Posted in Humor, poetry

Ode to food

“The last malai peda, I swear,
Until morrow comes, I don’t dare”
When I close the box and turn away,
The sweet voice in it says “Stay”

Oh temptation, I see thee,
So a temporary distraction I seek,
I run to switch on the TV,
And gourmet cake stares at me.

Now now, I am not a Saint,
Maybe fresh air can bring restraint,
But before the foot walked the nose,
A colourful kiosk of chaat it chose.

As the spices bring tears to my eyes,
The last malai peda I consider.
A whistle tells me of dal and rice,
Just as I bite into the prize.

And in the comfort of a homely dinner,
Plans the next day a sinner.
For pancakes beckon at the break of dawn,
And emotions stir up, at the thought of maple syrup.


Posted in Humor, recipe

How to make the perfect Dhokla

I wonder what is the cooking equivalent of the phrase ‘Two Left Feet’. I assume it is ‘Two Left Palms’, but I refuse to disrespect myself with a name that may not be in existence yet. So I give myself the benefit of doubt.

I lack the ability to cook well. Possibly the best outcome of this self-awareness is that it leaves me with enough time to ogle at dishes that people serve on the internet with panache. God! Have you seen how something as basic as Jeera rice is garnished by some folks? The pain and effort that it would have taken is the sum total of everything I undergo to boil a pot of rice properly, and that is most definitely an understatement.

So as a mark of encouragement for poor cooks like me, I present to you, the perfect way(s) to make Dhokla. All you need is a pack of Dhokla mix, some oil, water and a pressure cooker to start with. You thought I would start at besan flour, didn’t you? ūüėČ

One way to utilise this packet effectively is to divide it into two. That way, you can efficiently try two variants in a single packet.

Variant 1

Read the instructions, carefully measure half a packet of Dhokla and proportionately decrease the recommended quantity of water and oil.

Mix it all up, pour it in the Dhokla plate and let it steam in the cooker. It would be good to know that a gust of steam escapes from the cooker when you take the lid off. So just wait a bit for things to cool down.

Surprise! Surprise! A tray of dhokla which can be eaten with a spoon, like your favourite custard!

Season it (I prefer to outsource this step) with the hope of making it more spongy. Your mom will tell you how you have added way too much water and how condensation has helped you with this unique achievement. Pat yourself, push the dhokla down your throat and proceed undaunted.

Variant 2

Take a break for a day or two and then pull out the remaining half of the packet.

Having learnt your lesson, you will now be wiser to further decrease the quantity of water and oil.

Steadily mix and repeat the pressure cooker performance, remembering to remove the cooker’s lid as soon as you turn the stove off.

Season it and treat yourself to some yellow coloured high protein idli. It is highly likely that these idli dhoklas can double up as mini-hammers.

I must say, graduating from custard to besan idli does lend a sense of confidence.

Variant 3

A few days later, you can snip open another packet and pour half of it in a bowl.

At this level of expertise, you can now juggle individual ingredients. So keeping the quantity of water same as before, reduce the oil alone.

Mix well and load the cooker. Maybe wait for a couple of minutes more than earlier, to get that spongy effect?

Around 17 minutes later, turn the stove off.

The intensely inviting smell of gram flour, burning in heat, allures onlookers to the kitchen.

Quickly open the cooker, take out the dhokla and wash it under the sink. Scrub well and clean your soul. Do not look at your mother during this process.

Now that half a packet still remains, arrange for a demo by your mother. Handover the packet and watch silently, as she seems to be doing the same things but the cooker turns out a magically spongy dhokla at the end.

Outsource subsequent dhokla-making activities for the perfectly spongy dhokla experience.


