Friday, October 5, 2012


We started from Ajmer to Jodhpur at around 4.30 pm from a local bus. Our bus moved only at 5.30 pm. I was worried if we will be able to catch our train to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur that was scheduled at 11.45 pm at night. The roads were empty with no street lights. I was scared of night for if the bus would stop at far away from the Jodhpur railway station and if we will be able to get an auto rickshaw in the dark empty roads.

Luckly, bus stop and railway station was nearby. This is the best thing in India. It was chilled cold in Jodhpur. I was wearing jean, jerkin and sock to save myself from the cold. But it was too hard to resist. We spent for almost 2 hours at railway retiring rooms. We boarded on train and I took out my shawl. We had side berths. My hubby asked up to sleep on upper birth as it wouldn’t be cold as that of lower berth. But I insisted my husband to sleep on upper birth and he didn’t agree. Atlast, we decided, if he finds it hard to resist cold, he will accompany me on upper birth.

That night was terribly cold, unable to resist. I couldn’t sleep. My husband came up in between and he slept for some time. I had lot of difficulty in that congested place. I was sitting beside him holding his legs with drowsy eyes. We reached Jaisalmer city at 5.30 AM. It was still dark. My husband decided not to move out in the chilled winter until at 7.00 AM. So we were again in the retiring room of Jaisalmer. My hubby went out to get some tea or coffee to resist cold as I needed something hot to drink desperately to get rid of sleepiness in that winter. A cup of tea offered to me bought lot of strength in me.

Pawan went out of the retiring room again at 6.30 am for taxi. But luckily, we got an auto for 150 bucks to take us at Sand Dunes, an RTDC hotel, Sam Dhani which we had booked during our stay in Jaipur. I never understood why my husband was crazy to visit that place. On the way, auto driver had warned us against empty roads and asked us if we wanted to halt at a hotel in the city to drink tea, coffee or water. We refused. He drove us through the jungle, barren roads to sam dhani. I could see God’s cruelty and humanity on the way. The auto driver had stopped in between to warm up himself. He lit fire on the dried roots as his hands were freezed.  He was very friendly guiding us on the city, terrorism, violence etc which he said, it never happened in that city. A woman can walk alone through the barren land during mid-night safely. Jaisalmer is the only city where crime doesn’t happen. I guess the gram panchayat system still exists in that city as shown in television serial, Balika vadhu.  We were back to our journey and reached Sam dhani at around 10.00 am. The check-in time was 11.00 am but the person at the reception had let it. In the entire hotel, there were only 2 couples. One was vacating and the other one was getting in.

The room was cozy. We were inspecting our new place. It was amazing, just like a dream had come true. Visiting Sand Dunes on Thar Desert had been my childhood dream and my adulthood wish which had come true. I am thankful to my husband whole heartedly. My husband went in to refresh. For 45 minutes, he didn’t come out of the bath room. I knocked at the door and started screaming at him. He opened the door and dragged me in. He was enjoying the shower. Looking at the free flow of water, I was wondering at the scarcity of water in the city. We refreshed ourselves and went to dining room. We ordered for tea and poori-bhaji. But the manager got us tea, poori-bhaji and aloo paratha. We were damn hungry and started eating savagely. The aloo-paratha was offered to us at free of cost. The manager described us about the folk dance event that happens every evening after sunset where all the tourists from various hotels join together to watch folk dance in traditional set-up followed by snacks and dinner. We were excited and asked him to book camel for a ride at 4.30 pm.

We went on the sand to click some pics. We then took some cola kind of drink to digest that heavy brunch. We went back to our room and slept for a while. Later at 4.30 pm, the manager knocked the door. I was scared to get on the camel and my husband was thrilled with it. The camel was named as Shah Rukh Khan, after the bollywood hero. The boy with the camel helped us to climb the camel. He took us on a ride. He showed us some of the places of interest, like the old India-Pakistan border, place were the Pepsi advertising was shot, etc. The last one was the sunset point. My hubby insisted on camel race. I was very nervous. We reach to the place of event on camel safari.

The traditional set-up was lucrative, with warm welcome by cheerful Rajasthani girls in their traditional outfit. The sitting arrangement was similar as that of kings on the beds. There was fire camp, my another dream; music, dance and we were served hot tea with poha (a traditional healthy snacks). Later, we went for the buffet. Dinner consisted of delicious traditional food, daal-bati, churma, roti, gate ki sabzi any many more varieties.  The boy’s brother dropped us back to our hotel after the dinner. My husband ordered for kanda-batata poha (bitten rice pulav with onion and potatoes) for next day morning breakfast. I hit the bed without even taking out my socks living my husband wondering if it was our honeymoon or just package tour.



Next day morning was check out. We packed up our luggage and got ready for our mouth-watering breakfast. We were offered again aloo-paratha together with our order. We had stuffed our stomach with their delicious dishes. At the time of check-out, we enquired about how to reach the city of Jaisalmer. The manager advised us that some of the muslim merchants who delivers milk in the city can drop us there in their tempo for 20 bucks per head and they travel in that route only upto 11.00 am. My husband paid tip to the manager. He then politely said, that he is a cook and the manager was on leave for a week. We hurried up and raised our hands for lift. One such merchant dropped us nearby railway station. I was enquiring about the milk can in the tempo. The fellow traveller was unaware of anything. We had our train to Jodhpur same evening.

We decided to keep our luggage in a railway dormitory and then go on a city sight-seeing. My husband had done enough google search to study the entire geography of Jaisalmer city. The dormitory wasn’t empty and the waiting rooms were not safe to park our luggage. The station master offered us the cabins and he claimed that the keys will remain with them. My husband was reluctant to leave our luggage in their custody. The major difference between me and my husband is that I believe people blindly and he finds it hard to trust easily. Finally, we decided to get into an lodge nearby railway station. In the meantime, my mobile ranged. My uncle called up to congratulate me for my marriage. Due to his ill health, he couldn’t make up. He invited us to his home in Jetpur, a city in Gujarat.

