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Friday, 29 June 2007

My art world

My favorite pass time is creativity. I love making odd things out of nothing. Take for example this balcony. Everybody loves this balcony that I made from Chinese cane calendar, cut out with blade to make door and windows, stuck plywood slabs to make a balcony and drinking straws for roof. Made intricate designs with thick cord of thread and painted the whole thing in bronze. Voila! A piece of art! This is the painting in oils, where there are three friends playing in the courtyard. It took me six months to complete it. This one is of a model who parades while a Rajasthani native stares at her. It is painting in oils. This is a Rajasthani native waiting in anticipation for her lover. I have used em-seal to make jewelry and frame and painting is on oils. One of the walls, I have just stuck leaves with stems painted with acrylic paints. The painting surrounds the set of five miniature pictures. On one wall, I have set of four picture, the frames are made of em-seal and painted in bronze and it frames my cross-stitch work. This is the flower arrangement of dried flowers. I stuck them on a mirror. The frame is painted in bronze. These are the things decorating my house, presently.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Gurus in India.....

I was watching TV program ‘CNN today’ and they showed some devotees in their trance. They looked happy and contented and they were the followers of Osho. “Sri Sri Ravishankar and Osho are today the glamour boys of Indian spirituality. They are charismatic and offer a new spiritual product: how to take the good life to the fulfilled life’’, said the reporter. “They are the modern-day sects of the successful. They teach you how to meditate and celebrate. The two will never clash. It's a personalized designer religion that allows you to love your material aspirations with no guilt. Sects like those of Osho and Sri Sri Ravishankar are today really popular with the young and successful. It's a young and personalized religion that allows them to enjoy their materialistic needs”. The people looked quite contented doing what they liked best, be it singing hymns or meditating. Their focus was on their own experience. If they took part in dancing sequences, they seemed to enjoy every moment. There is no teaching in Osho, you only have to strive for yourself because there is always danger in imitating others. “With gurus like Osho and Sri Sri Ravishankar, nirvana is hip. The community, therefore, is global and the holy life merges with the comfortable life.” said the reporter on CNN live. In Osho, Capitalism is in, charity is out. It’s not really an arduous pilgrimage. This is the philosophy of "Me". Well, everybody has their own choice to make; it all depends on our attitude towards life! image source:

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Kheema Cutlets.

I buy kheema from market and decide to make a snack. I want to make something different. I am expecting guest and they want to try something new. Should I make Shami kababs? Now everybody makes Shami kababs, and that is so trite. I like to be creative in my cooking. My guests always expect me to. I always make every dish, just once. It is my inability to re-produce the same dish. (however, a painter cannot repeat the same strokes, can they? and I treat cooking an art ) That is why I cannot repeat the same taste. My brother says, enjoy this dish and don’t ask for a repeat, she will never reproduce it. (and he is right) I think that’s the reason I don’t work in a restaurant, nor have opened one, because everything has to be measured and cooked to produce same taste. (How do they do that?) I have tried many times but I still cannot reproduce same taste. I decide to find some innovative recipe from a book. I have so many recipee books on my bookshelf. But it is always the same. I feast my eyes at all the recipes and admire the glossy pictures, sometimes drooling over them, but I am always short of one or two ingredient and then my mood is fused. After going through endless recipe books, I am still undecided. The Indian recipes are same, with little variation here and there, and now-a-days I don’t like too much masalas. In Chinese book there are hardly any recipes for kheema. Damn it. I decide to make one of my own style. Dekha jaye ga! My methods are simple and easy. (I don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen. I just grind together onion, garlic, ginger, chillies. Mix them into the kheema. Then add soya souce, chopped basil leaves, corn floor, some soaked bread, rosemary leaves, parsley. I mix it well and bind it into firm patties and steam it. After steaming, I flatten it; dip it in egg batter and shallow fry. I serve it with salad and French fries. I stand in a corner and watch my guest. They have sliced the patties and are about to eat it. I turn my head; covering my ears, look at them from the corner of my eyes, as they slowly munch on the morsel, juice filling their mouth and a grateful belch. They are asking me for a recipe!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Ad on Indian TV.

