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Monday, October 19, 2015

Crack a smile

Since the time I’ve quit my job and started a blog of my own, I’m always looking for new ways to surprise my husband in the morning for breakfast and in the evening for supper. While it was good fun for a week, those elaborate recipes with fancy ingredients seemed like a whole day affair. Every alternate afternoon I would head to Nature’s Basket to shop for these exotic herbs and cheese. McCain Foods, with its gamut of products including Jalapeno Nuggets, Chilli Garlic Potato Bites and more, has made my life a whole lot easier. But my favourite is Smiles—delicious mashed potatoes seasoned and shaped into happy faces! The best part? I can blend these with my own recipe.

Cheesy and crispy, Smiles that melt in your mouth are the perfect way to surprise your family. What’s more, they are nutritious too! Also, you won’t have to flood your fridge with leftovers. They'll be over before you know! I have whipped up two scrumptious recipes with them for morning and evening:

For breakfast:
Smile in a cup
Grease the muffin tin and press Smiles in the bottom and on the sides evenly. Bake in a 425 degree F oven till they are golden. This will take about 15 minutes. Then, crack an egg into each cup and season it with salt and pepper. Bake at 325 degrees F till the eggs are cooked, for about 15 minutes and voilà! You can now skip those early morning breakfast trips to McDonalds.

For supper:
Smiles pizza
It’s not fair that you are in the kitchen all the time while your partner is sprawled on the sofa watching television and drinking beer. So here’s an activity that both of you can do together. I have tried this with Monaco biscuits and it works! Layer the smiles with pizza sauce and then with your favourite toppings like diced chicken, pineapple, corn, olives and loads of cheese. Bake it like your regular pizza. Did you feel the burst of flavours in your mouth already?

To know more about McCain products, log on to http://www.mccainindia.com/. Thank us later!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Postmodernist Scribble

Be it the über cool Punjabi guy I met on a bus or the Brahmin aunty, with skin as smooth as an ukdicha modak I bumped into at Gokhale’s… people are pretty excited when you tell them that you’re a student of literature. Little do they know how it twists your sensibilities, rendering you incapable of being comprehended by the rest of the world.
  1. It begins with reading between the lines. It might start off with something as simple as a newspaper headline, moving on to the larger issues which blur the lines. Later, all you’re left with are fragments of your own imagination.
  2. It screws your relationships with your close ones. From Shakespeare’s Orlando to Nicolas Sparks’ Noah, I grew up knowing a certain breed of men, only to discover it doesn’t exist!
  3. I just can’t seem to accept the digitalised version of love. While half the young people I know are happy expressing their feelings through Whatsapp, Facebook and Skype, I still wonder if he’d like my handwriting in my home-made scrapbook.
  4. Your protagonists are revolutionaries. Che Guevara. Robinson Crusoe. Virginia Woolf. Ismat Chugtai. Literature, especially romantic, makes you victimise yourself. It might not be a bad relationship after all. But it is only when we make it out to be one that these guys will come to our rescue!
  5. The most dangerous waters I have dared to venture into, is feminist literature. Once you've stepped over the boundary, there is no return.

Since the time I finished my Masters, every day has brought in something new. From running a fashion magazine, driving a gypsy, throwing myself in the middle of the ocean to throwing up out of a running train ,posting controversial stuff on my blog and dating the wrong or not-so-wrong men, I've done everything. But one I haven’t found the perfect answer to one question — marriage.

Mother who refers to me as a freak/nomad. Good-for-nothing distant relatives who want me toruffle the lives of ‘matured and responsible’ software engineers. Committed friends. Gym aunties. Grandmothers smelling of Pond’s talcum powder. Train aunties whose indirect judgement I'm subjected to, every morning. They all want to know who he is. Though I wish I could tell them that I'm as curious as they are…

Occasionally, there comes a point in life where wearing satiny LBDs, coral lip glosses, late night chats and candlelight dinners don’t matter as much. And that’s when you realise that even though love and marriage are ingrained in one another, they are poles apart. I've been in love — truly,madly and deeply, only to realise that it doesn't always translate into a marriage. And then, like a quintessential Bollywood movie you think you’re different from the rest of the lot and that someday, you’ll pass the agnipariksha to be in his arms. “Bitch, please,” would be Seeta’s answer.

I'm not saying that you won’t love the person you marry; I’m just saying that it’s difficult to fall in love all over again, especially when you go from mid-twenties to late-twenties in no time. Although the perfect Armani wearing kind-hearted man with gelled up hair and a neat stubble is a dream,there are going to be men around. You just need to pick the one you’re comfortable with, the one who’ll stand up for you when you know you’re in trouble, the one who’ll be sensitive to your needs and most importantly, the one who would proudly flaunt you before the world.

Love is complicated, and the single-girl-in-the-city tale is even more. But then who can tell when a miracle will happen?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Wear it with a twist!

As a kid, I had to wage a war against my mother to let me keep my hair long. While she insisted me on wearing a not-even-close version of the Lady Diana hairdo (done horribly at the parlour around the corner), I wanted to flaunt those tresses. Finally, it was my dearest grandmom who jumped in and lectured my mom about how hair is a woman’s most treasured asset.

Although mid-length, layered and highlighted now, my hair was, as O Henry would describe, “a mini cascade of brown waters”, and I loved it will all my heart. Aaji devised many ways to tie them up. Since there weren’t too many accessories back then, so plaits, plaits and more plaits was the way to go!

