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.