Thursday, August 28, 2014

British Pathe and the Selfie Video

British Pathe and the Selfie Video

So, last night I was just sitting in front of my computer wondering what to do as I was not sleepy and was not in the mood to watch a movie. Suddenly I remembered something that i read online about some thousands of historical videos being added on to Youtube by British Pathe. So, decided to check it out and found something amazing. But first off, for those of you who don't know about what British Pathe is, let me tell you.

British Pathe or Pathe News (as it was called earlier) was a producer of newsreels, documentaries, and cinemagazines from 1910 to 1970 and is now  "considered to be the finest newsreel archive in the world. " Recently they have uploaded their vast collection of over 85,000 historical newsreel videos of all types and subjects on to Youtube for free access to the people all over the world. 

I was really happy to go through the collection that they had and i watched some selected video's (mainly whatever i could find on India), but what really astonished me was a video called 'Self Portrait' which was dated 1952. In the video one gets to see people going into small cubicles and taking self portraits of themselves using a specially designed mirror-lens and remote button camera apparatus. The video is accompanied by one of the funniest commentaries you can ever have. The poses and the faces that the modern selfie'sts have made trend can all be seen in this amazing video too. One thing that can be noted from this is that even though years, culture, technology, fashion, and everything around us has changed, human nature hasn't, not one bit!

People, do check out British Pathe, it is amazing! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Finding Food, Finding Happiness

Finding Food, Finding Happiness

Ok, so I planned to start writing by giving the date and time and all that. But then, i can't remember what the date or day is... Wait, someone was telling me about going to church tomorrow. So it should be a Saturday. (I really don't remember the days or dates these days because of joblessness. It's only when you have a time table to follow in your life, like when you have a job or when you study, that it matters- otherwise, it is just day and night, day and night.) While typing this i found out that the date and time is given in the down-right corner of the computer, it is 9 August 2014, 11.46 PM. 

Today was generally a happy day for me. Had nice food in the morning and afternoon, painted two bottles. One angry birds themed and then my favourite, Micheal Jackson in the famous slanting position on a Johnny Walker Limited Edition bottle (Thank You Vanesh for giving me the opportunity). I was all-excited and happy happy and was almost dancing around the place. Then suddenly i started feeling sad. It was that general depression that hits you (in this case, me) once in a while. 

After when Rohith cam we decided to go to his place. He wanted to get some curry from the numerous curry points at Sitaphalmandi, cook rice at home, and eat. We almost stopped near a place and I told him, I need something good today (not that rice and curry aren't good, but i wanted something special). After some deliberation and discussion and phone calls during the bike ride to his home we decided to fix up on Alhamdulillah Hotel, Nampally (Thanks to Zomato for showing the way). Using the help of Drive application and Rohith's drive skills we finally found the place, hidden inside the numerous lanes and bylanes near Nampally Station. I have been here before, 4 years ago or so, but had forgotten the way.

We ordered 2 Rumali Rotis, 1 Sheekh Kebab, 1 Talawa Ghosh, and a plate of Beef Biriyani. The food was super good, super spicy (Spicy for me maybe because i kept eating more chilly which was in the Talawa). I wanted to take a photo of the dishes but then the hunger was so intense that I didn't. Rohith said the same thing too, later. The waiter who was standing near us was a cheerful, loud guy and he was trying to have a conversation with the Yemeni couple sitting in the next bench. Their conversation without language barriers (and little help was there from translator guy) invoked laughter from everyone sitting around. "No English, No English, Hindi Hindi". This one time the waiter, with great effort, asked "Kaunsi country, country?" and the Yemeni guy shook his hand and said "Achcha, achcha!" Thanks to the translator that problem was solved soon. 

So, back to the point. We have the food there, paid the bill (Rohith did, 270 or 280 or something) and we got out. We got meeta paan (sweet paan) from the same complex. It really was one of the best meeta paans i ever had. With all that happiness we started coming back to the flat on the bike. 

We hadn't been at a distance of half a kilometer too and i saw a board, and told Rohith, "Turn Turn, Sulaimani Sulaimani." He stopped and turned as if there was an emergency, asked me What Sulaimani? What is it? Then came my famous movie dialogue response- "Oro Sulaimaniyilum orithiri mohabbath venam mone," (In each Sulaimani there should be a pinch of love too) Remember? i asked him. He said "Ustad Hotel, yeah yeah!!!" So, there was this sulaimani (special, black tea) stall nearby and we went there. I ordered mint tea and he ordered lemon tea. The young guy there two mint leaves in a paper cup and the poured the tea concoction from the flask. For the lemon tea he squeezed lemon syrup, already mixed, which was in a bottle, and then the tea. 

After all, that good food we had and that amazing meeta paan, this tea knocked out everything! Hands down it was the best i ever had! Rohith agrees with me too i guess. Otherwise he wouldn't have asked the guy till what time the stall will be open and when he said till 4 AM he looked happy. Also, he told me that he should make it a point to remember the way. When we were leaving, the guy at the stall reminded us that the stall is open from 7 pm till 4 am. I made a note of every landmark nearby in my mind, on the way back. Will never forget.

