27 December 2011

What is this bluetooth error?

I haven't been able to post any pics, thanks to Windows 7 (i think) & some bluetooth thing that's missing on my laptop.. anyone know what that means?

24 December 2011

Never too Busy to Care- Save our Strays!

About 2 years ago, I was on the road, on a date, coming back from a picnic spot near Electronic City. My date and I had just gone to some neat places that side of town, like the Central Jail, the Infosys building and the like.

Just as we were talking about our day, we passed by a stray Daschund. It had all the marks of a well kept dog, lost on the road- a well maintained coat, stained with mud and pieces of what looked like straw. It had a pair of gigantic eyes, possibly larger than usual because of the trauma it'd endured recently.

As we stopped close to it, I remember it looked with hope and then with fear as it took a few steps back. I wanted to scoop up the little fella, and take him away to an animal shelter, or better yet, home. I had a labrador, a year old, who was just recovering from a surgery.

It pains me till now, to say it, but nothing came out of it. We'd stopped temporarily, and in all honesty, I lacked the courage of my conviction to do something for that dog. And as quickly as we had stopped, we resumed our journey..

To break up my emotions, I remember feeling confused and conflicted. How would I know that the dog was ok, and not bite me. How would I then take him half way across town to KRUPA.. and what would happen to my date, who didn't seem too eager to help out. And then the impossible thought, what if its owners were just around the corner, and I took him away.

By the time I'd made a decision, we were not too close to the Daschund. We returned, but couldn't find him. My worst thoughts were, that he'd run into the road and got himself killed. I've never let go of that, and I know to a lot of people reading this, it may seem to be a case of making a mountain out of a mole hill.. but that's not true. Any pet owner's worst nightmare, is that this would happen to their dog, their child.

So what can we do?

- Trust your instincts. Listen to yourself, believe in yourself and believe that you know the right thing to do.

- Put yourself in their position. What would you want, and are you in a position to give them that.I know that that dog needed shelter, food and comfort, and yes I was in a position to give him that.

- There's nothing to fear but fear itself, they say. Step up and be the best that you can be, when there's a situation that you are not sure of.

- And if all of this doesn't ring to you, then fine, offer monetary help to the shelter nearest to you. It could be for pets, humans, abused women.. what ever it is, it cannot and will not be a bad thing, to donate so that it activates others who want to help.

- Lastly, time cannot be a hindrance, only an excuse, not a reason. I know that I can never get that moment again, and I've never forgotten it. If time was the reason, I wouldnt still be feeling guilty, would I?

15 December 2011

Toscano- A Review: Candle lit Bliss!

You know how we're all watching the Master Chef Master Class episode and they tell you how to "smoke a salmon"- Wood chips~really? or they say apple compote with raisins.. confit tomatoes, or goat cheese, feta cheese, ravioli, duck breast etc etc...

And you know how the food looks so pretty and sometimes so structural that you watch Gary & the rest cut into it, and serve themselves and you wonder.. crap, did they get everything?

Want an experience like that?

Go to Toscanos. Located in UB City & in Forum Value Mall, this place is on the expensive side (we're talking Rs 1500 for 2, no drinks).. BUT worth the experience. The food is delicious and fresh. I tripped on the basil leaves served as garnish, not one stem out of place, or leaf damaged.

Let me break up the meals...

Dish 1: Tartare of Smoked Salmon
Price: Rs 385
Rating: 5/5
Liked: Everything about it... firstly it's got so many things going on. The cold salmon, smoked & salty as a base. Then a disc of chopped blanched (i think) apples in light creamy vinagarette, flavored with some mustard to lend it a balanced sweet and sour taste. Some where in it, put not a part of it are raisins that defintely give it a slightly chewy texture, topped with some salad leaves tossed in olive oil.
All together, it was sooo delicious, in such a different way, that my taste buds were all over the place in excitement. Would I order this again? NO..only because they've left me soooo curious to try every other appetizer on that menu (cept for the beef one of course)

Disliked: In all honesty, nothing. I have a feeling that this dish alone may just have made me continue to write a very deserving, yet biased review.

Dish 2: Classic Chicken Parmigiana
Price: Rs 395
Rating: 4/5

Liked: Again, not much to criticise..except maybe the portion of meat. Recently, I turned vegan and kind of turned out of it, and this had 2 portions of flattened chicken breast. I couldn't eat a lot of it, needless to say a lot of the meat ended up on my companion's plate. The pasta promodoro, was so fresh again, it was simply delightfull and it came with an olive oil & salad leaf combo..so to speak (sounds sooo mc donalds!)

