning on selling me the book anyway.
And to just give me a refund already though I'd prefer just getting the book.

I also added that I was excited to shop online instead of having to go to the store where their salespeople are as clueless as me about finding the books. And where I end up spending 5 minutes saying P for parrot, E for elephant.

I ended with how I am not even an avid reader (at all) but was really looking forward to reading this book.

Was it impactful?
I got a phonecall 2 days ago and e-mail yesterday telling me that I'm receiving my book today.

India - a country where the zebra crossing is still nothing more than a design on the street - Is it really ready to enter the wonderful world of Online shopping? I think not.
Do I still want my book? Sort of.
Do I still need it?
Well, you answer that for me.

It's called Bossypants.

Update: I finally received my book today. Its the 2nd of July. It's taken a month to get to me but it's alright. I'm on page 12 already and I'm loving it. Tina Fey seems to be an exaggerated version of super honest me who doesn't care about being politically correct. Maybe she also finds it too time consuming.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Perfect Sunday

How was your weekend?

Mine was fantabulous.
Here's what happened.

I went swimming with some friends (floating while being guided by the non-existent wave in the pool).
Had butterful food.
Found a perfect companion for it called beer.
Is beer really good for your kidneys? Our taxi driver in Goa told us that it is.
My Doctor friend said No but Google disagrees.
But, then again Google gives you whichever answer you want to find.

On my way home, I crashed my sister and brother-in-law's romantic Sunday lunch at Salt Water Cafe to grab some dessert - dark chocolate crème brûlée.
And washed it down with green tea. I don't know if green tea washes down anything. But it did wash away some of the guilt of over-eating.
Came home and felt a little guilty about crashing their lunch till I looked at myself in the mirror and saw how they hadn't told me that my after-swim-undried hair looked like a mop on my head.
I was about to take a nap and my friend popped by. To talk about life.
And I forced her to take a nap too.
She turned out to be a true friend for about 30 minutes.
After which she kept poking me to wake me up so she could grab a bite somewhere.

While she got her Shawerma at Maroosh, I got some Frozen yoghurt at Yogurtbay on Carter Road. You have to try the Blueberry Cheesecake flavour. It's just everything you want it to be.
Lovely blueberry topping and crumbly cheesecake base sprinkles.
Do check out the website. It's nice and friendly and even has pointless sections like Everybelly. Interesting!

picture from the yogurtbay website.

Tip: Please don't ever go to Cocoberry. It smells funny and tastes bleaaaheaahhh (that's an exaggerated blah).

I ate some more yoghurt again for dinner while watching Simi's new show.
Could she be more annoying while flirting with India's Most Desirable?
I think not.
Siddhartha Mallya was cute even with all the twitches.
He made me want to speak with my British accent during the commercial breaks to everyone sitting around me. I pretty much just said uhf-khos (ofcourse) to every question.

This morning
yoghurt = unstoppable sneezing.
swimming = pain in my feet. even my toes.
But, it was all worth it.

And in the middle of it all, I made my sister play photographer and help me shoot for future Sunday thank-yous. It was a blast. I don't know if she agrees.

I wanted to give you a sneek peek but then thought why not just wait till Sunday.

Update (1 week later): Also try the Mango flavour, topped with real mango pieces and a colourful water-balloon-like topping that feels like Holi in your mouth.
And the Tiramisu flavour. Now I'm not a fan of Tiramisu or anything coffee-like but it's to die for.

Rating: 10/10

How satisfying?: Extremely.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank You #3

I have watched this show since the age of 6.
This is when I thought that only Americans French kissed. Somehow that made sense in my head.

Yes, it was a confusing childhood.
And 20 years & a gazillion paternity tests later, Brooke still finds family members to sleep with.

Inspired by thxthxthx.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Friend with Benefits

When you think of friends with benefits you are clearly going the wrong way.
But, not me. There are some great benefits of being friends with Varun Sheth.

He's the sweetest boy ever. And he cooks. And super well too.

I've always behaved like a food critic in restaurants. Giving a critique when noone really cares.
This started way back when I couldn't even tell the difference between chalk and cheese.
I was a fussy eater while growing up and my mother would feed me with stories like apples and pears are cousins. This was done in an attempt to make me eat pears.

Being the fussy eater that I was, when dessert was served my eyes would light up and suddenly there were exactly 2 empty circular spaces in my tummy to fit in 2 gulab jamuns. I deserved the dessert reward just for being that creative with my explanations.

Anyway, on Tuesday I did no such thing.
My friend, Varun cooked up this neverending meal that was nothing but super.

How did it all start for him?
I think this is a pretty amazing story. 
I've known Varun for what feels like forever and he was as confused as I still am.
He represented India in Counter Strike (the video game). I thought that was awesome. But, he was made for something bigger. And that was 1 tablespoon.
It all began with Varun being bored at home and realising how much he wants to eat pizza which led to him making it himself, from scratch. And then doing it everyday. Making better sauces. Adding different toppings. And then a chef was born.
Varun then went on to study at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York and when he returned he started his own Gourmet catering service called 1 tablespoon.

Now about the food...
There were starters, main course, dessert and even wine. All in the middle of the evening.
But, who's complaining?

We started with some wine. I was thirsty.
As I sipped my wine, Varun started bringing in one tasty treat after another.
First there was the hummus and lavash followed by a garlicy dip (I forgot what it's called) and pita squares.
I love garlic but hate how the taste won't leave me and I need to brush my teeth 5 times after eating it.
But, no such thing happened.

After this we had creamy corn vol-au-vents. This is something I ask my mother to make for me on every birthday because I love vol-au-vents so much. I have only ever eaten the ones she's made. But, these were super too. I would've preferred less of the wafery part but then that's just me.

This was followed by crostinis with a tomato paste, goat cheese and burnt onion. So, I love goat cheese like I love every other cheese and there's something lovely about sweet burnt onion but I am not a fan of tomato. But, guess what, I totally loved it. It was nice and creamy and you couldn't feel the tomatoey texture which is what I usually have a problem with. Full marks again!

This was followed by Varun's specialty - pizza.
He makes everything from scratch - the dough and even the sauce. I could choose my toppings so I went with red and yellow peppers. While Varun made the pizza at lightning speed, I walked around and took some photographs. I'm an amateur photographer with a fancy camera. I tried.

And then when I took really bad pictures, I just continued eating. Seemed to help a lot.

The pizza was followed by ravioli which was filled with a mushroomy pasty filling. A little salty on the outside. But, only because I asked him to put extra salt so I could play around with my photography while he threw salt in the pan. Sorry.

Then came the best part - the dessert.
This is the part I look forward to the most in every meal.
Varun knew that and let me have my desserts in between courses.
So, actually at this point I had already had a bowl of crème brûlée and strawberry sorbet.
Yum yum yum.
The crème brûlée was probably the best I've ever had. Perfect crackly top (without being so thick that it gets stuck in your teeth). And the inside couldn't have been creamier. Even though it was super creamy and that by this time I had eaten as much as an elephant, it was still easy to digest. Loved the black vanilla dots in it.

The strawberry sorbet on the other hand was served right into my wine glass. Well, atleast that's how I had my first serving of it. It was like the white wine pulled it in and gave it a big hug.

This is where I stopped to take a breath.
Yoga has taught me the importance of breathing.

And then we ended the perfect meal with a cannoli (topped with chocolate chips). 
Varun explained how it was made. Something about ricotta, wine, coffee powder, whiskey and I went into a trance. 

All this over some great conversation and average photography on a day that couldn't have been anything but delicious. And I got some sorbet and a chocolate biscuit to take home.

My frank opinion: Go for it!
Not only was I impressed by his food but his kitchen is super clean. Something I really appreciated.
Varun caters under the name 1 tablespoon. That's a lot more than what I got.
Check out his website for the complete menu.

Definitely get the brownies.

photos & illustration by me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ballet shoes

I've taken a couple of dance lessons in my life.
I learnt whatever dance it is that Shaimak Davar teaches when I was about 7 or 8.
I luckily never went throught the Bharatnatyam learning phase like most Indian girls which according to me results in super large staring eyes and wide hips.
I did go on to learn salsa which was great fun. We'd do salsa nights out together with others from the class. I stopped attending this class when I went abroad to study and unfortunately when I was back my instructor had become an actor. I'm sure you've seen him in movies and ads.
Anyway, the last class I took was by Sandeep Soparrkar. I would not recommend this one. He takes dance way too seriously. For someone who just wanted to have a good time, wearing closed-back shoes with heels and not being allowed to wear jeans was really not fun. With that we also had to learn the names of the steps. I would make myself remember the word Cucaracha by telling myself it's something like Cockroach. To make things even worse, we were partnered with India's worst male dancers. This was definitely going nowhere.