Indian film star Kajol is the brand ambassador of Tata Indicom and we have ad on TV which I find it quite interesting. In one ad, she is traveling by car and she sees a gentleman who is having a car problem and is stuck in the middle of road. It is apparently his wedding day and he is desperately trying to contact his to-be-bride but he is unsuccessful because of the network problem. His fiancée is upset when he disconnects the line suddenly. Kajol makes a quick guess that this Guy is having some network problem, it is his wedding day, and he has to reach in time. She hands her phone and a car ride to the wedding hall (a woman is giving lift to the stranger…how strange, I wonder how many women would do that?) she guides him to continue talking to his fiancée and also helps him on the topic as to what he must say (one lesson she teaches him is how to butter the lady by talking love quotes instead of giving any other explanations for unpunctuality.) The guy reaches the wedding hall, still talking, while we see Kajol following him happily. (Wasn’t she going somewhere before she saw him?) She asks the groom to introduce his bride-to-be and even poses for a photograph! Moral: A Tata Indicom network makes you generous, friendly and intelligent. You can even be a party crasher! Should I get one too? Image source:

Thursday, 21 June 2007

5 Spice restuarant in Bandra...

Today is my brother-in-laws birthday. Morning I call him on his mobile to birthday wish him and promise him a birthday gift if he promises me to treat me in a restaurant. He says he does not believe in celebrating birthdays because he is too old. But I know he will treat me in a good restuarant. So, in the evening, as I wish him happily, I smile, expecting a treat in a fancy restuarant. My sister is not surprised. We go for dinner to 5 Spice, a cozy-two-storey Chinese restaurant. It is at Pali Hill in Bandra. He has already booked a table for five and when we arrive at the restaurant, the valet drives away our car to a secured parking. As we enter, my sister orders a cake, with the name engraved on the cake, to be delivered to our table at the end of the meals. The hostess smilingly leads us up the wooden stairs, to a table for six on the first floor. I sit facing the red, warm wall that is behind my known faces. The table is laid with white china ware and white napkins that are so soft to touch. The waiter comes immediately to our table to take our order. They don’t like to keep people waiting for too long. All the tables are occupied. the sooner the people leave, the better is their business. On week-ends, you see many people waiting patiently outside the restuarant, on the road. The popularity of this restaurant is good and it is known for its good food, with big servings at a reasonable price. While everybody orders fresh lime soda, my brother-in-law orders whiskey (he wants to celebrate his birthday) I order sweet and sour soup.(I have stopped having fizzy drink)My brother-in-law is in playful mood and he keep dailing different people and fooling around, teasing my sister. We order pan-fried shrimps, spicy chicken and spring rolls for starters. Ummy the shrimps taste so good and juicy. The quantity is quite a lot and we are already feeling full. The sauces add to the richness of the taste. Before the next course arrives, we pass our time joking and singing 'Ay ganpat, whiskey lao, soda ko glass me jaldi lao, we are the bhais, mum-bai bhais....the girl on the next table is laughing hysterically and we laugh with her too. The next course arrives and it includes fish (my nephew’s choice), burnt rice (the speciality) and fried vegetarian noodles. I am already feeling too full, but the food is too tasty and I cannot stop myself form over-stuffing myself. I have extra noodles in my fridge (we packed the left-overs) and I plan to eat it tomorrow. We rinse our throats with Chinese tea but are too full to eat the birthday cake. Anyways, my brother-in-law is an old man, cake is for kids. I am happy to visit this 5 Spice restaurant, if you happen to be in Bandra, do dine in, you will love it.

Simple remedies to cheer you up on those gloomy days...

Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES. NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS. 1. When choking on an ice cube, simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. Presto! The blockage will instantly remove itself. 2. Avoid cutting yourself slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold while you chop. 3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink. 4. To treat high blood pressure: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer. 5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button. 6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough. 7. You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape. 8. When confused remember, everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Sing and dance and Jhoom Barabar till you drop dead....of boredom!

