My Experiments with cooking

‘Anyone can cook. ‘ But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he (chef Gustavo) meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere* – The Famous by Anton Ego (movie Ratatouille)

chef Gustavo – Ratatouille

Well. That’s not me.

Beyond all reasonable doubts, that’s definitely not me. You can never ever confuse me, even remotely – as a cook; leave alone a chef. Probably that’s the reason you don’t see a category for cooking in my blog, also any posts.

There is no shame in accepting that historically my cooking was limited to recipes of ice cubes and lemonades. Well, that, if you exclude me turning sheeks in Barbecue Nation considered as cooking.

Good people at my household did not trust me around the kitchen, and there are several reasons for it.

  1. My well-wishers did not trust me around the kitchen flame. For me, it was logical to believe a bigger flame can cook the dish faster. Hint: It does not.
  2. I am a curious animal. I tend to open the lid of the blender/mixer to check the consistency. Hint: Don’t do it while running.
  3. I tend to pick the wrong utensil for the wrong dish. Transferring midway through the process is a nightmare, and trust me, people don’t like it.
  4. Although I am good at cleaning, people don’t appreciate its need of having done in the first place. Apparently, avoiding a mess is vital.

There are several other reasons, but you get it. Every time I volunteered to contribute, I was told to get out of the kitchen and was asked to sit in the corner and play with my blog!!

Then about a year back, COVID lockdown happened, and cooking became a matter of survival. Trust me, there are only so many days you can eat noodles in a cup before you start hating it. Ordering-in or eating-out were ruled out. The only option was to cook and eat, burnt or otherwise. So that’s the story. As of today, I am yet to graduate basic cooking. However, one thing for sure, if I am stranded like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, I will survive without having eaten a football 🙂

Here, some photos of my plate and some good stuff on it.

Disclaimer: although I am claiming varying degrees of credits for these, I am obligated to announce I had extra helping hands and monitoring eyes watching over my shoulder that I don’t burn the salads. (Question: how do you burn the salad? )

Bahut Hua Samman (2020) – Movie review

A couple of the movies dropped over OTT this weekend. Probably all of you chose to watch Master by Vijay. But, unfortunately, I can not stand that guy. I know what exactly to expect there – he will be shown in every frame of my TV scratching and rubbing his stubble as if its a kind of skin conditions. I wouldn’t say I liked his antics during the 90s and 00s, and now, I most certainly do not. 

The other option was Bahut Hua Samman (2020) with Sanjay Mishra leading the show. I was promised a slapstick comedy with the nostalgia of a mechanical department of engineering college with the synopsis and reviews. It was indeed a comedy movie if you can tolerate lots and lots of swearing referring to female relatives of each other. 

Good actors and direction make it okay for you to sit for two hours and engaged. That’s it. That’s all the good stuff in it and let me dedicate the rest of the post what I observed beyond the silly comedy.

Baba goes for morning dump with a Bluetooth headset

The movie’s prime protagonist goes after a name ‘Baba‘, whose primary pastime is to take digs at capitalism 24×7. His political ideologies fall somewhere between an anarchist and a Marxist. For example, even though he is recognised in academic circles, he is so rebellious that he openly defecates outside his house. Toilets are for the subjugated and the weak. However, he has customised an Amazon Echo which answers to ‘Apeksha’, who apparently is his imaginary daughter in law. He has ready-made plans for rob banks and even to pull down governments. 

Let me summarise a cliched and predictable plot quickly so that you don’t bother watching it. Two useful for nothing college students (Cliché) gets recruited to baba’s idea of robbing the bank. They eventually manage to reach the locker room with the help of a Union leader like figure (cliché) only to find his sand-mafia acquaintances have robbed it already through the front door. They have an ordinary concubine who shows her skin for living and as her hobby (cliché). Then police, politicians, religious leaders, businessmen and academicians hand in glove with this nexus. Arson hoarding Marxist baba saves the day being Rambo and by donating sperm to IPS officer with her kinky husband. !

Let me list what’s wrong with the movie.

  1. The movie’s flow is inspired by 2008 film “The Bank Job” starring Jason Statham. It is easily predictable when a particular locker was tasked to be picked first to gather scandalous document. 
  2. You remember the recent OTT Tamil movie Mookuthi Amman had a protagonist who calls himself as Engels Ramasamy? He was named after Friedrich Engels for his father’s ideological attachment. That was the first clue that the movie is taking a left and will take a swipe at anything stands against ideology. This movie has something similar. Ever since Sanjay Mishra’s character introduced, there is a constant swipe at liberal economy and capitalism. 
  3. Short selling of Shares !! It’s definitely not a joke in India. Even then, the protagonists bring down a publicly-traded company just with the knowledge they gained from a Brad Pitt movie? 
  4. Akhand Bharat Sansthan is the name of antagonists’ company. It is something similar to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali. They apparently invent a super narcotic and inject into all they FMGC products! They do it being a publicly owned and traded company – nice! 
  5. Can you show name a single Bollywood movie where an industrialist is the right person! Go ahead. You can even start from the year India was economically liberalized. Let’s begin with Shah Rukh’s Baazigar or Anil Kapoor Laadla. Apparently, they are evil by default and no exceptions.
  6. Potty Jokes in 2021! My God!
  7. A comedy movie ends with a Moral to the Youth on how to save democracy! Are you kidding me?  