Posted in Humor

Mocktail Rhymes

Should Humpty Dumpty always have a great fall?  What if, instead, he meets Little Miss Muffet and they have a conversation? This mocktail rhyme is what happened when I imagined something like that Рthree nursery rhymes shaken together for a new flavour!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Eating popcorn and cheese ball
Said, “Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are?”
Replied Little Miss Muffet, 
sitting on a tuffet,
“Up above the world so high,
along came a spider and scared her away,
Twinkly twinkly had a great fall,
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Put the star together again,
Like a diamond in the sky”

Posted in Humor, Opinion

Vicious circle of mansplaining Part 2



Continuing from where I left yesterday, maybe I should just start explaining what it is before …oh no, here they are with

Chapter 2 Exercises in sentence completion

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But there are more pressing issues that need to be fixed. Like my bindi. We are now at

Chapter 3 or It does not matter if we met just two days ago 
The boundaries of privilege and entitlement stretch themselves and reach a female coworker’s forehead, you decide what is supposed to be there.
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Hang in there, people. I am now confused. I can either be a feminist or a whore. If ‘character’ is key, I got to be a feminist. In which case, I am supposed to hate men. But then, I am not supposed to hate men. Am I speaking like Radhika Apte?

Maybe we are at

Chapter 4 or When you have to decide between feminism and whorism 
Because, hey! we believe in no middle ground for the girls and 50 shades of grey for the boys

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By the way, one simply does not directly answer questions put by females, therefore a simple solution is available in

 Chapter 5 or Wifesplaining , where all female queries will be answered in the voice of the wife. 

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All illustrations made on

Posted in Humor, Opinion

The vicious circle of mansplaining 1

When I first heard about Female Suffrage, I thought it meant suffering of a woman. I then learnt that female Suffrage was a successful movement that resulted in women having a right to vote. This means, a woman has a right to an opinion on how the nation is being governed and power to steer political discourse.

Why am I ranting about suffrage now? Because, while we have earned the right to vote,  people still assume we are incapable of forming opinions or rather, we should not be having an opinion at all.

I do not know about you, but I have witnessed so many jaw-dropping moments of being ‘told’ and ‘explained to’ by members of the opposite sex. Apparently, there is a name to this phenomenon – Mansplaining. I didn’t know I will find myself writing borderline psychotic stuff on this topic.

So here I am, trying to define this term …

First, somebody is nice enough to offer you an opportunity to speak. Then they take the liberty to interrupt you mid-sentence. You are then told what opinion you should be having, by interpreting what you are trying to say in a way that is convenient to them. They are also chivalrous enough to communicate it to others.













Posted in Humor, Opinion

When I tried DIY Soap making

With immense pleasure, I announce that I have ventured into soap making.

This inspirational journey began after watching a few minutes of many soaps and wondering if I can pull off this feat.

How to make a soap, sitting in the comfort of your home

Write each of the below lines on different pieces of paper

Gently fold them (in slo-mo) and put them in a jar

Draw lots and form a sequence. 

Here you go :

Girl be the saree wearing office-goer (with a bad boss and a good friend)

Family full of problems (dowry , drinking, debt, all misery)

Well dressed Honda city lady impressed by saree girl (temple bells ringing type)

Rich Amerika return dude with happening girlfriend (smoking and all)

Saree girl married to Amerika dude (full accident)

Saree girl early morning, tulsi round putting with nightie

ABCD no like saree girl

Random guy under banyan tree astrology

Saree girl magically pregnant

So many women at home (audition based on knowledge of witchcraft, medicine, make up)

Saree girl gets to know of a smoking girl (when the lamp blows off or something. Conjuring level – Infinity)

Saree girl kicked out of the house (strong, independent lass who need no man is victim of sorcery)

Saree girl making and selling the papad and buying the Benz car (Fun fact: If we put together, all the masala and papad sold by daily soap ladies, we can solve the world’s hunger problem)

Rich dude becomes broke dude (and joins papad company)

New rich dude all lovey dovey for saree girl

Loads of self pity

Lots of betrayal (with background music)

Random kidnapping in ambassador car

Some reincarnation here and there

Marriage @ Elizabeth Taylor and Gemini Ganesan

Court room drama (fastest court in the country)

Bizarre revenge

Unbelievable transformation


On a serious note : Scores of women are fed with this kind of content , every single day, in the name of entertainment. So much for empowerment , creativity and education



















Posted in Humor, Short Story

Abhi and the Uthappam saga

If you are under the assumption that a 21-year old Tamil girl should know her Dosai and Uthappam, Abhinaya is here to set the table right. Irrelevance and Exuberance are the twin engines that Abhi runs on. ” Irrelevance?”, you may wonder. What else can you call it when the reason for someone’s action is not the most logical and obvious one that can be?

