Banchha Ghar

A Story By Deepak Jeswal
A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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In his weekly column in a leading national daily, prosthesis eminent writer and UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has emotionally implored the nation’s women to save the sari from possible extinction. I echo his sentiments.

Since childhood I have a strong fascination for the sari – not that I indulge in some secret and perverse pleasure in (cross) dressing in them, pestilence but it is the sari’s visual appeal which fuels the fascination. Possibly, pestilence this attraction stems from watching Sridevi cavorting in bright red and blue chiffon saris in Jaanbaaz and Mr. India respectively, during my growing up years. And then all those Yash Chopra romantic films further cemented their allure. Today, the sari has reinvented itself into a style statement, but still I find a Sushmita Sen much more enticing in Mai Hoon Na than her corporate suits in various other films. And the sari lent a unique appeal to Aishwarya Rai’s tall and skinny frame in the second half of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In the earlier generation, Rakhee was a huge favorite, and despite having a body that most heroines today would scoff at, she was an epitome of polish and poise and possibly with the widest collection of saris.

As Tharoor almost endorses my own thoughts, “the sari is an outfit in which a lady of any size and shape look extremely elegant and graceful you could never be too fat, too short or too ungainly to look good in a sari,” he writes. “Indeed if you were stout, or bowlegged, or thick-waisted, nothing concealed those handicaps of nature better than the sari.” I second his opinion.

My mother always wore saris and she attended some top diplomatic functions in them, always a symbol of elegance and dignity. So some years back, after dad s retirement, when she found a new obsession in Punjabi salvar suits, I was visibly aghast. And I protested quite vocally. Thankfully, she still finds saris more comfortable, especially in summers and has reserved the suits only for winters, packing them off when the mercury climbs. I find her matronly, plump and extremely loving frame accentuated by the lovely Indian dress. And the same plumpness assumes a gross and ungainly expression when she wears the suit.

In my own stories I try to keep the heroine dressed in a sari. In my biggest story on this blog, The Independence Day, the heroine (Naina) wore one for a large bulk of the story, sparking off a row of comments by Anks wondering why Naina would dress so, especially since she is shown to stay in the US for a long time, and more so since she has to embark on an important mission. But that s how I had visualized the character, and frankly, during writing, much of Naina’s appeal would have been lost had she not worn a sari. In WTHMTE, the scene where Mamta rips off her pallu challenging the hero to ravage her would have impossibly lost that raw and wild energy had she been in any other attire. And then there is – forgive me for sounding a bit voyeuristic – a heightened sexiness in unfolding the layers of the sari during love-making, which simply cannot be matched by the antiseptic taking off of, for example, a suit or shirt.

If draped properly the sari gives its own character to the wearer. It is a dress where numerous permutations and combinations of designs and colors are permittable, since the visible portion is large and uninterrupted by any creases or cuts. Indeed, the pallu itself can be a strong statement if neatly pinned over the shoulder, in tight folds, it presents a no-nonsense look; if loosely draped, it imparts a careless casualness; if rounded over the back and tucked at the waist, it shows a woman ready to take on the task with single minded devotion; and – in film and story context – just a pallu hung loose and unfolded can convey the emotional blankness much more than any dialogue would!

I know I am romanticizing it all and can almost feel the ladies reading this seething and muttering harshly that I wouldn’t know the uncomfortable impracticalities involved in wearing the apparel in daily routine life. In fact, Tharoor also quotes a lady saying: “Try rushing to catch a bus in a sari, and you’ll switch to jeans the next day.” And possibly that’s why the sari is nearly fading away from everyday lives especially in the cities. I accept the arguments, and admittedly, they are logical and practical as well.

But my appeal, and Tharoor’s as well, to the modern Indian women is that please do not just relegate this beautiful dress only for celebrations and weddings; I am sure a middle way can be found where a day in a week (or a month at least) can be kept to keep the rush out, and possibly relax in a sari I am sure one day in a month wouldn’t be too tough, would it? Let it not be a rare and exotic dress in its own land.

As Tharoor ends his piece, so do I – “Perhaps its time to appeal to the women of India to save the sari from a sorry fate.”

Powered by Zoundry

A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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In his weekly column in a leading national daily, prosthesis eminent writer and UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has emotionally implored the nation’s women to save the sari from possible extinction. I echo his sentiments.

Since childhood I have a strong fascination for the sari – not that I indulge in some secret and perverse pleasure in (cross) dressing in them, pestilence but it is the sari’s visual appeal which fuels the fascination. Possibly, pestilence this attraction stems from watching Sridevi cavorting in bright red and blue chiffon saris in Jaanbaaz and Mr. India respectively, during my growing up years. And then all those Yash Chopra romantic films further cemented their allure. Today, the sari has reinvented itself into a style statement, but still I find a Sushmita Sen much more enticing in Mai Hoon Na than her corporate suits in various other films. And the sari lent a unique appeal to Aishwarya Rai’s tall and skinny frame in the second half of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In the earlier generation, Rakhee was a huge favorite, and despite having a body that most heroines today would scoff at, she was an epitome of polish and poise and possibly with the widest collection of saris.

As Tharoor almost endorses my own thoughts, “the sari is an outfit in which a lady of any size and shape look extremely elegant and graceful you could never be too fat, too short or too ungainly to look good in a sari,” he writes. “Indeed if you were stout, or bowlegged, or thick-waisted, nothing concealed those handicaps of nature better than the sari.” I second his opinion.

My mother always wore saris and she attended some top diplomatic functions in them, always a symbol of elegance and dignity. So some years back, after dad s retirement, when she found a new obsession in Punjabi salvar suits, I was visibly aghast. And I protested quite vocally. Thankfully, she still finds saris more comfortable, especially in summers and has reserved the suits only for winters, packing them off when the mercury climbs. I find her matronly, plump and extremely loving frame accentuated by the lovely Indian dress. And the same plumpness assumes a gross and ungainly expression when she wears the suit.

In my own stories I try to keep the heroine dressed in a sari. In my biggest story on this blog, The Independence Day, the heroine (Naina) wore one for a large bulk of the story, sparking off a row of comments by Anks wondering why Naina would dress so, especially since she is shown to stay in the US for a long time, and more so since she has to embark on an important mission. But that s how I had visualized the character, and frankly, during writing, much of Naina’s appeal would have been lost had she not worn a sari. In WTHMTE, the scene where Mamta rips off her pallu challenging the hero to ravage her would have impossibly lost that raw and wild energy had she been in any other attire. And then there is – forgive me for sounding a bit voyeuristic – a heightened sexiness in unfolding the layers of the sari during love-making, which simply cannot be matched by the antiseptic taking off of, for example, a suit or shirt.

If draped properly the sari gives its own character to the wearer. It is a dress where numerous permutations and combinations of designs and colors are permittable, since the visible portion is large and uninterrupted by any creases or cuts. Indeed, the pallu itself can be a strong statement if neatly pinned over the shoulder, in tight folds, it presents a no-nonsense look; if loosely draped, it imparts a careless casualness; if rounded over the back and tucked at the waist, it shows a woman ready to take on the task with single minded devotion; and – in film and story context – just a pallu hung loose and unfolded can convey the emotional blankness much more than any dialogue would!

I know I am romanticizing it all and can almost feel the ladies reading this seething and muttering harshly that I wouldn’t know the uncomfortable impracticalities involved in wearing the apparel in daily routine life. In fact, Tharoor also quotes a lady saying: “Try rushing to catch a bus in a sari, and you’ll switch to jeans the next day.” And possibly that’s why the sari is nearly fading away from everyday lives especially in the cities. I accept the arguments, and admittedly, they are logical and practical as well.

But my appeal, and Tharoor’s as well, to the modern Indian women is that please do not just relegate this beautiful dress only for celebrations and weddings; I am sure a middle way can be found where a day in a week (or a month at least) can be kept to keep the rush out, and possibly relax in a sari I am sure one day in a month wouldn’t be too tough, would it? Let it not be a rare and exotic dress in its own land.

As Tharoor ends his piece, so do I – “Perhaps its time to appeal to the women of India to save the sari from a sorry fate.”

Powered by Zoundry

Chokho Jeeman is a Marwari/Jain Restaurant, thumb on the road leading to Agra’s significant Raja-Ki-Mandi Railway Station, at Delhi Gate, next to Moon TV Network’s office.

Even though I had heard of it earlier, but I visited the place very late, only last Sunday when a friend and colleague took me there for dinner. The restaurant impressed me enough to visit it again this Saturday, and also to write this review.


Ambience
– Excellent! The place is done up with Rajasthani motifs, the brown walls plastered to give an effect of a hut, with intense red and pure white hand painted traditional designs bordering them. At regular intervals Rajasthani dolls and urns are placed to add to the effect. The tables are made of solid bamboo. In addition, they play Rajasthani folk music.

