15 August, 2008

A taste of India

It had been a while since I wore the Chef Hat.
Cooking is another of those things that I love to do from time to time. This time I had an occassion too. The Indian Independence Day.
So the chef in me decided to make something that was truly a taste of India. And when I think about India, I think really sweeeeeeeeet sweets!
And yes .. you guessed it right.
My favorite , the gulab jamun.

So I got this MTR mix, which I think is not as good as the Gits one. Though, I must admit these mixes has made making gulab jamuns so easy.
Tip #1 here is that you add water slowly slowy and then kneed to a dough. Else you end up with a not so good mix. And thats when the trouble begins. As you will keep trying, to solidify it a bit.
While you are doing this, make the sugar syrup which is basically boiling sugar in water.
Add cardamoms to the syrup when its boiling. This adds a wonderful aroma and taste to the syrup and is very authentically Indian.
Tip #2: if you end up adding more water to the mix , leave it for a while. The water is soaked up by the mix. If that does not help, add extra mix. If you cannot find a gulab Jamun mix, like me, A rasmalai one would do too :D
Apply some ghee onto your hands, so that the dough does not stick to the hands.
Tip # 3: Do NOT put extra ghee onto your hands. All equipments around you would be greasy greasy if you are handling them. Especially like me when I was trying to click the pics myself too and Nikky was getting bruised and battered with the desi ghee.!
Then make spherical balls with the dough in your palm. The rounder , the better!
Fry these to dark brown in a low heat.
Tip# 4: Make sure you stir these. Else they tend to get roasted unevenly. And not only does it taste bad, it also Looks bad!
Tip# 5: Fry in low heat. The outer layer get brown so soon, that it is misleading. You would think its done, whereas actually its still raw in the inside.

Dump those fried ones in the sugar syrup that is still warm.

Serve it in a glass bowl, to make it look better! And add nuts to the taste!
And thus finishes the gulab jamun making experience!
Happy Independence Day!
I hope your experience was just as sweet as this is.

09 August, 2008

Being with you..

"Can I play with you? Can I spend some time with you?"
He asked her jovially. She kept quiet. She seemed a bit apprehensive about it. Something at the back of her mind was not letting her do it. Her eyes however said something else. You could make out that at the way she was looking at him.
Can I play with you?

Not fearing the outcome she somehow gathered the courage and approached him. She had wanted to know him better. She had spotted him in the crowd. The aura around him had impressed her.

"Glad to have you with me", he said. "I am sure we will have a good time together." She wanted to know him more. And spend moments of laughter and joy together. He and his sister were excited about it too. Their joy knew no bounds. But there was something else in store.

"Please don't take her away." He pleaded. Her dad had other plans. He was not amused at his daughter playing with the guy and his sister. He could not let his daughter go and play or enjoy with a person from a different clan.

Perhaps the father did not intend to do what he did. Netra and me had a completely different interpretation of this entire act. I am sure many would understand it. Its a small analogy to the thousand of couple stories back home. Perhaps would be mine too someday.

07 August, 2008

Childhood Memories | 1987

One fine day in March 1987, a good 21 years ago, I started a new phase in my life.
Going to school. Now... I had never been to a school before. So, I had this whole excitement within me, about going to a school and all. And to
The sad (or the good) part was that I was going to a boarding school in the hills of Darjeeling.

We were a group of four guys who had started off together in this new school called the Sun Shine School.
Praveer, Piyush , who were brothers, Nazish and myself. And we remain the best of friends to this date.

It was this view from the hills of the plains below that I remember clearly. This is the city of Siliguri, the largest city in Northern part of West Bengal.

I remember not even looking back to see my parents going away, leaving me at that unknown place, as I was so mesmerized by this view from the dormitory window.
Little did we know at that time that this was going to be a view that we would see for the next 11 years.

We used took the GL Express train from our hometown to the Siliguri railway station. GL stood for Guwahati- Lucknow, and in those days for a meter gauge train to travel that distance was a feat. It took us 12 hours to reach Siliguri from our home town and an interesting fact was that the train left my place at 12 pm and reached the destination at 12 am!

Our home for the next 3-4 years was the town of Kurseong. Kurseong means the "Land of the White Orchids". I am sure as a photographer, I would love to go and explore all the rare species of orchids that are found there.

One thing i remember about Sun Shine School was the grill on the school gates and the way the SSS formed a nice logo. I had liked it a lot then and would often end up drawing it on the back of my copies.

Little did I know that some 20 years later I would be in a profession dealing with logos and capturing images that would inspire many others.

Recently I had a chance to capture this shot of the Himalayas.
The Himalayas

The Himalayas was something that I saw for a major portion of my life at the Darjeeling hills.
I guess the foundation for becoming a photographer was laid way back then.

05 August, 2008

One Two Three...Jump

There are many a times that you will not do things with people you love.
You do it alone.
It's moments like these that makes life interesting.
People call me crazy. Some say I am daring.
In the end. It's just me. I am what I am.

Here I was .. harnessed up waiting to go 14500 ft above the earth in a charter plane...
Waiting to do what ?

JUMP of course! What else!!

The moment of truth... the binary state. Either you survive... or you don't.

And to make matters worse... just before take off in the interview they ask you..
What are your last words to your friends and family...You say something casually ..

Standing at the doorstep.. my life gave me a super quick flashback. What if the words I said was indeed the last.
Wait.. was i actually doing it? For real ? I must have asked that question a few times in that short duration!

And then i saw my friend jump first. Down he went...

And in the other fraction of a second I was in the air.
Falling at a speed of 120 miles per hour... heading towards the unbounded stretch of corn fields below. The tiled land below was something that one could go on viewing for hours and still not get bored. I missed Netra up there. But then as I have also mentioned before, many a times there are things that just your eyes sees and captures it for eternity.
That moment was one of it.

Something that I cannot recall well whether it was my left foot first, or the right one, or did they actuallty just push me out of the aircraft.
But there I was .. breathing the freshest air...just that the speed made it hard to do so.
All muscles were distorted to a beyond recognition state.... but yes.. it was still me.

At the mercy of the other professional diver whom I was harnessed to ...I failed to pull put the notch to open my parachute.. but thank god that he did it for me.

It was by far the darest thing I have ever done so far. I am sure there will be other things to follow.

I could not take Nikky up there with me. The organizers did not allow me to take anything. I am sure she would have loved the view from above. She definitely is not up for jumping from that height, but still the view itself from above was mind-blowing.

Till the next account,