When Abhinaya is not busy working in NewGen SoftTech Inc, she is busy learning to play the Veena or to speak German. It may be a good idea to take a step back and understand that the key selling point for the job was the cafeteria and a very good looking college senior, who doubled as her boss. The Payroll department could very well skip a month’s pay and Abhi would hardly even know.

How did the universe sell Veena to Abhi, you may ask ? Well, Veena and German went hand in hand in the war for abstinence from the kitchen. Abhi was quite passionate about the causes she fought for. The dusky beauty had excellent foresight and could sense trouble brewing at a distance. So when her sister was engaged a couple of years ago, she had nightmares of loneliness What else but music to cure the poor, frightened soul?¬†(An enlightened reader will know that she saw herself stirring pots in the kitchen, assisting mom and that gave her many restless nights about her sister’s wedding)

But then one day, the inevitable happened. Amma had to attend a wedding and would be away for 3 days , leaving dad and daughter alone! “Abhi, you have batter in the fridge. You can make dosai or uthappam. Please don’t do takeaways early in the morning and spoil appa’s health. The batter is fresh, stir it well and make your breakfast please. And look up the internet for sambar and chutney recipes. You need to graduate beyond Maggi and Curd rice “, amma warned. There! Boom! Dad was hiding his face behind the newspaper. He knew his daughter, and he laughed mischievously.

So the next morning, appa found his little princess holding out a bent ladle , standing in a sea of creamy white, fermented batter. He took out a wooden spoon and offered to stir it, while she changed to cleaner, batter-free clothing. “May be if I sincerely try and botch the next two steps, appa will be able to serve us Uthappam”, she thought.

“Kanna, can you sit in the dining hall and chop vegetables ? I will scrap some coconut for the chutney”, he told her. “But appaaa! I want to make everythinggggg!” , she feigned.¬† “Let us share the load da”, he told her, chuckling. Sometimes genes speaketh more than the tongue.¬† How else can one explain his visits to the kitchen, which more or less coincided with the release of a Rajnikanth movie?

In the next one hour, appa had the cooker in place for the sambar and the chutney ground and ready to go. Now that the bigger duty was sorted out, it was time to pull Abhi’s leg a bit. “Let me go bathe now. I will have piping hot Uthappam , served by my DEAR daughter , when I am back”, he told her. “I need thin Uthappams with extra onions and green chilli. Just remember, pizza style, ok? “, and he grinned his way to his room. “If you get this right, we have pizza for dinner”, he told her. “Make sure the pan is really hot when you start kanna”, and then she heard the sound of the bathroom’s door creaking.

Abhi put the iron kal on the gas stove. After a few minutes, she splashed some water to check if the water sputtered. And with no further ado, she poured the batter on it and began making a galaxy. My sweet dad, she thought, he deserves the best! And she went on stretching the dosa until the end of the tawa.¬† As the satellite reached the outer boundaries of the galaxy, a small back hole appeared out of nowhere. Just a little correction, she thought, and tried to cover up the hole by borrowing from the surroundings. The hole only got bigger and bigger, dragging along the batter from around it, until it resembled a tennikoit ring.¬† This first mission had to be aborted now. She tried to scrap the whole thing off , but the batter at the edges wouldn’t budge.¬† She took a handful of water and splashed it on the iron kal. The kitchen closely resembled the site of a tear gas attack against violent protesters.

She quickly switched on the chimney and opened the windows,¬† and prepared herself for round 2 in the meanwhile. She opened Google and looked for ‘Why does Dosai stick to the pan?”

One reason looked plausible – Batter too thick. She quickly took some batter in a smaller bowl and poured a glass of water into it. With renewed energy, she resumed. As she poured the batter over the dosai kal, it began flowing and accumulating at the center and then slowly boiling. When the dosai presented itself like a stray idli, Abhi dragged the kal and washed it in the sink.

When round 3 began, her father was looking over her shoulder, suppressing his urge to burst into laughter. The ipad on the kitchen counter and the open windows were enough to tell him the story. “What kanna! Uthappam enga? Don’t tell me you are done with your breakfast without me!” , he quipped.¬† Abhi turned around to see him holding his belly and laughing.

“I am sure your stomach is full now. Do you really want breakfast pa?”, she asked. “Ok, let us do this”, he said. “I will make the base, you add the topping and bring it over to the table. Does that sound ok?” Abhi gleamed. “Appa. Promise! I will make the best Uthappam tomorrow!”.

Appa demonstrated the entire process now, bragging about King Nala and how men make brilliant cooks. Abhi watched enthralled, as the galaxy formed on the kal, without a black hole. Appa then clapped his hands, snapped his fingers and went to the dining hall, asking Abhi to bring the Uthappam to him.
As dad went out, Abhi garnished the Uthappam and then tried to remove it from the pan. The flat ladle went flying out of the kitchen window and Abhi opened the door leading to the yard from the kitchen, and ran to pick it up before the Uthappam burnt. Appa was watching the whole show , thoroughly entertaining himself.

When Abhi , huffing and puffing, served breakfast that day, all appa had to say was, “Hope the reason you go to office knows how to make Dosai! If not, don’t worry. We can sort it out”. Abhi’s eyes almost popped out, as appa winked and went ahead with his breakfast.

#Kitchen #Funny #Comedy

First published by Nithya Rajagopal in her own blog : InkSpear Inc.





Posted in Humor, Opinion

Cell Mate

I love circles. In addition to a gentle reminder of thy physical shape, they also fill one with hope and color and patterns and the possibility of a smiling person’s face on them. My fascination and appreciation for this shape only seems to grow with time. Mangoes, ice cream scoops, rasgullas, jamuns , rain drops, parathas … they all have a circular inclination. Compare this to bricks, cardboard cartons, circuit boards … I am not intolerant , don’t get me wrong. But the harrowing memories of straight lines , crossing each other like a Lungi on a computer screen, are not one you want to create and live with every day.

If you really want to understand what I am going through, you need to work with Excel or any spreadsheet application.Of everything I do at work, dealing with these is one Herculean task which makes me question my existence in a cubicle.

I fail to fathom how tiny ridiculous quadrilaterals can gain such increasing importance in one’s professional life. In addition to being full of numbers, they also have a mind of their own.You never know when they stand in unison and when they display their uniqueness. Like that day when all of them took up an uncharacteristic yellow colour as I tried to highlight how significant one of them is. Any attempt at partiality was promptly thwarted in unison. Try sizing these unruly squares in one go, and they balk and spit fire at you.

Ever purchased a silk saree in Chennai ? The manner in which some experts carelessly flip through filters and worksheets, as they explain the plethora of numbers and coloured columns, reminds me of a storekeeper displaying an unwieldy 6-yards of fabric.

Initially, I was thrilled.¬† The idea that dragging a tiny ‘+’ symbol can fill an entire series was truly fascinating. And then the Sum function caught my fancy. So I became obsessed with the idea of¬†totaling anything and everything in order to make use of it. But beyond that, I really don’t appreciate all the intelligence that it flaunts.¬†I mean, who will ever imagine that a misplaced¬†0 can bring down the house. And the timing for embarrassment is just brilliant. It chooses to (mis)behave when everyone is alert in a full house in the wee hours of the morning. So while you are hoping nobody demands an explanation about cell B3, you forget that 10 pairs of eyes have their own idea of what is abnormal , and would like to know why N34 is negative C59 is more negative than J59. Nobody was willing to take ‘Emotionally charged up cells’ as an answer

I have not yet broached the topic of macros and recordings. I still remember the day an excel aficionado had those sparkling eyes and  fire in his voice , as he explained how a macro should be recorded. But eyes being round, were more fascinating than those moving rectangles in front of me. It was a Wodehouse style love triangle of sorts. Me and those sparkling eyes, sparkling eyes lit up by obscure squares and squares trying to seek my attention.

Did I tell you about VLookUp? It looks down upon me. And the random number generator ? I think I use plenty of that one without my knowledge. So when someone asks me to run a pivot, I would rather not hear beyond run.

So those demi-gods who got this nightmare figured out, I hail you.  And I thank you for doling out that summary sheet , which can so deftly be copied into a power point and decorated with coloured texts and call outs.







Posted in Humor, Opinion

Dear ToI Online

These days Arnab Goswami is busy screaming from the right bottom of my browser window. I derive immense satisfaction in hitting the pause button and closing that tiny window. The effort people take in making sure nobody hears how much they can blabber is mind boggling. He seems to have found a commendable spot to vent his frustration. May be that is where I drew my inspiration to revive this blog.

But before going into more details,¬†¬†I should¬†thank the many advertisers who paid to take up¬†space in the landing page of ToI’s online edition. This, by far, is the most ingenious and utilitarian¬†ad placement I have known. In a more rational world, the readers should be paying you.¬†We were one click away from being spotted watching adult entertainment, before you came in as the ‘night in shining armor’ and saved our face. The fact that a lot of people are found giving a pensive look to the wallpaper when caught off guard by an onlooker is a different tale altogether.

While I ponder about the difference between Top News Stories and Latest News, there are some very informative, strategically placed videos to consume my bandwidth . The baits include finding out why Salman Khan¬†woke up late today, Mysterious paper boat found floating in rainwater, Minister dancing in wedding¬†…

Thank you for your wooing lessons. Your slideshows are impressively¬†educative. I get to know the top 10 reasons why I should¬†be cooking with¬†olive oil today and why I should stop using¬†olive oil for 10 reasons the next day. By stringently viewing your 10-day-flat abs¬†news piece, I can recall the routine in reverse order now.¬†Wake me up in the middle of the night, and I can tell you who ran away with somebody else’s¬†wife.

The law of diminishing returns is fully operational on scrolling down the home page. Sunny Leone and Poonam Pandey refuse to budge and make way for new entrants. If your readership is dwindling, hope you are reading this¬†? ūüėČ

The news that matters and the news with matter are clearly different things, I suppose.

Posted in Humor, Opinion

Pigeons and the messenger birds

Living in Hyderabad, I end up sharing a good amount of my balcony with pigeons. They are very good for my ego, with their feathers getting ruffled the very instant I open the door, so much so that they take flight and flee. But seeing them jobless instigated the manager in me. How can somebody sleep all day and then occupy my balcony for free? Whoever allowed these traditional messengers to retire at birth?

Continuing along this obviously unnecessary line of thought, have you ever considered the ridiculousness of using Whatsapp? (Whatsup, wassup to the esoteric).

A: Are you on Whatsapp?

B: Of course I am . Add me.

And lo, look how close we are. Let us do everything that is becoming of a Whatsapp  relationship -Mutually add one another to random groups, recursively circulate bits of medical information that tell you why you should be dead by now, receive 400 good mornings and respond to the 400th with a Good night, mysteriously smile at the off-colour joke that just landed, wait till your eyes bleed to download the video of a cat chasing a dog, and few days later, furiously change privacy settings to make sure you are not caught online by your Whatsapp society. (Joining a group is the equivalent of Hotel California -You can never leave, unless you want to risk being called socially inept)

To make sure I am doing justice, there are professional users too. Nice, unknown messiahs who add you to a Whatsapp marketing group and tirelessly send you photos and offers of things you don’t need.

In order to maintain healthy Whatsapp relationships, one needs to periodically update the ‘DP; (ewww, what a term) with photographs of their ‘selfie-propelled new hair style’ , their dog, their cat or their child. That saves time for circulating more forwards on world history and jokes that¬†are longer than the latest Archer bestseller.

And that, my dear, explains why it is easy to pass off looking like a clown today, than it was 10 years ago. Nobody is looking at you anyway !

How I wish to experience the romantic era of a message on a pigeon’s claws, a messenger on a horse, pen friends and mail vans. Guess our generation needs to be happy with a courier¬†from the eKart delivery guy ūüėČ