Kitaab Review Of ‘Wayfaring’ & A Blog Feature


 

 

Spring came quietly in my city and suddenly it was ablaze with fiery Semal flowers. The stark branches tipped with its large crimson, orange and pale yellow flowers towering above the city structures look like giant brushes painting the city skyline. Semal is the first tree to bloom and pave the way for Coral tree, Jacaranda, Gulmohar, Leburnum etc. I spotted a few tesu trees along with the Lilac Kachnar.

The carefully landscaped roundbaouts are a riot of colors and so are the gardens in Delhi. The newly opened Central Park (Sunder Nursery) is in my list of Must Visit places.  The two Gorgeous pink bougainvillea trees in Lodhi Garden are a sight to behold. I  will try and do a separate post on these. Spring is Delhi is short lived with harsh winter in its backyard and summer on threshold but it brings the fragrance of mango blossoms. Tabebuia Aurea is another beautiful spring blooming tree that one should watch out for. I am trying to locate a Palash tree or Flame of the forest, as it is known in English, in Delhi. Perhaps some more spring pictures soon. 🙂

 

Meanwhile, a brilliant  review of my book ‘Wayfaring’ appeared  in the fabulous Singapore-based journal Kitaab. This is what a writer longs for. Good readers who explore what we usually don’t see in our own writing, reviewers whose critique is incisive and sensitive, and editors who take this dialog forward. Many thanks to all those who made this possible. Zafar Anjum, Sucharita Dutta-Asane at Kitaab, thank you for the way you always support poets and writers. This is a dream come true. Very honored and humbled.

Bhaswati Ghosh is a writer friend I admire. She has a very fine taste in music too. She writes and translates fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also the Editor -at – large at Cafe Dissensus Magazine where I have some of my work published. One of the magazines I absolutely love for its content.

Bhaswati really gets it when she says, “If solitude is nature’s essential condition, loneliness, its second cousin, is a function of being human. As Wayfaring shows, we don’t always choose loneliness; sometimes it chooses us. When it does, it’s seldom romantic and more like one’s own shadow, impossible to disown.”

Please do read the complete review by clicking on the link above and do buy the book. It is available worldwide with all online book vendors.

In another new, Vishal Bheeroo featured me on his blog. We talked about ‘Wayfaring’ journey as a book and other things. Do read the full feature HERE  

Here’s an excerpt : 

“Wayfaring is the result of a much more positive attitude towards myself and to life in general.  One must never lose the sense of possibilities. That’s the healing that comes from within. I have tried to work that around in the poems in ‘Wayfaring’. Most of the poems in the book are intensely personal and at times I have used nature or another element as a mask to enable me to write about private feelings but mostly the poems are all about ‘laying bare’, befriending oneself and realizing that this difficult phase in life is intrinsic to being alive. This shift in thinking changed my perspective completely and when you read the poems you will see what I mean.” 

Thanks Vishal for giving me this platform.

If you have bought my books please do write a few lines about them and let me know via twitter/FB/Instagram or just leave a comment here.

 

 

Life is Short. Eat Dessert First – An Early Thanksgiving Post


I love this quote by Jacques Torres and I love desserts. I find cooking therapeutic. A sublime blissful experience that provides nourishment and satiation not just to the body but also to the mind. A great relaxant and stimulant at the same time. There is something very life affirming about feeding yourself or someone else a good meal and no meal is complete without a dessert. Be it an apple pie or an apple kalakand :D.

I am not a food blogger or a food photographer but I am a lover and cooking is like love-making. No fear, no guilt, no shortcuts. It is about improvisation, exploration, impulsiveness and discovery. When I am in the kitchen I feel like a high priestess doing her rituals or dispensing happiness. Each creation is a love potion. Something that can satiate at many levels. The memory of an amazing meal like an amazing sex stays with you and has you craving for it days after. It makes you forget everything.