Inspite of this, I have always been intrigued by dance - all kinds of dance. Even ballet.
Ok, maybe it's just a ballet shoe obsession. I thought that I had bought my first pair in 2003 but then I found this.

me (left) pulling off ballet shoes and a fountain hairstyle while posing with fruit.
For me
Female ballet dancers - beautiful, graceful, just lovely.
Male ballet dancers - umm...
What can I say? Men in tights are just plain weird. When my sister was younger she thought that the reason male ballet dancers had a protruding bump in their tights was so that the female ballet dancers could use it as a stepping stool to do their airlifts.
That seemed to be their only purpose.

I secretly always wished to be a dancer. I dreamt about it once and woke up with pain in the muscles in my legs. Yes, I take my dreams very seriously. Don't you?

I finally watched Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.
I watched it a few days ago in the afternoon just incase it would disturb a perfect night's sleep.
This psychological thriller is modeled around Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet.
What a movie! And what a performance! Natalie Portman killed it. Yes, I did get freaked out a little. I was warned. But, I didn't listen and it was worth it. Unfortunately noone warned me about the sex content. So, watching it with your mother is probably not a good idea. Luckily my grandmother went to sleep 10 minutes into the movie.

My experience can be summarised as:
Oh no!
She needs help.
Blank expression + mute (while watching sexual content).
Hiding my embarassment under a blanket of nonchalance.
Explaining to my mom that the sexual stuff was just her imagination-like that makes it better (after realising that I've been quiet for way too long).
Not breathing. Pinching myself till the scene gets over.
Thank God its over.
Beautiful movie.

I began to wonder - Will I ever dance like that? Probably not. Especially with one foot bigger than the other. Is that normal?
I realised I would need to have a whole lot of strength in my legs to do a couple of those effortless-looking pirouettes.

And my knees aren't the strongest.
When people would say they went weak in the knees, I thought it was just an expression.
But, to be honest there have been 3 times in my life when I have actually experienced it - the actual feeling of not being able to walk.
- When I was late for my final art exam. Nervousness.
- When I met my ex boyfriend with his new girlfriend. Mixed feelings.
- And right before my sister's wedding. I don't even know why.

I'm a silly girl. What can I do?

A bouquet at the end of a performance would be lovely but, for now I'll just put the idea of becoming a prima ballerina on hold. I'll leave the dancing to the professionals and stick to just wearing the shoes.

And if you heart Tchaikovsky like me have a listen. It's the hip-hop remix of one of my favourite classical tunes - The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.

And here's Le Vent, a beautiful ballet video in slow motion shot at 1000 frames per second.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To me, my father was and will always be the greatest father that ever existed.

He was more like me than anyone else I've ever met. So, obviously I thought he was awesome.
Our extent of laziness, love for movies, unhealthy food & drink and our sense of humour was very alike.
His idea of a treasure hunt was hiding a coin in his big belly button while he watched TV and I sweated it out hunting around the entire room for it.
We had a mutual agreement to scratch each other's backs. Literally. True story.
While he was around, I even liked the smell of cigarettes. Buying him an ashtray for his birthday though wasn't very appreciated by my mother.
We'd do crosswords together. And compete and see who could solve the 9 letter word sooner. 
He loved reading and could answer my every question. I always wondered how his brain could hold in that much information. I called him my human dictionary.
He taught me how to draw shadowy letters and I loved how he'd write stuff in CAPS and then add serifs later.
His love for gadgets rubbed off on my sister and me.
He spoke a different language with original words like TIK TOK (remote control) and DIK DIC (Do I Know Do I Care). 
He taught me manners. Good and bad.
Told me I'd turn into Jack Nicholson from As Good as it gets when I'd get older if I didn't change my OCD behaviour and try acting a little more normal. This advice really seemed to work.
He had an amazing photographic memory that I was fortunate enough to inherit.