The ritual began with a champi. During exams, when the hair kept falling all over my face, Aaji wove it tightly on the tip of my head, like a modern day crown braid. No-fuss pigtails were worn by everyone in school. As a teenage athlete, it kept me cool, too. The best part — you didn’t need a holding spray to eliminate flyaways.

Braided bangs, however, were my very own invention. I practiced them during daydreaming sessions and boring lectures and voila, didn’t I master them. Lately, I’ve also learnt to accessorise them with neon threads and bling clip-ons And even though my hair is a little shorter than usual these days, a few pumps of Dove Elixir and a French braid totally helps me keep bad hair days at bay!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A silken surprise

So the other day, a gift hamper from Sunsilk was waiting to be unwrapped when I got home. Encased in a wooden basket, the Sunsilk Perfect Straight shampoo and conditioner were laid down on a piece of purple satin. Tearing the transparent plastic with uncontrollable enthusiasm, I decided to try this latest launch.

As the editor of Hair magazine, I've come across a lot of hair products, but none like this one! It’s been about eight months that I straightened my hair, and the curls have now begun to grow out. In a routine when hair spas and blow-drying becomes a tough task, the Sunsilk Perfect Straight came to my rescue. 

Since the shampoo and conditioner work together to straighten your hair as it dries, I can now step out of the house with utter confidence, knowing that it will align itself beautifully, no matter what the weather is!

And yes, the fruity-floral fragrance totally makes heads turn ;) 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A fresh new page...

The New Year celebration has become an obligation. There were times when the threshold seemed like a Laxmanrekha, but the other day, when my Mom called up to ask what I was drinking and my darling sister wished me a Happy Birthday instead of Happy New Year, I realised that times are changing. Surely a lot of parties happened. And while people were dancing, spilling drinks, making out, puking and breaking expensive Bone China, I was sleeping like a baby under the stars. 

I was one of you as well. Living a lifestyle in which Mango is supposed to be worn and not eaten, Zara gives you orgasms and sprinkles of Cool Water are enough to charm a man. If relationships were based on one's affiliation with rock bands and football teams, life would have been so much easier. But it's not that way, it can never be that way. We are plagued by postmodernism, inhabitants of Eliot's Wasteland, living in an unreal city. Love, why not? Maybe because he has a Facebook fan page. For me, because he's as much an adventure junkie as I am; he's a voracious reader and he spells right, too. That's how our generation makes decisions. But I guess it's all so slippery. Is it quicksand, or is it just muck? I can't really spot any lotuses mushrooming around, because we're too busy tagging people. While our spirits are soaring, values are witnessing their downfall.  

How different is the year going to be? Full of debates and discussions. Damini, Nirbhaya will surely find a replacement, something bigger, if the nation does not somehow shut Pandora's box. Ex-boyfriends will kill their ex-girlfriends, I hope you know that's the latest trend. Salman will make another hit movie at our cost, and we'll eventually find that special someone for twenty thirteen and make Jeremiah proud. 

As depressing as this sounds, there's still hope. We probably need a sixer to win (and that's even tough after God has announced his retirement), but it's not yet over till it's completely over. We could all do our bit. Take the train and read more than sulking in the traffic. Jump a couple of parties and learn horseriding instead. Whatever you do, nothing  can beat that piece of satisfaction of having done something constructive. The resolutions might have flown away with the booze by now, but the year has just begun for most of us. It's not too late. A fresh new slate awaits your words!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Shanaya woke up. Startled. He was nowhere to be seen. It took her a while to realise that they weren't together anymore. A series of images flashed through her mind. She had a weird way of defining what love was. It was when his hand strayed to her plate, to grab that string of cheese or carrot. It was when he knew when she wanted to eat a chicken pizza. It was when he woke her up to tell her to open the door. It was when she knew he wanted ice candy and found it in her grocery bag. Small things. 

Then he left. And it was like someone seizing a pool float from an amateur swimmer. Creaking memories, like water, gushed into her ears and nose. Crazy ones. Bitter ones. Loving ones. He was her father. He has filled in that void, and treated her like a princess. Once in a while, she wondered why he wouldn't make that cup of tea or lay a Spanish omelette on a bed of soft bread. But that was him, and she loved him unconditionally for what he was. He knew he would fall back and land up on her lap. 

Once the separation, she felt that lack, a lack that could never be filled up. It had been a while that someone held her tight, brushed her hair and told her that everything would be alright. She wouldn't step into the pool anymore, because she'd forgotten how to love someone who's not him. She'd rather sit back comfortably on a pool chair and watch the others have fun. Tethering on the edge of insanity, she wondered if it’d be better to let go or hold on...

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Straight & Sexy!

Rapunzel has inspired me to have those long, flowing tresses since childhood. The fascination, sadly, came true only in my early twenties. Thanks to my darling mother, I've always had to flaunt the Lady Diana haircut which clashed horribly with my features.

The texture of my hair is wavy, which made me do crazy experiments to reach out to the other two extremes - curly and straight. It was fun to put down the toothbrushes of the entire family on the dressing table and curl my locks one at a time. 

However, more than curls, I longed for straight hair. Enrolling for a permanent straightening session was out of question! My friends told me to slip those bunches into notebooks before sleeping, but that was too uncomfortable. Moreover, the notebook was somewhere else in the morning. Then something struck me. My straightener was in my own house - the pressing iron!

That has been my craziest, whackiest and wildest idea so far, apart from the application of eggs and coconut milk. One has to try it under supervision, though; else you might just burn yourself! Take a thin towel and place a bunch of hair under it. Take a light weight pressing iron and run it over the bunch. Spruce up with a dollop of glimmer shine gloss or a serum. Make sure you don’t try this too often :)