We went by walk exploring different places. Jaisalmer city is just 5 kms radius which can be covered in a day by walk. Hiring an auto is not just expensive but utter waste. One advice to the travellers is not to get in with unsolicited drivers who are self proclaimed guides.

The fort: It is the biggest and only fort which accommodates around 5000 people. It is known as the living fort. This fort has residential houses and commercial shops that are occupied by the localites. I am attaching the link to find more information about this fort. Dairy products are very delicious in this area.

Gadisar Lake: A scenic rain water lake with numerous beautiful shrines around and a spectacular avian variety. The lake is an idyllic spot for outings.

There are many more places like Tazia tower which is now converted into hotel, different havelis like Patwon-ki-Haveli, Salim Singh-ki-Haveli, Nathmalji-ki-Haveli etc. These places now preserved by the Department of Archaeology. We didn’t feel like exploring the remnant. We went to a hotel and had again daal-bati.

We went back to our lodge. My hubby had downloaded Kamasutra movie. We watched it together on his mobile. During evening at 6.30, we went to the puppet show and museum nearby that was organised by a retired school professor. They taught us the basics of holding strings and play the puppet. Puppets are made of wood and were on sale. I was tempted to buy it but then I didn’t want to increase my luggage on our next destination Jodhpur.

We had dinner at a dhaba. We ordered for butter kulcha. He offered us roti. For them, every such Indian bread was similar, be it Kulcha, roti, rumali roti, naan, etc. We then went back to our lodge and checked out. Our train to Jodhpur was at 11.30 pm. I got cotton role to avoid chilled cold and boarded the train.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Healthy Moong-Daal pakoda

I have learned this dish from my mother –in-law. I simply loved it. During rains, tea with pakado is yummy-yummy during evenings and can be really filling breakfast in the morning. Also, this can be had with tomato ketchup or chutney.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Makes 4 servings


250 gms moong daal (Split green gram soaked overnight)
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 small onions finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp ginger paste
5-6 green chillies finely chopped
2 tbsp dhaniya jeera (cumin seeds-coriander) powder
Oil for frying
salt to taste
Water as needed

  • Remove the skin of moong daal by running water over it. Grind in a mixer. It should not be a fine paste, as the daal should be broken into small chunks. Do not add too much of water. The batter should be almost dry
  • Add asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt, ginger paste, chillies, onion dhaniya jeera powder to the batter.
  • Wash moong daal and palak to the above mixture.
  • Heat oil in a kadai or a pan.
  • Add 1 tsp of hot oil to the batter and mix well. This will make pakoda crunchy.
  • Stir fry  pakoda in the kadai till golden brown.
  • Serve hot.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ajmer & Pushkar

Next day morning at 9.00 am, we had train, Aravalli Express to Ajmer. Good that our hotel was nearby railway station. We got up at around 7.00 and refreshed ourselves. I ordered for 2 cups of tea. We checked out before 8.00 AM. We went to nearby Khandelwal bhojanalaya for morning breakfast. We had awesome Paneer paratha with a cup of tea. It was yummy yummy and the taste of it still linger to me. That was the best one I ever had it in my life. Paratha was well stuffed with grated paneer and lot of ghee on it. One was sufficient for both of us. 

We ran to railway at 8.40 and got into our train. One of the co-passenger was getting acquainted with my hubby we were enquiring about the Ajmer station. He asked my hubby about his residential place and the passenger was very excited listening “Mumbai” He asked him if he was a bollywood actor. For people from towns, Mumbai is about only bollywood. No doubt my hubby was looking dashing in that attire with his cooling glass. I couldn’t control laughing. Then he asked about opinion on me and the passenger said that I was looking like a Madrasi heroine (Mind it, all south indian’s are Madrasis). I was stunned. Since then, my hubby got an opportunity to keep me teasing. 

At around 11.20, we reached Ajmer. My husband was very keen on RTDC hotels only, on which I wasn’t. From the station, we enquired about Hotel Khadim with the station master. He suggested that the auto fare would take around 30-40 bucks only. When we stepped out, the autowala & taxiwala were offering to take us to Hotel Khadim for Rs.150 bucks. We bargained for 40 and reached Hotel Khadims. We asked them for arranging cab for day tour which was already at the lawn. We took Alto and decided to start our journey from Pushkar which is just 11 kms from Ajmer. 

Pushkar is surrounded by hills and one capture lot of beautiful scenery from your vehicle. This place is famous for 2 reasons. One is for religious and the other one is commercial; trading of horses, camels, cows and bulls. The Pushkar fair or Pushkar Mela attracts visitors from the world over for 5 days during Kartik ekadashi to Kartik poornima (October-November). During this time, pilgrims take holy dip in the lake. There is music in the air, dance, celebration and colourful shops spring up during the fair. Puppet shows, camel races go hand in hand with cattle auctions. Since, we went in February, we were not lucky enough. 

Pushkar Lake: It is believed taking holy bath in this lake will wash out all the sins.

Brahma Temple: It is the only temple in this world dedicated to Lord Brahma.Before entering this temple, the tourists are required to hand over there leather bags, belts and camera to the security at the door on a nominal charge. I wasn't able to capture any picture as the camera was deposited with the security at door.

We then started back to ajmer and halted at one of the hotel on the recommendation of the chauffeur. We filled our tummy with dal bati churma, but it wasn’t on par with the one that we had at Santosh Bhojanalya, Jaipur. 

Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra: One next spot was the Dargah and the entrance of it starts from Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra. It is so named as the construction took two and a half days (Adhai-din) to complete. Although in need of restoration, it's an exquisite piece of architecture, with soaring domes, pillars and a beautiful arched, largely built from pieces of Jain and Hindu temples. 