A map he drew for my sister when she learnt driving.
He showed us love in so many ways.
He'd comb my sister's hair before school when she'd feel like she's having a bad hair day.
He'd help out with school projects and be present at every school event.
He created my first email account for me 15 years ago. It's hotmail but I can't seem to part with it.
He'd actually hunt for things we'd ask him to get us when he'd go on business trips. We'd submit lists with items like clothes, music CDs, acetone-free nailpolish remover, paintbrushes, blue hair mascara, ginger preserve and a variety of cheeses. And when he'd return, it always felt like Christmas.
He had his own lyrics for Alane which I learnt to sing with him. According to him it started with chal mere sung.
He was all about surprises.
He bought me my first cellphone for my 16th birthday and when I got my first call I realised he had set the Happy Birthday tune as my ringtone. I felt the love in the details.

He didn't want my sister or me to marry till we were 35 so he could have us around for longer.
I read something funny the other day: Noone will ever love you as much as your dad, so marry for money.
Reminds me of some of the conversations I've had with him.

He taught us never to get attached to material things.
And at the same time he taught us to enjoy the good life.

Happy Father's Day.
And Happy Birthday.

Here's one of your favourite songs.
Love you.

Thank You #2

Inspired by thxthxthx.
photo by me.

Friday, June 17, 2011


What do you find disturbing? We go about our lives without noticing so many weird things just because it's so a part of our lives.
Here are a few things that pop up in my head that I have neatly compartmentalised in one corner of my brain as weird.

photo by Stylestyx
- Little girls in shampoo ads with super shiny long hair. Annoying perfection.

- Transparent bra straps. They are transparent, not invisible.

- Men holding hands and walking down the streets. Explain.

- Little girls dancing to item songs on TV in dance contests wearing skimpy outfits and heels. Encourage?

- People who say pilaf and sherbet. Learn to speak "Indian".

- Men scratching their ahem like its as normal as saying hello. Goodbye.

- Cricketers adjusting their ahem in the middle of the field like noone's watching. Millions are watching.

- Little kids in China wearing pants with open slits on their bums so they can do their business immediately anytime anywhere. Heard of diapers?

- People kissing their children or pets on the mouth. Double eeks.

- People expecting you to be as obsessed about their pets as they are. They're nothing more than a Tamagotchi for me.

- Parents walking their children with a leash. The future?

- Men with such big muscles that their arms don't touch their sides. I can't touch my tongue to my nose. Ok, that's not the same. I'm normal. You're not.

- Men with boobs bigger than mine. Stop giving me a complex.

- Bollywood stars suddenly getting American accents and rolling their r's. Looking forward to your British accent on BBC.

- People licking their fingers to help them turn pages. You know who you are.

- Low-waist jeans showing off your buttcrack. Really not classy.

- Dreadlocks. There are other ways to look dirty. Just roll in the mud.

- Everyone calling everyone hot in their Facebook photos. Get a life.

via Chopcow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Making of

I've changed the look of my blog and I think the new look says so much more about what my blog's all about.
What's that?
I have no idea.

Here's how it all happened.

When: 14 June, 2011

Where: My room. Between my bed and TV.

How: With a lot of enthusiasm.

I was ill and had bunked my Yoga class. But then I got so restless and thought it was time to change my blog header. I started out with a few ideas and all of it changed along the way.

The team:
Concept & Design : by me.
Photographer: my sister, Akshaya.
Ladder holder: my grandmother.
Refreshments, prop supplier & encourager: my mother.

The idea:
I wanted to fake a mid-air shot.
So I got dressed up in the first outfit that fell out of my cupboard and dragged Akshaya away from her MBA homework. That wasn't hard.
Then I made myself lie on the floor and played the role of Art Director/ Control Freak (according to my sister).

The Shoot:
I made Akshaya arrange my hair while I was lying on the ground into little twirly designs which I thought gave it a Tim Burton-ish feel. Basically anything unusual/ weird falls into that category.
Next, I arranged my skirt to look the way it does in the photo. I love this skirt of mine. I call it my cow skirt.

The challenge was in getting Aku to climb the ladder without hitting the fan. The ladder was a little wobbly which made her a slightly nervous photographer. Luckily, right then my curious grandmother stepped in. She was immediately appointed as ladder holder.
Of all the questions that she could've asked me, she said "But how are you reading with your sunglasses on?"
Answer: it was a blank page.

