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Showing posts from 2006

Welcoming 2007

Well Saddam Hussein is dead so what is next for 2007? May be there will be very few asking this questions as they start to celebrate New Year tomorrow. I never ever thought that I will comment upon politics on our blog. But I think I break that rule today. Everyone taking stock of year that is almost over. I personally do not like the week “from Christmas to New Year”, I do not have a solid reason for the same. I just do not find a reason from my inner soul to celebrate the same. Starting from Y2K something or other has happened and dampened my parting spirit. I will like to list them here. 1999/Y2K was special as I was on alert being an I.T guy. 2001/2002 I realized the hard reality of lay-off as my close co-workers were asked to go. Always these layoff happens in the last week of December ?2002/2003 More co-workers joined the old group and my work location was getting closed. 31st December was their last day at work, holy crap what next for New Year?2003/2004 Nothing special – han…

Indian Newspapers

There is no real newspaper to read in India at this moment. Well I know I made a big statement but could not start in better sarcastic way. Hold on, let me explain from my past to present. I was thinking abut this topic for a while a now as I see so many newspapers under my nose while going to work by local train in the morning. It is almost like I read every other headline from three to five major publishing houses.Newspaper means many things to so many people but for me it surely means a starting of a new day with news from yesterday,today and tomorrow. A cup of hot beverage in one hand and a newspaper in the other will be best way to start my day.I remember once the newspaper used to be very boring in black and white. That time there was no mass “offset” printing for newspaper in India. The printing was not very clear and it used to be thin with only 8 to 10 pages.If that make you think I am old ;) I was hooked to newspaper quite early. Then suddenly one morning came offset prin…

Linen anniversary

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It is four years that we got married :D and according to the naming convention it is Linen Anniversary we have still have a long way to go before it will be any precious or strong material. This day is special in another way as it is birthday of Prateek (maternal cousin of mine). Now we stay above floor from Prateek. After our wedding this is the first time that we three are together. But this week Prateek is the man of his house as my Uncle and Aunt are out of town. Now planning for going out for dinner became a complicated task as we do not own a car yet. And I can not drive my Uncle’s car; without car moving around Navi Mumbai is not convenient and particularly in late evening or early night. We three settled for a scale down version agreed to meet up at Vashi which is most crowed Hip-hop Township in Navi Mumbai. The day started in the usual way. After work at evening I took the train back and got down at Vashi. Now I was bit early for the meeting with Pamela and Prateek. They …

Local trains of Mumbai

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After moving to Mumbai (India) commuting from one place to another was a big problem (as we didn’t have our own vehicle). It seems Mumbai local trains are the most efficient one carrying millions of people everyday. Getting in and out of local trains is one of the hardest tasks particularly during rush hours which every mumbains has to undergo at least ones in their life. So, lot of advice was given from Santanu’s maternal family who are staying here for more than 15 years. Being given lot of advice the matter aroused curiosity within us. So, on first day things seemed to be very easy unlike the situations which were being narrated to us. Even getting seats were not a problem neither getting down nor boarding was difficult. Thus our first trip by Mumbai locals was quite easy and calm. By the time we have already traveled twice or thrice for short distance in non rush hours. Now one day we decided to go to Mumbai central and particularly towards south to meet one friend. But, that day…

Lunch Time

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I am finding it tricky as I try to compare my experiences and life styles that I encountered from two different continents. I do not know if my readers will be able to understand me. Moreover, my recent journey is an unusual one as most Indian travels east to west while I moved from west to east.
During my stay at Paris for last 3 and half years, most of my lunch at work was at shared corporate cafeteria between three companies. I appreciated the price, quality of that food always particularly the desserts and varieties of yogurts available there. May be I understand, why French cuisine is considered to be world’s most refined cuisine. Unfortunately, I am not a food critic that I can pen down those exotic tastes to get water in your mouth. But as I think about them I roll my tongue ;)
In general, breakfast in France is a small affair consisting of croissants & bread rolls with some butter and jam to spread which is usually accompanied by milky coffee or hot chocolate or café noir…