Cooking like writing is a stress buster for me. I met a friend one day long time ago and she said,” never be too far away from chocolate if you want to de-stress.” I love dark chocolates and readily incorporated the advice in my life. I also began experimenting with desserts beyond the usual Indian mithais learned and perfected with great attention and care. There were times I would yearn for something  and the growing state of arousal and powerful sense of urgency  would make me rush to the nearest mithai shop.

Sangeeta Khanna is a friend and a top level food Indiblogger based in Delhi. I have yet to see someone so passionate about food, nutrition and healthy living. Her blogs are a feast for eye and mind and her recipes simple, healthy and easy to make. What I love about her writing is the honest down to earth approach and encouragement to use local, indigenous ingredients. Something not everybody does and that too with so much research and knowledge. She is very open to queries and suggestions too. There is something for everyone on her three blogs.

So, one day I was dealing with a lot of emotional and mental stress and sulking and killing time on FB when I across the yumilicious photographs of  Sugar free healthy Apple Kalakand. In an instant I felt the urge to create something as exotic as this came over me and I hopped to Sangeeta’s Blog healthfood desivideshi to learn the recipe. I wasn’t surprised that it was a quick to make guilt free dessert and I could magically create in 20 minutes flat. I went and got the luscious golden apples and made my first batch of Apple Kalakand. The result was unbelievable. I have yet to try the one with fresh figs. Another fruit I love.

Here is the recipe link of her blog and the Photograph of my Apple Kalakand.

Apple Kalakand for Diwali – Sangeeta Khanna 


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I used green cardamom and cinnamon as flavors in the two batches of Apple kalakand I made and both tasted heavenly. As a foodie I can tell you it was one of the best things I have had in recent times and then I got hooked to her blog and found more gems in the treasure box.

I couldn’t wait to try the 3 minute wonder – Red Carrot Halwa. I love gajar ka halwa and make with both with red and black carrots every winter. It is a traditional recipe perfected with time and a true labor of love as it takes a lot of time. I do not use khoya or condensed milk ( no short cuts you see) and make it with full cream milk. It is a slow process in which slowly the milk thickens into khoya like granules. The taste is out of the world of course. Here is my recipe – Traditional Gajar Halwa  . I love these nutritious recipes for Indian desserts. Halwas, pinnies, laddoos ( click for my recipes) which are perfect for winters and make a lot of variations of these. They can be made and stored in fridge or in airtight boxes  but what happens when you have a craving suddenly? You rush to Sangeeta’s blog and voilà! you find a  fat free, sugar free healthy version of your favorite gajar halwa and that too ready to eat in 3 minutes flat. Life of a food lover is all about such blessings. Although she says the halwa tastes exactly like the traditional one I was skeptical and wanted to judge for myself.

I just finished the bowl full of it and trust me sometimes we are in mood for long love-making  but other times we are all about quickies. This was one hell of a orgasmic experience that gave me a deliriously heady effect. All those weight watchers, diabetics, health freaks go for this right away. Indulge like never before. Leave out sugar if you are not supposed to eat it , leave out ghee if you are conscious eater but I can afford both so like Sangeeta I added a heaped teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of ghee to it. 😀

Here is the recipe link and the photograph of my creation.

One carrot – One bowl – Three minutes – by Sangeeta Khanna 

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You can make this halwa in 3 minutes or so with Sweet potato, bottle gourd , pumpkin, carrots, beetroot or anything exotic you want to experiment with. Add dates instead of sugar, add nuts, add anything that goes well and suits your mood , don’t forget to add a little love  and gratitude for those are the secret ingredient in all these recipes.

Here are the links to all the three blogs she manages

Healthfood desivideshi ( healthy, nutritious recipes, personalized diet plans, nutrition tips and much more)

 Banaras Ka Khana ( for those who love the old world charm and the good old recipes handed down from generations to generations)

Ayurveda on my plate  (trust her for some tried and tested remedies)

Do join her FB Blog pages to stay updated.

I had wanted to feature her on my blog since long time to show my gratitude and love for the work she is doing in this field and for who she is, a loving, generous, compassionate friend.

Please leave a link on her blog if you try any of her or mine recipes and give her a feedback.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Eat well. Stay Healthy.