The common thing you see in remaking a dish is to take a classic dish and add your own regional touch, so as to give it a new flavour. But here's a fun thought: what would happen if you took a traditional dish from one state and modified it based on the cooking from a different part of very same state?

Enter the chicken kuzhi appam. Or as I like to rechristen it - the Kerala style chicken meatballs!

Ask a Keralite what a kuzhi appam is and s/he will describe to you a soft, jaggery based circular snack (you can see them here in this blog post by Rani's Treat) that while available at all times is commonly seen during festivals like Onam. A tasty, spongy treat, it usually is prepared with a special pre-moulded pan that gives the kuzhi appams their famous UFO shape.

Of course, as we come towards the Malabar end of Kerala, that old habit of wanting to instill some non vegetarian element into the dish just cannot be weaned out of us. And so, we began stealthily modifying the dish, replacing ingredient after ingredient until in the end, the name of the new dish created was Chicken Kuzhiappam even though this new chimera had more in common with an Italian meatball than the original sweet dish!

You can read the rest of the post here

If you could make a difference, would you?

Something that always worries me these days is the endless stream of demoralizing images that we are exposed to today via social media - of poverty and violence, victims of persecution and the malnourished.
I always fear that we end up getting numb to the suffering and feel that since sorrow exists all around us, there is no point making an effort because that effort will be a mere ripple in the ocean around us.

I don't blame you for thinking that way - I know I would (and have) felt that way too on many an occasion. But that does not mean we give up on our own humanity. Just because we are not able to help every child in the world does not mean we stop trying to help at all.

Aham Bhumika is an NGO in Bhopal, a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. The group comprises of housewives, engineers, tourist guides, teachers and government employees among others.

You can read the rest of the post here

It is always tough to follow up a winning act. (You think I am bluffing? Just try sitting through the sequels of the Transformers movie!)
So when BlogAdda successfully held WIN14 - the first live blogging awards and conference ceremony in India in 2014 - they must have had their work cut out for them when the topic of doing even better the second time around came up.
To their credit, they had been moving on from strength to strength over the last year, with successful collaborations with brands like Renault and TATA for blogger meets in between.
But this was #WIN15, the biggest blogging award ceremony of the year in India! New stadium, new players, new ball game! So how did it go?
In a nutshell, it was grand!

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears

Held at the awe-inspiring 5 star hotel JW Marriott by Sahar in Andheri, you knew you were in for a treat the moment you stepped into the hotel. The settings were truly gorgeous even by Mumbai's high standards and I personally loved the bold blue theme of the stage with the bright lettering of WIN forming a wonderful contrast.

WIN15 Mumbai Blogadda Godyears
That gold thingy on top adds a nice effect too, eh?
Siddharth Kannan as the emcee for the event was an inspired choice. Full of life and crackling wit, he knew how to engage the audience in each and every activity and discussion and had a ready quip for any situation that arose!

You can read the rest of the post here

You think you know what you want when you enter a place to buy something? You have the image and the design of your desired object fixed in your head. Just go in there, get what you want and leave.
Simple, right?

Well, that was before you became spoiled for choices. That was before you realized that there were not 5 choices but over a 1750! That you did not have just one but all the best choices in the country to choose from, right at your fingertips.

The concept seems simple enough - makeover the rooms of your house, choosing the colors available. There are some lovely preset themes but you also have the choice to personalize your rooms using the unique #PaintFinder feature at BedBathMore.
The preset themes are pretty awesome by themselves, obviously mixed and matched together by a superior eye. These included the likes of Dusky Lavender, Dusted Pink and Lemon Cooler which did have a certain youthful, summer grace to them and were appealing.

But I needed to do my own thing! I needed to see and decide for myself how the house would look and what colour best suited the ambiance of each room. I figured I would have my 'theme' ready within an hour.

You can read the rest of the post here

Writing a personal blog for ten years, you tend to expose more than just your thoughts and emotions to the world. Slowly, in subtle ways and occasional nods, you reveal the life you live as well. Your work atmosphere, people at home, the land you live in and yes, even the food you eat, are all part of what makes up your story. And as I flip through the pages of old, it is nice to see the evolution too - from what the blog once was to what it is now.

One of the (relatively) recent things that popped up probably over the last two years only has been a new found love for traveling and meeting people across the country. You would be hard pressed to find anything other than my hometown and cities of education (Pune and Mangalore) in the first three-fourth of this blog. Life just had such a tight grip and kept squeezing month after month out of me until one day I looked back and suddenly, the blog that had started in 2005 in Mangalore was right there once more even in 2012! Seven years of my life had disappeared in the interim and I found myself a thirty plus man who had just spent a lifetime behind books or inside operation theatres. I had a passport at home which had expired without a single stamp on it!