Durga Puja

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Durga Puja is the most important and biggest festival in Bengal for any Bengali Hindu. Its five days of festivity where this Puja symbolizes good winning over evil. Maa Durga is considered as daughter of Bengalis. It is believed that every year she comes to visit her father’s home (earth) for five days with her four children - Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi- representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the puja, Knowledge and the Provider - signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess. while her husband (lord Shiva) stays in Kailash (heaven).This five days festivity actually starts from Mahalaya with chant of Roopam dehi, dhanam dehi, yasho dehi (give me beauty, give me wealth, give me fame...)across Bengal. The festive mood builds up with rhythm of Dhakis (drummers)
Her visits happened to be the best time for Bengali farmers. Weather is at best as the monsoon is just over and it is not yet winter. As there is no need for major work in the paddy fields…

Back to Work

Well after one and half months of vacation I am back to work today. Surprisingly, I will be still using my old e-mail (work) well it does not mean that I am checking my work mails as I write this post. It will take sometime for the IT guys before they transfer me electronically from Europe to Asia. I thought it might be a good time to write something for the blog.There has been some progress in terms of settling in Bombay at our own flat but there is long-long road ahead. There are few positive updates but a long uphill battle to fight.I hope both us are going to update the web-site in terms of photos and posts more often from now on. There is a long list to write about as there were events which brought smile and worries (most of the time) often as we look at them through a western point of view.As I write this post the power went out so all I can see around me is glowing screens of computers. Welcome to India ;)

Aids Awareness - Paris

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Can any one guess what this publicity is about? Well, this is 2006 anti Aids campaign by city hall of Paris (Paris protège l'amour means Paris protects love)
In the photo what we see is sunset on some historical building with moon at backdrop, but when you take a close look moon is... a condom. It aims at promoting the use of condoms among the population i.e., to have safe sex. Personally, I believe it's neither obscene or vulgar rather a nice way to make people aware.
Reason for writing a post on this matter is in my country such publicity is really unthinkable where 5.7 million people are infected. Although, India had edged in front of South Africa to become the country with the largest number of people carrying HIV virus. People will start agitating if they find publicity of this kind in any public places considering it to be vulgar………….as it is still a matter of taboo where its not discussed openly among the people.
Not only this, leave apart poor sections, sex-workers o…

Few books

Being in vacation and doing nothing much whole day I am left with lots of free time to read. It is great way to pass quality time with rain and heat where nothing interests me outdoor. I already finished few books in last 3 weeks.Starting with, Dan Brown’s trash ‘Angel & Demon’ and ‘Digital Fortress’. Well these are same old horrible as writing and story line is similar to “Da Vinci Code”. Well if you have read and liked it then I am sorry to hurt your feelings ?. Reading those 3 books it seems Mr. Brown wanted to cash quickly the old “James Bond” style. In each of his book there is a very glamorous sexy female character in his book. The less I write about this female character I do justice to them. A hollow story set in Europe which is a very far away country for his native readers. Yes! To most Americans, Europe is so different - people speak different languages as you cross few hundred miles and every things change from food to culture and above all human features also changes.…

Le vol

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I am not a person who hates flying to start with as my major air-travel in recent years was visiting India on holiday from Europe. Like all other events in life this can be looked at like a coin; on one side the travel time has reduced significantly while on other side only 20 to 30 kilos of baggage allowed compared to California (65 Kilo).
As we were moving out of Paris we had lot of important things to bring along with us that we will need till our shipment arrives in next 5 weeks time. On the top of it, we added so many little things after the movers left that I became jittery with two big bags,two big suitcases and one small cabin suitcase. Luckily as we are now member of Qatar Airways we got 15 kilos extra each so 90 kilos total.

It was very difficult to carry them from Apartment to Airport with 3 nights stays at Cite universitaire campus as we handed over the keys on 31st evening to our landlord. We had our flight on 2nd September and we were left with 3 options- one to stay …

Souvenir

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As we were leaving Paris it seems our friends (whom we knew for a short while) has to give something as a memento. Gifts were extravagant and really worth mentioning as they chose something which we adore.
To start with gift Pamela got from François is very special. I am sure she can write a new post about the same. I am just going to give you brief detail on the same.
It is stitching project (cross-stitch) with 290 x 359 stitches using 70 color threads. François not only gave the design print-out along with instructions but also got the black piece of cloth which is not that easily available in the market.
If cross-stitch is not your cup of tea and you prefer coffee like me. Check her project to be started . It is going to be a very long and difficult project to finish. Hopefully, Pamela takes enough time as well as break in-between otherwise it will cost her eyes ;).Not only this, she even got bedside lamp of effiel tower & salwar-kurta from two of her close friends.

And now m…

Last days in Paris

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We moved from Paris to Bombay. Yes it is a big event in our life and we are still not sure whether things will fall in place at the end or not. We are trying our destiny – but we are not sure what will be there for us???????? Well lots of questions and raising eye-brows from friends and families.

But this post is not about why we left Paris and why moved to India. It is all about how we spent our last one week in Paris. Before leaving, we wanted to take pictures of those which makes Paris so desired destination for tourists. No doubt it is one of the most visited place in the world be it for Eiffel Tower or Champs Elysees.
As our time for departure was coming close we tried to visit few of the well known Brasseries or Bistros to hidden street corners to passages away from busy tourist area. We did our best, but weather was not very happy with our move and unexpectedly August was very grey with clouds and rain all those thirty-one days. It is a month when almost every thing stands st…

Making of Chocolate Charlotte

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Today we have a dinner invitation; spent whole yesterday morning in thinking what would be good to prepare as I did not want to buy anything from supermarket. Since we are moving, wanted to clean the fridge without overstuffing it. So after lot of thought came to conclusion that charlotte might be best. Learnt this recipe from a friend.
A charlotte is any dessert that's moulded into a container lined with sponge fingers or boudoir biscuits (purchased at a bakery or supermarket). It’s normally easy to prepare; hardly takes 15 min.

Make the syrup by mixing equal amount of sugar and water flavour it with adding same amount of rum or brandy to taste.
First line the bottom as well as sides of a container with clean wrap & then with sponge fingers soaked in sugary alcoholic syrup. Now layer it alternatively with chocolate mousse and sponge fingers in a way that top layer should be covered with sponge fingers. Then cover with clean wrap tightly and lid. Leave it to chill for more th…

Door code

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This electronic device you are seeing in the picture is nothing but a door code of our apartment where using a scroll buttons one has to search and select the name and then press “appel” means “call” button which will give a ring to the concerned persons apartment and it is that habitué who will answer that call & unlock the main door.

Certain buildings will have only code with rarely names on front doors so without “Le code” you won't get past the outer door which usually leads to a small inner courtyard or a stairway. And then they do have an intercom between the front door and the individual apartments, but most of the older buildings do not. Thus, cipher block at the entrance keeps unexpected and unwanted guests outside.
In Paris, friendship without code is inexistent. When you give your phone number to someone that is personal but when you give your front door code that is intimate. Here, most of the buildings are code protected. Actually, in earlier seventies there was…

Pardey key Pichey

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From a good friend of mine I got an offer to help at backstage of Ritu Beri’s fashion show to be held at Paris on 5th July at Lido. At first I wanted to deny this proposal but with second thought that it might be a fun with friends to be there; I nodded my head giving my approval. Ace fashion designer Ritu Beri is the first Asian to have joined a French fashion house making a slow transition from Indian Haute Couture to Prêt-a-porter (ready to wear).
Believe me, it was only 30 minutes affair in 1 hour show the work was just to help models dressed in mélange of Indo-western meticulously designed outfits. The dresses along with accessories and shoes were properly tagged and kept ready for each model. As there is barely a gap of 15 seconds in which one has to change and be back on the ramp. So each of us were allotted with one particular model to help them in changing and getting dressed. Even sometimes the fitting may not be proper which needs special attention from Ritu’s assistant t…

Last Week

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Watched lots of movies, uploaded some photos to Running and walked around Paris last week.
New in gallery - bibs from running . Well you must be wondering what is that ? For a person like me from whom the activity of sport was taken away by various pressures at young age it means a lot. The good side of it is that I am the very few fortunate one to run at this age at various places but rest remains as silent voice in vast population of India.
Tried lots of combination for uploading video to my website and found due to some mismatch between my Digital Camera and computer I could not get the precise result for which I was looking. Here is one from Paris - Metro. These are the few of those musicians who play for free inside the metro. Some of them are great who just play as they try to get a good number of audiences. Especially in Chatlet; the most crossed metro stop by people as it is the bull-eye of paris Metro Network. Rest plays for small money in the metro compartment and that so…