“Don’t bother going for jhoom bararbar jhoom”, warned my friend who came back with a head-ache. But the ticket were already booked and I couldn’t give a ditch, and after reading the review warning me that it is a movie with one star, I was ready for the worse, and I was not disappointed.It was lousy, indeed! The movie was supposed be without any story, with Amitabh, dressed in vague clothes (Why was he there?) dancing with two dozen dancers, singing one ridiculous song again and again (Why?). The crude Abhishek and confused Preeti were supposed to bore the audience with their spinning yarns while they waited to receive their respective relatives at London station,(train service in London is unpredictable too?) and falling in love within two hours(Wow! do people fall in love in just two hours by just chatting, or climbing esclators backwards and having a tattoo painted?). Lara Datta was supposed to look stunning in her acting and her proficiency in using abusive language(Funny! Preeti and Lara excel n abusive language) and Bobby Doel was supposed to steal the show with his fabulous acting of biting his fingers. I was warned of that loud music and those classy drums with loud music is still ringing in my ears (my ear drums need a make-over). Are you going to see it? Well it is Yash Chopra films and how can you miss it? It is directed by Shaad Ali (you liked Shaad Ali's Sathiya and Bunti Bubbli too, didn't you,) and you will get to visit London and Paris and see Pakis-Hindus-lovey-dovey. so go ahead…..enjoy the popcorn and Samosas, relax and be a judge…..we are used to watching meaningless movies, aren’t we? So go watch and jhoom barabar Jhoom till you drop dead..of boredom!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

I have a right to Choose.....

I have traveled thousands of miles in this life, and met scores of couple of supposed-to-be-happily-bliss-couples, but I still have to meet a perfect couple. The type of emotional support that a person needs changes from one stage of life to another. The type of emotional support that her family provides may not be what she really needs after certain age. True! But as she grows older, she learns to discover and know herself. If she is single, she has already learnt to control her emotions and she knows that she, herself is responsible for her own happiness and there is no body else on whom she should depend. She builds a wall around her, and learns to protect herself against all the bullies. She becomes stronger as she grows older. A married women lives all her life with expectations of being recognized and appreciated by her spouse, children, extended families, eventually losing her own identity, in trying to please others, when she is older, she realizes that all her life she has only lived for others, compromising, tolerating and the cycle goes on and on, the emotional support that she was expecting from others may not be there. Life is just give and take and emotional support always will come from anybody whom you care, they may or may not be your own family. Loneliness is a temporary phase that everybody goes through, married or not. It is phase of boredom. This can be easily replaced by different interests. The conjugal bonhomie between couples may remind her of what she is missing, but when she sees those heated arguments, that sloppiness in men, his vices, his drinking habits, womanizing, his long hours in front of TV (or computer), during the week-ends while the wife helplessly awaits for an outing, it is during those spells of unhappy couple, that she starts blessing her stars. Single woman may become conscious about her single status when she comes across a very happy family of husband, wife, and child/children. This may leave her totally demoralized but only temporarily. And when a married woman, sees her single friend, carefree and liberated, being able to support her-self and live with dignity, while she is chained to life-long-imprisonment of ungrateful and selfish family, it can leave married woman totally demoralized, which her own family may not even know. Absence of commitments (marriage is one great commitment) may make single woman reckless and intemperate during the age, when she is young and wants to explore everything independently but a mature, single woman is not reckless, she knows her responsibility and is in charge of her life. She has been free to do what she likes and she does that with responsibility knowing that she has only her self to please. Married woman has obstructions and rules to follow, (don’t do this, don’t go there, don’t talk to this one, must call him, what will people say, think of family prestige, etc) so she is always craving for independence and she is the one, who destroys her self-esteem in the long run. The sense of security that a marriage brings is priceless to those who have no faith in themselves to make their own life secure. A majority in the society always look down upon single women because they are jealous of her bravery. Societies have their own imaginations and they feel every single woman is unhappy, easy catch, unworthy and an object of pity. High time they realized that woman, sometimes chooses to be single and will be ready for commitment, only if she finda a worthy man. She will not clutter her space with society-must-haves. Her single status may make some men think that she is easily available. Warding off these roving eyes would be a tough task for that woman, who is weak and has not yet mastered the martial art. A man complements a woman and vice versa if there is understandings on both the sides and willingness to respect each other. There is lot more to the life, than a marriage. I think, woman can stay married, but only if she has some space to stretch her emotions and desires, if she has no danger of being stripped off her identity, if she has a companion, who is under-standing, caring and loving. He is the one, who will be tolerated in her old age.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Women don’t gloat, men don’t take offence