Ten minutes later:
Pictures were transferred. One was randomly selected and photoshopped.

Hope you had as much fun viewing it as I had making it.
Pointless projects like these are always the most fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art Beat

The first time I can remember appreciating art was probably at the age of 5 when I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. What few people know is that Van Gogh sold just one painting during his lifetime and became incredibly famous only after his death. Sad.
But for me, back then Van Gogh's Sunflowers was the most famous painting in the world.
After admiring it in the gallery, I got back home and tried to recreate it and what I painted according to me was exactly like Van Gogh's.
And my parents agreed.
I was 5 years old then and I believed them.

I really thought my art was 'wow' till I went to Art school and was surrounded by people who thought their art was wow too and didn't feel all that special anymore. I did learn a lot though and luckily managed to graduate from college without any of the 4 dreaded art school looks.
- The goth makeup look.
- The penniless artist with a jhola look.
- The I don't look into the mirror before I leave my house look.
- The I decided to go bald cause that's what girls in art school do look.
Today Art is a lot more than just painting for me.
It's anything from a paper fold to a sculpture or a photograph to even a Google Doodle.

In India, the word ART is synonymous with one of our most celebrated artists M.F. Husain.
He passed away last week on 9 June at the age of 95 and was said to have been painting till about a week before that.
Was he special. Yes, to India he sure was.
When I think of M.F. Husain, 3 things come to my mind
1. That he loved painting horses.
2. He always had a Bollywood actress as his muse.
3. And he always walked barefoot (even in a city as filthy as Mumbai).
I never had the priviledge of meeting him though even if I did I don't know what I would have said to him.
He happened to be a good friend of my grandmothers back in the day and he gifted my parents a work of his for their wedding.
Generous he sure was. He was said to have done that a lot.

Newspapers for the past few days have been filled with articles about him by writers, friends and even just people who appreciate art.
What I noticed in most of those articles is that he's been given the title of Picasso of India. Even Wikipedia says so.
I disagree.
Why couldn't he just be Husain of India?
Why should one artist be compared to another when Art is something that's so subjective and so personal?
M.F. Husain was M.F. Husain and there will never be another.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


If you read my blog yesterday you'll know that I dined at the Michelin starred Hakkasan last night.

Now I don't know how you get a Michelin star. I'm guessing it's something like those gold stars we got for good work in kindergarten. Well, if that's how it goes, it's well deserved.

I had eaten at the London Hakkasan many years ago.
Back then I thought it was just another restaurant and didn't get all excited and dressed up like I did yesterday.
My usual dinner attire is stretch pants or a skirt. Yesterday, I wore a dress with a matching hairstyle, carried a purse and even wore a little blush. All this enthusiam to go for dinner while it was all rainy outside.
Real reason : They have a strict dress code which can be summarized as fancy.

Well, Bombay according to me is a somewhat boring place until something new opens up.
Years ago (when I was around 12), Mc Donald's had opened in Bombay and I stood in a super long queue on Linking Road for my first Mc Chicken Burger. I was nuts back then and nothing's changed.

So, yesterday I got all dolled up and went out for dinner with my family armed with a couple of Hakkasan reviews on my phone to help me out with ordering my food.
It started as a bit of a letdown. No valet parking. In the monsoon that's pretty bad.
Even the salon I go to (which happens to be on the same road) has valet parking.
No Ipad menus either.
But from this point it only kept getting better.
water projection on the ceiling.
The decor was beautiful. Great ambience. Classy and not over the top. It had a blue under-the-sea feel to it. The kitchen was hidden behind a translucent glass. The whole place was interesting in its details. It had water being projected onto the wooden ceiling. Nice touch. A bar upstairs. They had good loungy music playing. And then my grandmother asked the manager to lower the volume like we were in our living room and he was her talking remote.

The hostesses were "Oriental" (that's me trying to be politically correct).
But, they weren't of the same variety as those seen at Hawaiin Shack (that's me not being politically anything). They were trained to make polite conversation while showing you to your table. I got the whole "Hi! How was your day? Is it raining outside? bit". She probably didn't care but, I appreciated it.

Fun Fact...
Children below the age of 10 are not allowed.

