Monday, August 30, 2010

Delhi 6 & Karim's

After spending more than 4 years in Delhi, NCR/Gurgaon to be politically precise, I hadn't had the opportunity to visit the famed Chandni Chowk or Delhi 6 (pincode 110006) area. Unless you're absolutely unacquainted with the Indian capital you will know that Chandni Chowk is the typical bustling, crowded, 'original' heart of the city. Located not far from the posh & centrally located Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk is brings you to a completely different city within the City. It's a bit like Alibaba's magic words which opened the cave, you are suddenly welcomed by lanes narrower than the width of your bedroom and lined on both sides with cars, trucks, rickshaws and other assorted modes of transportation. It's lined with shops selling everything under the scorching sun, and of course every scrap of road not occupied by the the aforementioned vehicles, doubles up as a cricket pitch or generally sitting around space.

Veni & I reached here on a Saturday afternoon, and being not very conversant with the place we landed at Chawri Bazaar metro station. If you've already formed an image of Chandni Chowk in your head, just multiply the crowds by 2 and divide the width of the roads by half. Yes, and now put us in our Santro in the middle of this picture. Yes, that's about just perfect! However, contrary to the image, the warmth and friendliness of the people forced us to loosen our guards. Seeing us, sunglass wearing, bewildered "city dwellers" in a bit of a spot, the shopkeepers and rickshaw drivers actually gave us specific directions to the exact place we wanted to go to, and halted the traffic for us to reverse the car and get going. Yes, this is the India we hear so often about that sometimes we forget it's reality. Nobody honked, swore of glared at us bumbling our way through the market streets. On the contrary, they were happy to hand over the World Cup of cricket to us, for a princely sum of 200 INR (~$4.5)

After that it was the remarkable GPS on our Nexus Ones to our rescue and we reached the clothes section of the bazaar where my in-laws were waiting for us. After going through half a dozen shops and many a dozen sarees, the ladies picked up one. Yes, O N E. I silently saluted the patience of the shopkeepers and took leadership of the situation. Lunch situation that is.

If you had any doubts about the secular nature of India they can be safely put to rest here. There's a large Gurudwara, temple and the famous Jama Masjid.  However in terms of food I have to admit I am very biased and bigoted, and completely overlooked the jalebi, samosa, parathe wale galis and herded the entire group straight to the mecca of Mughlai food in Delhi - Karim's.

Established almost a 100 years back, this institution has grown in stature with every passing year and has found mention in Asia's 'Best Places to Eat' directories many a times. Located right next to the Jama Masjid in a narrow gully, you'll initially be a little underwhelmed with the place after having heard to death about it. However, the long queue outside the satisfied look on the faces of the customers (a lot of foreigners included) leaving the restaurant will leave you assured.

The brand has grown so much that it is now run by many different family members in different parts of the city, with 3 separate restaurants running out of the same premises. After 5 minutes of waiting, we managed to get a table for five. That included my mother-in-law and brother-in-law's fiance, the former a vegetarian as staunch as they come, the latter off meat during that time of the year. 

Just so that you understand, this place smells of meat, differently cooked, various kinds, but meat. Skewered, grilled, chargrilled, stewed, curried, marinated meat! This is where Veni, Rahul (Veni's brother) and I showed the selfish side of human nature and disassociated ourselves from the remaining two and dived into the not-so-elaborate menu card. There's meat and meat items everywhere and I will vouch for the following: Chicken/Mutton Biriyani, Mutton Qorma and the Mutton Burra Kebabs. Suffice to say that the meat was tender, succulent, juicy and perfect! The Biriyani, different from the Hyderabadi, Lucknawi, Bengali or Malabari ones have a charm of their own and have the gumption to take on the rest if push comes to shove. The food is oily, no two ways about it. So if you're particularly conscious of your calorie intake you may be left disappointed. Also, a word of caution for the vegetarians, the food sucks. Yes, it's as simple as that. But then you can't complain much about the milk shake they serve you in pubs, can you?

The Mutton Burra Kebab

Chicken Biriyani

Mutton Qorma

The Phirni that you must try

After a most satisfying and damaging meal we got on the rickshaws (had to park the car far, far away) and weaned our way through the meandering streets and back to 'the City'.

If you're in Delhi and have the stomach for a slice of the real Delhi and lip smacking food, you must pay Delhi 6 a visit.