Circumstances play a very important role in our life. Being happy, single or married, is our choice. A married woman may be happy but distressed if she is not free to expand her interests due to her priorities towards her families. An unmarried woman can be happy but sometimes lonely if she does not have many interests. Society pressure is there for women to get married and settle down, because she is more capable of shaping a secure home. If she is talented and also earning, then the pressure is more, because men are the weaker sex and they need a talented wife to steer their life. Society has always pampered men, and here too, woman is pressured to get married so that men can have a secure life. Indian society is not used to seeing men cook or sweep at home. The world is changing, true, many men are helping their wife, change the nappies, but those men live in nuclear families. Men in joint families are still pampered. So woman is expected to marry so as to release her mother-in-law off her duties towards her son. What are the advantages to a woman who gets married? She gets a companion, who can accompany her for late night shows, act as a buffer in this bully world, and support her financially if she is not earning herself. She can enjoy these pleasures if she is blessed with husband who is caring, not having any vices and supportive. But alas! Like all normal human beings, we cannot be blessed in all things. Second choice is the endurance. If the woman has the tolerance of overlooking few drawbacks, then she can hang on. If she has enough faith in herself, then she can walk out of the painful marriage. What is life for single woman? It is accepted in today’s world if the woman is financially independent. People envy the strong and independent woman and only the jealous ones will pressurize single woman to fall into a trap. People who are conservative are the ones who cannot accept the changing society. An independent, strong woman is capable of showing the world that getting marriage is her choice and she will take it herself when the time is ripe and nobody else should worry about that.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Walks by the beach? Ugh!

My friend Rhea is fed up of going to jogger’s park everyday. She say, oh same track! Same trees (how do I plant new trees everyday for her?). So boring! So boring? Taking walk in Jogger’s park seems boring to her. She fails to see the beautiful, blooming flowers on the hedges or the soft sea-side breeze that caresses our cheeks. She is bored of same walks and need new scenery every day. “Okay! Where do you want to go?” I ask her. ‘Let’s go to Juhu beach for a change.” She says So we decide to go to Juhu beach for a change in scenery and environment and a different variety of walks! Am I glad I went for a walk to Juhu Beach? Certainly not! Not a good idea at all! Going to a beach, walking on soft sand and enjoying the sea-breeze as the waves flap and roars, is the luxury enjoyed in only western world. The waters in western world are dark blue and are in sharp contrast of light blue sky that can be seen at the horizon where the sky seem to touch the waters. At Juhu beach, the sky is light blue, the waves flap and roar too but the water is grey, yes grey and the sea-breeze stinks! As we trudged by the shores, we had to dodge the dirty-black-end-wave and walk carefully as the whole beach was covered by loosely scattered carpet of soaked-plastic bags, empty bottles, rags, decayed-flowers, etc. I think this dirt and mess does not upset anybody, because children, and adults, happily bathed in these dirty waters, splashing water on each other, playfully and jumping and diving between the waves. There are children playing cricket, happy family and friends soak in dry sand, couples (old and new) refresh their daily news and the hawkers move around, between the crowd selling their unhygenic snacks. The weather is sweltering, even the water is warm and there is too much crowd at the beach. I still prefer my Jogger’s park.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Light low-diet dinner, Indeed!

