Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New beginnings

It's been more than 4 years that I've starting blogging. From mood swings to breaks from my blog to blogging almost everyday. From writer's block to blogging challenges. It's been a hell of a journey and I have learnt a lot.

But now it's time to move on! No, I am not leaving the blogging world. Just shifting my blog to a new home. 

I am feeling sentimental about leaving blogger behind but C. S Lewis has summed it up perfectly for me.

So if you know me and are wondering where to find me now, just click on the link below. 


Cheers, and loads of love

Monday, April 21, 2014

You know what harassment looks like?

You know what harassment looks like?

A 13 year old girl followed home from the rickshaw stand by a labourer on a cycle.

You know what harassment looks like?

A 14 year old girl followed from her home to her tuition by a fat man making lewd gestures with his fingers near his crotch. 

You know what harassment looks like?

A 14 year old girl too scared to go back to her tuition. 

You know what harassment looks like?

A man trying to get a feel of a teen's breasts in a 5 minutes auto ride after dark.

You know what harassment looks like?

Not having the option of getting down from the auto because you're too scared about not getting any other transportation back home.

You know what harassment looks like?

 Having your breasts compared to melons

You know what harassment looks like?

Having to hear young boys sing "pee loon " as you walk down the road.

You know what harassment looks like?

Hating the songs for ages after that

You know what harassment looks like?

Having to change routes because it's dark and you're walking home alone. 

You know what harassment looks like?

Feeling unsafe in your lane when one of the street lights breaks down. 

You know what harassment looks like?

 Men and women staring at your cleavage

You know what harassment looks like?

Feeling the need to cover up  your cleavage.

You know what harassment looks like?

Covering your face with your bag because some random guys have started clicking pictures of your girls with their phones at your bus stand.

You know what harassment looks like?

Having to do that everyday.

You know what harassment looks like?

Knowing your sister will be harassed and she's barely 10.

You know what harassment looks like?

Coming back home to hear your 11 year old sister recount her scary story of how she was followed home from the bus stand. 

You know what harassment looks like?

Witnessing the same fat guy that followed you ages ago, masturbating outside your house.

You know what harassment looks like?

Instinctively knowing that the fat guy probably harasses the students of the all girls school opposite your home. 

You know what harassment looks like?

Having to explain what harassment looks like.

You know what harassment looks like?

The fatigue from the countless times you've explained what harassment looks like. 

Street harassment is something all women are handed on a ready plate and told to deal with. Because, "men will be men" and "such is a women's life"; so on and so forth. 

This post is completely based on my and my sister's experiences. 

Most women will relate. A few men will try to imagine. Some will understand. Most men will dismiss it as another write up by a bitchy, whining women who thinks her life sucks.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Perplexing painters

We have painters working in the house. And it's pretty weird and awkward. They are working on the exterior right now but will move in pretty soon.  I can hear them work, I can hear their comments. It reminds me of the time a a labourer suffered from mistaken identity because of me. I am a bit disconcerted and a bit flustered by the possible lack of privacy. It's going to be a long month.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Street food at Lord Sinha road,

Lord Sinha Road near Exide crossing is one of my favourite streets in Calcutta. For three years, I walked from Exide to Lord Sinha Road in the morning. It houses my college and just walking through it brings back so many memories. I adore the location of my college, with a mall right opposite ( Emami market) and another 2 minutes away ( Metro plaza) and one more just 7 minutes away (Forum) we had loads of places to hang out when we bunked classes. ( ah, 2nd year!) And if you don't like shopping and ACs, there is food! So many outlets and so many hawkers. You are literally spoiled for choice. 

Calcutta ofcourse has no competition when it comes to street food. And I am not being biased. We have so many options at such pocket friendly prices. And Lord Sinha  is a thriving destination for hawkers with street food; what with a couple of schools and colleges around and a couple of malls; add to that the numerous offices! There is bound to be business.

So today I decided it's time re-discover the road and see what has changed.  

At the mouth of the street is a tea stall, a muri wala and a guy who sells  standard dal and rice at very affordable prices. Offic-goers and labourers are alike at front of this stall. I got my first shock when I tried looking out for my favourite marwari snack shop. My friends I used to depend on that shop for lunch on many occasions. Khasta, kachori, puri and alu, samosas- yum! And guess what I saw today? The shope had been replaced by a parlour. Very disappointing; I would choose food over make up any day.

Anyway, I kept walking further down, towards all  the hawkers lined up.  First the achar wala, I bought achar ( not exactly pickle but a concoction of tangy tamarind and spices) for old times sake. ( I still have half of it in my bag) The guy remembered me! That made me smile. Right next to him was the puchka wala. ( There are 3 puchka walas on this road!) I felt like having puchka but I didn't coz I was aiming for something else. I moved on and spotted a new hawker- selling chaat and corn. Well, new guy so a no. 