I would perhaps not have done a lot about it had I not read (and drooled!) over the 2013 America Trip post of my dear blogger friend Nisha of Simmering Sunshine. She and I go way back and are part of the golden oldies circle of the Indian blogosphere. I love watching her travel and living a vicarious life through her holiday posts.

You can read the rest of the post here

Today's Blog-Tember challenge asks us to "Get creative! Sketch, paint, dance, play music."

Once more, like it did for Karna, when I need my skills the most, they tend to desert me.
So instead, I would like to showcase a creative gift I received this weekend from a dear friend. Years ago, I had written about her in a much beloved post "Her Happiness Matters to Me". The fact of the matter is that we finished celebrating a decade of friendship this year, we realized. During this time, we have met each other a grand total of three times. And yet, we trust each other implicitly. We remove our masks and allow each other to see the 'scars of our life' and our imperfections. We look beyond the various barriers and points of awkwardness - cultural, gender, age, awesomeness (!!) and what not and just gel. That's based on a singular factor that transcends all the above - trust. When you trust someone and earn their trust in return, friendships become quite easy to maintain, I find.

Anyway, this year she has started to give wings to her hidden creative urges, creating handmade art on demand. So she decided to surprise me when I visited Mumbai this weekend with a personalized one she made just for me.

A photo posted by Nairita Ghosh (@nlimited) on
The wordings that accompany this work are thus:

Squeezed among the maddening crowd,
The roar of the world in his ears so loud,
Trapped within those woven rules,
In the hands of fate he a mere tool,
But let not your heart be bound said she,
Spread ur wings and set ur dreams free,
No matter what the world says,
Take courage and blaze ur own way...

You can read the rest of the post here

Today's Blog-Tember challenge asks us to write on 5 books that impacted our lives. I wanted to do a slight spin on that question and so decided to talk about a different list of 5 books.

So many times, we come across a book that is so unique and awesome that we end up saying "If I could write a book someday, it would be like this."
The thing is when people ask you to make such lists, invariably we fall into the habit of quoting self help books, religious books or fictional classics... or the Fountainhead! The problem with these kinds of lists are that good fictional novels do not get their due.

So what I am looking for is purely modern (post World War 2 era) fictional books.
No self help books. Religious books are out as well (I can't compete with 420 crore and 10 Gods plus Radhe Maa. I just can't.)

Given these criteria, what would be the ideal 5 books you wish you had written?
Here are mine.

"Twisted" by Jeffrey Deaver - Well, it is no secret that all my published stories till date have been short stories. I personally feel I can do more justice to this segment rather than a full novel. I especially love the stories which provide a worthy twist in the tale (Jeffrey Archer's earlier anthologies and Stephen King's Night Shift come to mind) but if you asked me to pin one book down, it would probably be Jeffrey Deaver's Twisted. That author is simply brilliant with his Lincoln Rhyme series (Remember the Dental Washington - Angelina Jolie thriller, "The Bone Collector"? Well, there is a whole series of novels featuring those characters and they are just brilliant.)
And his first anthology series, Twisted, was a masterclass in deceiving the reader with each of his sixteen tales.

Fun Fact: If you like Twisted, rejoice. There was a sequel to this book titled (drum rollllllll) "More Twisted"!!

You can read the rest of the post here

"I don't want to be around her right now. Listening to her sorrow will spoil my mood. Her depression is contagious."
"If she wants to come and talk about it, nobody is stopping her. But I am not going to go and ask her!"
"Yes, I know she was going through a bad phase but I did not think she would try to commit suicide. I mean, come on, ya. It was just a silly break-up! Some people just don't know how to handle life."

Think carefully.

  • Have you ever uttered any one of the above phrases? 
  • Have you ever watched a friend suffer and walked away, not wanting to have to bear the burden of listening to their story?
  • Have you chosen not to be around someone who was sad because you did not wish to spoil your own day?
  • Have you lost a friend to suicide?

Image source: here

I cannot judge you if you answered "yes" to any of the above questions simply because that would make me a part of the cycle I wish to break. So no accusations, no finger-pointing. I just want to share with you my own two and a half cents on how you can save the life of someone you know.

You can read the rest of the post here

Snoopy by nature tends to be the most fun loving dog one can imagine. Over the last two years, since the day he entered our house, he has displayed certain unique characteristics that no other dog in our house over three decades has ever exhibited. These would include stuff like
1) walking around with his own bucket,
2) being the first dog in our house to actually fetch the ball,
3) sitting on coffee tables and
4) walking around with a dog bone as though it were a cigar.

Yet, as you can see in the two pictures above, there is one thing that truly petrifies him. What you are seeing is something that scares him so much, he actually climbs on top of the sofa thinking that the extra height will save him from 'its' clutches.

He chases cows, he chases birds (!!!) and is unafraid of cars too. So what evil entity is it that scares him so badly that he looks so petrified?

You can read the rest of the post here

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