Today, my friend calls me to join her for evening walk to Jogger’s park. I have already had my dose of walking in the afternoon sun to finish some string of odd errands and I am in no mood to go out, once more, for an extra round of evening walks (I know, my paunch is showing and the walks might help) but I was in no mood to walk. But my friend has brighter ideas, if I am in no mood for walks, could I join her for a diet food of only soup and sandwiches at ‘Just Round the Corner’. Well I am in no mood to cook either, so having just soup and sandwiches is a good idea and I decided to meet her for dinner after her walks. ‘Just Round the Corner’ is the name of restaurant near my house in Bandra. (Yep, once, I had invited my cousins to this restaurant and they kept stopping at every street-corner, thinking that we had arrived at a restaurant, I had told them ‘Lets go to the restaurant just round the corner’). Well, this is the restaurant where you can chill for hours and the management has no issues about you whiling away your time, warming their chairs for endless hours. You can order cups after cups of coffee, or chat for hours over just one cup of coffee. I arrived at the restaurant, after my friend had finished her doze of evening walks and was comfortably stretching her knees at the corner table. (She had called me several times on my route, but there was too much traffic at Linking road, and walking through the crowded traffic is a nightmare) The ambience at the restaurant is very warm, with lots of diet-conscious-youngsters. There are self-service counters, where you take a tray, and self-serve whatever you wish. There are only two pots of soup, veg-asparagus and non-veg chicken hot and sour. Then there is the display of variety of salads, pastas, sauces and dips. You make the combination of your choice and fill your plate of one helping only at the cost of Rs100. (The girl on my right is starving, she fills her plate to a brim, with strands of noodles swinging from the edge of her plate.) Then there is a counter for sandwiches with a display of the variety of fillings that includes beside veggies, a variety of cold meats, and barbequed chicken or spicy fish. You choose the filling and the kind of bread (white or brown), and the chef toasts it for you at the cost of Rs80 per sandwich. the girl on my left makes it very clear that she want no butter, nothing oily, she is dieting, she announces loudly for everyone to hear.Then there is variety of fresh juices that include sweet lime, water-melon, etc. priced at Rs40. I wait for the chef to toast my sandwich, and see that there is also a courtyard outside the restaurants that serves Pizzas on left side and variety of hamburgers on the left side of the restaurant(in the courtyard). There is cobbled-web path and plastic tables and chairs in the courtyard where youngsters enjoys the long smoke-rings as they slowly bite on to their slice of pizza or chomp down on their hamburgers. I self-serve an asparagus soup, a sandwich with the filling of ham, bacon, salad leaves and tomatoes and then gulp down with fresh watermelon juice. At Rs140 for this (too) healthy a meal, I can hardly walk back home. My paunch increases by one centimeter with this healthy meal!.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Swami can move you……!

Although I was late for the show(maybe half an hour or so), I still enjoyed the movie. Ganesh Acharya's debut film, Swami, is a movie of emotion, of love, of caring for the family and respecting the wishes of the families. It is a story of a couple who live a happy life in a remote village, but who have to migrate to a city for the future of their child. (because they don’t have proper schools in the villages) It is the story of the child, who loves his family and grows up to take the responsibility of his father, it is about a husband, who has only one desire to live, that he has to fulfill his promise (of sending his son to America) to his dying wife. The dilemma and the high point of the film is when they are at the cross-road of going to America, the protagonist has to fulfill his mother wishes but has to leave his father all alone in the old-age home. Child actor Siddharth’s acting is worth watching. His expressions and his bond with his mom, played by Juhi Chawla, are parallel to real world and portrayed very well, I was amused by his sweet lisping language and his innocent conversations. Manoj Bajpal is very clear about his role in film industry. He gave his best performance. I was specially moved by the scene in which he breaks his earthen pots (of saving) to count the change, when he needs money for his wife’s treatment. Alas! The movie had no bad people, it was sugary throughout. I was expecting daughter-in-law to show some temper tantrums, or a bad boss, or a bad neighborhood. But Swami lived in a beautiful world which revolved around his wife. His wife's aspirations become his mission in life. BTW, Why do dying people in the films ask their family for a promise that haunts them throughout their life?

We live in a funny world..Ha! Ha!

There was this man smoking in a bus and the Conductor says,"No Smoking ka board nahin dikhta?" and the Man replies,"Uske side mein 'Always Wear Condom' ka board hai, ab vo bhi laga ke baithoon?" * * * * * * When we watch TV serial, they disturb our concentration to show ads, for a toothpaste ad they show teeth, For hair oil they show hair, For face cream they show face, But for Whisper & Condoms they r not showing anything, that's cheating. Jaago Grahak Jaago * * * * * * * * * * Condom says to whisper: "Bloody every month u stop my business for one week" Whisper: "If u make a mistake I lose my business for 9 months" * * * * * and then this lady from 2nd floor asking a bananawala: "Kaise diye?" and the Bananawala replies,"Memsaab Aath mein Bara." the Lady says "Saat mein Tera deta hai to oopar aaja." * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * This taxi driver says, "Mam, u r the 3rd pregnant lady whom I'm dropping to Airport today."and the Lady replies,"But I'm not pregnant" and the Driver says,"But we hvn't reached airport yet." * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, 8 June 2007

Another funny forward.....@Planning to move to Europe?

