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Happy Mother’s Day- Kyunki, Mere Paas Maa Hai!

I left home in 2014.

No, I did not run away to join the circus. Undoubtedly, that would’ve been quite the story, but I chose a tamer route.

I left home to pursue my Master’s degree in Journalism and it was a move that made me the person that I am today. I knew it would be difficult, but somehow, I didn’t envision being thrown headfirst into the world of adulting, while barely knowing how to swim.

Me, Circa 2014; reaching for the stars.

Me, Circa 2014; reaching for the stars.

But honestly, the most important thing that living alone has taught me, is to appreciate home. Never again, will I ever take “home” for granted. Especially not home-cooked food.

 

Sunday lunch ❤️ #goodfood #home

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No gourmet restaurant can match up to a hot lunch of pepper kuzhambu and fried potato curry on a cold rainy day. No waffle or nutella pancake can ever come close to the feeling of biting into a crispy dosa dipped in green chutney. Somehow, even the cup of Horlicks mom makes me tastes different.

No place like #Home

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Sunday Lunch #Mom #HomeFood #Goodfood #mushroom #biriyani #Love #nothinglikeit

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It’s almost the end of Mother’s Day, and I don’t have my Mother next to me to celebrate. While living with family is indeed, a comfort (especially in an alien city), it doesn’t really change the fact that sometimes, I really miss my mom.

I’ve come to realise over the years that home is a hot cup of chai waiting for you after a long day at work.

The people who live in a house are the ones responsible for making it a home. They may drive you crazy or make you laugh till your stomach hurts, but family is family. You can’t choose them, and maybe, just maybe… That’s a good thing?

To end, I’m going to quote Amitabh Bachchan, in a dialogue that didn’t make sense to me, until I grew older.

 

 

Hello from the city of dreams!

You’d think that a 22 year old with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication would be able to wrap aluminium foil around two slices of bread with peanut butter on them.

I have never been more wrong in my life.

Hello my lovely readers! I took a rather unexpected sabbatical from blogging and here I am again, in the city of dreams. That’s right, I’m in Mumbai! I could not be happier to be here right now, interning with BBC in Mumbai.

I know, there’s been a lot going on in my life right now and I’ve been really caught in the thick of things. Luckily, you’ve probably been able to get a hold on how my life is going right now if you’ve been following me on Instagram (@thatepicfoodiegirl) and Twitter (@aish7793)

Bombay, started off with one big amazing trip.

 

Nothing could defeat our spirits! Even at 5 a.m :D

Nothing could defeat our spirits! Even at 5 a.m :D

We literally had to brave a storm. I'm not even sure how they let us fly in weather like that.

We literally had to brave a storm. I’m not even sure how they let us fly in weather like that.

 

Up in the air!

Up in the air!

This made me so happy

This made me so happy

 

I’m living near Bandra right now. Pretty posh upscale area, and for these two months, there is going to be a new character in my life (and blog) whom I’ll be making frequent references to. Miss. BB is a bright, young, promising woman and the most important part is, she’s a vegetarian <3 It’s like it was meant to be.

The thing is Ms. BB is possibly the only person in my life I know who loves food and cooking as much as I do. She’s always prompting me to try new cuisines and explaining things about cooking to me, in addition to having conversations about pretty much anything under the sun. I’m happy I get to be around her.

Miss. BB and I have also started our own Instagram page which will chronicle all the food we eat in Bombay. Follow us @thehungryinterns on Instagram.

I hope to keep you all engaged and enthralled with all of the things that I plan to post. Keep watching this space for more adventures in the land of dreams, shopping and of course, food.

Till next time, much love darlings!

Shubho Mahalaya

I first met a Bengali when I was 11. His name was Gogol Ganguli, and Jhumpa Lahiri spoke to me at great length about identity crises and generation gaps. That was the first time my curiousity was piqued by the culture as described in that book. I became increasingly fascinated with their expressive eyes, their ‘well-rounded’ language, their passion, their intellect and of course, their fierce love for Calcutta. The Namesake was my earliest exposure to Bengalis. Before I joined college at Symbiosis, never did I imagine that I would have the pleasure of meeting so many of them and that I would go on to become close friends with some of them.

So when you know as many Bengalis as I do, you’d know how they speak of home with an air of reminiscence and a twinge of nostalgia in their voices. Well, my beloved bongs took it a step further. They organised a feast, which is called ‘bhog’ to celebrate Mahalya.

So I went a step further and tried to find out what Mahalaya is all about. It’s an auspicious occasion observed seven days before Durga Puja. It was originally an invocation. When the demon king Mahisasura was increasingly cruel to the gods, the gods pleaded to Vishnu to annihilate this demon, unable to bear his tyranny. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva came together to create a powerful female goddess with ten arms- Goddess Durga or Mahamaya. Goddess Durga rides on a lion to battle Mahisasura and then slays him. After he has been slayed, heaven and earth rejoice at her victory.

Such a victory of epic proportions would certainly not go uncelebrated here at Symbiosis International University!

First up, we were served Luchi. Luchi is the Bengali name for Puri and I didn’t really find it different from the puris I’ve had elsewhere, but they had less oil and I really appreciated that. The first dish to be served with it was Alur Dom. That’s the Bong version of dum Aloo. A dish that (incidentally) I’m not very fond of, but I bit into it nevertheless and I was pleasantly surprised. The gravy that the Alur was in was full of flavour and spice without being overwhelmingly spicy and the potato actually retained its natural flavour, hence adding a few sweet notes to the dish.

