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 – a cook; leave alone a chef. Probably that’s the reason you don’t see a category for cooking here, 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 household did not trust me around the kitchen, and there are several reasons for it.

  1. My well-wishers and I did not trust myself around the kitchen fire. For me, it seems 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 may be 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 asked, 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 did not yet graduate from 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? )

India’s love affair with poverty


We can list down a thousand reasons why India cannot lift millions of her citizens out of poverty even to this age. Corruption, the inefficiency of her pillars, the socialistic past, the siphoned off wealth by colonizers, so on and on. Among all undeniably valid excuses, one of the critical factors is probably a psychological one. Various studies and theories on India’s poverty map indicate that the mentality and the torchbearers of Gareebi Hatao could be at blame. Apparently, out revered and romanticized feeling towards poverty is one of the most significant constraints.

Believe it or not, India loves her poor and would like to cherish it. In other words, we subconsciously feel it’s a sin to dream big. While West celebrates Scrooge McDuck and Jordan Belfort showering themselves on dollar bills, India celebrates poor Sudhama, a poverty-stricken childhood buddy of Lord Krishna. Western media, entertainment and literature industries talk about getting rich quickly; their Indian counterparts say it’s absolutely OK to be the poor. Western movies depict insanely lucky at Las Vegas bounties, Vin Diesel robbing bank lockers, and million-dollar lottery wins. Indian, however, its quite the opposite. One of the three idiot’s mothers do not have enough money for roti, and another does not have the cash to buy a camera. Of course, these get a background score of violins playing for gut-wrenching music.

Only Striving for excellence, the will to make a change, and showing impatience towards mediocrity can lift us from poverty, not an endless list of excuses.

Anyways, this is one of the reasons I hate the movie, Slumdog Millionaire. Even though it’s a well-made film, I’m not too fond of it. It has won many, many academy awards. I dislike it, not just despite of, but because of.

Compare this against the OTT series, Scam 1992. It shows two brothers constantly and impatiently looking out for a way to get out of the pigeonhole they lived in.

Singlehandedly, Slumdog millionaire has managed to cause irreversible damage to slum dwellers of Mumbai and pan India. In fact, It has created an entirely undesirable new industry – slum tourism. Despite the quick buck it brings in, it builds a psychological effect on the residents. Its a thought of “it might as well be OK to stay there forever”. I believe you are already aware by now; apparently, there is an entire ecosystem that has evolved just to cater to the slum tourist needs. Tour guides who can help you navigate the slum with the best possible experience. These guides will come packed with water, cookies, sunscreen lotion, identify the best photo opportunity for Instagram, hold you an umbrella and wipe your seats.

Don’t get me wrong, its not an India image I am worried about. Who are we kidding? A slum is a slum. But lets not celebrate it, lets acknowledge it as a staging area of migrant workers abandoned their farming role, and came there in search of better life. And for heavens sake, lets get them out of there.

BTW, The West’s fascination with the underdog is another topic altogether. They simply want to put the underdog on a frame or a cage, exhibit it, and maybe even take a poke at it. I cannot explain this fully, but I believe it is related to the hunger for existential superiority of culture, ideology, and even religion. They love slums, and if it’s legal, they might even make a zoo. Please be informed, I am NOT making this up. This has happened before. History provides a myriad of examples. Let me pick the first one that comes to my mind. Please follow this link for more on same category

An Indian family and their elephant on display at Berlin Zoo through Rare Historical Photos

So you think you are a photographer, eh?


Question. What does it mean to be a good photographer and to take a great capture?

I do not mean to offend a large number of ‘Photographers’ in my social network when I say this. The art is increasingly becoming an act of aiming a camera towards pretty much anything and posting them online. The more disappointing part is the subsequent celebration of mediocrity by their followers.

So what does it really mean to be a photographer? I mean, apart from you being present at the right place at the right time with the right equipment? What makes a photo great? The Niagara Falls looks excellent on its own, how it a valuable addition to make it look it more fantastic? Again, apart from you have bought an expensive camera? [This is a rhetoric paragraph, don’t answer it]

For example, If I point my phone to the sky at 6 PM every day and take a photo with default settings. Does it deserve a WOW? Let me know.

I don’t think so.

Anyways, This is not a “how-to” post; obviously, I don’t seem to have any authority to write about it. However, this post is about a map on the arrogance of social media photographers. Warning: watching this graph can you cause severe urge of self-assessment and could generate profound philosophical epiphanies and inferiority complexes

Source : the great Internet (Not seems to be attributed to anyone specific) – Happy to credit if someone points me to right direction.

Bonus: Once you have taken a random shot, you can use the below technique to make it great.

Bonsai – the Bougainvillea


Have you ever had any items in your bucket list which stayed there for more than 20 years ? I had one,  It was Bonsai !

When I was a kid, I read about Bonsai art in a magazine and instantly added to my bucket list..fast-forward now, I have a tree (not plant) in my living room 🙂

While here, just for additional info, please check out a video from Bonsai Exhibition. The Hwa Fong Exhibition is the most important annual show held in Taiwan, with 26 clubs each submitting 10 trees – the best of Taiwanese Bonsai. One main prize is awarded, with 10 additional gold awards.