Moving on...
So which celebrity did I see?
Sonam Kapoor. She looked lovely as always. Great bone structure.
Somehow everytime I see her sister, she's wearing a blazer but she manages to pull it off.
My sister calls 'girls in blazers' - the lesbian look.
Even though that makes absolutely no sense I get what she means and that's probably why you wouldn't see me wear one.
Now I'm going to try to focus on the food since this is not a fashion post.

Now about the food...
Was it extraordinary? I don't know.
But, it definitely wasn't like that of the typical Chinese food restaurant in Bombay.
Should Shakira change her lyrics to Hakka Hakka? Yes, I think it's time.

Soup/ Drinks...
We started with some soup. The first one on the menu. Chicken and Angelica root I think. I was told that the chicken was not so fun to eat with the skin on.
I was contemplating whether to have Tsingtao Beer or some good ol' Chinese tea.
I ended up having a Tea called Classical Beauty. I couldn't decide so the order-taking-man told me why not go with the tea that says something about you. Ok, that's a lie.
So, the tea was definitely good. But, nothing Michelin starred about it.

For starters we had, Crispy Duck Roll accompanied by some sweet plum sauce - I love duck rolls. But, again not very different from Royal China.
We also had Edamame Truffle dumplings. It's like a dumpling with soft green mushy baby-food like stuff inside. I liked it but it wasn't everyone's favourite. This one was 'Chef recommended'.
Then there was the soft shell crab. Interesting.
Tip: Everything tastes better with the sauces. Don't know whether that's a good or bad thing.

Main Course...
We had Hand pulled Hakka Noodles in little bowls. I don't know if they're really hand pulled but if it was, I appreciate the effort. It was not too oily, heavy or flavourful. Just right, when you want to partner it with a meat dish.
So, I coupled it with  some sweet San Pei Chicken (served in a claypot). Nice.
Can't comment on the 4 style vegetables. I didn't even serve myself 1 style. Not a fan of the veggies.

I'm nearly vegetarian but when I go to a Chinese restaurant I can only order meat. I'll never understand why.

This was what did it for me.
We ordered only 2 desserts. One of which was amazing.
Definitely try the Yoghurt parfait with raspberry sorbet and black sesame foam. Orgasmic!
It just made everything perfect.
They even give you wine recommendations to go with your dessert. Expensive!
Please skip the White chocolate mousse with passion fruit sorbet. Passion fruit sounds so good but it isn't. I just fell for the word passion. Sad, but true. It tastes like Mango gone sour.
We wanted to order the Jasmine Crème brûlée but then it wasn't there. Disappointing.

Loved the restaurant. The look. The service. The cold towel in the beginning. The hot towel in the end.
Most importantly, I loved the company.
I even loved the optimism with which they keep only chopsticks on every table. Not having good enough eating-with-chopsticks skills, I asked for a fork.
The music was good too. Surprisingly not Kenny G which seems to be a hot favourite at all Chinese restaurants and most elevators.

Loved the price? - not so much.
Question - Do you tip 10% in such a place?

But, if you think money is for spending or go by the one life to live philosophy or like me are not paying the bill - go for it!

Overall experience...
To be honest the food wasn't light years ahead of other Chinese restaurants in the city.
But, the overall experience was truly Hakk-awesome.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hugged by a black cat

My day started in a not so good way.
With AC repair guy (who didn't fix anything).
Followed by Apple service guy (who changed my whole hard disk).
A quick mango break to ease the pain of technology breakdown (4 mangoes makes that happen).
Followed by internet guy (changed my modem because the lightning blew it up).
Followed by Apple guy (who came to tell me he has to change my motherboard next week).

Now Apple service is awesome. Never has anyone followed up like that.
Apple guy - not so awesome. He dirtied my screen from the inside (genius!) and now I have to wait for him to re-visit just to open my screen for quick cleaning.

If all this wasn't bad enough, while eating lunch, a tiny piece of papad got jammed into the roof of my mouth. I'm not being a drama queen but papad felt more like a knife. I couldn't really help myself for a very long time after trying to stick the torch in my mouth and be my own dentist. I was contemplating pulling out my 4 front teeth (more realistically, taking a strong painkiller). But, it was hard to help myself with tears rolling down my face while my grandmother thought it was the funniest thing she has seen all day.
Then, one of my doctor friends came to my rescue. Relief!

I am so angry with papad. Never eating it again.