Dargah-Khwaza-Sahib: This Dargah is very popular among pilgrims India. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Medina for the Muslims of South Asia. The Dargah is at walking distance from Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra as no cabs and taxis are allowed on this route. Our chauffeur had warned us against pick-pocketer and duplicate items that are sold. Also, he had given me his mobile number that I left it in the cab. Actually, what had happened was we had left our luggage in the cab as we were planning to move Jodhpur by bus the same evening. We searched for the cab for almost an hour. My hubby had been using my mobile on roaming. So we neither had hotel Khadim number. I was panic as we were not able to find our cab. We immediately made an auto to the hotel and explained him the entire situation. The hotel staff were very helpful tracing the cab. I thought we had lost luggage, cash and mobile. Thanks to my husband on relying RTDC hotels.

Nasiya (Red) Temple: There wasn't much to explore in Ajmer except the Jain Temple. This is a masterpiece depicting Jain mythology legends that are in gold and silver plated. Very beautiful and must see by any tourists.

The Museum: Once a royal residence of Mughal Emperor is now an ruined  repository of the Mughal and Rajput armour and exquisite sculpture. This monument requires restoration work.

This was our last place. We asked driver to drop us at bus stop around 4.30 PM for our next journey by local bus to Jodhpur....Actually, we had our train scheduled to Jaisalmer from Jodhpur at 23:45. 

My blog contents is more of generic information, logistic to travel, and the places of interest. I am sure, the history of each of these religious places can be found in many website. RTDC official website is rich source of information for all the tourists. I have inserted relevant link for curious readers on the history of each of these places.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Healthy Daal-palak sabzi

One dish which I had always been missing is daal-palak sabzi made by my mother. I simply love this dish. This sabzi is not only protein rich also rich in iron.  The best combination is daal palak with paratha and rice. My hubby didn’t like this dish as I had no tomatoes at home. I mixed tomatoes ketchup and the dish turned out very bad.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Makes 2 servings


1 bunch of palak, cleaned and washed
½ cup moong daal (Split green gram without skin)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 small onions finely chopped
3 big tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp red chilli powder
2 tbsp dhaniya jeera (cumin seeds-coriander) powder
2 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Water as needed


  1. Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida
  2. When they crackle, add chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and fry it till golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir for few seconds.
  4. Wash moong daal and palak to the above mixture
  5. Add water to ensure that the daal is properly cooked rather than sticking at the base of the pan.
  6. Add chilli powder, dhaniya jeera powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  7. Mix all the vegetables and close the pressure pan. Allow for 2-3 vessels.
  8. Serve hot with paratha.

Healthy Corn Palak Soup for Pregnant women

During first trimester of my pregnancy, I had lot of difficulty eating Palak. It helps in treating iron deficiency.  I and my sister in law together tried making tasty soup out of it. My sister in law doesn’t like boiled palak as it loses it colour and texture.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Makes 2 servings


1 bunch of palak, cleaned and washed
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)                                                                                                                                             
1/4th cup sweet corn kernel, boiled
1 piece of green chillie
1 tbsp oil
1 cube grated cheese
salt to taste
Water as needed


  1. Wash palak and grind it in a mixer.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai pan and add cumin seeds and asafoetida
  3. When they crackle, add palak mixture & sweet corn kernels.
  4. Add salt to taste and boil for 5-10 minutes. Add water as needed.
  5. Garnish it with grated cheese and serve hot.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Healthy Moong daal


One of the healthy and tasty recipes I learned from my mother in law is moong daal. During festivals, lunch in my house comprises of channa, poori, kheer, & moong daal. Below is the recipes.

Preparation Time: 1 5 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Makes 4 servings


250 gms moong daal chilke wala
2 pieces of cinnamon
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (rai / sarson)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
4-5 pieces of green chillies
2  tbsp Coriander-cumin seeds(jeera-dhaniya) powder
1 tbsp oil
7-8 curry leaves
3 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania)
salt to taste
Water as needed


  1. Soak moong daal overnight in warm water.
  2. Remove the skin by running over cold water over the daal.
  3. Heat the oil in a kadai pan and add mustard seeds, cinnamon, curry leaves, green chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida
  4. When they crackle, add the daal.
  5. Add turmeric, salt and keep stirring until the daal is cooked properly. This will take almost 20-25 minutes.
  6. Add water as needed (2-3 tbsp) and keep stirring.
  7. Switch off the flame and add dhaniya-jeera powder and stir well.
  8. Garnish it with coriander and serve hot.

Handy tips: This daal requires frequent stirring. So do not enclose this daal while cooking.

Friday, September 21, 2012



Our marriage was on 11th Feb 2012 and my husband had booked tickets for honeymoon destination, Rajasthan trip. He had been sitting for hours together to chalk out entire 13 days trip for different locations, accomodations, sightseeing places; and the first one being Jaipur.

We started from Mumbai Central in Duranto, 3 tier AC, side birth. The train was fast and we reached Jaipur at around 11.00 am. We got out of the station to see the pink city. Didn’t understand why was it so named? We got into station hotel and called up to couple of hotels. All of them were booked in advance. My husband was having tea. I came out gazing at the city for some acquaintance. I was soon surrounded by auto and taxi walla offering me getting into good hotels. I could see 3 hotels out there. I went back to my husband; described him about these. We took our back pack and went to SBI ATM. We enquired about Hotel Raya in and found out the rates were around Rs.2000/day. I was not happy with it although my husband was fine spending such a huge amount. We moved to other nearby hotels and didn’t like any. Finally, we checked in Hotel Aagaman for Rs.500/day. We were keen on hotels nearby railway station so that we don’t have to face trouble to get auto earlier morning when our trains were scheduled. He asked us for our ID proof and we were panic for a while. The room was warm, cosy & cleaned. We refreshed ourselves and went out to explore nearby places on the same day. We went to RTDC Tourism Information Centre at railway station platform no.1 to find out any daily sightseeing package. We found the deal attractive and booked for the next day tour. The station master was very friendly. From there we started towards Bapu bazaar on recommendation by a friend. One of the hand peddler offered to take us at Maharani Market for he claimed that the Rajasthan government had shut down Bapu market sometime back due to bomb blast in that place. The government has now made a market under single roof known as Maharani Market. We got into his trap and to our shock, we were cheated. I asked rates of Maharaja Blanket. The shop keeper quoted Rs.2000 which I felt was highly priced. I and my hubby had decided on shopping only at our last honeymoon destination coz we did not want to burden our back bags.

