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Showing posts from February, 2014

In Nature’s Lap – An Escape to Malhar Machi

(This was post written in March 2012)Not too far away from the bustling, crowd-ridden and pollution-heavy city of Pune, lies a hidden gem – ‘Malhar Machi’ - a tranquil resort tucked away amidst the mountains overlooking Lake Mulshi with stunning, picturesque views. Malhar stands for rain and Machi for mountain, making it a befitting name as this region basks in heavy rainfall during the monsoons.
Malhar Machi spans over 110 acres and boasts of 19 luxurious cottages. This mountain resort was envisaged, conceptualized and materialized by two Puneites who clearly take their love for nature very seriously. The resort has a very pleasing-to-the-eye earthy, green, refreshing and minimal look and feel to it. In using bamboo, stones, wood, cane and other green materials for the cottages, pathways, furniture, etc., the architect's design pays an admirable homage to nature. The cottages are intelligently positioned to maximize the stunning landscape views; the rooms are rustic, cozy and spac…

Say Nǐ hǎo to Mapo Tofu!

Don't you wish you could go back in time just to truly appreciate where you were and what you were doing with your time then? I ponder about this sometimes. I spent two years in Melbourne. That city was a treat food-wise. I tried so many new things, experienced so many new flavours! Narrow lanes used to be dotted with little quaint cafes and the fruit and vegetable market lined with food carts, and it used to be but a pleasure to walk by, trying these treats on a free day. 

But of course every major city has to have its very own Chinatown, Melbourne included. We had a community kitchen in the lodge we stayed at. Every night after classes, the group of Chinese girls and guys used to collectively cook in the kitchen - sharing their sauces and veggies, and thereafter eating together. Laughter from the kitchen echoed into the halls and I used to envy the sense of togetherness they experienced over food! 

I too had some really lovely Chinese friends whom I met in class and who eventually…

Restaurant Review: Soy at Le Royce, Pune

Many times I have been recommended a restaurant that is super popular in the city, but after dining there I tend to walk out feeling was good, but not that good. Pune has a few restaurants that are deemed a must-visit for outsiders. My theory is that these popular outlets were good at one time, but once they gained popularity and the footprint, somewhere along the way, the prices sky-rocketed and the food quality suffered. Nonetheless with some PR machinery backing them up, they do get their desired footfalls. 

Sometimes, the best restaurants turn out to be the ones very few have heard of. One such not-much-talked-about place is Soy. My sister discovered it two years ago when severe sushi cravings drove her on a city-wide hunt for a restaurant that serves decent ones. Sheltered on the ground floor of Le Royce Hotel, the chefs at Soy dish out some remarkable Chinese and Japanese food. 

Their menu has good range and better still, vegetarians will not be left upset I assu…

Book Review: The Importance of Being Seven

On a lookout for a book to gift someone, after a very long day at the office, I decided to head to a bookstore. Upon entering, I was greeted with a big fat book sale! Just so you know I didn't find the particular book I wanted to gift, but an hour and a half of browsing later, I did walk out with three for myself. All books by my favourite author Alexander McCall Smith. One of the titles was 'The Importance of Being Seven'. Like the caption of the title says (A 44 Scotland Street Novel), it draws out for you days in the life of residents on a street in Scotland. If like me you've never visited Scotland but would very much like an insight into the place and its people, this one's a great handbook! Smith very vividly spins a tale about people who are in the pursuit of bettering their life, enjoying the little things, dreaming, planning their travels and of sometimes harbouring negative thoughts about others (even close ones). Bertie, the boy cutely illustrated on the…

Woes Of A Wedding Attender

Attending a friend's wedding is always a bitter-sweet experience I think. Bitter if you don't already sport a (very) shiny stone on your finger (or for that matter, a dashing man on your arm). Sweet, because of course you are happy your chum's 'settling down in life' (always hated that phrase - it sounds like you're compromising or something of the sort). But before I move on, I want to rewind back and explain the bitter bit better (tongue-twister not intended but also not regretted). So what makes the experience of attending a wedding when I'm not married bitter? It's when people (those you haven't seen in years) unabashedly and very righteously ask you 'what're your plans in life', a question which so skilfully masks the real query which is: 'You sorry thing, you're not yet married?'. These questions always leave me wondering a) if I should bother responding or, b) if I should really bother responding.

Just fresh out of havi…

The Work Behind the Writing

I always fancied the thought of being a writer. It seemed's the word..intellectual. English was always my favourite subject and pretty much the only class I looked forward to during school years. While reading books, I not only enjoyed the stories and tickling my imagination but also took in the writing styles of the authors. I went quite mainstream in choosing my Bachelor's degree and studied Business Administration. Why didn't I study literature instead? No idea! I used to write for myself mostly. But then came Facebook and Facebook Notes where I started publishing my ramblings on. My friends said I penned well. With a full time job coming into the picture, the writing mostly took a back seat. Only once in a while would I find time and get the creative itch to write. But the embers of wanting to write professionally still glowed. A random browse through my Twitter timeline led me to applying for a freelance food writing project with a website. They took a l…