Luchi and Alur Dom

Luchi and Alur Dom

Next up we were served Khichuri, which is their version of Kichdi. I quite liked it because it was warm and I could taste the slightest trace of ghee somewhere there. My friend Jui directed me to eat the Khichuri with Labra. Labra is a mixed veg curry that had carrots, beans and a few other veggies. Again what I loved about the Labra, was how the true flavours of the vegetables came through beautifully, despite the fact that it was cooked with oil and spices. The vegetables retaining their flavours puts a very interesting spin on the dishes and they make them feel so much more organic and beautiful.

Khichuri

Khichuri

My personal favourite was the Bhaja. Bhaja was thin crispy potato fries served with roasted groundnuts and garnished with a hint of chilli powder. The potato melted in my mouth instantly and though one would think that the flavours of the groundnut and the potato would clash, they didn’t. They formed the most beautiful symphony in the simplest of snacks.

What a feast it was! Photo courtesy: Swastika De Sarkar

What a feast it was!
Photo courtesy: Megha Varier

The organisers, hard at work Photo courtesy: Swastika De Sarkar

The organisers, hard at work
Photo courtesy: Swastika De Sarkar

Overall, the experience was absolutely magical. It made me feel satiated without feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. I felt a sort of comfort that lulled me from deep within when I finished my meal. I may not be Bengali, I may not understand their language, but in those few beautiful fleeting moments when I was eating food, so lovingly served to me by my own friends, I finally felt like I was home.

 

Everything is not as it smells!

My sister has loved strawberries for as long as I can remember. She loves eating them (and fairly, who wouldn’t? They’re packed with anti-oxidants and they really make your skin glow), loves strawberry ice cream, and also likes fruity products that smell like strawberries (EX-shampoo)

Let's not forget one of the most important thing you can do with strawberries. Image credit: CleanCuisineAndMore.com

Let’s not forget one of the most important thing you can do with strawberries.
Image credit: CleanCuisineAndMore.com

So then, why did she hate Sephora’s Strawberry Body Wash?

Anyone who has ever eaten a strawberry, will tell you that they don’t taste sweet, they’re tangy. They have strong, sassy flavours that make eating other fruit look like a walk in the park. The Sephora Strawberry Body Wash actually smelled like that. It had a sharp fragrance that was tangy, with a few underlying sweet base notes- not unlike the actual flavour of a strawberry, whose sweetness is dominated by its sassiness. So that really got me thinking? How many products actually don’t smell like the foods that they claim they’re made of?

1. First on my list was Clean and Clear’s Neem and Lemon Face Wash.

Neem and Lemon... Or is it?

Neem and Lemon… Or is it?

If you’ve tasted Neem and Lemon, you’ll know that what you smell is not very different from what you taste. So like the tastes, the smells of the foods are also strong, with no sense of sweetness. Anywhere at all. I understand that the actual smells of the two are too strong and too dominating of each other to be used to full effect, but where the heck is that sweet smell coming from?

2. Second up is Body Shop’s Creme Burlee body spray.

Because smelling like vanilla cake is important Image credit: thebodyshop.co.uk

Because smelling like vanilla cake is important
Image credit: thebodyshop.co.uk

If you’ve smelt vanilla essence in its true form, you’ll know that it has a distinct smell, which can be quite alluring. But the smell of it alone is not strong enough to constitute a fragrance that will last you the whole day. At least Body Shop’s Creme Burlee body spray is honest in the fact that vanilla is only one of its components, and that the patisserie fragrance is what they were going for.

3. Original Source vanilla and Raspberry body wash honestly reminded me of Alpenlibe’s strawberry flavoured candy.

82 sunrises is no joke people.  Image credit: thoushaltnotcovet.net

82 sunrises is no joke people.
Image credit: thoushaltnotcovet.net

I have no idea how a raspberry smells,  but hey, at least if you use this product, you end up smelling good enough to eat.

4. Biotique Papaya scrub is a really nice product that leaves your skin glowing and exfoliated.

Pa Pa Pa, Papapaya... Image credit: beautyandmakeupmatters.com

Pa Pa Pa, Papapaya…
Image credit: beautyandmakeupmatters.com

I will give Biotique credit for this as my nosy experiments revealed that it is actually quite difficult to match the scent of an element of nature in its true form. The scent ofelt slightly watered down but that might be because the scrub also claims to have mud or something in it.

5. Vim drop lemon dishwash liquid: because… lemon.

The closest and most accurate use of a lemon scent. Image credit: hul.co.in

The closest and most accurate use of a lemon scent.
Image credit: hul.co.in

The dishwashing liquid has a strong lemony scent with one or two sweet notes added in just so that the lemon doesn’t become unbearable. Their logic behind putting lemon in a dishwashing liquid is beyond just something that smells nice. Lemon apparently, has anti-bacterial properties.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Excuse me while I go dunk my head in a bowl of coffee beans. All this smelling is getting to me. Do comment if you have any products that don’t smell as good as the food they claim to be flavoured as. Until next time, much love!