We then moved out of the so called Maharani Market. We enquired with the nearby paan-beedi shop about Bapu Market and the auto fare to reach there. We had good time window shopping at Bapu Market. My husband usually says “do your homework, before you start your journey” and I learned my lesson. They had awesome collections of artificial jewelleries made of Kundan and Meenakari work. I was also fascinated with block print kurtis but I didn’t like the straight cut. The Maharaja blanket was priced at Rs. 600 here. We had a plate of Pani-puri and started our journey back to hotel. It was chilled cold and I was missing my warm cloths. In the meantime, I found that my chappals will not last long. So we got into Bata sh0wroom to buy floaters. They are the best when you have to walk long distance. While moving back to our lodge, my hubby decided to buy some condom and then we had our dinner at nearby railway station.

My husband moved in to refresh himself. I looked him inside the bathroom. It was time to lure him. I took out my 6 piece maroon colour night wear. I opened his door and saw him in red baniyan and shorts; wondered such boring person can also wear red colours. It was our first night, I was excited. He slowly approached towards me. I allowed him to undress each piece of my night wear. He started counting and was amazed. First night is not a fairy tale. Don’t expect perfect night in real life when novices are indulged. Patience is the key for success.

On next day, we ran to the station master at around 8.45 am. We grabbed little breakfast from the station hotel which was really rotten. My husband was keen on eating little during journey. He was clear from the beginning not to eat more when we are on day tour. The RTDC guide was very friendly while describing the history behind each of the places.

Statue Circle: The full-length exquisitely carved statue of the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh.

B M Birla Planetarium: We are not able to see this place due to lack of time.

Central Museum: An outside view of this can be seen the picture.

Lakshmi-Narayan Temple & Moti Doongri: The temple is built in Marble a few years ago. Moti-Doongri is a privately owned hilltop fortress built like a castle. In the ancient times, it was occupied by Maharaja Madho Singh’s son. Still, the enchanting Palace belongs to the royal family. Today, it makes home for Rajmata Gayatri Devi and her son, Jagat Singh. However, the palace is not open for public.

Hawa Mahal: On the way to city palace, we came across Hawa Mahal. Now I knew it, it’s the old city which is known as Pink city due to the walls that are coloured in Pink. The five-storey monument was originally conceived with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household, Rajput family, to watch the everyday life and royal processions of the city.

(Old City) Amber: Once a settlement of nobles, craftsmen and common folks, the city of amber is now in ruins. This place has several shops serially numbered, owned by craftsmen and traders.

Jantar Mantar: A stone observatory it is largest of Jai Singh’s five remarkable observatories. Its complex instruments, whose settings and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy.

City Palace: It is the former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani & Mughal style. One can see the breathtaking carvings on grey-white marble, ornate with floral motifs in gold and coloured stones. My hubby in Maharani's swimming pool.

Amber Fort: A beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh (who is now known as SMS). The palace complex emerges dramatically from the placid waters of the Maotha Lake and is approachable only through a steep path. Tourists often ride only on small jeeps as buses cannot enter here. Though the fort is quite old, it is beautiful on the inside and boasts of various buildings of prominence like the 'Diwan-i-Aam', the 'Sheesh Mahal' and even the 'Sukh Mahal'. The Amber Fort has influences of Hindu, Mughal and Muslim architecture.

At this fort, Bol Bachchan shooting was going on. I was able to get a glimpse of Abhishek Bachchan.

Jaigarh: The fort is built with thick walls of red sandstone and is spread over a vast range of 3 kilometres in length, with a width of one kilometre. The fort houses the world's greatest cannon on wheels known as the 'Jaivana Cannon' and a huge palace complex, several temples, garden, reservoirs, granary and armoury. The Jaigarh Fort was built to secure Jaipur City and the Amber fort from warlords and rivals.

Nahargarh Fort: A sentinel to the Pink City is Nahargarh Fort, situated beyond the hills of Jaigarh. This fort was originally named Sudarshangarh Fort. Later, it was given a new name, Nahargarh which means 'abode of tigers'. Located in one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world, the Aravalli Hills, this fort gives you a breathtaking view of the scenic surroundings.

Monuments Entrance fee, Camera Charges to be paid by tourists at respective monument. For Amber fort walk is recommended. Charges for hiring Jeep to reach at Amber fort, is to be paid directly by the tourists. This costs around 400 to 600 bucks. My hubby was happy with my decision on staying at Hotel Aagaman.

This was last place of visit in Jaipur. At around 6.00 pm. We were back to the tourist centre. We met again the station master to book the day tour packages in all the other cities and for more information. He assured us on available of hotels and lodges in different cities, but for Jaisalmer, it was a different case as my hubby wanted to stay at Sam Dhani. He helped us booking hotel at Sam Dhani (will write more about it in another blog). We were enquiring more about such packages and RTDC hotels in different location. He helped us with a guide “Discover Rajasthan Get Carried away”. It was very helpful to us. I whole heartedly appreciate patience, dedication towards work and attitude of the station master. Rajasthani cuisine is one of the best options available for Vegetarians and I had been dyeing to have Dal baati churma. The station master suggested us Santosh Bhojanalay. 

At night, we searched for Santosh Bhojanalay for yummy yummy dal bati churma. We decided to try out only one plate and ordered for the same. The waiter might have thought of us as poor guys. It was best one I ever had in my entire life; mouth watering, delicious. We ordered for another one later.

