Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Signature Telegraph Food Awards 2013 : Your Ultimate Food Guide

A Kolkatan needs two things to be happy — food for thought and thought for food. No wonder the launch of the SIGNATURE TELEGRAPH FOOD GUIDE 2013 at Park Hotel, Kolkata on Monday evening was such a happy affair. 

Grab your copy of Signature Telegraph Food Guide 2013 Now
                                                                      The journey of mine which started through a contest at Live in Style #FoodisBetterthan ended with a big smile when I reached Park. I can smell the love for food in the air. The environment was just amazing. From tollywood stars like Raima Sen, Paoli Dam, and Abir to fashion designers like Agnimitra, Sharbari...From food critiques like Nandan Bagchi to famous Chefs like Shaun Kenworthy...From national award winning director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury to singers like Anupam Roy the event was totally star studded. But the main usp for the event was not the celebrities; it was the true and dedicated love for food of every Kolkatan without whom this event was impossible. 

Gaurav,Riddhima,Mainak and Sonika with one of the winners
                                                               What made me immensely happy is when I saw the faces of the restaurant owners (some jumping, some crying in joy) after their name had been declared. Absolutely yes! This was the moment for which they were waiting for a year. Oh! How could I forget the gorgeous host for the evening ‘lady in red’ Sonika Chauhan. Now, coming back to the winners of the TELEGRAPH FOOD GUIDE 2013 ‘Oh Calcutta’ bags the best Bengali food award while ‘Mainland China’ for continental, ‘Banana Leaf’ for the best south Indian, ‘Spaghetti Kitchen’ for the best Italian and last but not the least ‘Veda’ for the best Mughlai Food. The royal taste from the kitchen of Nizam’s restaurant in Kolkata ‘Oudh 1950’ bagged the Best New Comer Restaurant of the Year award.While I was having a sip of white wine I planned something interesting to do. What’s the most important reason for which we are here today? Off course the food and hospitality served by the lovely restaurants. So, I decided to ask the winners about their specialties and why they think that people should go to their place. They agreed to my proposal and we started. 

Abir,Saheb,Riddhima and Parno in a Gossip Mood
                                                                            We also had some celebrities and fans joining in at a later stage to make the discussion more interesting. Team ‘Oh Calcutta’ has ‘Gondhoraj Bhetki’, ‘Aam Kasundir Paturi’ and ‘Dab Chingri’ with a lovely ambiance perfect for the enjoying the Bengali Culture. ‘Mainland China’s’ usp is their buffet lunch which is pretty affordable with some sumptuous dishes like Prawn picked Chilli, Chicken lamb Salad and Tao’s Chicken. Kuzhi Paniyaram, Paratha Karam,Kesari,Semi Payasam are the golden cards of ‘Banana Leaf’. 

Gaurav,Riddhima and Mainak posing before the press
                                                                              As I was talking to them, the rats inside my stomach are running here and there. It seems that I can smell the item with their names being uttered. What an embarrassing situation! By that time the dinner was ready to be served. From the Soya Haleem to the divinely Sushi...From the ‘parshe mach’ to mushroom and pork…From the delicious biriyani to the mouth watering deserts, the dinner was a million dollar baby.
Food,Fun and Wine : Heavenly Combo
                                                                          What added an extra flavor to the dinner was the leg pulling jokes cracked by Nandan Bagchi and Shaun. As the team of ‘Spaghetti Kitchen’ shared their recipes of Black Pepper Chicken, Penny Vodka, Mushroom Capuccino soup and delicious deserts like Tiramisu, Casatta and Chocolate bomb we can’t control our appetite. Raima and Paoli joined us with their dating experiences with Galouti Kebab and Chicken Shahjahani Korma at ‘Veda’.The conversation continued until the director of ABP Mr. Abheek Sarkar gifted us ‘The Telegraph Food Guide’. Before signing off, I would like to thank ‘Live in Style’ from the core of my heart for giving me a chance to be a part of this event. It was such a wonderful experience for me to be a part of SIGNATURE TELEGRAPH FOOD GUIDE AWARDS 2013.The more I think, the more it grows.Cheers to Life. Cheers to +Live in Style !

So,what are you waiting for ????

Grab it Now : Your Ultimate Food Guide

 Grab your copy of SIGNATURE TELEGRAPH FOOD GUIDE 2013 now.

Photography : Ratul Banik

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Life and Death : The two sides of the same coin

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? – Edgar Allan Poe.

                                                                    Life and death are the two most opposite extremities to each other but one is incomplete without other. It's like two sides of the same coin on and whether its head or tail,the motto is life must go on.What connects these two journeys is our soul. Life is nothing but a jug of water filled with emotions, desires and our crave for materialistic things. But when we see death it’s totally opposite as if the jug is still there but there is no water. There are many questions which arise in our mind ‘Is there any life after death’? Or simply ‘What is Life and death?’ Death is nothing but just a transformation of soul from one body to another and life is the journey of the soul towards death. I am not going into deep that whether life exists after death or not but the thing which truly amazes me is the ‘Rituals’ relating to life and death especially in Indian context.