There is pure veg restaurant called Ridhi Sidhi at the entrance of Emami market. It's pretty good and does great business. The 2nd puchka wala is also located outside the restaurant and gets paid by the restaurant owner. Further down the street there is a outlet famous for it's pau bhaji. It's called Mayaram's and my aunts gave me rave reviews. It's not a personal favourite since my mom makes absolutely wonderful pau bhaji but it's popular, so there you have it. Outside the shop there is a guy who sells lassi, soda sikanji ( fresh lime soda, duh!) sherbbat and masala coke. I made a mental note of coming back once I had eaten something.

Next in line was a guy selling puri chane. I have had his fare during my college time and he is good. Then I saw a guy selling veg momos. Now, I 'm a big fan of momos but no veg momos for me, thanks. After him the chilla guy was standing. If you don't know what chilla is please ask a Punjabi friend ( ok since I'm Punjabi and very nice I will tell you. It's a flat pancake made of either besan or dal, sprinkled with chopped onions, tomatoes and chillis. We often make it for breakfast. It's the north version of uttapam. ) His chillas are yum but  didn't want to spend my money on something I can easily get at home. ( By now you must be thinking I'm fussy and not easily please and why the heck am I not eating already!) 

And now my current favourite- tikki chana. This snack is very common in Delhi but a rare sight here in Calcutta where streets are lined with puchkwalas and muriwalas and roll stalls. And the guy knows me. He remembers that I had to go back disappointed one day because hw had just wrapped up. Imagine, deep fried alu tikkis ( please don't tell me to explain tikkis...) topped with tangy chole, imli, spices and onions. Delicious. Mouth watering. 

I talked to the tikki wala while he was making them. He has been selling tikkis for more than 25 years he said. and so many others like him have been standing, selling their fare for years and years. When his next customer came, he asked the hawker if the price was same. He answered in the affirmative and then added- " Prices badenge iss baar, abhki baar modi sarkar ( Ok, he didn't say that but he did say that the prices may increase. ) Anyway, after I was finished I praised his food and moved towards the shikanji wala for a drink and then walked back to Exide to go back home.  I must mention that there are three more hawkers on this street- another puchka wala, another shikanji wala and another guy who sells chana. 

If you're craving Calcutta street food and want a huge variety, you must come to Lord Sinha road. It's a busy street with loads of cars and pedestrians and ofcourse street food hawkers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Food, foodies and my babies

I invited a bunch of my friends over to my place yesterday for food trials or taste tests. I had made two things- creamy baked veggies and lemon pudding. And I got a lot of compliments. One of them even said that I should start a food blog. 

Well, well well. Maybe I will. Maybe not a separate blog but a separate feature to this blog. One of my goals for 2014 is to have a better blog, write everyday and start  the process of getting published ( don't know if the getting published bit can happen, but I am trying. ) I don't know if I am good enough to get published but I can hope, can't I?

Anyway, back to food. I still am an amateur at the food thingy but well keep the compliments coming. This girl needs it. 

A food feature huh? Where I talk about food and how it excites me and I try out new recipes. The problem is eating food does not excite me as much as cooking does. I am not a foodie. I won't try weird food. ( So don't offer me sushi. ) I hardly try new meat(though I am open to trying veggies.).

Maybe I will be qualified to start a feature once I am married and cook more regularly. Right now I focused on trials for my business . ( I make chocolates and bake. )  Looking for recipes, modifying them, avoiding eating too much of what I make ( I am dieting ) and looking for feedback from people.

I want to try a lot of things with my blog. I like the way it's shaping up. A little of this, a little of that. Not focused on one thing. Just like me. This blog is very me. Mostly. I have two babies- my business and my blog. I want both to be reflections of who I am. And even though it's taking a little time, it's happening. That makes me really happy.

P. S. I have a driving test tomorrow. And I' m starting swimming again!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Uncovering Calcutta: Calcutta in 3 days Part 2

This is part two of my post Uncovering Calcutta: Calcutta in 3 days. Since that post was getting two long I decided to make a separate post for Day 3. If you have not read that post I would suggest that you read it before reading this. Read Part 1

In the previous post I have covered attractions and sight seeing spots in South and Central Calcutta. In Day 3 I am talking about North Kolkata. 

North Kolkata is fascinating because it still retains the old world charm. Distinguished from rest of Calcutta by  tiny lanes and old building this area comprises of Burrabazar, Bagbazar, Jorasako, Chitpur, Belghachia, Shyambazar, Sobabazar and College street.