P.S: If you've seen Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra's Delhi-6, you will relate to this 'Kala Bandar' we found there:)

Friday, August 06, 2010

Blogs #FollowFriday

If you are one of Twitter's 100 million users you must be accustomed to the #followfriday hashtag. If not, this is a good read to bring yourself up to speed. My favourite Twitter tradition. This week I wanted to bring #followfriday to my blog and mention some of my favourite blogs. Without any exaggeration these blogs provide me with more entertainment, information, opinions, ideas, laughs and lots of other nice things than newspapers, magazines and television put together. Here goes my #followfriday


Random Thoughts Of A Demented Mind (better known as Greatbong) 

The last word in Indian blogging for me, and many others. Witty, informative, thought provoking and  identifiable among other things, RTDM has a balanced, satirical and extremely articulate view on all current affairs in the Indian scene. Agree with Arnab (the author) on almost all topics, besides Shahrukh Khan, and look forward to the next post with as much anticipation as all of India did for the next episode of the Mahabharata on Sunday mornings in the late '80s.


Labnol is to the world of Tech blogging what Wikipedia is to anything. Amit, the extremely humble author of the uber popular blog, comes up with the tweaks and hacks for the little tech issues that always bother you but you can never quite put a finger on. It is the best 'Dummies Guide...' in the market but doesn't make you look stupid! The easy to follow step by step screenshots and screencasts are among the most helpful things on the web.


The former is a simple review blog run by the biggest movie buff - Meetu. She catches almost all (Hindi) movies first day, first show and reviews it in a way akin to a friend telling you about her movie experience. Hardly any use of film jargon and a very keen sense of observation. Her reviews are almost never biased and her inherent love for movies makes them very sincere. So far I have found more people to agree with her reviews than anyone else's. What I especially like about her reviews is that she doesn't try to indulge in unnecessary smart-aleckness and keeps the focus on the movie and not her writing!

The Vigil Idiot is a briliant stick-figure comic movie review blog. The illustrations are simple yet very effusive. If Sahil (the author) doesn't take too kindly to a movie, he can just take it apart with his stick figures spewing the deadliest amount of sarcastic venom. Don't think any of the movie makers whose movies he reviews will get most of the humour! Caveats - his reviews contain all the give always and spoilers and is definitely recommended to read only after you have watched a movie and not before. Also, he doesn't review movies that he likes, so if you're going to find a review of a movie of your liking, come prepared.


I belong to the that class of people who live to it and not necessarily the other way round. However, a major anomaly of my life is that I can't cook anything beyond Maggi noodles in a microwave. So under this category I am putting my favourite food 'review' blog and not  a recipe one. This blog is run by Shantanu Ghosh, an IT professional whose passion for food and love for food photography is phenomenal. He travels extensively all over India  and the world and indulges in ruthless experimentation in various kinds of cuisines. What sets him apart is the immaculate pictures he manages to click of the most delicious dishes without giving in to the temptation of digging in! His work also provides him a glimpse of the high life every now and then, and so he takes you with him in his journeys across the seas in a personal cabin in Business Class, my closest tryst with luxury so far:)

I must also mention my friend, Nagalakshmi's extremely dedicated, well designed and meticulously updated recipe blog - Edible Garden. Pet peeve - she hardly mentions non-veg recipes:( But the blog is brilliant nevertheless.

Also, This Is Why You're Fat! if you're looking for a drool every now and then. Warning - not for the health conscious at all.


For the best ads in town, in fact in the globe, you don't need to look beyond Adoholik. Bibhuti (the author) has been running this blog for many years now with almost daily, and sometimes more frequently than that, updates. He finds the choicest of Print, Digital and TV ads and also provides all the basic information about them e.g. Product, Country, Agency, etc. For anyone with a passing interest in the world of advertising this is a treasure trove that must be bookmarked.


Belongs to the legendary icanhazcheeseburger network of blogs. The simple concept running across all   posts, looking at the most mundane things of life and putting a twist to them, in a graphical format. Could be line graphs, pie charts, bar graphs and mostly the most outrageous of statistical tools. Even if you failed in all of your Stats exams in school you will appreciate the laughs here.


This category has two picks - The Big Picture (by The Boston Globe) and India Daily Photo

The Big Picture is a thrice a week photo essay on topics as diverse as Afghanistan, World Cup Football, Obama's Inauguration, Spain's Tomato festival etc. The photos are simply brilliant in their content, resolution, form and depiction. These are usually a collection of photos from various photographer's and photo houses like AP, Reuters etc. They follow mostly the current affairs topics for their essays and come up with the most stunning collection week after week.

India Daily Photo is a group photo blog started by some of my colleagues. The theme is simple, one photo a day. It's usually from India and the photos carry a caption and a little description. An honest and passionate effort by a bunch of photography and travel lovers and definitely worth a subscription.


The only Bangla blog I follow. Run by an old and close school friend, Tanmay. However, I can say without any prejudice that the quality of content is absolutely top notch. It's mostly fiction with some commentary on current affairs thrown in. If you can read the Bangla script (the last post was mostly in English though) and enjoy short, crisp, witty, casual Bangla fiction you will have to come to this blog for more. 


I will recommend all the blogs under the 'Quiz Blogs I Follow' Category in Inquizzitive.