Disliked: As mentioned above, the portion of meat to carbohydrates. But that could just be a 'me' thing. Another aspect that I was disapointed with was just the whole thing: I've made parmigiana at home before, and not that I'm boasting but this tasted very similar to it. Ofcourse I used store bought tomato, and used the kitchen roller to flatten the meat (so it wasn't smooth as a aeroplane run strip) but, it wasn't a whole lot different. It was presented beautifully, but I guess I was expecting something more awesome.

Dish 3: Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Price: Rs 425
Rating: 4/5

Liked: Again, the food was impeccable. The meat well done (I guess if you like any other variation, you should let the waitor know, just because most Indians like it well done and they'd assume unless you specified). My companion had this, and this is how they liked their food too. Along with it came some pan tossed vegetables, and a blanched tomato topped with cheese. The filler on this plate, strangely enough, was not the meat but the potato gratin. Long slices of potato (thing lasagne) with cream & cheese.. not your standard cheddar- for sure! With this, and a little bit of my chicken, we actually refused beer (the machine was faulty when we went and by the time they had fixed it, we had to turn it down).

Disliked: I think.. it was mainly the portion of meat. It was about the size of a small palm (sans fingers), and what we were expecting to get was the standard steak that you get.. or rather see in cartoons (remember Madagascar & Marty being a steak?)But what the heck, it was still stomach occupying.. and the plates were absolutely clean, so it wasn't THAT much of a problem.

Watered Down With: Nothing but good old water. Over all, go here for your anniversary, a quiet first date or to service home sick foreigners. It also qualifies as White Zone which does mean, the porportion of home grown desis to folks from other countries are askewed. The ambience is beautiful (Christmas tree, chalk drawings of everything), the service friendly, the waitors knowledgeable.. and do write your own review of how your night went. That way I know what else to try when I go there next time.

P.S. I went to the one in Forum Value Mall, and yes, you honestly forget you're in a mall.

Sets You on Fire!- A Bangalorean Evening

It's just not my day today, Chandru thought to himself as he swerved the auto heavily to the left. The sharp turn saw the auto temporarily shift all its weight to the wheel on the left. His heart jumped to his throat and his stomach felt like it had been punched. He couldn't afford another repair this month.

The auto had just rebalanced when Chandru spotted trouble. The nets had been thrown out to sea, the fishermen were out to catch their livelihood. A police jeep and a pride of inspectors had placed themselves strategically along the road. It felt to Chandru like the shit had just hit the fan, as he braced himself for the impending attack.

Royola, the cop who made the most off of the delinquents on the roads, grinned ear to ear. His favorite automan had just driven right into the trap. He could not help but have excited spring to his step, as he strutted over to the unfortunate automan.

"Hello hello, where's your uniform?"
"Just about to put it on sir"
"Why don't you already have it on?"
"Just thought I'd put it on while I wait for my passengers sir"
"Which passengers? There's no one here, and you just rolled yourself in"
"Oh, no Sir, just took a quick U turn!"

The aptly named Inspector looked around with a smirk. He'd won, quick thinking Chandru had failed. Time to collect. How much will it be now? Should he add some for the time he was trying to take Chandru's number down for speeding, and Chandru drove over muddy pot hole water in such a manner as to distract the inspector enough to loose him. And maybe some more for parking at the bus stand a few days ago and escaping a fine by convincing his boss that he was merely stopping to take a quick toilet break.. or the other time..

"Thanks for waiting sir!" Royale's thoughts were interrupted, with the sound of the cheery voice of an IT employee. No, this cannot be happening again.
"What do you want madam?" Royale quizzed.
"An auto sir, what else?"

Chandru caught on- who ever this lady was, here was an escape route. "See, I told you I was waiting on a customer," he beamed. Royale felt his grip on his victory slip- NO. This could not happen again.

"Get out of the auto, now, challo.. let's go"

They both marched over to Royale's boss.

"Sir, this fellow didn't have a uniform and he parked in a no parking zone"

"But sir, I was waiting for a passenger and I was in the process of putting on my uniform"

"The passenger just came sir, he's lying"

"That's ok, call her over here,"
commanded the Supervisor.

The now quick heeled cop, rearranged the scene quickly enough to have the IT employee in the fore front of the conversation with Royale's supervisor.