Read slowly and carefully... The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English". In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter. In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away. By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer , ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas. If zis mad you smil, den share to oza pepl.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Want to try this chicken recipe?

Whenever I travel abroad, I always pick up food packets from supermarkets. I like to try new stuff and sometimes I am happy at my new find and sometimes not. This time, from Bangkok, I picked up a packet that said ‘Season’n Fry'. It was 'McCormic' brand and it was a crispy spicy coating for chicken. What is written on the packets says that, for using this stuff, you simply have to empty this content into a plate and dip the chicken pieces in it and deep fry to get a crispy chicken. Nowadays I am avoiding fried stuff therefore I decided to try something innovative. I dipped the chicken pieces into the powder (this powder contains wheat flour, salt, flavor enhancer, spices, egg powder, leavening agent, flavor) coating it evenly from all sides. In a baking tray, I greased the plate with olive oil. Spread the dish in the layers of onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, tomatoes. Salt, parsley leaves and rosemary leaves. Spread the chicken (that is coated with ‘Season’n Fry’) on it, pour one teaspoon of olive oil on it and bake it for 45 minutes. Oh My God! It was so tasty. Have it with French fries and cucumber salad. Yummy!

Friday, 1 June 2007

Choki Dhani of Poona

“Come to my birthday party” said Dolly, my friend’s daughter “I am celebrating my birthday at Choki Dhani.” That sounded interesting. Celebrating a birthday in a theme park called Choki Dhani. I had visited ‘Choki Dhani’ in Jaipur during my last trip but was not aware that there was one in Poona too. We set out at 6 O’clock, a big group of about 10 people, in two cars and by the time we reached (after nearly one hour drive from Pune city) it was already dark. The rest of the group had arrived earlier at 5 O’clock in the evening (which I think is the best time to go if you need to enjoy and experience the flavor of the place). The entrance had huge iron-gate with colorful lanterns burning into the slots, embedded into the walls, on either side of the gate. A large size mannequin of Indian native was installed in front of the entrance. We entered the gates and were greeted by man who said ‘Ram Ramji’ and he put tikka on our forehead. Inside the gate, we entered a new world, a Rajasthani village, with ethnic colors and drawings adorning the walls. A man performing a horsey dance (kacchi Ghodi) accompanied us as we entered inside this ethnic make-believe village resort. We headed straight to the stalls serving a Jal-Jira drink, Aloo-chat and chana-chat. We climbed a thatched wooden hut, to enjoy the freshly baked roti with butter and garlic chutney. Then there was Gola sherbet, Kulfi and popcorns. The resort took us back to Rajasthan with a traditional appeal, there were many features that include besides "Kacchi Ghodi", also "Ghumar", "Kalbelia", "Bhopa Bhopi" flute recital, and "Nat"(acrobatics). There were also a magician and astrologer with his future-teller parrot adding to the complete Rajasthani look. About 130 artisans, cooks and performers were posted there to provide the warmth and hospitality identical with the Rajasthani tradition of "Padharo Mare Des"(welcome to my world), transporting one to the era of Thakurs, the village lords in olden times. It is the ambience of the "Chokhi Dhani" that captivates everyone visiting it. It gives an impression of typical Rajasthani village replete with its rich tradition, with mud and thatch dwellings, with cottages, Havelis, restaurants, Rajasthani folk dances and performers. There were string cots and oil lanterns spread all over the resort giving it a village ambience. We specially enjoyed the traditional dance, in which our whole group participated. We wore their red bandhini turban on our heads and dance with them at the rhythm of flute-and-drums music. After the dance, we came to lie down peacefully on the string cot, enjoying the cool breeze under the open skies. Children were entertained, enjoying the camel and horse rides and playing games of luck in the row of games stalls. There were also many stall selling traditional hand-crafted goods like ceramic pots and clothes. The birthday was celebrated in the dining hall, where all people are seated on the floor and serves in leaf-plate. The dinner was very delicious and a traditional rajasthani thali and consisted of 18 different delicacies that included dhals, bhajis, achar, papad, sweet dish. I think I over-ate, because I could hardly walk comfortably up to the car park.

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