Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sanjeev Kapoor and The Cookery Contaste

A celebration of culture can never be complete without cuisine. Who else but the poster-boy of Indian cookery could be the best person to flag-off the newly introduced Cookery Contest at Saarang? The chef extraordinaire was here yesterday afternoon to present a list of 30 things to eat before you die. A delay of 2 hours only increased the appetite of the audience but what came afterwards was well worth the wait.

Sanjeev started-off the lecture by talking about himself and his pursuit of a rather unconventional profession. Then he proceeded to present his comprehensive list, at some times informative and at others nostalgic. The anecdotes and jokes meticulously inserted in his presentation convinced each one of us why he is regarded as one of the most sought after television personalities as well. The lecture finished at a high point after a series of interesting question-and-answer exchanges with a visibly enthusiastic audience. This was followed by an exclusive interview with the Newsletter correspondents.

Correspondent: The term which comes immediately in our minds when we think of Sanjeev Kapoor is Khana-Khazana. How did Khana-Khazana happen?

Sanjeev: It all began at a point of time when satellite television was new in India. Different chefs were being approached for launching an interactive cookery show. Zee TV approached me with a name Srimaan Bawarchi, to which I immediately responded with a ‘No’. This was when I had reached the peak of my professional career albeit at a very early age of 28.

C. After the success of the show, many other cookery shows also poured in. But they did not enjoy as much adulation as your show, which has been on air for 15 years. What is the secret behind the longevity of Khana Khazana?

S. Khana Khazana is a complete package. With the extensive research carried out by us, we have a better understanding of the interests of the viewers. The core value being - cooking what viewers can replicate. Explaining the recipe in detail yet keeping the format simple enough to not look boring is what makes us connect with the audience. After every show, we make it a point to think from the viewer’s perspective.

C. What does it take to become a world-class chef? Is it only exceptional cooking skills or do presentation and soft skills take the cake?

S. Soft skills are equally important. If you cook well, you might be a brilliant cook but it takes beyond just cooking to make a chef. Not only the art and the science of cooking but the management of cooking is also what a chef needs to excel in.

C. How do you manage to come-up with numerous new recipes? Do you keep on experimenting with the ingredients while you are cooking, just like a scientist?

S. (Smiles) Being familiar with (the) ingredients lets you make predictions in your mind. For example, you know that adding sugar to a dish will make it sweet. The variations, therefore, are never startling. Although, most of it depends on instincts.

C. The success of pizza and noodles in Indian food market is quite palpable. Are the Indian food-items equally successful in western countries?

S. Yes, of course. Indian food is no 1 in UK. Chicken Tikka Masala is the national dish in England. Our spices and flavours are extensively used by western cooks to spice-up their dishes.

C. What is the secret behind the success of the Indian curry?

S. Indian curry has a unique blend (of spices). In our curries, we use 10-15-20 different herbs and spices. It’s more like a modern day doctor who recommends 7-8 medicines with a hope that something will work. (Similarly,) Something out of that magic blend works.

C. Even though cooking is women’s forte in Indian households, why do you think men still make better chefs?

S. Men are not more successful but more in numbers. Cooking as a profession is physical and laborious in nature. Women are also expected to look after household. A father can work. It’s more to do with the social structure.

C. We all know that you pursued a hotel management course not in vogue despite being an academically brilliant student because you wanted to do something different and bizarre. Given your famous love for the bizarre, what are the other interesting activities that you enjoy?

S. Learning new skills always interests me. I agreed to judge Jhalak Dikhlaja because it was very different. I’ve also been a percussionist and used to play for a band.

C. Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure meeting you.