My experiments with perfume salesmen

Perfume samplers are perhaps a most annoying bunch of salesmen out there. They are like urban cowboys with a set of perfume bottles in their holster and will shoot at a sight like dirty harry. I can not think of a time when I was in a mall and did not get ambushed by this tribe. It is not seldom I ended up buying one of those expensive perfumes, plus came out smelling like a bouquet.

My sympathies are with all those who got scammed in this manner this, welcome to “I got tricked into buying perfume I didn’t like” club. We meet on Thursdays.

For others, I dare you to try once. Go to any mall in India, and this is how the whole process goes:

joey tribbiani as perfume sampler
joey tribbiani as perfume sampler
  • He will start with if you like is “Eau de Toilette” or some other phrases you do not even recognize. That should be your first clue, run for your life. If you easily impressed types and impressed with his knowledge on a few European phrases, you are trapped. Simple psychology is if you do not understand what is asking, most probably you will stick with what he recommends.
  • Then he will ask which flavor of perfume you like, fruity, nutty, or shitty. Do not answer that – it’s a rhetorical question. He will pull one sample no matter whatever you answer. Do not get scared, not at least – not yet.
  • Then, like a ninja pulls a ninja star, he will pull one sampling strip. He does it so fast you will tend to think its magic. If you must ask, go ahead, and enquire if he does birthday parties.
  • What he does next is something amusing. He will pose like Usain Bolt like he did after winning gold. Or maybe it is T’ai chi, you will never know. Anyways, He will hold the paper strip in one hand and bottle in other with an appropriately calculated distance.
  • Then he’ll spray sample into the air, more precise than sparkplug of a four-stroke engine! in slow motion. I was like – OMG spray it already!
  • Before it disperses into the air, he will wave the testing strip where he sprayed. It is like a WOW! This is that exact moment you will think this guy really knows what he is doing, and perhaps did graduate at the top of fragrance sampling class.
  • And just when you think he will give it to you to sniff, wait, there are more steps! How else would this poor fellow justify overpriced liquid? He will blow air on that perfume strip before handing over to you. Do not be surprised if it smells like onion-fish fry he had that afternoon.
  • There is more to the procedure if you challenge his choice of perfume. He will make you smell some coffee beans. Then the process repeats from the beginning.
  • Finally, only four thousand saar! You pay, then you go home having spent entire days budget in one counter,

Let me know your thoughts.

How to write lyrics for Pop/movie songs

One of my super-duper blockbuster hit posts was “How to write lyrics for Bollywood movies“. The post was written during the previous incarnation of this blog, that was back in 2007. Although I am not immensely proud of it, this post escaped culling during my clean-up program. 

Please do read the comments section if you could.

That post went viral in 2007 and eventually flooded with hundreds of comments at various levels of LOL/FOFL/LMAO. I was literally hounded with email addresses and phone numbers asking me to consider them for a chance to write lyrics in an actual Bollywood movie!. Few of them used this opportunity to talk about their love life as well. 

Anyways, I was wondering, why not follow it up with my expanded horizon. Evidently, I am good at it anyways. So here it goes:

Warning: Rest of this post is extremely sarcastic, have a good laugh, it’s good for the heart. 

How to write lyrics for Punjabi pop songs

  1. Always write lyrics in the first person – male. (main, mennu etc.)
  2. Acknowledge that she has seizures inducing level of fair complexion or even Golden (!?!) 
  3. Apparently, Pakistani beauties are so spectacular that explaining it will be blasphemous. Say that.
  4. Tell her you to take her to a Euro-trip.
  5. Tell her you are filthy rich like Scrooge McDuck and can afford to rent expensive transport such as Lamborghini.
  6. Tell her how much alcohol your liver can metabolise per hour. 
  7. Don’t worry; Director/choreographer will create an unmistakable gold digger model character.  

