Zaika e Nizamuddin

When people talk of passion, I go ‘huh, who stole my bag when I was coming down on the earth train?” However, the good part about being bored is you walk into the most interesting stuff from time to time. Let me tell you the story. Aga Khan Foundation set out with their community outreach program in Nizamuddin basti. The first thing they noticed is the malnutrition among the basti children. A little more research showed that a major reason for it was the fast…Continue Reading “Nizamuddin Eleven and Zaika-e-Nizamuddin pop up”

The Mumbai spirit is they go to office and carry on as usual even when the city is under 3 feet of sewage water. The Chennai spirit is they will take a boat and give food to some old person who has gone hungry for three days in due to flood. The Bangalore spirit they can drive past toxic foam from lakes, take photos and upload on Facebook and carry on as usual. The Delhi spirit is when the air is poison at 999, children…Continue Reading “Hoping Delhi does not have the Mumbai spirit”

rabi ray delhi school of economics

I was never a good student. Never too bright for teachers to take notice. Too silent and arrogant to talk to teachers unless talked to. And, given the perverted ideas I had in childhood, for a long time I thought anything that is useful can not be taught. Anyway, in short, teachers and me were like oil and water – contact made, but no transfer was possible. And, then, this guy happened at Delhi School of Economics. Oddball to the core, ram headed and would…Continue Reading “To the only teacher I had”

vertigo bar bangkok

Every time, we go out of Delhi, I feel rich. Other Indian cities don’t compare. Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai, Pondicherry etc are way cheaper. No expensive restaurant there would shock you. In Bangkok, Vertigo, which is on 62nd floor and is ranked one of the best bars in the world had dishes and drinks priced around 900 rupees (450 baht). The drinks came with 2 chips and wasabi peanuts. Then with food, we got a bag of chips and prawn and mayo complimentary. We ate at…Continue Reading “Something shady about Delhi restaurant prices”

banyan tree and urban planning

I have become a tree spotter now. Living 50 kilometers from office in Delhi has only one upside – look at the trees on both sides and talk about the greening drives, compare delhi and noida and bitch about the diminishing diversity that horticulture depts should be blamed for. When I was a child, the village had the mandatory temple as the hanging out spot. On one side was a irrigation canal, on another a river as wide as my little finger, there was my…Continue Reading “Banyan tree and urban planning”

jom jom malay

Okay, I don’t think I have been so wowed by a place lately, the last I can remember was Guppy. There were three of us, three hardcore, best of the world, eaten pluto out of planethood foodies. And, all three agreed on the same. Jom Jom Malay in Ansal Plaza is how those serious about food should go about their job. In the city of Priyank Sukhijas, there is someone who is sincere. The place is small, there is no fuss, staff is courteous and…Continue Reading “Jom Jom Malay – Malaysian food in Delhi”

There are things we do because we like them, not because we care about the world or are eco warriors or are conservators etc. In one of my earlier posts, i had mentioned how we created a balcony garden, failed, hired a mali, fired a mali and then i started composting kitchen waste and the balconies turned into Amazonian forests. But it seems not all efforts lead to good things. That a tenth floor balcony is not a safe place. That you can’t have your…Continue Reading “The monster in my hibiscus pot and the dangers of organic farming”

There is a term in English – whine. It is a senseless, irrational white noise that grabs your attention and keeps you off more important stuff. Whiners are attention seekers who employ it as a strategy. The upperclass, elite, cool cats – or whatever they call themselves in Delhi – are masters of the art. In a metropolis of nearly ten million, you would hardly hear other voices. Just a few dominate all discussion, all perspectives, all city planning – without any value addition. The…Continue Reading “In support of car free zones and rooftop ban in CP”

PVR Anupam is. It’s still the old theater with no legroom, the size of a drawing room. Just that the sounds is too loud for a small room and that is good at some times. The loos are clean and the food counters are decent too. But, more than the theater, I thought the PVR Anupam complex was dead, way past its glory days. I expected a crematorium type of scene there. But on a weekday, at 11 in the night, it was more like…Continue Reading “PVR Anupam complex is not dead”

jamali kamali mosque mehrauli

The place is supposed to be haunted, I have no idea. Went there in mid day and the sum total of all the horror movies I have seen tell me that ghosts come out only at night. So, if you are looking for an account of it as a haunted place, please carry on. Or you can  head to the Rajon ki Baoli or Adham Khan tomb and Gandhak Baoli nearby. My experience of Jamali Kamali was one of intrigue and beauty. There are two structures…Continue Reading “Jamali kamali mosque and tomb, Mehrauli”

rashtriya sanskriti mahotsav ignca

I have not been to many food events so can’t say much as an authority. But I remember writing about the street food festival which was a disaster and a few others which were restaurant driven and a little too templatized. Against that background, the food fest Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav looks like seriously good work. There is food from many states, many of which were never seen before. Who knows of a Mising cuisine that has dishes like porog adin, purang apin and also rice…Continue Reading “Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav, IGNCA”

dhunuchi naach delhi

Dhunuchi is the Bengali term for the whole set of jhuna or dhuna – jhuna being the plant resin of sal tree. First, let me explain what a whole set means. It includes the resin, dried coconut husk and an earthen receptacle to hold the fire. When you set fire to the husk and throw the resin on top, it sets off fragrant smoke. And, that is the point of the whole exercise – fragrance. Actually, that’s not the whole point. Jhuna is offered during…Continue Reading “Dhaak & Dhunuchi naach, Durga Puja Pandal”

cybercity gurgaon

The skyline is very well designed. The ground looks unattended. What sort of streetfood can you have on streets that are not meant for walking? That’s the subject of my Livemint article. I look at streetfood more from a urban planning perspective. Read it here on Livemint.

yolo cafe hudson lines

Why north campus, you may ask? In order to enjoy autumns, you need open areas, walking paths, trees and wind, tea places and some quietness. There is no other place in Delhi that matches North Campus in all these aspects. So, here is what you can do in a day in the campus if you start really early in the morning. 1. Walk in the ridge Start early. By early I mean 7 o’clock or earlier. You can join the morning walkers with walking sticks…Continue Reading “Things to do in Delhi Autumn: North Campus”

ittar shop nizamuddin

Do you use ittar? I do. Where do you get yours from? Chandni Chowk, that shop at the corner of Janpath, Nizamuddin or Jamia Nagar? I know the ones in Chandni Chowk come from 100 buck a bottle of 10 ml and the ones in Janpath are only a slightly more expensive. You can get Davidoff cool water and most other well known fragrances there too. I know a senior in an ad agency I worked for refilled his Cool Water with Chandni Chowk stuff….Continue Reading “Ittar shopping in Delhi”

godmothers of delhi streets

I have written about Raju naan wale dwarka in another post but this one is about the owner. Sometime back, there was much talk about this lady who sold chole kulche from a streetside cart in Gurgoan. Her family had fallen on bad times and they owned SUVs and so the story went. But here is the godmother version of the story. This kulche stall has such a huge rush during all hours. I was there on a lean day and probably that’s how I…Continue Reading “The godmothers of Delhi streets: Dwarka”

Devi Kamakshi Mandir Aruna Asaf Ali Marg

Most of the times, I spot temples when I am looking for flowers. In this instance too, we spotted the heaps of flowers and then spotted the temple. There are no photography prohibited signs but a pot bellied, sandal tattooed priest moved towards us, shaking his head and waving his arms, even though we were far outside the temple premises. But if one thing I have learnt about priests from all my temple visits is that these guys can turn to goons in a moment….Continue Reading “Devi Kamakshi Mandir, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg”