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Pallavi Jaikishan --- An Era of Floral Fantasies

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An instrumental rendition of two popular Bollywood classics cuts into the steady murmur. Aradhana’s Roop tera mastana and Kati Patang’s Pyar diwana hota hain are the preludes to couturier Pallavi Jaikishan’s show at the FDCI India Couture Week held recently. The walks incidentally have also been choreographed on modern romantic ballads from tinsel town. Romance---an all-pervasive mood that has characterised doyen’s journey in fashion since 1972. There is but one element conspicuous by its absence. Music made by her legendary husband, Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, one-half of the famous Shankar-Jaikishan duo that rocked the music charts before the latter passed away in 1971. Leaving his wife and three young children---Chetan, Yogesh and Bhiaravi---under a pall of gloom. “Here, hear this piece I was putting together for the show. A modern take on Sangam’s Yeh mera prem patra par kar. If only I had a touch more time,” Jaikishan’s voice trails off, only to add soon after, “I’ve used so many …

Bringing together the best of Indian art, music and dance traditions...

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Have you ever wondered what Pandit Ravi Shankar does when he is not strumming heavenly music on his sitar? Maybe, he is composing ballads, or watching movies, or writing a memoir… there could be a gazillion ways a maestro destresses with. Practising a knack that maybe the world is not privy to. A hobby he nurtures in the inner precincts of his nest. A habit that is another window to the soul of this stupendously talented man. Back in the days when Panditji regularly visited Triveni Kala Sangam to perform and spend time with students, he used to occasionally dabble in poetry. Beautiful poems that sadly never saw the light of day. Maybe because the legendary sitar player wanted his music to resonate louder than his words…
On a chilly winter morning as students trooped in for their classes at the Triveni Kala Sangam, I sat listening to many such stories unravel. About Pandit Ravi Shankar coming to the academy, about Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra giving Odishi lessons to his Delhi students …

Winter Afternoons at Tara, Roseate House

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I might keep cribbing about my inability to move from one room to another simply because then, I would have to creep out of my fuzzy blanket, and the chill might yet again hit me to the bone, but there is one reality that I cannot deny. That Delhi is the best in winters. The balmy sun tries to comfort people like us, and replenishes our starved bones natural vitamin D. It also is a fabulous season to eat to your heart’s content because the lards deposited will be nicely concealed by the multiple layers of woollens.
That was the thought in my mind when I walked into Tara, the Japanese restaurant situated on the sixth floor of Roseate House. It is an open-air space that over looks the blue infinity pool and is helmed by deck chairs, the spa and wellness section of the extreme left end. A live kitchen sends out freshly prepared Japanese fare to the guests. I liked the fact that we would be eating wholesome Jap preparations enjoying the sun.
Now before I forget, Tara serves only dinners.…

Winter meals beckon at Fire in The Park

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My husband once told me about his first encounter with chiku, or shobedaa, as we Bengalis call the brown fruit. He was barely five and was visiting an aunt with his parents. The old lady suggested the little boy eats healthy and handed him a big juicy chiku. The mister was stumped by the gesture, thinking that he was asked to eat a rotten potato. Sneaking out to the balcony he promptly hurled the fruit away. I had found the anecdote amusing. But on a serious note, considering the constraints the fruit has, can we blame the unsuspecting child for doing what he did back then. It looks dull, has a distinct taste, and, if not ripe, juicy or grainy enough, I doubt whether anyone would think of consuming it. The essence is also singularly unimaginative. Or so I thought. This Monday I was proved wrong when I tasted a Chiku cheese cake that turned the tables on every notion of mine regarding the fruit. Soft and chiku flavoured cream on top of a fluffy cake, the dessert was garnished with the…

A Happy Meal at Uno Chicago Bar & Grill

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I’ve eaten quite a few pizzas in these 35 years. Some really good ones, some exactly the opposite. Some fat ones, some the size of zero. Some oozing with molten cheese, some so dry that the Indian chapati felt softer in comparison. Some absolutely fresh and aromatic, some giving away the synthetic taste of canned marinara. Some just out of the woodfire oven, with the buffalo mozzarella glistening against the cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves, some sadly making do with tinned jalapeno, shrivelled up mushrooms and stringy chicken.
Yes, I have had quite a few pizzas in these 35 years. But today I ate the best one of my life. A deep dish pizza that resembled a pie. Where the dough didn’t overpower the sauce and the cheese. A pizza that was invented at Chicago’s Uno Bar & Grill in 1943, and which has stood the test of time. Where the mozzarella folded in the chicken chunks perfectly without taking away from the flavour of the tomato sauce. And where, I could taste the tomatoes in the …

Taste with a twist at Baar Baar...

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You might want to check the credentials of Chef Sujan Sarkar before walking into Baar Baar at Khan Market. He's an illustrious one. One of the first proponents of the farm-to-table concept, Chef Sarkar's mark is felt at this sunny little restaurant. That is if you are seated on the top floor. The lower rung is stylish in dusky pink and jade, in tandem with its New York cousin, the original space where the Chef dishes out a modern interpretation of regional Indian cuisine.
Well, haven't we heard that before? Modern Indian, contemporary twist, nouvelle, et al... It was time to test Chef Sarkar's rendition... Or rather, the tricks he has trained Chef Harpal Singh with… We couldn’t wait. The sun was streaming in, the homemade hummus and crisps had been pecked on and we were raring to go. Winters are for digging into good food and after Olive and Ek Bar, this was another turf that promised fun.
While we waited for the food to be brought out at this Indian Tapas Bar, we sipped…

Kerala Kitchen at Holiday Inn, Mayur Vihar

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The thing about weddings is that you throw the diet out of the window. That is, if your lifestyle is controlled by one. Regardless of what your stomach can brook, you gorge on delicacies one after the other as if there was no tomorrow and pray to God about making it to the next day by popping a digestive pill. No meal can be missed because weddings do not happen every day. So, the pill with the enzymes better be a strong one! I’m talking about Bengali weddings, where even if you do not remember what the bride wore or how beautiful the hall decoration was, there is detailed analysis of the mutton kosha, the pulao and the maacher paturi served at the party for the next ten years at least! When I received an invitation from the Holiday Inn to partake of Chef Regimon’s rendering of specialities from God’s Own Country, I tried to wriggle out. I was just back from Calcutta having participated in the wedding of my only blood brother. The only thing the body needed was to feed on its own fat. …