Friday, July 31, 2015

The Heart That Refuses To Be

What is that heavy feeling in the heart? Have you felt that before? Have you noticed when it happens? Any particular time of the day, or any anxious moment, or just all through the day you feel your heart is heavy with a feeling that just refuses to come out. What do you do in such a circumstance? Do you pour your heart out to someone? Or do you tuck that feeling in your heart and go to bed with eyes wet? Or do you keep it within yourself till the time it just explodes and there is no way you can hold them back?

Do you feel the weight of that feeling in your heart, now that you are reading this post? You do. Even if you don't, you would soon after. My question or rather my point is, why does the heart feel so heavy at times? No, this is no love game. But a game bigger than you can probably imagine or you would want to imagine. It is not just always about love, breakups, lost friendships. Our heart bleeds for more reasons than one. It can be your failure to convey your feelings or emotional turmoil that you are going through. It can also be a void that's hard to be filled. It can be... It can be anything at all.

As I write this post, my heart too feels heavy from within. I do not know the reason behind it. I feel as if there is something that is just not going right despite my best attempts. I can feel the things fall apart. Yet, I comfort myself with the fact that it is better to vent out the emotional upheaval in order to maintain peace within. But why is it that even after emptying the confines of the heart, it still feels heavy? Where can I have possibly gone wrong? Do you feel the same at times? That despite your numerous attempts to make things fall in line, your efforts are in vain.

I have, I am, I will try to make my heart feel lighter. Be it through my conversations with friends, through my writings on the blog, through my thoughts penned in the diary, or even through solitary conversations with my self. If it still refuses to budge, I would let it be. How far can it go with a weight that is too hard to ignore? How far can it take the burden of anger, worry, fear, exhilaration,? At some point, the heart has to let it go. So what if it's through the tears that swell out of the eyes without knowing where to go?

Monday, July 27, 2015

An Ode to Kalam

Hard to believe that you're no longer with us, Sir
Harder to soak in
that you shall never return,
Your thoughts, your words, your dedication,
Shall always be etched in our hearts forever.

You are a motivation,
to the millions who dream to be;
You are an inspiration
for the billions who strive to be;
You were, you are, you shall always be
remembered as a gem of a person.

You might have left for
the heavenly abode,
But your views, your ideas
are still with us;
The knowledge that you imparted
to us through your actions and words
have left an indelible mark on us.

As a nation, a mere Thank You
shall not serve the purpose,
We shall promise to make
this country, your India,
Our India, a country for all;
a country that you dreamed of.

Read some inspiring quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam- HERE

Food Review: Bhatinda Xpress- Velachery, Chennai

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, when the urge to cook just fades away, I ended up scouting through Zomato's Delivery options in and around OMR, Chennai. After spending almost half an hour looking through menus of respective restaurants, their locations and home delivery options, I zeroed down on Velachery because that was only the area that had some decent restaurants, with a good menu overall in the offing. I was confused between two restaurants- Rock and Bhatinda Xpress- and finally, after consultation with a fellow foodie, living in Velachery and having tried almost all the restaurants in the area, I decided to order from Bhatinda Xpress.

Bhatinda Xpress claims to serve authentic Punjabi dishes. Scanning through their menu was in itself quite a task and made me hungrier as I kept going from one page to other figuring out what to order. My fellow foodie and friend had provided me the phone number of the Restaurant owner. The owner was extremely polite and courteous in taking the orders. I had ordered around 12pm. Going by the time, it seems they had just opened. The owner told me in advance that the delivery could be made only after an hour. I was very much okay with the idea of receiving the food by 1-1.30pm.

The home delivery order included- Pahari Kabab (suggested by the owner), Tandoori Jhinga, Noorani Kabab, Mutton Roganjosh (1 portion that can be shared by two people), Methi Malai Murg, a mix of Roti, Naan and Lachcha Paratha. The food was delivered sharp on time at 1.20pm. It was hot, packed decently and the aroma of all the kababs enveloped my house. I had to however wait for my husband, who arrived only around 3 pm.

