Thursday, March 19, 2009


It was the year of 1998, the place was the capital of India. The co-actors were my elder sister and her boyfriend (now better known as Jambo urf Brother(Big B)-in-law).
The stage was set for a great day, apart from me being the bone in the perfect setting.
Yes, I proudly state that I intruded their date and made it a formal meeting. Ha ha ha. It feels so good to smell something burning ain’t it!
We went to Priya’s..a famous movie theater in Delhi. To watch Godzilla( didn’t understand why they needed to watch that movie, when they could have just glanced at me !)
But the part after the movie was a better one. We all went to eat at Nirula’s a restaurant chain like McDonalds. And there I tried something different. Some crispy stuff..with lot of white semi-solid or rather jelly(reminded me of something else) thing with lots of capsicum and slices of chicken in it. And they said, its name is “Pizza”. And instantly I though these guys have a liking to things with “I”,”z” and “a” in it( irrespective of the order).
Though I didn’t like it at the first go, but thought of it as a food which can be had when all options have been exhausted.
Year 2001. I had already moved to Kolkata for my studies. And by this time a Pizza restaurant chain was making waves in the city. The name was “Pizza Hut”. I had a notion that it would be like a dhaba serving Pizza with lassi! Man the name “Hut” confused me.
And one of my roommate was a Pizza fanatic (though think the fanaticism has died after his marriage). So, we ventured into the “Hut” unknown.
The only thing that resembled “Hut” was me……. Nothing else! They had a bell too. May be you needed to ring it to call for service!
On the table were chilli flakes, oregano seasonings(I knew it a lot later) but where did the usual salt and pepper go? Weird isn’t it?
And this is how it started. We ordered, we ate and we did have a good time. The matter of fact is when surrounded by friends even the most ridiculous things, even the most embarrassing stuff seems like fun!
Till we were in college every month we did have Pizza Delivery at our place. By this time there was something known as Domino’s Pizza too. We feasted. We utilized every offer those Pizza chains had thrown at us.
I still remember we all huddling around a box waiting for it to open so that we can paw down the largest slice. And in doing that we used to spread the cheese and the toppings all over. Pizza – the fun food, we used to call it!
But, I did have one of the amazing pizza’s just after I completed my 2nd sem. I went to Delhi to visit my Sister and brother-in-law. And my sister prepared pizza that day. I would be damned if don’t tell this, ”It is still the most amazingly tasty pizza I ever had.”
Oh! No what have I done. How can I praise my sister’s cooking in public, when I never even have said “Good food”, when she prepares those for me! She must be “one” time lucky! Let’s give it to her.
These days, you have all sort of Pizza corners..”Papa John”, “Pizza Port”, “Pizza Corner”(Don’t know where they find a corner in a pizza..may be they make the square shaped pizza.)
And when you stay late in office or work over time, Pizza is the one thing you order. Not out of love. But it is quick to eat. You can have it right at your desk. Bill gets reimbursed without hassles. They sometimes do provide complementary offers, so more for the tummy!
I never though of it before writing the blog. Great seems Pizza does increase your logical power. Just kidding! But it does add to my gigantic figure!

luv 'n' luk
Arnab Chakraverty

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sambar - the lost love

The name may have ignited few questions about me writing a recipe in my blog. The time hasn’t come yet but would one day definitely write about those too (My Lab called “The Kitchen”…hope this ignites few passionate lab rats like me, to at least pen down their unique tasting day to day preparations for people to savour!)
Coming back to the subject, “Sambar” at hand.
Since my childhood, I had been fond of this South Indian delicacy with few more. I loved Dosa, Idly, Upama and the one and only Sambar. It was a feast day gulping down those bowls and bowls of Sambar as if there was no tomorrow.
Sambar could be credited to a certain extent for the amazing belly build that I had, which my sister always said as “baby fat”…which still continues.
I was in blind love with Sambar, so much so that my mother used to always say, “We ll get you married to a south Indian girl!” And that used to fill my thoughts with bowls and bigger bowls of sambar coming my way. This was one of my gastro love stories.
Like our films, there came a villain in our fairly long relation. Me being shifted to Bangalore, the silicon city [Don’t know where those gardens from the geography books pictures of green Bangalore went to?]
I stayed for 6 months at a pg near the “Hoody Village”, which served us soda mixed rice, some kind of slimy liquid called “Sambar” (No my love cant be so ugly), hot water with haldi and karhi patta called “Rasam”. And there it all happened! I started hating her. For her ugliness and the way she treated her love – my stomach! In that area where ever you looked it was either a Shanti Sagar or a Cart selling rice and sambar. Even the office caterers use to serve the same ugly looking Sambar. It was Sambar ..sambar everywhere, but not a drop of my previous love for me!
I shifted my base from Hoody to Thayagaraja Nagar. The same smell followed me there too. But, since I had cooking arrangements I cooked meals for myself. Though cherished those magical moments with Sambar.
My nephew too is in love with her…. And my sister still calls me up to let me know that they are going on a dinner/lunch date with my ex!
I shifted again, towards HAL where there is less predominance of my ex. I had by this time been a part time cook feeding my room-mates. And as they used to call it, being lucky guinea pigs for my lab- my kitchen.
But loves doesn’t die, it just needs a rekindle! And God does find his own unique way to bring back the love lost.
Through my friend Chandan, I met Varun in Kolkata, during my latest visit to my hometown. Since he too is in Bangalore, we decided to meet up every possible weekend. Last weekend we went for a movie and I stayed back at his place.
And as if God had written it, everything was falling into place…breakfast with Rawa Idly (Breakfast in a bachelor’s life staying alone is a dream come true), which Varun would better tell you how I looked, like a man just been starving for years. I had plans to leave before lunch, as breakfast does make my stomach cry which it eventually did. But could not say “No” to aunty.. and who doesn’t want a home cooked delicious food filled with lots of love and served with even more! And there it was Rice, sambar, rasam with few others side role actors. I first was skeptical about having to meet my old love. But once the ice was broken, my love was back in full swing.
I beg to state that who ever didn’t have the pleasure of having sambar prepared by Aunty (even after being friendly with Varun) must have good reasons like “Staying in shape”(cause u cant stop eat till you die). Since shape is just a farce for me, when it comes to choosing between good food and shape. I chose the former. Aunty by now must have realized, what goes in to keep my gigantic figure in shape and my belly happy!
Once again my love story sees a new beginning, and dating place would definitely be Varun’s dining room.

Luv 'n' Luk
Arnab Chakraverty