Sunday, November 12, 2006

Random ramblings and rather rowdy ruminations

“Tsch tsch.” I can hear the silent chiding of the computer as I lose yet another game. “You cannot even win an easy one?” It has been this way for the last two years. I have devoted myself single-mindedly to this game in pursuit of victory at one careless moment when the machine would forget to notice. It never happens. Like a gambler who loses and yet takes another chance, I will myself to try one last time and bear the brunt of another defeat every time.

I never seem to learn. Much like the aunties and uncles who will never realize that ‘Nach Baliye’ isn’t quite their piece of cake. Last week, my mother cajoled me to attend another of those numerous parties that my Dad’s office seems to throw without an excuse. I am glad now, that I went to attend it. There was a “cultural” programme before dinner where “local” talent was showcased. My mother was rather hopeful that I would strum a few lines on my guitar. Women have a sixth sense (atleast I do). Something warned me beforehand, not to take the risk. At the cost of incurring my mother’s displeasure, I refused to be a part of the circus. The function featured a few officers’ wives who were self-proclaimed dancing prodigies. Not content with basking in their wife’s reflected glory, their husbands also joined, a la Nach Baliye. The combination was a total disaster. From ‘Kajra Re’ to ‘Omkaara’, no song was spared. It was quite funny watching the men taking clumsy steps in their office attire. Clearly most of them had not even rehearsed, but were quite keen to please their wives and bosses (who were watching keenly). I hope their annual appraisal did not depend on the performance. I roared with laughter and remember falling off my chair while my mother gave me deploring looks. Well, okay, at least they went up on stage to perform. My mother’s daughter did not even do that, despite owning a fine Fender’s telecaster.

I must be in a pretty cynical mood now. Because I am going to lambast Nach Baliye next. First of all, putting a married couple on stage and making them dance maybe a cute idea, but does not find favour time after time. Nach Baliye -1 was quite a new concept, and even though some of the couples were quite a horror to watch and some rounds were downright vulgar – we digested it. Nach Baliye -2 is worse than the original. In an effort to get hold of 10 more couples, they have gathered together some rather reluctant couples, who couldn’t care any less about dancing. Add to that, most of them are overtly sentimental about getting an appreciative whistle from Saroj Khan or a 10. They break down at the slightest pretext. I remember blogging about how rather disgusting it used to be watching Poonam Narula cry everytime a couple got eliminated. Ironically, when she lost the final round, she forgot to cry!!!

Malaika Arora, one Chaiya Chaiya has made you an expert in judging dances? I thought you were pretty bad as a DJ and I think you are worse as a judge because most of the time the other two judges do not agree with you. In any case, you were quite bad in Chaiya Chaiya as well. Kunal Kohli probably gives the director’s perspective. He’s not much of a director according to me, but, thank God, he does not steer towards controversy. Saroj Khan is the one whose opinion matters and as an ace choreographer, she is the face saver of the show. No matter what, I hope there is no Nach Baliye -3.

But Sa Re Ga Ma should carry on and on and on and on. And Shaan should host it again and again and again. The great thing that they have done this time, is to make sure that the best talent got the prize. It was bad enough to let Debojit win the competition last time, when it was clearly evident that Vineet and Himani were far better singers. Watching Sanchita Bhattacharya win this time was a relief. Hearing her sing was like feeding on honey dew and drinking the milk of paradise. She comes from a family of professional singers and her brother has also won a singing competition in a Bengali channel. They have a bright future ahead. I just hope that she does not end up like Sunidhi Chauhan. Sunudhi sang exceptionally well when she won the ‘Meri Awaaz Suno’ competition, but the quality of her voice has deteriorated so much in recent years, that I no longer listen to her songs. Alas! Not every one is a Lata Mangeshkar or an Asha Bhosle. But Shreya Ghoshal sure has a long way to go. She is an exceptionally talented singer and right now, I would rate her as the best in Bollywood.

Ummm…I seem to be getting nowhere. Would like finish off this postwith the link below.
Should Abhishek marry Aish????
I think judging by their history of breakups – they deserve each other. I also think Rani Mukherjee is too good to have a fellow like Abhishek dumped on her!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Under Pressure

I never realized that using a pressure cooker would involve so many casualties. The spotless white ceiling of my kitchen now sports a lovely lemon yellow color of boiled moong daal. The tiles on the walls (again in white) will have to be cleaned. The gas burner is bubbling with daal and the kitchen board is waiting to be wiped. Somebody should have told me not to remove the weight while the gas was still burning and the cooker was spouting full steam.

They say, I am lucky to escape without any injuries. Whoa! Who wants to step outdoors for adventure when it is lying in wait right indoors in the kitchen? My escapades in the kitchen if chronicled astutely could make one Robin Hood hang his head in shame. Like burning my hands and face while trying to fry fish. The mark on my face is a tiny one that is fast disappearing, but while it lasts, it serves as a testimony, that I have for a fact fried fish at least once. Like burning the cauldron while trying to make chicken curry. I managed to fit in 12 chicken drumsticks in a small wok. It was tough moving them about the place and so while some remained raw, over melted, while some got charred. I will remain eternally grateful to the angels who ate it with an amused smile, but nevertheless ate all of it – raw/cooked/burnt.

In the meantime, I have experimented – sometimes with reasonable success. Like using salsa sauce in pasta with a little bit of cold milk – it actually tasted good. And used shortcuts: like using packaged frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones in my sabji. Meantime, there have been disasters – like using tomato sauce to make fish curry look brighter and using chat masala with mustard paste – ugh!

Cooking is about Chemistry – says Ma. You have to mix the right ingredients at the right time and voila! You have created magic. Helping me to churn out the right chemical reactions are people who I can never forget: SB, SM, AB, AD. Beginning with rice, to daal, chicken, fish, chutney…virtually all avenues of Indian cuisine were explored. The taste of AD’s cabbage curry and shrimps still lingers. So does SB’s mutton and SM’s fish and AB’s cauliflower in curd (really!) I pledge to always remain jealous of those people, who have mastered the art of making food, taste good. Someday, when I get there, where you are, we shall exchange notes!