Review of the food:-
a) Noorani Kabab: Boneless chicken stuffed in some marination, which seemed to me minced meat (I am not sure). They were cooked well, were tender and delicious in taste. However, it was a little spicy for out palette.
Mutton Roganjosh
Tandoori Prawns
b) Pahari Kabab: Boneless chicken marinated in- from what I understood- coriander, pudina, mint, hung curd and chillies. The marination was extremely spicy but too hard to ignore. Chicken was juicy and tender.
c) Tandoori Jhinga: Marinated Prawns charred in Tandoor. Tasted okay! I was expecting a bit more taste.
d) Mutton Rogan Josh: This was 1 portion. They serve all the main courses in three forms- 1 portion, half and full. According to the owner, 1 portion is suffice for two. Hence, I ordered for 1 portion. There were four big pieces of mutton. Mutton was tender and cooked well. However, strangely the curry was sweeter than I assume it is meant to be.
Noorani Kabab
e) Methi Malai Murg: This was definitely the BEST of the lot. Tandoori Chicken cooked in a gravy of methi and malai (cream). The combination of methi and malai was fabulous and tasted brilliant. Yes, this gravy too was a bit on the sweeter side. However, no complaints as the taste made up for everything.
Pahari Kabab
f) Roti, Naan and Lachcha Paratha: All tasted just like how they are meant to be but I was a bit disappointed to see Lachcha Paratha. Since they call themselves serving authentic Punjabi food, I expected this paratha to be on lines of what you get up North. But it seemed to me same as a normal paratha, that you get in Chennai.

Overall, the food was tasty except the spice level which could have been a little lower than what it was. However, I gave my feedback to the owner, who promised to take it up with the chef and ensure the spice level is in control and unanimous. Call that true mark of an owner? :)

The food cost us- Rs 1402 :-) Quantity sufficed us for dinner as well :-D

Will I order from them again? Yes, surely. But Methi Malai Murg will be the priority for sure!

Have you taken a ride on the Bhatinda Xpress? Try Now! :-)

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Restaurant Review: Sigree, Adyar, Chennai

I have been an ardent fan of Sigree since the time a very dear friend of mine introduced me to this place. Back then, it was only at Nungambakkam. And, going till Nungambakkam all the way from OMR was always a painstaking task irrespective of a car or cab. Thus, my joy knew no bounds when I saw the board- SIGREE- on Adyar, months ago when this restaurant was in its final shape. Since its launch, I have been to this restaurant almost 5-6 times. Never have I been disappointed.

On Friday afternoon,  as my husband and I were returning home after some work, we decided to stop over at Sigree for lunch. Though I wanted to try out a new place, my husband, who ain't that experimental with food, wanted to have normal "khana".

As I got out of my car to handover the car keys for a valet parking, the parking person asked if I had reservation. I was a little surprised because this sort of a question usually came through in Barbeque Nation or such places. So we decided to head to the restaurant irrespective of booking or no booking. We had to wait for a good 10-15 mins before the manager came and offered us one of the reserved tables. We were happy by the gesture :-)

Coming to food, we went for the buffet like always.  For Starters, the following items were on offer- Garlic Chicken Tikka, Tandoor Chicken Tikka, Fish Fingers, Mutton kababs, Aloo tikki, Roasted Potatoes, Paneer Tikka. The starters were hot and tasty. While the Chicken Tikkas were juicy, succulent, well marinated in spices; the Fish Finger was coated well in the batter and the Fish overall was soft and easy to cut. I liked the Paneer tikka too as I have never had such soft Paneer ever in Chennai. The other starters were good too.

For Maincourse, there was a lot in the offing. The crowd was too much to see all the items in the menu. And, since there was no Dal Makhni, I didn't even venture towards the veg side. The Non veg section had Mutton Rogan Josh, Chicken Biryani, Methi Murg, another fish item whose name I cannot recall. Of the items, I tasted the Mutton n Roti along with a bit of Biryani' rice. Mutton was soft n well cooked. The curry tasted just like any other curry. Biryani wasn't as good as how I have had earlier.