                              India as we know is a land of diversities. There are many religions with different beliefs. We found that often when a person dies his death is treated as a sad incident that gives us negative vibrations. Everyone feels so depressed that the soul is not anymore within us. But I remember when I was in Bangalore and sleeping in room suddenly I heard some sounds of drums and saw fireworks bursting outside my windows. It was not a festival time then so I got a bit curious. When I went on the road I saw some people dancing with the music and all are very happy, to be precise in celebration mood. I was enjoying the moment until I realized that it was a funeral procession of a particular person. This incident left my mind with several questions and I was a bit amazed to see the incident. Later, when I was trying to analyze the situation I found it pretty meaningful. There are some people belonging to a particular religion who consider death to be a loss that’s why they feel remorse but on the other hand some believes that it’s a heavenly thing and that the person will achieve heaven or come back again is a reason to smile. We all live in India where we have differentiated ourselves with the name of ‘Religion’ but what we have failed to understand that whatever be the path it leads to the same destination. Cloud of faiths prevailing along the sky is that unique thing which makes ‘India’ so special.                                                 
                                                            Where the incident is the same death but it carries different meaning to different persons. What I truly believe is that indeed Death is the ultimate truth of life and is considered to be a sad event but it has some positivity in it also. Would there have been any life if there is no death? The circle of life completes here. We human beings are weak enough to go through this simple truth in fact the same is with me also but what I feel one should be remembered with the happy moments and success of his life, for his positive contributions to the society. The book of secrets of life will be unrevealed till that moment until we realize two basic things ‘Who am I’ and ‘What I am here for’. The rest is a journey. Some smiling faces while some crying, some good luck and some bad but whatever it is life must move on and the search for eternal truth must continue until we achieve salvation.
                                                            The boundaries of life and death seems to be so close to each other when we see the following  video which is a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe :-


Now the question is one,Is Death the beginning of Life or Life the beginning of Death ????

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Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vagabond's Diary : The Incredible India

Few hours..some priceless moments of life.Went on a short trip from Jorashako Thakurbari with a launch ride in the Ganges.The day was a bit different..ahead of the same monotonous rat race.The vibrations are on its full form.Group of people were carrying vessles of water in their shoulder and moving towards temple to offer them to God.The lanes of north Kolkata was fully decorated today with lights and flowers.Every now and then there is a pandel with a deity of Lord Shiva and people are performing various some singing song..some dancing..some smoking a joint.Whatever there activities were all they had in their mind was a craving for God or just a new reason to celebrate i don't know but it was good.. The environment was filled with different sounds.From the chanting of Lord Shiva's name to playing 'dhak' and 'kashor'..there was something special flavour in it which we miss in regular day's hectis rather materialistic life.Some realizations..some repentance thoughts..flashing of some 'feel good' moments..some reasons to feel happy..so much of faiths..so much of beliefs..Truly amazing.This could happen only in India.
What makes the journey so special as if the journey seems to cover everything..a circle of life to death..which begins from the birth place of Tagore at Jorashako and ends at his cremation place at Nimtala.The experience was a bit trippy one.So many questions raised in my mind and i m constantly trying to resolve them and feel the current state of mind.To be honest,i was a little confused.All i have in my front is some people bathing in the Ganges before starting their journey for the temple..some storing some Ganges waters in their big jars to offer them to God.As if the nature is being covered by a shawl of Saffron but the other people in the ghat were are not at all concerned about what's happening there.It seems they are used to it or may be all are busy in their own life.I can see a launch full packed in the mid Ganges approaching towards the bank.The people inside the launch are shouting in ecstasy 'Bhole Baba Par Karega'.There are different colors from the street lights which are reflecting into the water forming golden hues.The Shiva hymns are still on in its full mood.It's a big festival for them.So many unknown people have gathered together for the same cause in sake of religion.Some have different wishes to pray..some are walking just for inner peace..some for health..some for money..some for lust and some for gold.

When i was heading towards home i took the Howrah bridge and walked down till park street until i got a bus.Standing in the bridge looking at the water..it seems that we are moving as if we are still in the launch and the shadows are falling in the water imitating our various hand movements.Some thoughts are coming into mind and disappearing in another seconds.I guess the poet inside me wants to write and it seems there are so much things which i want to express.Some priceless moments..some priceless expressions which money fails to buy.In short,a perfect answer to the question 'What is Happiness'? or 'Are you happy?'

What a brilliant way to express I am proud to be born in a country like India which has so much of diversities in cultures and among various cities..various religions which when gets reflected into human life changes its total meaning and gives us an inner eye to observe the same thing but with a different look.All that is needed is faith and hope.Also needed is self surrender to achieve or get close to God.I wish to witness plenty of journies like this one in future.A trip which will i never forget.

 Cheers to Travelling.Cheers to Life.