Of Durga and Me

Miles and Miles of silver Kaash flowers swaying to the gentle autumn breeze; bright sunny days and cool nippy nights; mornings drenched in the fragrance of orange-stemmed shiuli, evenings serenaded in the heady scent of chatim. To a layman, these are just signs that indicate the sun’s movement from the northern hemisphere to the southern …

Flavours of Coorg

I have come to Coorg looking for two things: white coffee flowers and dark pandi curry. The coffee flowers have evaded me. I have not bothered to crosscheck the information I have about the time of their bloom and have reached Coorg only to be greeted by torrential rains. So I pin my hopes on …

Discovering Lakshmi’s favourite sweet – in the land of Jagannath

Legend has it that once, upset with Krishna for not taking her along for the rath-yatra, Laxmi decides not to let him into the Jagannath temple. Upon his return, when Krishna discovers the doors to his home shut, he pleads with Laxmi to let him enter. Having had enough of the Lord’s hide and seek, …

Salli Boti, Berry Pulav, and K Rustomji

When it comes to Parsi food, old Bombay is a gold mine. There are numerous establishments – some well known, others not so famous – that offer the various culinary delights of the community to all and sundry. To be in South Bombay, and not sample Parsi food therefore is nothing short of sacrilege. Having …

Of Memories & MTR

About fifty elderly men sip coffee from white china cups in and around the ground floor Coffee-Room. Some lean against the walls, some support themselves on narrow cement benches, and some, for want of space, have moved on to the pavement. The pavement outside is equally busy. There is a newspaper seller arranging English and …

Biriyani Blue in Lucknow

"Humari baat maniye Tundey ki nahi, agli gali mein Shakeel ki Biryani khaiyega, pasand na aaye to paise hum denge." Our rickshaw puller, who has apparently been eavesdropping on our non-stop chatter about food, tells us in his Lucknavi style as we get off his vehicle in the middle of a busy lane in the …

The Joy of Jalebi

It is 11.30 a.m. and we are as famished as we are tired. We have been out since 4 a.m., driven over 250 kms, visited the tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daula and the Taj Mahal, and are on our way to the erstwhile capital of Akbar, where we also plan to catch up on breakfast. But there …

Makkhan Malai – The Desi Soufflé

Come winter and the streets of the old towns of North India – particularly Uttar Pradesh – reverberate with the cries of the makhanwala. He comes every morning on his cycle and calls out to the sleepy residents in his trademark style, compelling them to throw off their thick quilts and run towards their gates …