Swiss-Itenary, TGV and Gizmo

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Another Friday, thinking to write something for my blog ;) I think I should have kept a track of my Friday bloging or changes I made on Friday :D. Well, this post is not going to be about Friday but it is about our Switzerland itinerary, experience with TGV etc.
Might have noticed there are lots of posts by Pamela in recent time – wish she would have done before from our other trips also. It is GREAT that she is so active on this now a days.
Firstly, a PDF map pointing all the places we been in Switzerland. Thanks to Pamela again for her idea.
Secondly, while traveling for more then 3 days we carry Laptop - it serves to down-load the pictures as cards get full within 1-2 consecutive days of visit. While coming back to Paris via TGV one of the fastest train of Europe I found in the first class they have AC 220V power socket to connect laptop.It helps in doing pending work or seeing photos like us or watch film on DVD without being worried on recharging battery. It was great as my cur…

Italian aroma…

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"Daney Daney Pey likha hain khaney waley kaa naam"- which colloquially means each grain has the name of the person who will eat it (it is the fortune of the person to have certain meal or not). Well the same with more of spice in Hindi movies "goli goli pey likha hain marney waley kaa naam" which means in each bullets it is written the name of the person who will die. Before I take you along this blog I will try my best to keep the suspense why the introduction to a culinary adventure got its inspiration from Hindi muhavra & bollywood film. Today we tried to prepare a Pasta dish bit different from our normal standard. Initially, Pamela did not showed much of interest maybe due to bit long procedure... must have thought to leave on me. But at the end, she seems to have willy-nilly enrolled in Italian cuisine and did all the steps to prepare this awesome dish - recipe to die for without killing for. Spinach and Ricotta Conchiglie - Conchiglie which means lar…

Taste of India @ Swiss

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Although trip to Switzerland is over but yet we can’t stop writing about it. If you are one of those few regular visitors to our blog you must be knowing by now how much we liked our one week stay. And must be wondering what more can be there to write about.
Yes, there are always lot to write about Switzerland when we are comparing with Paris and when one is seeing through Indian eyes. Where all the pavements of the side walk are made of granite stone, all routes being well-marked, not only that you can always be sure to find toilet paper in any remote restroom and moreover clean restroom. Last but not least even public telephones are equipped with electronic phone book which can be hardly seen in Paris.

Coming to the point what made me write this post is ‘Lassi’. Yes, you heard it right. You must be wondering whatz there to say about Lassi and especially it might be nothing for Indians staying at UK. But to our outmost surprise we noticed this product on the shelf in one of the sma…

Baking Bread

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For quite a long was thinking to prepare bread at home which I would have never thought of in my wildest dream if I was in India. But staying at Paris it just clicked why not to try once on experimental basis as it is there staple food. It’s like an icon of France. This is why French people visit the local "Boulangerie" (hot bread shop) at least once a day and this shop is there at least at every street corner. Filled with delicious sensations and smells of warm, just-baked bread will definitely increase your appetite for sure while passing by these boulangeries particularly at morning and evening time. As this is the time when fresh bread along with other baked items like croissant comes out of the oven. While staying at Paris, I often see people riding bikes, mopeds or motorbikes with baguettes strapped to the back, or walking the streets with their baguette under their arm racing to get home at end of the day. So, it might be another reason for thinking of baking bread …

Green plate

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In my salad days I used to hate many green veggies and I remember when maa used to scold me for the same. Somehow I didn’t had taste for them at that point of time but gradually I developed the taste so much so that I can now survive happily on those green things (cow-food). From long time Santanu wanted to make a change on our meal as it seems we both are putting on weight. As I said in my earlier post that he tries to encroach that small part of the house mostly in weekends so he made sure atleast 2 days in week we have salad in our main course meal.

Having salad has got few plus points like less time consuming to prepare, don’t heat up a hot kitchen, very healthy especially in this hot Paris summer…..which means salad season. Besides watermelon or strawberry smoothie, salad is the perfect summer food. They're light, crisp and refreshing-- especially when paired with a dressing and they're versatile with one’s imagination can invent.
At the core of most summer salads is let…

Yum……..

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Normally Santanu has a tendency of encroaching cuisine area particularly on weekend or on his official holidays depending on his mood. In a way, it’s good as I get 2 days off.
We were just back from Switzerland and went for picnic at St.-Germain-en-Laye with few colleagues of Santanu. And Santanu promised he is going to prepare all by himself -simple vegetable-rice and Date walnut brownies.
Lately I borrowed one book on vegetarian by Nicolas Graimes from one friend which includes light meals, main courses, tarts, salads, desserts etc. The best part of this book is initial descriptions on each ingredients starting from seeds, vegetables, different types of cooking oil and what not with colourful pictures. We see certain things in the local market but do not how to prepare them. Neither we know the corresponding English names nor are they commonly available in India. So, its an excellent book for reference.