We came back to your lodge. I was damn tired and fell asleep living my husband alone for planning next day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Corn Potato Snacks


This is another receipe which my mother in law uses it as an chivda. This item is very easy to make and tastes awesome during rains. This is my hubby favourite dish.

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Makes 2 servings

3 big potatoes cut into small pieces ( size of Corn Kernels )
2 large butta, (white Corns / Maize & not sweet-corns)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
5-6 pieces of green chillies
3-4 curry leaves
3 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania)
1 tbsp jeera-dhaniya powder
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste

  1. Roast the corn on a gas and separate each seeds ( Corn Kernels ) and keep it aside
  2. Mix the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, green chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida in a kadai pan.
  3. Heat the oil and add the seed mixture.
  4. When they crackle, add potatoes and close the kadai with an lid for 10 minutes.
  5. Check if potatoes are fried and boiled well in the oil.
  6. Add Corn Kernels to it and stir.
  7. Add turmeric, salt, jeera-dhaniya powder and stir for some time.
  8. Garnish with the coriander and serve hot.

Aloo sev ki sabzi

After marriage, a girl goes through lot of changes in her life right from the environment to food habits. She either learns new things or she will adapt to their in-laws style of living. I have learned couple of recipes which I am sharing with you all foodies. Aloo sev ki sabzi is one of the inventions of my mother in law. It is one of the variant of sev tamatar ki sabzi. It can be served with plain paratha or methi ka thepla. But remember, this dish needs to be served hot.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Makes 2 servings


4 big boiled potatoes cut into cubes shape
2 cups  curds (dahi)
1 cup sev (thick sev used in sev poori )
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (rai / sarson)
5 to 6 fenugreek (methi) seeds (Optional)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
5-6 pieces of green chillies
3-4 curry leaves
3 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania)
1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp dhaniya-jeera powder
salt to taste
Water as needed


  1. Mix the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, green chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida in a kadai pan.
  2. Heat the oil and add the seed mixture.
  3. When they crackle, add the boiled potatoes.
  4. Add turmeric, dhaniya-jeera powder, salt and stir for some time.
  5. Add the curds, water as need and mix well.
  6. Add the coriander and bring to a boil.
  7. Add sev and switch of the gas before mixing well.

Handy tip:

  • If it is sour, add 1 tsp of sugar and serve.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Monkey Hill

I was busy with something when Revathi called me for evening snacks. I refused her. She went with Indira upstairs for snacks; sometimes we call it as snakes. When they both came down and settled in their seats, they were discussing about leave. I didn’t bother to know about it. It was then Revathi narrated me a part of story and I was tempted to write blog on this. I got an opportunity to talk to Indira and Revathi to get more insight on it. I started visualizing entire day spent with a stranger at Nandi hills. They call it as Monkey hills. And if you miss “k”, it becomes money hills. :D But don’t expect you will it for reading this blog.

When we went for snacks Revathi asked me about my marriage. I told her that if I get married who will do the work? Revathi is my manager and I can always crib about work with her. Although, we have a huge age gap yet she is very friendly and sportive person. I keep on fighting with Deepali and complain Revathi about her. She breaks her head, why Consero has got in kids to work? But after all, without us, life is so dumb.

I got to know about this guy from one of the website. I was looking for someone special who is only meant for me. After going through the physical extremes on a series of accidents, I felt death was better than dragging life. I needed a friend who can stand by my side or he is there when I need him even at midnight. I realized that there should be at least someone by my side when I die. I was reluctant about this guy as he was Gujarati. We kept on chatting since couple of months. I was always making fun, pulling his leg and was never serious about him. But I really enjoyed chatting with him. He was looking for a life partner and I was looking for someone who if not a life partner, at least a platonic friend who can understand my feelings and the pain that I was going through, someone who can laugh with me in my ups and downs. So life was fun chatting online with him. He thought I am his perfect match. He wanted to give full chance to see if our relationship works out being life partners. He was very serious and I am always kidding. Sometimes I speak utter non-sense, in fact non-stop non sense. I never believed that a man can travel so far alone to see a girl and find out on his own if she is his soul mate. He asked me again if I was serious and I said “Yes”. Kya jaata hai haan bolne mein (there is nothing wrong in saying yes when you know you don’t mean it). The only similarity between us was hiking. Both of us like trekking. He suggested me some places for trek. None of these worked out due to some reasons. I started flirting, promising him that I will be his logistic manager and take him around the city. He finally appointed me as his unpaid logistic damager to manage the transportation to Nandi hills. 

Varun booked his tickets for Bangalore to reach on 25th Jul 2011 morning with return back tickets to Mumbai on same night. He told me that I am visiting you and I didn’t believe him. I asked him for evidence as if a lawyer in the Supreme Court. I asked him to forward e-ticket to my email id. It was almost 20 minutes he didn’t respond to my chat and I knew he hasn’t booked it. He came back to me then and I checked my email. I found his airplane tickets booked with departure-arrival details. I was lost and did not know what to do. I was very much scared, nervous as to how will I go and meet him alone. Lot of questions started running through my mind. Is he a flirt, a terrorist, a jerk, a fraud, a kidnapper, will he find me beautiful, simple, interesting, boring, and many more questions that I cannot describe. The deadliest question was what if he rapes me & kills me. That was for sure, you can never conclude a person on chat. My inner voice was telling me, Indira, isse bach ke rehna.

I went home and fell on the bed. But the thought of Varun coming Bangalore didn’t allow me to sleep. For a minute, I thought tomorrow once I reach office, I will tell him that I won’t meet him. But mom came to me and told me that 2 of the other guys have refused for marriage proposal which she keeps sending applications to advertisements, only to suck me. I am one of the product in job market which does not have any value. I started wondering what is all these happening? I am in need of someone special and why others never felt the same? I decided to meet Varun on 25th July. 