S. The pleasure is all mine!

The lecture was followed by an innovative contest which lacked fire and was doing away with hot & cold water instead. Thanks to the creative cooking of the contestants, with utter modesty, the event went ahead of the ‘30 things to eat before you die’ to ‘30 things to eat in order to die’. Apparently, the teams started making crazy concoctions of the eatables lying on the tables to create something so intriguing that the judge reacted with “Please take me home early”. The workshop ended on a tit-for-tat note when the event organizer was forced to drink the winning potion and the judge who had tasted it stood flashing a contented smile.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

U for UNR

The expression on the two spectators must have made you realize that the ***** going on here is nothing less that the Ram-Bharat milaap scene of Andaz Apna Apna. Whoever said that the duo believes in over dramatization!

Below is an interview of a newsletter coordinator (bossed by PR core) by a visitor of

“Who are you?”

A question is but a squirt of inquisitiveness or a test of edification which, in the status quo, happens to be an insult of omniscience. The only righteous response to a question is an answer. Our answer is “We are he". The feminist fingers can hereafter rest in peace for this is mere boisterousness of male emancipation in its quest for the Holy Grail.

“Oh, whatever...but what do you do?”

To do or not to do - that, my friend, is not even a question. It's a mere mortal's fight for attaining martyrdom in the battlefield of procrastination. We have been doing that for ages and can continue to do so. But, for the unflinching and undaunted nitwits we are, we set out for inking the unbridled ubiquitous utopia of Saarang by the ukase of Uncle Duck(y). Unction is in the offing for taking umbrage and those unassuaged by the uncanny unctuousness are hereby lent freedom to be unwontedly uncouth. To put it simply, we upbraid and we do that to everyone.

“What the fish is this ‘U’ thing?”

The public usage of the thing mentioned by you in an air being inhaled by any IITian is an act of utmost profanity which may trigger fatal epileptic fits and I urge you to stop doing that right away. We were asked to tell you that this Saarang it's you, or rather the both of you. So we are just doing our duty, you see. Puff! Sigh! Don't you ever mention that thing again!

“Oh, go climb a mountain. I know what you did last winter. Completely failing to connect those S for Saarang words and then failing all over again with N for Newsletter words have driven you bananas. Here you are, making a forced and convoluted attempt with U for u know what.”

Gawd! She’s good!

Monday, January 14, 2008

it's time

Time up! You know you're already running out of time when you come across anything of this sort. The Geek Gods are about to open their arms and it's all happening right there, in GeeCe**.

Wordsworth has already submitted his final entry for the lyrics of The Rock Show @ Saarang. Believe it or not, after death, he has grown into a death metal fan wishing to come alive for the show. The footfalls of the show have started tickling the pounding hearts of thousands of zealous youths across the nation who are waiting for Saarang with bated breath.

GeeCe**: Gajendra Circle, the central intelligence unit of Geeklandia, also known as IIT Madras.

***For the perverted pinheads amongst you, FYI: The author's talking about the pen of Shakespeare which has gone out of control. I repeat it's Shakespeare's long thin pen!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

How Stupid of Me

How stupid of me! Here I am, having a sip of cappuccino and enjoying the light moments, remembering the lightest moments of my life. I think of my tryst with Monaco – munching heavily and trying to feel light. Light it was but lightest – surely not. The next moment I remember that Giga-Newton column of liquid I got rid (pissed, literally) of in the toilet an hour ago and relive the light moments consequent to the holy act. At this instant, I feel like betting my bottom rupee on those being the lightest moments of my life. Soon enough, I start feeling pathetic, small and repentant. How stupid of me for I have not yet considered the Light Music Show @ Saarang. For the ignorant, Saarang LM Night is yet another night in my life, albeit comparable to none other, which makes me say "The juice was worth the squeeze". To be modest, it's just a night of trance, a night of pulsating melody when some Shankar asks his friends Ehsaan & Loy if Dil Chahta Hai and imparts gyaan about life having kabhi khushi kabhi gham. Sometimes the night is marked by another bloke called Sukhwinder Singh, the same great saint who recites Omkara and Kisna . It is the same light night, my comrade, when I got to sway with this girl for the first time – the girl who's sipping at my cappuccino right now and the same girl who's ready to pay for it ;). But looking at it retrospectively, all I can say is "How stupid of me!"