Day 3

6. am Breakfast at Podder Court at Tiretti bazar

Head towards Podder court and ask someone for Chattawala gully. You will be surprised to see the hustle bustle at such an early hour. You will find lines and lines chinese and Tibetian vendors selling Chicken momos, pork momos, Shu Mei, Sausages, Prawn wafers, Tai Paos and so much more. By 8n am these people are done selling and wrap up and leave. Go to the same place after 8.15 and all you will see are cars and trucks, not a hint of any vendor. 

If is too early for you and/or you're a vegetarian start your day at 9 pm at

9. am Breakfast at Mitra Cafe, Shovabazar 

Famous for it's brain chop, cutlets and Afgani cuisine, this century old eatery is not something you would like to miss. 

11. am Shovabazar Raj Bari

The Rajbari  was constructed by Maharaja Nabakrishna Debthis huge ancestral house is open to visitors throughout the year.  Durga Puja, Holi, Kali Puja are celebrated with much grandeor and anyone can join in. I have experienced the grandeur during Durga Puja and all I could say was "wow".

12 pm. Jorasako Thakur Bari, Girish Park

This is the ancestral home of Rabindranath Tagore, Currently located inside  Rabindra Bharati University, walking inside feels like taking a peak into history. The original house has been restored and items used by Rabindranath and his family members are showcased. The Thakur Bari also has a museum which showcase Rabindranath's paintings,  photographs, books and personal journals.

Timings: Monday – Friday 10.00 am - 5.00 pm - Saturday 10.00 am  1.30 pm 






1.30 Marble Palace

A 19th century mansion built by a merchant and famous for it's marble walls and floors. It's built in the Italian Gheto art style  Since The place is still a residence, a permit must be obtained 24 hours in advance from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau at BBD Bag, Kolkata. Inside you will find an amazing collection of statues, fountains and other bric bacs. This place is hidden away from many and is perhaps one of the underrated sights in Kolkata

2.30 Lunch

4 pm Indian Botanical gardens, Howrah

Best known for the The Great Banyanan enormous banyan tree that is supposed to be the largest in the world ( 330 mts circumference.) You will also be able to see beautiful orchids, pine trees and palm trees. Time to get lost...

Other attractions in Howrah

  • Howrah bridge- Rabindra Setu and Vidysagar Setu
  • Moulik Ghat, under Howrah bridge- Asia's biggest wholesale flower market



6 pm Boi  para and Indian Coffee House, College Street

Walk through bou para( colony of books), the place to be if you're a booklover with a budget in Kolkata. The lanes are lined with stalls which sell second hand books, academic books, magazines, old editions of journals. You name it, they have it. It is the largest second-hand book market in the world and largest book market in India

College Street is also home to the Indian Coffee House in Calcutta. Notable citizens like Rabindranath and Subhas Chandra Bose have been visitors to this place. Famous personalities who have patronised this place include Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak,  Manna Dey and Amartya Sen. Many movies have said to be visualized there and many books written. Though it has degenerated, it is still frequented by young and old alike for prolonged adda sessions and discussions. Visit, to get a feel of the intellectualism. You may not like the coffee but conversation will flow. 

Other landmarks situated on college street include
  • Medical College
  • University of Calcutta
  • Presidency University
  • Hare School
 Now you know why it's called college street!

7.30 Dinner at Peter Cat, Park Street

Peter Cat has been for decades the place to dine for the foodie. There may be a waiting ( even on weekdays and non peak hours) wait for a bit ( it will be worth it)  and enter one of the city's favourite restaurants. By all means look at the menu. Infact look at the drinks menu, you will enjoy it. (I am not revealing why) But order the Chelo kebab-something you wont get anywhere else. Dont order anything else- just Chelo kebab. You will not regret your decision.

9 pm. Prinsep Ghat, Strand  road

Now that you have had your fill, head towards Strand Road and you will reach Princep Ghat. Located between Water gate and St George's Gate of Fort William and named after James Prinsep, the monument is rich in Greek and gothic inlays. You can see the Hugli river and also go for a romantic boat ride. Take a stroll along the beautified river front ( You can walk upto Babughat) or sit idle and enjoy the gentle breeze. A perfect ending to a perfect day

Other attractions nearby
  • Babughat, another popular destination. You can go on a ferry ride from here
  • Millenium Park, an amusement Park
  • Floatel- the floating Hotel
  • Fort William

Landmarks and important structures/buildings to see in Calcutta ( In no particular order)


  • Writers Building ( seat of government )
  • Raj Bhavan (Residence of the governor)
  • GPO
  • Lalbazar Police Head quarters
  • Shahid Minar, 
  • National Library
  • St John's Church
  • Alipore Zoo
  • Aquatica
  • Nicco park
  • Netaji Indore Stadium
  • Eden Gardens
  • New Town Eco Park,
  • Race Course pavillion ( largest horse race venue in India)
  • Science City, EM Bypass
  • BITM 
  • Alipore Zoo

Three days well spent. There are ofcourse loads other landmarks and places to see in Calcutta. There will always be something you will miss. You need to keep on visiting a place to discover it better. Who knows, you may fall in love with the city of joy and keep coming back. 