The point of all this is that, good food always makes me happy, and great food, on top of the world! Like, right now! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Diet Plan

The Diet Plan

Time: 10.30 ish PM
Date: 4 June 2014, which was day before yesterday
Location: My Bedroom
Occasion: Power cut, and the laptop battery died out

“How unfair! Those ****ing KSEB ppl!” As I would do every time the power goes off, I cursed the electricity board yet another (countless + one) time without fail, and crept on to the bed, frustrated. Ok, calm down, it might come in a few minutes. I took a deep breath. Think for a while. Think Think Think. What to do tomorrow? Where all to go tomorrow? (The passport-birth-certificate fiasco is eating my head these days) Which all movies do I watch tomorrow? What do I eat tomorrow? Ha, food! Got a topic to think on. Thinking about what would be for breakfast, I touched my little potbelly. Suddenly, I thought of the number shown on the weighing machine last day. Fifteen kilograms past my target! How, when would I achieve it? The futile attempts of diet and jogging for the last few years flashed through my mind. No, no. Past is past. What was futile was futile. I should be determined now. I should. I should reduce at least 10 kg in this month. What to do about it. Working out, jogging, daily basketball all wouldn’t work out. I wouldn’t continue after 2-3 days. So, I decided I have no option than to control my food. Learn to take just little of what your mother makes. Do not fall in the temptation of taste. Have food only when you are absolutely hungry. I was determined.

The next morning came. I woke up late. I was still determined. After reading newspapers and brushing my teeth, I asked, “What’s there?” Oh, it’s chakkappuzhukku (a jackfruit based dish, English doesn’t matter, it’s super-tasty!). I should take very little. I took two spoons of puzhukku and dried-prawn chutney. It was heaven! Was watching something in the laptop while eating. When the plate almost got empty, I was having a struggle in my mind. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I not? Why mother why? Why do you make good food? At last I convinced myself I am having breakfast and lunch together and settled for two more spoonfuls. Evening, I kept my word regarding taking less with the rice that was cooked, but then couldn’t resist emptying the plate in which the puzhukku was kept. So, day 1 determination, epic fail!

Today morning. I was determined, again. I shouldn’t fail. I can do it. The jackfruit temptation is over. Control, control. I had to go to Mukkam in the morning itself. I left after realizing that it was chapathi for breakfast and decided I should hold off hunger until I am back. I can do that. I left. At Mukkam, after I finished my first task of the day and was waiting for a travel agent office to open, i felt really hungry. I thought of the chapathis at home. It would be an hour anyway before I got home. I walked around for a while. I couldn’t resist. I went and had an egg puff and strong tea from restaurant (slowly, slowly, savouring every bit of it). Mia Culpa, Mia Culpa. I promised myself I would eat only two chapathis at home since I had the egg puff.

I came back. Sat along with Akhil to watch Modern Family while having breakfast. I had taken three chapathis, not two. I knew that I would need one more. That’s enough for me. I am determined. I had just taken half of an egg from the egg roast curry, for dietary reasons. The three got over. I am stopping. No, no, don’t tempt me. Don’t, you tasty food, don’t! I ended up having another one, and another one, and another one, and a half. There, I stopped (The last chapathi had been taken by Akhil). I must confess that I took the other half of the egg too. So, six and half chapathis, one egg, one egg puff, one tea, one black tea- my dietary breakfast of today. Late lunch wasn’t so different either (rice, sambar, dried prawns chutney, cherupayar-how could I resist?).

I know it’s just long blabber about food. But you know, it’s the story of my life. It’s 9 PM now. I am going to have dinner (This is my last non-diet dinner, I should eat well and prepare). I am determined now. I will control my food, I will be on a diet, starting tomorrow morning, again… 

It’s the story of my life. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Such a cliché name but 'Hyderabad Blues'- Part I

The Beginning

So, the plan to go for a short visit to Hyderabad starts more than a month ago. For a long time before that half of the phone conversations between Divya* and me were about Hyderabadi Biriyani, the campus, Kim Fung restaurant, and many other things that we miss in our homeland.

*(Divya doesn’t wish to reveal her real name in this piece… Her fake name which she chooses is Anamika Menon; for writing convenience I have shortened the fake name to Divya)

Once we were fixed on going, we abandoned all the plans to pursue Hyderabadi Biriyani in Kochi. We just let know three people about our arrival in Hyderabad on 7th March and asked them to keep the secret- which they did very well. And then, the day of our departure came. I came to Ernakulam North Railway Station and found the super-excited Divya and we boarded the train together. The journey was generally uneventful except for re-living our most favourite classroom memories- we played Bingo, Paper Cricket, Tic Tac Toe, and Poojyam Vettu (no idea what it is in English) just like we did in the back bench of MCJ classes (along with fellow-culprits Rohith, Hanuma, Megha, Anwesha, Omen, Ananthu, and sometimes Asher).

Once it was almost time to reach Secunderabad, my heart started beating faster. Once we got down, without any delay (except for the bad Selfie in front of the station for Whatsapp) , we rushed to Alpha Hotel right opposite- Biriyani calls!

First Biriyani is the Best Biriyani

The waiter takes order; the waiter brings onion and lemon; the waiter brings water; the waiter brings ‘mirchi ka saalan’; the waiter brings ‘raitha’; and finally, the ‘Hundi’ of Biriyani arrives! We watched with sparkling eyes- the fine white and yellow rice being served in our plates slowly and gently from the overflowing Hundi, the chicken piece being divided in two, the orange-red coloured masala part of the rice being served- we looked at each other and smiled- the smile of eternal food salvation! Before taking my first taste I just looked at it- the colours, the aroma, the presence- Ha, food bliss! Divya had already started eating after taking a few pictures for her ‘for memories’ phone gallery. I slowly poured the saalan on top of the biriyani. I first had the rice part alone, then had rice with saalan, then had the chicken.
“Yum Yum Yum…”

Who knows, may be the biriyani wasn’t that great according to the normal standards of Hyderabadi Biriyani, but we wouldn’t know, we wouldn’t care. We were waiting for months for this… and we were hogging with grace!

We are proud Biriyanists! All hail Biriyanism!

(I think I just invented two words)

(To be continued...)

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