Last year he got ‘Pates de Dates’ from an Algerian store and it was sitting like…

A must list for swiss

Our trip to Switzerland has ended after all those C.B.G (châteaux, bateaux and gateaux) trips around Europe but indeed it was a different experience altogether. It is all about the greenery, mountain streams rushing along, water falls, snow clad mountains, sounds of cow-bells tickling on the alpine meadows.I am not sure if every one is happy with their first trip to a new place or not. But, I am always very happy and excited to go to new places. I always live with some desire or feeling that was not filled in that very trip. It keeps me motivated to go back to the same place once again. May be it is my way of exploring and traveling.The beauties of all those places we have been in Switzerland are so vast that I think - “I can explore them for years to come if I am there all the time”. But I know that is not going to happen (soon for sure!).Here are few things that one should not miss while traveling in Switzerland – starting with what we missed.A Video Camera a MUST along with normal …

Shhh …. Silence Please

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Normally, I and Santanu don't talk to each other on bus, train, flight or whatsoever as we are normally lost in our own world and both try to respect each others silence. We have books, newspaper, ipod for that time but this particular evening we happened to talk so much while returning to Zurich from Luzern. One of the reason maybe that by now we are kind of used to watching beautiful sceneries from train as it runs along lakes, rivers and creaking sometimes as it passes by the running hills unfolding before us. Anywayz, it was almost 20 minutes left to reach Zurich when one lady from back seat of Santanu came to us asking ----
Lady - "Do you speak English? Santanu - Yes, we do(replied enthusiastically thinking may be she overheard something and want to ask us something)Lady - I think you might not have noticed that sign (pointing to the picture showing silence compartment on opposite window) as its not there in your window. You are in silence compartment.Us – (in unison) Oo…

Golden Pass - Montreux

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Today is the last day of our trip. We had already reserved for boarding another panoramic train “Golden Express" which will take us to Lausanne where we started our journey one week ago. By now I was so used to that after waking up my first thing was to peer out the window to check weather. And like every time it was bright sunny morning at our last day of vacation. After having heavy breakfast we headed towards railway station of Interlaken with our luggage.
From our previous experience with glacier express where we missed the window seats we made sure that get the same while booking in advance.This special train is broken into two main parts. In the first part it is almost like any other Swiss railway train but it is only written “Golden Pass” on the outside.And there are no special panoramic windows; which is a blessing for the camera.

Traveling by train to Zweisimmen on the Golden Pass BSL train, offers panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, mountain slopes and valleys with p…

Relaxing Day - 24th June

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It meant to be a vacation within vacation today. As we did not have to catch any train neither any bus nor get up early for any fixed destination. Relaxingly, we had our self-made breakfast and then headed towards railway station for renting a cycle to bike. At first, we went towards the city center of Interlaken where there is a big Casino and park. From there we biked all the way towards the lake Brienz. Weather was perfect although bit hot but being on lake side it was pleasant. Major part along the lake was shady which was a big relief.

We took some time off at lake shore in shady place and listen to the Indian classical instrumental on I-Pod which was really relaxing - the sounds of water waves along with the serenity of the lake. Words are lacking to describe how we felt. A perfect escape from the life we know, a strange question was- why we need to go away so far from home to find peace.
Anywayz, we came back to the hotel for a very late lunch and Santanu wanted to take siesta…

Mount Jungfraujoch - 23rd June

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Top of Europe Today we woke up very early as to move towards our next destination Interlaken (means between two lakes). I immediately peered out the window to check out what the weather was like. I was very concerned about our trip to Mt. Jungfrau. But to me it seems to be a perfect day. Santanu was bit hesitant as it was cloudy & gloomy all the way while coming down from Mt. Rigi. He rather mentioned it appeared to be nice down at the bottom of the mountain, nothing was promised way up top. Since, the journey to Interlaken takes around 3 hours by train so we left Zurich around 7AM leaving our host still sleeping.
Anywayz, at Interlaken we already had a booking for an apartment hotel which was cheap, cozy with all kitchen amenities in the room; that means we can cook our own food if we want. So, we first went to our apartment-hotel to keep our luggage .Then headed to Mount Jungfrau- top of Europe.

In Switzerland prices are always astronomical so ticket to Jungfrau was no excepti…