It feels like today is just not my day.
I don't know if I believe in black cats crossing my path as unlucky.
But, honestly it feels like the black cat decided to give me a big hug this morning.

my own exaggerated superstition
I did manage to have an invigorating Yoga class which seemed to be the turning point of my day.
Maybe the countless up-dogs and down-dogs scared the cat away.

Hoping Hakkasan is the happy ending to my non-fairtytale like day.

What's on your mind?

My mind is usually overcrowded with thoughts that I conveniently manage to empty out into this blog.

Today I decided to take my mind on a little vacation and there's only one thing that's on my mind.

Just Noodles.
A postcard from Wagamama, London
What about you?

I'm getting my fill at the newly opened Hakkasan tonight. Finally!
I ditched my reservation last week to watch Rafa-Fed kill it at the French Open.
Hoping it has Ipad menus like Royal China - as pointless as they are.

Have a good weekend.

Oodles of noodles for everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An apple a day?

My beautiful computer has crashed.
I bought it a year ago thinking it was the one to have.
The one to never let me down.
Something like the Titanic.
But then it turned out to be a lot like the Titanic.

The iceberg has hit my hard disk.

My sweet brother-in-law has given me his computer to use while mine recovers.
If only giving it a blanket and a lot of TLC would do the trick.
This Sunday I will post my first Thank you note. I wanted to jazz it up on Photoshop.
Unfortunately my temporary computer has nothing more advanced than Paint.

Oh well! Back to the basics.

Moral: An Apple a day does not keep the doctor away.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In Limbo

When I speak to anyone and need to refer to myself as something, I'm not quite sure whether to call myself a girl or woman. Most girls my age seem to be getting married and automatically fall into the older woman/ adult/ sometimes "aunty" category.

While growing up that category to me was characterized by 3 things:
- owning a lipstick collection (generally of shades of maroon)
- drinking tea (more than once a day)
- wearing salwar kameezes
Touch by MAC - my one and only lipstick
- I own only 1 lipstick, which I bought only to wear at my sister's wedding since it was too big an occasion to wear strawberry lipbalm.
- I don't drink regular milky tea. I have always only consumed half a cup at a time that too by dunking either biscuits or buttered bread (items which are capable of soaking up the tea resulting in me never having to actually sip it). And green tea = flavoured water.
- I only wear salwar kameezes to weddings if I have nothing else that's appropriate enough to wear. My mother thinks my choice of clothing shows regressive behaviour. Oh well!

So, where does that put me?
Is it safe to now sing : I'm not a girl, not yet a woman (in my Britney-nasal tone)?

Well, for now let's just say I'm in limbo. And it's a great place to be.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thank you

I've always loved writing all kinds of notes.
- with grocery lists - for my mother.
- things to do lists - for my mother, grandmother, sister and myself.
- i love you notes -  to family, boyfriends.
- just thought I'd say hi letters - mostly to my sister. I surprise her by leaving notes in her cupboard.

Ask my family. They've received tonnes of them over the years.
Infact I began writing these notes way back when I was in school. But, my mother found it highly annoying when I wrote her a note with questions to ask my teachers about me at the Parent-Teacher meetings at school.

Recently, after my sister's wedding, we thought why not send Thank you cards to all those who came. I just needed an excuse.

So, when I saw this website by Leah Dieterich I thought thank God for others who love writing silly notes. And she even managed to turn it into a book.

Here's a little sneak peek.

Inspired by this website I have decided to write a Thank you note every Sunday on this blog.
Something to look forward to on the weekend.

I secretly wish I had come up with it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Parlez-Vous Français?

I was watching the French Open last night. I watched Nadal beat Soderling. Soderling was a strong competitior but was having a bad day and all he had going for him were his cute dimples. Nadal on the other hand pulled his underwear out of his butt after every two mintues and made countless number of monkey-like expressions. But, I heart Nadal. Way to go!
Wish I could've been at Rolland Garros. What a time to be in Paris.

Two of my friends live in Paris - Smita and Nam. Probably wake up and eat baguettes everyday.
I love French food. Mainly because it is covered in butter - such a beautiful thing in such a happy colour. Everything is avec Crème. Crème brûlée, Crème caramel. I think the French even go swimming in Crème.