Uncovering Calcutta: Calcutta in 3 days

While A is the expert when it comes to planning itineraries, I too am getting the hang of making them. A couple of weeks back A friend visited Calcutta and we got a chance to plan a three day Calcutta itinerary and try our hand at being tour guides.

 Day 1 Breakfast at Blue Sky Cafe, Sudder Street New market Area

I have loads of memories associated with this place. A couple of blind dates and my first breakfast date with A has been spent here. They serve good quality continental fare and so are frequented by foreigners living nearby as well as tourists. I love their nutella pancakes and Shepard's pie and Irish coffee and so I tell everyone to go there!

11. am. Indian Museum

Now that your stomach is happy, visit the oldest museum in Asia. They say you need an entire day to enjoy it in thoroughly. You don't have the full day but you do have few hours and you don't want to miss fossils, coins, stones, Gandhara art, meteors and wait for it--A 4,000-year-old mummy! 

2 pm Lunch at Nizam's

Calcutta is also famous for it's rolls, so at  lunch time why don't you try the roll at Nizam's; one of Calcutta's oldest Mughlai joints. ( Founded way back in 1932) Try their Kati roll- (kati kabab rolled up in a paratha) you won't be disappointed. Their other dishes like biryani and mughlai are as mouth watering and will leave you asking for more.



3.30 New Market, Lindsey Street

New Market , Technically, it referred to an enclosed market but now the entire Lindsay Street shopping area is often known as New Market.  New Market, has survived two  fires and regular flooding, remains at the core of the shopping experience in the city.Thousands of people visit it on a daily basis. 

Famous landmarks and attractions in and around the market include
  • Nahum's and sons- renowned confectioners established in 1902, frequented by the Anglo Indian community in Calcutta
  • Shri ram Market, an underground market
  • New Empire 
  • Roxy Cinema
  • Hotel Oberoi Grand ( one of the oldest  5 star properties in Calcutta.) . 

Timing: 10. 0 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday to Friday. 10. am to 2. pm on Saturdays.

4.30. Tram ride 

Go to the Esplanade Tram depot and a take a leisurely tram ride from Esplanade to Kalighat. You will almost see most of the city in this one hour long tram ride. The tram will take you through brigade grounds, khidirpore, Rabindra Sarober and finally Kalighat.  

5.30 Kalighat and Kalighat Temple


Kalighat/Rashbehari Avenue crossing is the busiest area in South Kolkata. It leads to rashbehari avenue, Jawaharlal Nehru and Southern Avenue. One of the most important landmarks is the famous Kali temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. The image of Kali in this temple is unique. It does not follow the pattern of other Kali images in Bengal. Three huge eyes, long protruding tongue made of gold and four hands, which all are made of gold too.

I am not religious and would never personally suggest visiting temples but since it's also a historic sight, I have included it in my itinerary. Even if you don't bother to go inside (it will take ages) you can look at it from outside and click pictures of the crowd. 

6.30 Street shopping in Gariahat

The sun has set by now and Calcutta looks different. Hopefully ( depending on when you come) it's a bit cooler. Calcutta is famous for street shopping and great bargains and Gariahat is the most popular market for Bengalis residing in the south ( Non- Bengalis usually go to ac market ) You will get all kinds of things- from trinkets to shoes, from bags to kurtis, from crockery to posters. And everything at a nominal price, provided you bargain right! Gariahat is also a place you can buy souvenirs to take back. Many hawkers have  beautiful terracotta items that will remind you of your time spent in Calcutta.

8 pm Dinner at Bhojohori Manna, Dover lane Gariahat

You're in Calcutta and you need to taste Bengali cuisine. The place place to go would be Bhojohori Manna. They have exquisite variety in both veg and non veg fare. You can try cholar dal, mochar ghonto, bhetki and ilish. And if you come in Winter's do try their Nolen gurer Ice cream (lip smacking!)



Day 2  Breakfast at Balwant Singh's at Elgin Road.

Start your day early and head towards the 75 year old dhaba right beside Elgin road Gurudwara. It
opens as early as 7 am and stays opens right till midnight. Famous for their club kachori and doodh cola (no other place will offer you this drink but it's pretty popular in Punju households. ) and tea, this eatery is nearly never empty. I recammned this dhaba for breakfast not just because no one else is open but because though simple and unassuming the food is really tasty and filling. And if you're a tea lover you will love it there. Generations have been fans of this place- my grand dad, my dad and uncles and now A and me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My guilt is ready

My guilt is coiled up inside me. 
Like a cobra
ready to pounce.

Like a dormant volcano
ready to explode. 

Like a saw 
that cuts through your hand;
accidentally. .