A day prior to 25th July – I came back from ICWA classes and mom told me that she is going Ahmadabad tomorrow and my brother will be accompanying her. She wanted me to drop them at the railway station early morning. I started wondering how I manage tomorrow reaching airport to meet Varun. The other thought that came to my mind was what if we don’t get food to eat or if Varun doesn’t like to eat South-Indian breakfast and Lunch. I saw it was raining and the sky was cloudy. When it stopped raining, I came out of house to go nearby mall to buy some provisions. I bought some apples and cake for Varun and for my mom and brother. Oh my God, it started drizzling on my midway. I was thinking what if it rains tomorrow at Nandi hills? It strikes me to carry an umbrella tomorrow. I reached somehow to the mall, made necessary purchases and returned back to home.

A day out with a stranger

I got up early at 5.00 am to drop mom and brother at railway station. I came back home, cleaned up vessels, had my morning tea with some rusk. I started thinking again, what if Varun cancels his ticket at last minute, what if he doesn’t like my company? What if I find him boring? I had a full proof back up plan. I didn’t want to waste time. I decided that if Varun doesn’t turn up, then I will come back home, carry my laptop and go back to office. At any cost, I don’t want to waste my leaves. I want to accumulate it for ICWA exams in December. I started rationing my time and decided to carry couple of books to read at Nandi hills. I took bath and wore Jeans matched up with a kurta. I made some soap water and soak all the cloths in it and kept it outside. I went downstairs to inform maid to clean it up. I knew it will rain or drizzle at airport. After all, I am air-travel passenger and was well acquainted with weather, location & route to airport. So wore a jerkin and packed up Shawl, small water bottle, umbrella for stranger, an apple and a cake. My younger brother ringed door bell from down stairs. I locked house carrying my luggage. My brother dropped me till bus stop. It was this day; I had seen all the 3 major modes of travel – Railway station, Bus stop and Airport.

I was late by couple of minutes although I was able to get in Volvo bus. I stopped it in between. I saw the sky, it was cloudy. I wished it doesn’t rain today. I bought the ticket from the conductor. I started combing my hairs & then put on ear-rings. I took out the book from my bag and started studying “Service Tax” from “Indirect tax” subject. I raised my head wondering what others are doing. I found a guy who was staring at me. He was wearing Van Hausen, purple colour T-shirt with white strip on it. I liked that color, decided that my next shopping destination will be indeed Van Hausen. I started reading again. I asked that bus conductor on more information relating to Nandi Hills travel. He showed me Nandi Hills from within the bus. I felt it so near that I can jump to it like a super women. It is just about 35 kms from airport. I reached airport at 8.55 AM. I was late by 10 minutes although I knew it will take time for him to check out. I was excited to meet this stranger and started looking for hint if the flight is on time or if it is delayed. It was then 9.05 AM and I realized it is too late. I called him and his mobile was switched off. The same thought ran in my mind again. Has he cancelled his tickets at last minute?

I saw some of the passengers coming out. Among them, one was the face which was well acquainted through photographs. I saw him, was very excited and happy receiving him. I raised my hand and he waived at me. I knew he was Varun. He came close to me and I was ready for shake hand with him. He was holding my hand so tight that I thought as if he is going to break it now. He slipped off from there and yet he was still holding my hand. I was nervous, trying to help him get up. He put his other hand on railing which separate the visitors from the passengers. Although getting him on his feet was a difficult task but I was able to achieve it successfully. We smiled, greeted each other.

We moved towards local bus stand and got in an empty bus which took us out of air-port campus. I was sitting beside the window seat, Varun sitting next to me. I was looking out of the window thinking about what Varun is doing now. Some questions went through my mind. Is he also looking outside? Or he is staring at me? What do I talk to him? I finally broke with the silence which was filled in the bus. I asked him about the journey and started describing him the different locations at airport, the modes of transportation etc. Varun asked me “Aren’t you scared travelling with me alone? I can actually kidnap you.” I never knew Varun is such a dumbo, “Man, I am Bangalorean. You should be afraid; actually you are in danger now. You are in a strange city with a strange girl.” We got down at one of the bus stop nearby toll gate at around 8.20 AM. One of the conductors over there told us that we are late by 20 minutes as there was a direct bus to Nandi hills at 8.00 AM. He then asked us to wait for some more time and get in to Chikballapur bus. Varun was completely lost on the communication as he couldn’t understand even a word of Kannada. We came nearby bus stop entrance. He was probably tired. So he sat on the wall wondering about his unpaid logistic manager, how inefficient she is on transport management. He even offered me to sit beside him. I was hesitant. Varun asked what I was carrying with me. He also offered me to put in my luggage in his back pack. I narrated him entire story of how it was raining yesterday, how I got in bus today, and every little bit of information till we met. He kept my little plastic back in this Wildcraft bag. I knew it then, Varun is a true lover of nature; hiking.

One bus came in and I asked the conductor about Nandi Hill bus. He said I wouldn’t get any and he forced us to get in as there were no other busses till 10.30AM. I didn’t want to wait any more. So we got into Chikballapur bus. It was filled with school children, collage students, working people. I am sure none of them were travelers except me and Varun. I asked Varun to get in first and then I followed him. I was standing on the last foot with great difficulty. I paid conductor ticket charges. After couple of stops, standing for almost 30 minutes, we found some place to sit in the last row. On enquiring where to get down with the conductor, one of the passenger started advising us. He also suggested it would be raining at Nandi hills. I thought it is not advisable to go Nandi Hills, rather get down at Shree Nakoda Avanti 108 Parshwanath Jain Temple. I asked Varun and he affirmed on it. I was wondering, this guy agrees to everything that I ask him. Is he trying to be extra nice to me or just that he is cool guy?