"Where are you going?"
"To Andrew Park Hotel"
"How much is the meter from here to the hotel?"
"Unsure sir..."
"Ok, give Rs 100 now to me, pay the driver's fine.I'm sure it will be more than that..we haven't asked him yet but he will say he doesn't have money,"
he barked.

Chandru creased his forehead in worry. He needed all the money he could get, he hadn't paid rent in months for the auto and the owner was threatening to take it away if all of it couldn't be paid in the next few days. And with the repairs on the auto the last few days.....

"I don't have money, Inspector"
"Big company and all and you have no cash?"
"I needed to withdraw"
"Show me your purse"
"Here you go Inspector, I have coins worth 20 bucks if you want"
she said handing over a palm full of coins.

The inspector looked over. Royale looked, it wasn't much, but it was something. Chandru looked at the palmfull, and yes, he needed that too...

The inspector contemplated.. how much was his dignity worth? Ha! Atleast more than this, he thought to himself and with a brush of his hand, he'd dismissed the incident as an unfortunate memory.

Royale's face fell, no appeals- this was yet another epic fail.

Chandru looked over to his saviour woman, and signalled her in.He grinned ear to ear.. he'd won, but more importantly, he didn't loose.

"Madam, thank you madam" he said with sincere gratitude.

"That's ok, they're here every day trying to scrounge money off. Quick thinking, you had to shout out that excuse loud enough for me to help you!" said the IT lady, before getting distracted by the sound of her phone ringing.

Chandru's day had just turned into something else!

05 December 2011

Girl In the Mirror- Book Review

Cecelia Ahern wrote PS I Love You.. and this book too: Girl In The Mirror.

It's composed of two short stories and more importantly is preluded by the following paragraph, that sets the scene for the stories that you are about to read.

"There's no use trying, one can't believe impossible things"- Alice (in Wonderland)

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger I did it for half hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,". And so the author asks you to believe in the impossible, and is followed by two impossible stories.

The first is Girl in the Mirror: a story of a woman who lives in the mirror and steals people's lives or their eyes. I didn't like this story very much, unless there was a hidden meaning to it somewhere.

The second is called The Memory Maker: this is a story of a man who has invented a machine that can change the most important memories, alter regrets. The underlying theme of the story is, everyone deserves the opportunity to erase regretfull memories. This was a very touching story, written sparsely.

The book retails at Rs 199 at stores, but you can get it discounted at Flipkart.com :)

04 December 2011


What is the most unique dish that I have had.. thought long and hard about this one, and finally, on the basis of "there's nothing else like it", the Chinese Mooncake qualified.

Whilst I've had the cake many times, the last time I had the pleasure of biting into the hardended outer crust, soft azuki bean layer- lotus seeds adding the additional crunch and finally the salted duck egg crust (draw back pool of saliva in mouth) was magically enough, on a ferry in Hong Kong.

With the night at 10 degrees, we were travelling away from the mainland to the Ladies market and I'd popped into a bakery at the ferry station and picked up a patterned delicacy. Generally, there are words written on the cake, I've always assumed it would say good luck.. or have a good day.. But I'm guessing there's something different to that.

Typically found in East/South East Asia, it's so popular there's even a festival named after it- the mooncake festival celebrated mid autumn. Thousands of paper lanterns, coloured by candle light and shaped by different types of paper litter the night as children & adults walk through streets celebrating the festival. I forget now the point of the walk, but I do remember the banter and the ghost hunting that happened with the festival.

So what exactly is it? It's much like a sweet pie, although that description sounds like an aberration to the delicately pretty mooncake. Theres a layer of crust, Wikipedia tells me there's serveral types of crust, I've only ever had the chewy crust. The crust has the silent sheen of egg white, and can have patterns imprinted on it. Patterns like lotus flowers or inscriptions of lucky words.

This is followed by a mildly sweet paste that could be made of several fillings- popularily red azuki bean paste, lotus seed paste or yam paste. Right at the middle is the moon, or a yellow salted egg yolk (again mildly salted- that crumbles at a bite. This is so that if you're eating the mooncake with any direction, it is the crust that you will start with and it is the crust that you will end with.

Living in India, I haven't come across the cake anywhere.Thanks to Master Chef 2's contest, I've developed a strong craving for it.Should you know where to find mooncake, do let me know, especially in Bangalore.. I'll be happy to review! :)