Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saffron Butter Rice

Saffron rice (my version is shown in the pic above) is something my son loves.
I got this recipe from Priya at http://priyaeasyntastyrecipes.blogspot.com/2009/03/saffron-rice-n-punjabi-okra-t-from.html. Adi, my three year old son is totally crazy about it. Trust me, he is a fussy eater and refuses rice totally. Somehow, the aroma and taste of this pulao gets him totally excited as he asks, " Hmm, Amma make this pulao for me?" And that, my dear friends, warms my heart and soul like butter on toast. Try this out as it is so easy to make, especially for working moms.

Friday, June 19, 2009

So, do you tell lies?

I've never picked up a book by Michael Connelly before but when I read these first lines from his novel, The Brass Verdict, I knew that its a book I would enjoy reading.

The first lines are: " Every body lies. Cops lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie. A trial is a contest of lies. And every body in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this. Even the jury knows this."

My thoughts:
As some one who studied law, I began my life with great expectations of finding justice for victims. Maybe reading a lot of John Grisham novels had touched a chord, I am not sure. I remember feeling thrilled about the characters and their struggle for justice. However, in real life, it is really different. In India, justice is a beautifully marketed concept that is never fair. Justice, its concept and execution in India, is so blinded by the weight of so many lies, negotiations, media moves and illegal manoeuvres that the public can never begin to suspect how murky it really is.

Truth, i realized, is that everybody lies in the courtroom. It's no big deal to anyone as Connelly stated, every body lies and even judges know it but justice gets slotted out to those who probably said the most convincing lies.

The trick, as Connelly puts it, is to wait, not just for any lie but for "the one you can grab on to and forge like a hot iron into a sharpened blade. You then use that blade to rip the case open and spill its guts out to the floor..."

He states its a lawyer's job to forge and sharpen the blade without mercy or conscience. In Connelly's own words, "To be the truth in a place where every body lies."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are You A Shopaholic?

Have you ever:
  • wished that VISA bill statements are just scraps of useless paper with numbers scribbled on it?
  • visited musuems hoping to utilize time only to find you are forced to pay for something you dont even like seriously?
  • bought a recipe book hoping to cut down your eating out expenses only to get stuck in struggling with making a balti masala that leaves you red in the face as it scorches your tongue?
  • worked as a 'folding clothes' shop assistant who hid a pair of jeans you secretly hoped to buy from a customer?

If yes is your answer to any of these questions, welcome to the world of Confessions of a Shopaholic. This meant-to-laugh entertainer by Sophie Kinsella is a girl's best friend to share shopping woes, choosing clothes dilemma and much more.

Just when Becky is being harassed left and right by the bank that issued the credit cards, she finds herself accepting a date with a guy she cant stand. When she spots his name as Britain's 15th richest man, she realizes this could be a solution to her credit card woes. She accepts his dinner invitation and worries like we gals do about how it will turn out.

Her worries are:

  • Will the hotel be one of those places with a million forks and knives and snooty waiters? (Trust me, nothing puts me off like snooty waiters who snigger when u make a faux pas)
  • No asking for tomato ketchup in a place like that
  • No slicing the bread roll like an ignoramus but cut into bits and apply butter individually
  • What if the guy orders for a lobster? How will I bloody eat the thing without making a mess?

Becky's thoughts: 'Why havent I ever eaten lobster? Its all my parents' fault. They should have taken me to expensive restaurants from an early age so that I would develop a nonchalant savoire faire with tricky food."

These are the little details that girls lose their sleep over. Maybe its because gals are so keen to move up the social ladder of recognition in terms of grooming. I have lots of friends who are very particular about such details like eating the right way in an elite restaurant, wearing the right clothes and matching accessories, getting a pedicure done to show off dainty looking feet, that sort of thing. Girls, all over the world, pin their self esteem on those things.

A friend in the publishing industry once told me at one of our annual cocktail parties, "Even if you write crappily, you've got to be dressed to kill and behave like a total party animal." Well, maybe it had to do the fact that my South Indian friend and I were sipping boring tomato juice. The first time I had it, I wondered whether the bartenders had purposely put too much salt on the edges of the glass because I could taste only the salt and not the tangy flavored juice. It was like drinking just salt.

Another time, I remember going for a buffet and didnt want to walk about for too many helpings again. So, i made it simple for myself by taking maximum stuff onto my plate. Then the person I was lunching with told me, "Never bring all the food you have in a buffet on the plate. You are supposed to bring it light onto the table and get up whenever you want more." Truly, I can never go for a buffet without remembering this faux pas and turning red in the face.

Coming back to our dear Becky, she battles through a lot of difficulties that are just too funny and believe me, we can easily relate to each one. The bright side is that she discovers Luke Brandon as the love of her life and that there's no great fun in being a shopaholic. She makes a grand debut on TV, impresses the viewers and gets a variety of amazing freelance offers. Needless to say, the credit card bank stops harassing her with their relentless phone calls and just informs her they will keep a close on her. Becky's roller coaster ride to succcess, fame and lots of money begins. The book ends but its one that is so funny right from page one till the very end that you wouldnt mind reading it just one more time on a day when you feel that nothing seems to be working.


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