Cleanliness scores a huge point. And all places, be it the bathroom or the washbasin is neatly marked in traditional labels. The only low point is the small space a narrow sliver with two rows of tables.

Food – Delicious! The restaurant works on thaali system, and it offers three options saada thali, ghee thali and Maharaja thaali, all offering unlimited servings. Both times I visited, I ordered the bulky Maharaja thaali and they were extremely fulfilling. Maharaja thaali presents five variety of sabzis (dahi kadi, daal, aloo ki sabzi, matar-paneer and one more traditional variety, usually papad ki sabzi or gatte ki sabzi) along with raita, salad, aachaar, chutney, rice and two sweets. Of course, the rotis including missi roti, dipped liberally in ghee, are unlimited, as also refill of any of the sabzis that you wish.

The taste is wonderful and exciting, not very spicy and the generous use of ghee adds value. The quantity is truly befitting a Maharaja and often a second helping of the sabzis becomes immaterial.

Value for money– Absolutely! At INR 75 the Maharaja Thaali couldn t be better priced. And at INR 50 and 60 respectively, both the Saada Thaali and Ghee Thaali are also modestly priced.

Service – Quick and Efficient! Waiters move about effortlessly, attired in earthy Rajasthani outfits, ready to serve at the slightest gesture.

Overall – A must visit when you are next in Agraand come with an empty stomach, and prepare to skip the next meal!


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A Story By Deepak Jeswal

Film Review

Namastey LondonTum filmein nahin dekhti” cheekily remarks Akshay Kumar whenever he bowls over the prim and propah (well, read not really) British bred heroine with some stereotypical googly. This insouciance and ability to poke fun at one’s own self is extremely heartening and displays immense maturity and confidence on the film makers part. Perhaps the latest spate of overseas success has helped Bollywood shed its fundamentally solemn outlook while giving the most filmi movies; and now it does not take itself too seriously. And all this is paradoxically done keeping every traditional cliche neatly preserved in the script.

Years back, pfizer when Manoj Kumar directed Poorab Aur Paschim he had kept a straight preachy tone. Today, this site Vipul Shah (the director) has inverted that school-masterly intonation to a more friendly banter to present his own version of a similar story. In a crucial patriotic moment, when Akshay Kumar enlists the virtues of India, he doesn’t somberly sing “Hai preet jahan kii reet sada” but simply gives a small monologue, rounding it off saying – tongue firmly in the cheek – that if the British need to know more about the so-called land of snake-charmers they could hire a DVD of Poorab Aur Paschim! Absolutely a brilliant and funny way to put the point across!

Clearly, the film is not meant to be taken seriously, and I am sure Vipul Shah would be embarrassingly shocked if he receives an esoteric review or if someone tries to find subtle meanings and hidden sub-texts in his film. There is no need to exert your gray-cells, for that is not Shah’s purpose.

Built on the premise that you can take an Indian out of India but not the Indianness within him, the film is a light-hearted, fluffy and breezy entertainer, stacked with dollops of humor – some forced but largely genuine laughable moments.

The dialogues are wittily written, and the cinematography is all about bright colors whether in India or abroad. And yes, there’s an excellent shot of Taj Mahal (wish I were here at that time when they canned the scene!). The direction is light, fluffy and fun-tastic.

Both Akshay and Katrina suit their roles. And Katrina’s fragile beauty and the la-di-dah Brit accent charms exceedingly. Upen Patel – as Katrina’s Pakistani friend – has a small role, but is again well-cast. And Rishi Kapoor, the veteran, is absolutely and convincingly delightful! There are the two Brit stars, and thankfully, they aren’t made to speak horrendously accented Hindi – their dialogues carry Hindi subtitles (perhaps, a first in our cinema!).

Himesh Reshammiya’s music is the biggest sore point. The tunes are stale and his voice over the Dolby sound system excruciatingly hurts. Chakna and Rafta rafta could have been enjoyable numbers if he hadn’t sung them.

The film celebrates the current Indian self-assurance to take on the world, keeping all our idiosyncrasies and foibles intact, without being embarrassed or apologetic, and without any extraneous superiority-or-inferiority complex.

So, sit back, pack that pop-corn and Coke, and enjoy the film. You won’t be bored!

Overall Entertaining and Relaxing!

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Del.icio.us : , , , , ,

Powered by Zoundry

In his weekly column in a leading national daily, prosthesis eminent writer and UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has emotionally implored the nation’s women to save the sari from possible extinction. I echo his sentiments.