We got down at Chikballapur around 9.10 AM and went to a nearby restaurant. Varun had 2 idli with a cup of coffee and I had one masala dosa. I wanted to be well prepared with oily food to spend entire day. Thank God, I have got some cake and apple for Varun. I am sure he is gonna be hungry and I will offer him that. Varun took 2 liter of water bottle. I wished he doesn’t ask me to carry it. We came back to the bus stop from where we were supposed to catch up bus for Nandi Hills at 9.30 AM. We waited there for almost 40 minutes. I was damn tired and thought of taking an auto to Nandi Hills. The auto driver was charging 800 bucks and I refused for that. I was not ready to get in a shared auto so dropped the auto option. I saw Varun completely immersed in his mobile. I knew it then he had found an inefficient logistic manager when he asked me more on the route. I got annoyed and told him that I go on date everyday to Nandi Hills with different guys. It was just a funny comment and Varun didn’t laugh on it. I knew it then he is a serious kind of a guy. I told him, don’t worry, I am not going to kidnap you. You are safe. I tore of the old tickets and threw it beside. Varun said, “Now I know why Bangalore is so dirty”. I reacted on it, “Yeah, I make it dirty”.

At 10.40 am I was damn tired and decided to get in any bus which will stop at Nandi Hill bypass. There was a bus which was going Bangalore. With the help of that bus, we reached Nandi Hill bypass. I got in an auto. He was charging 400 bucks. I wasn’t ready to pay him so much. I felt this trip is going to be expensive one. I started bargaining with him for 300 bucks. Auto driver advised me, if he leaves us at the Nandi Hills footstep, he will charge 100 bucks and I was bargaining for 75 bucks. I asked Varun if he is fine to climb hill atop and as usual he said, “Yes”. We both got into that shared auto which was shared only by me and Varun. I asked Varun to give me some water. We both drank water from that water bottle that I got it from home. The auto driver stopped nearby the stair case. I glanced outside to search for the one. I thought that the auto driver is mis-guiding us. I checked my purse and didn’t find change. Gave him 100 Rupees note and he never gave back change to me.

There was a straight mud road and I felt I was lost. I started cribbing about the road. Varun said me; this is the best road he has ever come across in all his previous treks. He knew it then I am a novice. I saw some of the sheep and I was scared. Varun was like, ‘woh bechare ne tumhe kya kiya, kyu darti ho’. I saw some of the villagers, I waived my hand at them and they didn’t see me. We went little further and I was horrified to see that there were no other people around. I called up to my friend who was a trek organizer in my previous workplace. I checked with him and he confirmed me that was the correct route. We went little more and Varun saw a tank full of water and tap filling it up. Water was flowing out. He removed his bag to take out hand kerchief. He washed his face and wiped it. He offered me his brand new handkerchief. I didn’t need it. I was feeling tired & restless. He was opening his bag again and he asked me to hold some of his stuff. I asked him what he is doing now. He took out that 2 liters water bottle. I was thirsty and started drinking. Varun asked me, “Do you know I have mixed drugs in it? Once you drink, you will be unconscious.”“Yup, I saw you taking water bottle in front of me from that hotel this morning.” Varun was caught red handed on his white lies. I laughed at it. I started looking on to his red t-shirt and blue jean, trying to identify the brands like Nike, Puma, Crocodile, Van Huasen, Allen Solly, etc. I didn’t find any. Suddenly I saw him removing a packet from his bag. I was nervous. I started thinking what it could be. “Varun, what is it.” “Just wait and watch”. I was growing impatient watching him. He took some water in the small water bottle & emptied that entire packet in it. I asked him again without getting any response from him. He kept the packet there and I took it up. It was electrol, energy drink. Oh, he is going to drink this because he needs energy to kiss me. A life time opportunity to kiss a beautiful girl on Nandi Hills. Who would want to miss such an opportunity?

A break ---
Since DJ was not getting time to finish the blog, I took over the responsibility of talking it to its end – or should I say taking it further as there is no end to this – I suppose its more of a life imprisonment, imprisoned in her love. And of course now that I am writing it, you will get to see the real picture – different from what she has tried to painted, which was totally incorrect, misleading and delusionary. 

Back in may I when I had started chatting with her, it was an egoistic girl dominating in talking, getting irritated if I cut off her conversations midway. But whatever it may be, she was fun to chat with, responding with her colorful tidbits interspersed with anecdotes of her joy, pain, laughter, heartbreaks. And with the number of lifestyle differences between us, I never took this seriously while chatting. My mind was not ready to accept that we can be soul mates. The differences were probably more than 65,536, and hence would need bigger software then excel to keep a track of! She likes masala movies, I like documentaries or war or thrillers. She knows cooking 30 different varieties of rice; I know how to eat them. She was a chatterbox, I was a listener. She was flirty, I was friendly (oh I thought I can pass that I am seedha-saada without anyone noticing it – according to her it is vice versa!). She likes pinks, makeups, nail polish, I like it simple. List can go on. Probably we would complement each other using these different approaches to life, I thought. She was befitting my idea of perfect girl and yet that was with so many differences.

I had tried to manage a day trip to Bangalore few days before also which I could not work out due to tight schedules on work front. Hence I was all the more determined to get it done this time. When I had offered to come down to Bangalore, I was pretty sure that she will turn up. I had to make a decision on meeting her then, since I had extended leaves in hand due to my recent shifting of job or to risk not meeting her till December or may be never ever. It was a no brainer. I had to meet her and decide before I can move on. Even after telling DJ I got the tickets, she was not ready to give me her phone number. She asked for copy of tickets, I didn’t see her message till 2 hours hence, she would have been thinking I don’t have it. Then she gave me her number. But I wanted to check if its really her number. I called her just to check it out. She didn’t have a inkling about my skepticism. 