Desserts in Sigree have never really impressed me. However, their Gulab Jamuns are always on my list. Other than that they had a chocolate cake sort of and a blueberry mousse. I did not like either of them. While the mousse was a bit bitter in taste, the cake was too dry.

Overall, we paid 1265. This includes 50rs of unlimited Pepsi. However, what I did not like was the fact that despite the government order, they charged service charge separately and that too a separate one for Pepsi! :-/

Meanwhile, the staff which had earlier politwly declined us seating due to all tables being reserved, came up to me and asked for feedback. He even apologised saying he could not do much about it as Weekends is very busy these days plus people reserve tables for a time and arrive several minutes late.

Sigree despite all the odds is still a value for money with extremely courteous staff, pleasant seating and well location! :)

Have you been to Sigree yet? How has your experience been?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Food Review:- Tasneem Ayub's Ammees Kitchen

This review should have been up by Wednesday. Unfortunately,  I couldn't type it out then. Not just out of lazyness but I was unable to come out of the "Biryani Coma" I was in, after eating the delicious Mutton Biryani from Tasneem Ayub's Ammees Kitchen.
Mutton Biryani

Now, Tasneem Ayub or rather Tasneem Aunty, as she is fondly known as in the Chennai food circle and otherwise, is an effervescent chef whose preparation of food comingles with her love to spread happiness in the lives of others. I had till Wednesday, July 22nd, only heard of her Biryani and read some rave reviews about it and some other delicacies that come out of her kitchen. So when the time to order some Mutton Biryani in office came up, I stumbled upon her Facebook page which showed her location as very close to where my office is currently.

It was a treat by a colleague but the suggestion for choosing the Biryani place came on me. I knew that this was the right time to try Tasneem Aunty's famous Mutton Biryani. I spoke to her over phone asking about her delivery option to my office. She willingly agreed to deliver one and a half kg of Biryani and one portion of a veg Biryani. We were a group of 9 people, of whom, 8 were Non Vegetarians and one Vegetarian.

Veg Biryani
The delivery was made promptly at 1:15pm. The aroma of Biryani was too hard to ignore and hide in the organisations lift. But we somehow managed to take the Biryani safe n sound to our team room.
The way the Biryani was packed shows how much care Tasneem aunty takes in preparing the food and ensuring that it reaches her customers safely. Further, her customer is able to enjoy the taste of Biryani to the core. For us too, she parcelled the Biryani in a pot, and sent in Paper plaes n spoons along with some bigger spoons from her kitchen for serving purpose. This was although mainly because our office is hardly a few kms away from her home and she sent her person again in the evening to collect the same.

Brinjal Curry and Raita
Now coming to Biryani.  It was by far the tastiest and best Mughlai style Biryani I ever had in the past four n half years. I have tried Hajeeras, but Tasneem Aunty's Biryani had not just the right flavours but also the right amount of ghee, masalas and other ingredients. The mutton was melt in the mouth. I do not like having Brinjal curry personally but the rest of the team liked that too and were of the opinion that they had not tasted a tastier brinjal curry ever. Even the person who had Veg Biryani, prior to eating the Biryani said would eat only 50% of the Biryani, but ended up cleaning up the whole portion- needless to say he was more than satisfied.

The team has already made plans of ordering from her again. The fact that the Biryani was perfectly cooked, well balanced in taste and served us not just in lunch but was left over for dinner as well. A kg of mutton Biryani would have been suffice for 8 of us. But we ordered 1.5kgs.

The overall cost came upto including plates n spoon- Rs2500. She was extremely sweet in waiving off the charge for a portion of the veg Biryani. :)

Will we order again? Yes indeed.

Bottomline: As Tasneem Aunty herself says that the Biryani was good because it comes filled with her love and warmth, the Biryani surely did reflect her love, passion for cooking, and serving the others with as much affection.