In 2005 I went on a holiday to France with my sister and mother. We ate croissants (don't know if I'll ever say it right) and even Escargot (boneless meat that's easy to eat), and salmon before, during and after every meal. Everytime Aku and I ate Camembert we could feel firecrackers going off in our mouths. It has that certain Je ne sais quoi. You'll know when you're eating it. And we enjoyed saying it with our fake French accents just as much as we loved eating it.

by Vahram Muratyan
There were also others that stuck on for a lot longer. Till today we say Weefee for Wifi. It's just more fun that way.
They even say Mc Do for Mc Donald's. How cute is that?

Before I learnt French, these are the few words I knew:
Papier mâché - I love craft.
Vol-au-vent - One of the dishes my mother makes for me on every birthday.
Petit four - the mini desserts I always love to buy (at Candies).
S'il vous plaît and Merci beaucoup - because I mind my p's and q's.
Croque-monsieur and Crepes - cheesy and yummesy.
Pot-pourri - it's so pointless but I'm so glad it was invented.
Au gratin - the way I like it.
Agent Provocateur - because I follow fashion.

When I was 15, I learnt a bit of French at the Alliance Française class and then studied it for 2 years in College. Here we learnt about La Sorbonne (I love saying Sorbonne for some reason), Arc de Triomphe & the Centre Georges Pompidou. I also learnt that the word Ananas is the same in Hindi and French. Incase you don't know, it's Pineapple.
It was fun doing the whole je suis, je m'apelle. Didn't quite make it to je t'aime. I figured that it required a couple of more years of learning to understand its proper use.

My friend Mallika went on to study French (higher level) and even mastered the art of having a Tête-à-tête with a Marathi accent. Only she can boast about such rare talents.

Mona Lisa by Graphic Nothing
Two of my friends are backpacking through Europe at the moment. I'm so jealous. I just received an email from one them.
He says "Paris is cold, the people are cold, the vibe is cold & the women are not hot". I guess all they can do is enjoy the food really. And maybe the Sienne.
But, France did have its Belle époque. With Art déco and Art Nouveau.
I'm a big fan of everything that's Art but, I'm not a fan of the Louvre. Yawn. I thought the Mona Lisa was overrated. Or did I miss something?

But France has definitely got some things going for it.
Like the Moulin Rouge - the show not the movie.
Or one of my favourite movies - Amélie. I wish I had written that story.
Or French Onion soup - the oceany broth that never disappoints.
The Monaco Grand prix and the Cannes film festival - for entertainment.
Or simply coq au vin - because I am that immature that just saying the name makes me giggle.

I love the language because it sounds so beautiful.
But, more so because it's hilarious when Indians try to speak it.
As much as I say it right when I'm referring to the city, when I'm talking about the biscuit I automatically say Mon-ack-oh.
It's an Indian thing.

Hey! Don't judge.
Atleast I know how to pronounce Champs-Élysées.

So let's sing it now.

And here's another song I learnt. I pretty much only sang the word discothèque. Have a listen.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Very Educated Mother...

When we were children, this is how we were taught to learn the names of the planets in our solar system in the correct order from the Sun.
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto was learnt as
My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets or Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.
I'd prefer going with the latter.

About 5 years ago Pluto was suddenly declared to be a dwarf planet so, how does that change my favourite mnemonic? This is what I came up with:

My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Showed Us Nagpur?


Madagascar's Very Enlightened Man Just Served Us Noodles?

It's just not the same without Pluto.

by ilovedoodle
And this is why Pluto got dropped.

If a planet was to be dropped, it should've been Uranus, I mean seriously, who ever came up with that name?

I'm sure the Mnemonic's going to change drastically in the next 10 years. I recently read online about it having already changed to something random. They decided to add 3 dwarf planets and had a contest for the best mnemonic. Blah!

I've always found planets to be intimidatingly beautiful things. I didn't want to use the word things. They seem too large to be called things. Do you get what I mean? But what's the right word? Celestial Body sounds way too complex.

I was watching Juno the other day and found it very funny when she called herself a planet. I guess when you're bursting with pregnancy, you actually do look like one. 

So, if you're interested in looking like a planet, you know how to do it.
And if you're more ambitious and want to look like the Milky Way galaxy, just go shopping in the wedding section of any store. For some reason, people think it's cool to stick Swarovski crystals all over your clothes.
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