Since childhood I have a strong fascination for the sari – not that I indulge in some secret and perverse pleasure in (cross) dressing in them, pestilence but it is the sari’s visual appeal which fuels the fascination. Possibly, pestilence this attraction stems from watching Sridevi cavorting in bright red and blue chiffon saris in Jaanbaaz and Mr. India respectively, during my growing up years. And then all those Yash Chopra romantic films further cemented their allure. Today, the sari has reinvented itself into a style statement, but still I find a Sushmita Sen much more enticing in Mai Hoon Na than her corporate suits in various other films. And the sari lent a unique appeal to Aishwarya Rai’s tall and skinny frame in the second half of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. In the earlier generation, Rakhee was a huge favorite, and despite having a body that most heroines today would scoff at, she was an epitome of polish and poise and possibly with the widest collection of saris.

As Tharoor almost endorses my own thoughts, “the sari is an outfit in which a lady of any size and shape look extremely elegant and graceful you could never be too fat, too short or too ungainly to look good in a sari,” he writes. “Indeed if you were stout, or bowlegged, or thick-waisted, nothing concealed those handicaps of nature better than the sari.” I second his opinion.

My mother always wore saris and she attended some top diplomatic functions in them, always a symbol of elegance and dignity. So some years back, after dad s retirement, when she found a new obsession in Punjabi salvar suits, I was visibly aghast. And I protested quite vocally. Thankfully, she still finds saris more comfortable, especially in summers and has reserved the suits only for winters, packing them off when the mercury climbs. I find her matronly, plump and extremely loving frame accentuated by the lovely Indian dress. And the same plumpness assumes a gross and ungainly expression when she wears the suit.

In my own stories I try to keep the heroine dressed in a sari. In my biggest story on this blog, The Independence Day, the heroine (Naina) wore one for a large bulk of the story, sparking off a row of comments by Anks wondering why Naina would dress so, especially since she is shown to stay in the US for a long time, and more so since she has to embark on an important mission. But that s how I had visualized the character, and frankly, during writing, much of Naina’s appeal would have been lost had she not worn a sari. In WTHMTE, the scene where Mamta rips off her pallu challenging the hero to ravage her would have impossibly lost that raw and wild energy had she been in any other attire. And then there is – forgive me for sounding a bit voyeuristic – a heightened sexiness in unfolding the layers of the sari during love-making, which simply cannot be matched by the antiseptic taking off of, for example, a suit or shirt.

If draped properly the sari gives its own character to the wearer. It is a dress where numerous permutations and combinations of designs and colors are permittable, since the visible portion is large and uninterrupted by any creases or cuts. Indeed, the pallu itself can be a strong statement if neatly pinned over the shoulder, in tight folds, it presents a no-nonsense look; if loosely draped, it imparts a careless casualness; if rounded over the back and tucked at the waist, it shows a woman ready to take on the task with single minded devotion; and – in film and story context – just a pallu hung loose and unfolded can convey the emotional blankness much more than any dialogue would!

I know I am romanticizing it all and can almost feel the ladies reading this seething and muttering harshly that I wouldn’t know the uncomfortable impracticalities involved in wearing the apparel in daily routine life. In fact, Tharoor also quotes a lady saying: “Try rushing to catch a bus in a sari, and you’ll switch to jeans the next day.” And possibly that’s why the sari is nearly fading away from everyday lives especially in the cities. I accept the arguments, and admittedly, they are logical and practical as well.

But my appeal, and Tharoor’s as well, to the modern Indian women is that please do not just relegate this beautiful dress only for celebrations and weddings; I am sure a middle way can be found where a day in a week (or a month at least) can be kept to keep the rush out, and possibly relax in a sari I am sure one day in a month wouldn’t be too tough, would it? Let it not be a rare and exotic dress in its own land.

As Tharoor ends his piece, so do I – “Perhaps its time to appeal to the women of India to save the sari from a sorry fate.”

Powered by Zoundry

Chokho Jeeman is a Marwari/Jain Restaurant, thumb on the road leading to Agra’s significant Raja-Ki-Mandi Railway Station, at Delhi Gate, next to Moon TV Network’s office.

Even though I had heard of it earlier, but I visited the place very late, only last Sunday when a friend and colleague took me there for dinner. The restaurant impressed me enough to visit it again this Saturday, and also to write this review.


Ambience
– Excellent! The place is done up with Rajasthani motifs, the brown walls plastered to give an effect of a hut, with intense red and pure white hand painted traditional designs bordering them. At regular intervals Rajasthani dolls and urns are placed to add to the effect. The tables are made of solid bamboo. In addition, they play Rajasthani folk music.