Aren't you hungry yet? Go Check out her FACEBOOK page now! :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Happens When You Tune Into A Hindi Radio Channel After Ages

What happens when you tune into a Hindi Radio channel after ages- in Chennai? You like all the songs, almost, being played on the channel. So what if the lyrics of those songs are simply berserk, or that the same songs are being played twice or sometimes thrice in  a day on various shows, or that you wouldn't listen to those songs unless otherwise being forced to. Yes, this is precisely what's happening with me for the past couple of weeks.

It was one Friday morning, while driving from home to my new workplace, that I stumbled upon this Radio channel. The heavy-toned Salman Khan welcomed me- "Vannakam Chennai, You're listening to 94.3 Radio One." The channel, 94.3 Radio One - 100% Bollywood, 100% Chennai has gone for an overhaul, from what it seems to me. Though the very first day I assumed that it was probably just that period of time that the channel was going to play Hindi music; I was proven wrong when while driving back from office to home, I heard some more songs- in Hindi!

It took me a couple of days to realise when like me, I saw my other friends post on FB saying how they "enjoyed" listening to "Hindi songs" on Radio. Oh yes! Chennai NOW has a Radio channel dedicated to "Hindi" or say, Bollywood songs. My joy knew no bounds. I was on top of the world, for not just a day, the feeling reverberated within for days. And, it shall stay with me for quite some time.

Are you wondering what's there to go so gaga about listening to Hindi songs on a Radio channel? I will tell you. In my past four and a half years of stay in Chennai, it has been ONLY either my Pen Drive and when Pen Drive is left at home then AIR Gold or Vivid Bharati that satiated my want of listening to Hindi songs while driving. I always wondered why the Radio in Chennai couldn't play Hindi songs when it had a fairly large population of Hindi-speaking people living here, thanks to the IT sector and otherwise. Now that one channel has finally listened to my call/prayers, I am glad and content, to a certain extent.

My only cause of concern is, going by the way they are playing songs that are either from the latest movies or songs that are simply non-sensible in lyrics, I fear that my taste of music might just take a plunge. Not just that, I fear that the image that the intellectual Carnatic music lovers have of Bollywood, it may suffer a blow because of the lyrics that our lyricists from Bollywood have been penning down in order to make the song sell!

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Posts on Chennai- New Announcement

Hi All,

This post is more like an announcement to all of you. After weeks of brainstorming, I have decided (finally) that I would be writing a weekly post from the city I am currently living in. Yes, it would be about Chennai. Like it or not, the blog will be published on a weekly basis. I am yet to decide on the day, but it would mostly be either a Monday or a Friday.

You must be wondering what difference does it make? I don't think anything great but yes it could surely make you see Chennai through the eyes of an outsider settled here. But it would purely be something I like, dislike, feel, see, observe, breathe, about this city- Chennai- where I have been settled for the past four and half years. And, like I say in every (job) interview that I attend- Whether I plan to move out of this city- I do not see any signs of moving out of this city in the coming years.

When I had come down to Chennai, in October 2011, little did I know that I would end up staying here for so long. I say so because while I announced the news of moving to Chennai with a new job, everyone around me had gasped! The thought of moving to a city like Chennai from North tantamount to sentencing someone to a prison. [That is what I was made to feel] But, having lived in the city for four and half years, I would say it is definitely not sentencing to a prison. Yes, there are challenges. But every city has some!

Hence, I have decided to present you, especially my friends up North, with a view of Chennai through my eyes. The post could be about people, places, food, sound, smell, or anything else. If you have something to share with me, or you want me to talk about something in particular, you are most welcome to send your suggestions in the comment below. I will try my best to write on those topics! :)

Till then, keep waiting for blogs on Chennai- Through my Eyes! :-)

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Destination Defined

All things haywire
Not a single outcome
Striving and selecting
Choosing from the good
or the bad.
Life is following a rugged path
Treading carefully
Where to go
Following a step at a time
She reaches her destination
Destination defined...

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Friday, July 17, 2015


At the threshold of something ominous
holding on to the naive
dig deep down
you'll find the true meaning of life...

It isn't your life 
that is at the crossroad
It is your mind  
that refuses to de-clutter thoughts
that have formed a cobweb of dreams...