Alright, here it goes :

Oh Soni kudiye , Goriye ..
Tu inna soni hai.. tu India da ni , tu Peshawar do lagdi
Tu inna soni lagdi, the Pakistan do bhaslpany lagdi
Tu menu red flag lagdi , me yahanse jawangi
Tennu London ghumawanga , tennu Paris ghumawanga
Tennu assi Lamborghini dilawanga, ni chahida to Porsche dilawange
Duss tennu ko chahida ..
Mennu Gucci Zara dilade Prada lolui Vuitton dilade
Assi tussi Lamborghini main, aur papa ko no batayenge.
Hongi dope shope , pilavunga 15 bottle vodka. London Police pakdega etc.

How to write lyrics for a Kannada movie song

  1. Again, go for the first-person male unless you are writing super romantic songs, which are not in fashion.
  2. List mundane stuff you do in lyrics. (Use Soap, scrub well, Take a bath, brush teeth and so on. I am not kidding this is an actual song, rather famous one] 
  3. Every alternate word has to be English, and a third should be in Hindi. 
  4. Throw in some double meaning; the second meaning has to be profanity. 
  5. Compare her to barely edible junk food which would like to swallow. (e.g. You look like Schezwan Noodles) 

I do not have written lyrics for you yet. Do let me know if you want me to write one, would take only five min to write industry-standard lyrics. 

How to write lyrics for Bollywood songs.

One of Bollywood lyrical masterpiece !!!!

The 80s and 90s songs had a different pattern which was entirely revered in the last couple of decades. But from last two decades, the lyrical landscape is entirely changed. 

  1. More 40% of Bollywood songs still are Punjabi. I got you covered there in the above section. 40% are remixes of 90s songs. So follow below rules for the remainder 20%.
  2. Be deeply spiritual. Throw in a few Dua, which you asked with your khuda
  3. Go ahead with plagiarism of folk songs and be unapologetic about it.
  4. If you chose not to talk about liquor metabolism, you could always talk about the stuff from Manali.
  5. Naina is the most used the word. Khamoshian stands at a remote second. Understandably, the Pakistani singers pronounce these words rather conveniently, and hence lyrics get tailored as well.

Get someone spit some rap about why are you a better rapper than others and why you owe it to your mother who burnt some roti while you were a kid.

Begging with a thousand apologies

In his famous letter, Srinivasan Ramanajuman Aiyangar, the prodigy from Madras, a mathematics genius wrote to Godfrey Harold Hardy as: “Dear Sir, I beg to introduce myself to you as a clerk in the Accounts Department of the Port Trust Office at Madras on a salary of only £20 per annum.“. I repeat, he ‘begs’ to introduce himself. What un unfortunate use of language. If you discount it as a little ingredient of extra-polite colonial English in British Raj, it’s certainly not. It appears as Indian English while bending over backwards. Even to this date, if we disagree with someone, we ‘beg’ to differ and ‘beg’ for pardon!. 

This kind of usages may have a colonial origin, but we as Indians abundantly overuse it. It is overused it to such an extent it starts to generate mistrust. In fact, there is a stereotype of Indians overuses over-polite words. Take this for an example. A famous English show ‘Mind your Language’ has an Indian among other 10+ nationalities – Ranjeet Singh. The TCS show deals with politically incorrect stereotypes of the pupil of 10+ nationalities. Anyways, Renjeeth’s signature statement in the show is an extra-polite “excuse me” as “a Thousand Apologies.”!!

A Thousand Apologies from famous English show “Mind your Language”

More often than not, this kind of usage can get us into trouble. This either sounds like the absence of directness and considers the writer is at an inferior state (of class) as against the audience. Or, there is a possibility of it delivering a complete opposite of intended meaning.  Let me take another example. Hope you remember the CEO of India Today Group had to apologize for his blatant plagiarism in his editorial? Its been 10 years and I still remember – its such a shame.

Here it goes:

Dear Mr Hendrix, As you are surely aware we have apologized to our readers for the inadvertent error in which part of your article on Rajinikant got published in my letter from the editor. I would like to apologize to you as well. I have also written to the Editor of Slate magazine. Sincerely, Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today

Naturally, Grady Hendrix was pissed-off when he got this letter. The very next days. He goes on to blog his frustration in a post on what perceives to be wrong with this apology. Here it is , It would be best if you could read it; Its probably one of the best posts I have read in a decade. I agree with Grady for the most part of the post. That, specifically on Arun’s use of “I would like to apologize to you as well…”. Does this sound like an apology at all?

There is a massive difference between intent to apologies and actually apologizing.

That’s it. This post was about two letters. 🙂 Let me know what do you think. I ‘would like’ to ‘beg’ for your opinion even if it ‘begs’ to differ.  

Interestingly, even my text editor knows what’s wrong with Arun’s letter :-). The editor is asking me to correct his letter.

I would like to

P.S. I have some list of extra-sweetened phrases feel free to add more.

  • ‘What’s your good name?’.
  • “Please don’t mention it” as a response to thanks.