I had promised her Sondesh (sweets originating from Bengal) if I come to Bangalore directly from Kolkata. But since I was travelling from Mumbai it was not possible. I had a meeting on Sunday and therefore had to push the last minute purchases. I went out to get chocolates and glucon-D, the shops were closed. And people say Mumbai never sleeps, ugh… it slept when it mattered most! I got some biscuits thinking it might be useful while on the way, came back to company guest house. Went to take a shower, came back only to find that those biscuits were devoured by my colleague sharing the guest house. I had only told him that I am going to Bangalore, citing my friend’s marriage as a reason. I took out my laptop and all other stuffs from my bag. And stuffed it with a day’s provision and my laptop bag got converted to adventure bag in 10 minutes flat. I was thinking whether to carry the laptop, but decided against it since we were planning to climb a hill.He suggested me to take local train to reach airport as it would be lot faster. But it only started around 4 am in morning; I didn’t want to take a chance on this. Got an easycab booked to arrive at 03 00. It didn’t arrive till 03 15 and I was impatient. There was a cat staring at me in the main lobby below the building, thinking who the hell this person is daring to wake her up at this time of night. I was wondering what would be DJ doing now, would she be sleeping? Would she be thinking about me? About meeting me or worse about cancelling the entire plan? I had sensed her uneasiness in days after I had booked the tickets for Bangalore. The cab arrived and zoomed me to airport in 35 minutes on empty roads. I checked in by 0430. With nothing else to do, I took out my handsfree and started listening to fm radio, eyes closed, mind thinking about DJ, half laid back on seat. Suddenly someone tapped me on shoulders, asking me to give him space to move on to inner seats. I saw the person sitting across me was in even bad condition, probably sleeping. I hope he does not miss his flight. It looked like he was married and was sleep deprived at his place. What would be my fate if DJ is with me? Thousands of questions were running through my psyche.

I got into the flight. The hostess was new I think; laughing and goofing up giving instructions. But it was more fun than enduring the reiterations of her flight school text books. I was travelling seven seas to meet my soul mate! Ok seven rivers atleast in my case. Flight landing was about 10 minutes delayed I think. Just when I was moving out of airport, it flashed that I need to tidy up myself and needed a washroom – it was five hours since I moved out of home. This took me another 5-10 minutes. And I suddenly remembered my phone is switched off. DJ would be trying to contact me. I switched it on immediately and saw a missed call alert. I decided not to call back yet. Lets see if we can recognize each other in a glance. I stepped out and there she was smiling. There was a girl smiling at me in her brown color jacket. It feels so nice when someone comes to receive you, that too in an unknown city. That’s too a beautiful girl like DJ! I waved her to come where the railings ended, but since she was busy watching me, she tripped on the luggage trolley and fell. I ran to her, comforted and got her up on her feet! She was afraid and had told me earlier she would be getting her brother as well. I knew she will not, but I didn’t want to utter anything to scare her off leading her to actually get him along. I teased her asking where her brother is. She was just smiling. 

Now since she has already narrated till the foot hills of Nandi hills, I will skip till then. I wanted to take snaps to save this moment of my life in my memories. But that would have scared this already scared girl even more. So I decided not to mention it for entire trip. I knew it by then that she is novice in hiking / trekking. I was acting as if I am professional hiker! And she was buying it too! Since I didn’t get glucon-D previous day, I had to offer her electrol which even I had never tasted till then. It tasted bad! She was carrying a ladies handbag in one hand and polythene bag in her other hand. I offered to put her polybag in my backpack which was already heavy with 3 liters of water. At this time it sure seemed that Karnataka water is heavier then the Mumbai water! And she accepted the offer with hesitance! We started climbing the stairs. I am usually one of the slow person in group treks. She was even slower than me, gasping for breath. But we were enjoying the moist breeze of July in that serene mountain. The sun and cloud were playing hide and seek. I guessed it would rain soon showing off my experience as a hiker. It didn’t rain. We sat on footsteps, covered grounds, makeshift rooms, whatever was available. She showed me snaps of hers and her house, bhabhi, and lot more. Her snap in yellow saree! How can I forget it, she was going to wear a yellow saree on a trek! I showed her a video of the house that I was going to take over soon for my accommodation at Mumbai. And finally after about 10 little breaks we were able to climb 1000 stairs in three hours – which is generally supposed to be done on one and a half. And now she needed to freshen up. She handed over her handbag to me. I took the opportunity to install a locator application in her mobile which she till date does not believe! I still can spy on her whenever I want :P . We both were hungry, for food. And we had option of south Indian or north Indian. We opted for north Indian. I already had too much of south India since morning. Even the Gujarati people spoke gujaratHi here, that too in Kannada! I asked her to order. What was it? I think chilly paneer and roti and one of those 30 kinds of rice. 

During the course of lunch, she spoke little about her pasts little about her future, but it seemed I knew every bit of it, there was nothing I didn’t knew about this girl. The view behind, the serene hills were trying hopelessly bad to catch my attention from this girl. This girl was winning hands down. We moved out of Hotel Mayura Pine Top and started roaming like kids from college on a date with nowhere to go. Sure there were places to explore, temple – where she didn’t forget to pray, I was only awed by its structure. And a place called Tipu’s drop, from where Tipu sultan used to throw his prisoners to heaven (or hell?). And we had ice creams and churmuri. However we were robbed of our dessert by monkeys! And I came to know of her fear of pets or animals in general. We went to only place which seemed not to be part of the almighty monkey dynasty’s empire- we were proven wrong only in first couple of minutes by lesser mortals from that dynasty hounding us. We decided to stay there and fight back. She sat on a swing. I didn’t since there was only one of that and I could not sit while my girl is standing in front of me, oh man I m so modest! She thought I never sit on it, I didn’t argue. Soon it was time to call it end. We took a bus for return. Even though the bus was for Bangalore, we stepped out of bus at chikballarpur for no reason and explored a beautiful lake. On our last leg of journey from chikballarpur to Bangalore, DJ was tired, sleepy, but chatting nonstop. She sure has lot of energy to talk I thought. I offered her my shoulder to sleep on, and she took the offer without any hesitance. I got down near airport only to find her coming out of that window to say good bye to me, almost falling out of bus! I wish I had taken a snap of that moment, one that would be the most precious of my life.