Dreams that remain 
Dreams that remain
in the nook of heart..
Dreams that remain
like cracks in the glass
ready to break into pieces
never to be found again...

No they aren't lost
They are just scattered
here and there, everywhere,
Dreams that remain
omnipresent yet so far...

As you dig deep down
searching for your dreams
clearing away the cobwebs
You are at crossroads yet again
with neither here nor there to go...

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Thank You, Ira Singhal!

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) announced its result for the much awaited 2014 Civil Services Examination today. As I saw my Facebook news feed filled with the news headlines, I was urged to go to the site and find out if any familiar names appear. Not that I would know of anyone. The first thing that caught my eye after scrolling down the pages of the result was a name on top of the list. Left side of the list showed the rank, while next to it was written the name- 1. Ira Singhal. My first reaction- Woah! That's a girl. I was thrilled beyond words. It was not just the first rank but the next three rank holders too were girls! The top 4 positions of India's most prestigious examination were all bagged by girls.

I do not have a very long post to write this time. All I want to say to all four women candidates, who bagged the top four slots, especially Ira Singhal is that "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart. I really hope that your success should pave way for many many many such aspirations and dreams of women, who are engrossed in the four walls of their house. Let us hope that a differently-abled girl bagging the top slot of UPSC Civil Services Examination will make every women think on a "different" tangent other than the household chores.

In an interview given to a news channel, as well as reported on certain media websites, Ira Singhal wants to do something for the benefit of differently-abled people. I am sure she would. And, I am also sure that her attempts, her zeal and drive would make many other women follow suit. Having said that, I am also sure that she would face obstacles like she did after she was selected for IRS in 2010, but going by her spirit she is surely going to give everyone a run for their money.

Wish you all the best, Ira! and, Thank You for inspiring many of us !

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Every Dog Has It's Day!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my personal. They may vary from people to people and be different for different circumstances. 

The joy of doing something, which you had been contemplating since long, on the very first day of a new month is pure bliss. More so, if it is something that was causing you terrible emotional and mental harassment. I resigned from an organisation where I had joined just a few months ago. It feels bad. Not because I am leaving the organisation but because I made a decision that went horribly wrong.

When you join an organisation, you place your hopes as per what you hear, see, and are told about them. But what happens when you join new and all you get to hear is everything negative about the place of work? You tend to flow with the emotions. There are however, high chances that you may want to steer away from all that is negative and strive in pushing yourself to achieve all that will fetch you good.

You make new 'friends'; you attract lot of attention because you are new; you are 'watched' at every step. 'Monitoring' is the word they use as per corporate dictionary. Unfortunately, the 'hard work' that you do goes unnoticed because all that they were busy doing was just observing your actions. How much you "give" to the management in return for what you "take" from them. It does not matter that what you seek from the management is something that is your right as an employee. Looks like that's the need of the hour. How you talk, walk, smile, laugh and NOT how you work.

Leaving everything to rest, I decided to take my own course. Quitting from an organisation is not something to be ashamed of. If the organisation is unable to understand you for the work you do, and is instead settling their unfulfilled grudges against you, then it is time for you to may be move on. I am not saying you should give up without having to explain your point. But you should know where to tow the line for those sitting above you. And, if before you drawing the line, people at the top already surpass their limits, then it is better to give them back in their own way.

Like I said in my previous post- Should You Give Into Your Fear?- don't let fear ever overpower you; similarly, never let those sitting on top overpower you. They might have the power being on top, but that does not mean they get to misuse it against their subordinates. Through your actions, you can make them realise that you are no less than them. Actions do not mean abuse, fight, argue. Make an attempt at bringing up all the good work that you do or have done; despite that, if your work is something that they are not interested in at all, it is time for you to make a move.

Everyone is an ordinary being, merely separated by the hierarchies created either by the universe or by mankind. A subordinate has as much strength as the top honchos. As they say, every dog has its day, thus, do not be disappointed if they are a level up at the moment with you. You too will have your say. Quit the job not with a sense of 'quitting' but on a high. There is a better opportunity awaiting you out there, away from the madness that you'd left behind.

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