Cleanliness scores a huge point. And all places, be it the bathroom or the washbasin is neatly marked in traditional labels. The only low point is the small space a narrow sliver with two rows of tables.

Food – Delicious! The restaurant works on thaali system, and it offers three options saada thali, ghee thali and Maharaja thaali, all offering unlimited servings. Both times I visited, I ordered the bulky Maharaja thaali and they were extremely fulfilling. Maharaja thaali presents five variety of sabzis (dahi kadi, daal, aloo ki sabzi, matar-paneer and one more traditional variety, usually papad ki sabzi or gatte ki sabzi) along with raita, salad, aachaar, chutney, rice and two sweets. Of course, the rotis including missi roti, dipped liberally in ghee, are unlimited, as also refill of any of the sabzis that you wish.

The taste is wonderful and exciting, not very spicy and the generous use of ghee adds value. The quantity is truly befitting a Maharaja and often a second helping of the sabzis becomes immaterial.

Value for money– Absolutely! At INR 75 the Maharaja Thaali couldn t be better priced. And at INR 50 and 60 respectively, both the Saada Thaali and Ghee Thaali are also modestly priced.

Service – Quick and Efficient! Waiters move about effortlessly, attired in earthy Rajasthani outfits, ready to serve at the slightest gesture.

Overall – A must visit when you are next in Agraand come with an empty stomach, and prepare to skip the next meal!


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For those visiting Kathmandu, oncologist a trip to the restaurant Banchcha Ghar is a must. Housed in a building that is nearly 100 years old off the main Darbar Marg, breast Banchcha Ghar preserves the traditional Newari food in its authenticity. Newaris were the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley.

The must haves there are Sukuti (spicy, dried deer meat) and the wild boar dish(slices, served with an array of masalas/salt/mirchi), the preparation of which was one of the best that I ever had.

They seat you on the floor (on soft cushions) with low tables, with shoes off, obviously-on the top floor.

The highlight is a half hour cultural dance program performed by able dancers, who perform the auspicious welcome ‘tikka‘ and also serve you ‘Rakshi‘ – a home made rice-wine that is to be had in one gulp (like the Tequila shot) but served in miniature earthern ware dish. It’s an amazing concoction- it burns and invigorates! Commercial production is banned, and if the restaurants serve it, they do not charge for it. It is supposed to be purely home-made! It is 80% alcohol. You can light/burn it, and place your finger in the middle of the blue flame…I tried it- it was an unique experience! It is almost ‘spirit‘-ual !

Liquor is served, and the tables/cushions are placed comfortably all across the hall, with a strong but colorfully designed canvas roof; the girls (in tradiotional outfits) dance in the space in between…and mind you, it is very decent and sublime and absolutely customary! The dances encapsulate the colorful heritage of various backgrounds of Nepal – the Sherpas, the Gorkhas, and the Newaris etc.

The dinner is on the middle two floors on conventional tables and chairs, but served in old-fashioned thick copper plates and cups, and consists of some sumptuous local cuisines.

A spicy slice of history (on pure hearsay, no facts verified) – when the Muslims invaded the western part of the subcontinent, many Rajput ladies of that section fled to Nepal for refuge; they married the locals, but to maintain their superiority, they served their men with their foot.

I was speechless!

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  1. […] 3. Banchha Ghar – A delightful old restaurant serving some lip-smackingly delicious (and exotic) snacks. Their cultural show, performed every evening by nubile Nepali girls, showcases the various dance forms prevalant in the country. They serve ‘Raakshi’, the homemade rice wine, in miniature ‘kulhads‘ as a welcome drink. I would have loved to make ‘raakshi‘ as a separate entry, but due to lack of space will include it here. […]

  2. In Spicy slice of history whata you mentioned is a bit incomplete. And yes it is on pure hearsay. The Rajput ladies fled to Nepal with their servants and settled in the terai of Nepal.Later they marries their servants and some of them to the locals also. They still live in the farwestern terai and are called Rana tharus. Tharu is one of the indiginous groups. These Rana tharus are suppossed to be more sophisticated among them.The women serve food to their husband and move the plate with they feet but nowdays touch the plate with their toes, they donot clean their husband’s plates. [The position of the women is upper then that of men.] AND SUCH PRATICE IS ONLY IN RANA THARUS NOT IN OTHERS

  3. Hey Alok welcome to the blog and thanks for filling in the full details.

    Are you from Nepal?

    Hope you enjoy reading other posts on the blog esp the ones on Kathmandu and Nepal