first sight

Food for thoughts. if that is correct then on the first day when i saw the Curtis stone, i forgot the food!!! 

the most sexiest and handsome cook ever came to my TV.

I could not take my eyes away from the TV. I Thought how to take the cook HOME?

I even started thinking to start such venture in Lucknow. But then on second thought I dropped it. Since in Lucknow this format of take home a cook concept may not work. Though now when so many cook shows are being aired, who knows even this concept becomes popular.

Earlier the Nigella show was on the top slot. Few shows i liked are Kylie Kwong, Madhur,  Floyd’s etc . Kylie’s show where grandmother, mother and daughter came on the show was nice one.
I saw quite others also, Anthony’s, Ian wright, Food bazaar or Feast bazaar.
The Floyd’s was something strange. I felt it was full of Colonial Aura!!. The show was only meant for the UK. Then famous Madhur Jaffery was also there. Her show was earlier telecast on other channels also prior to the Discovery’s living channel. Her style was if i may say so, full of RAW- means devoid of any sophistication. Everything is just thrown into the hot WOKE, put together and mixed to cook. Which, otherwise people take time in sprinkling even a pinch of salt. It is sprinkled in a very decorative manner isn’t it. Floyd’s concept of using the bowls made from leaves is superb and ecofreindly. Unlike, in other shows i find there are small and smaller bowls of glass for everything. for a spoon of vinegar, a spoon of masala etc. which look funny to me. But in Madhur and floyds show it is different.
However they are all nice. But in few cook show i found the food and food making concept takes a back seat than the personality of the cook itself. then these shows become personality shows not the cookery shows.
In this context latest addition ranked First among all the shows. Kismet production- The FOOD SAFARI on Fox Traveller. The show concept is totally different, but the packaging and editing is very cleverly done. I like this show. In a short span of time it tells the story of food culture, the background, the process, the variety of food, the ways of cooking etc besides the cooking. So it is a nice mix of everything. As I found out.
I just wish that if i can keep copy of all the programmes.
Samantha concept is somewhat based on projecting the Hotels and travel, but not the FOOD.
Next time i will write on the new shows.


Mythology A pan India thing

The myth of rebirth is a pan India phenomenon. Years before I heard about the film Marichitrathazu, in which the Shobhana , the leading lady of the legend of Travancore sisters got acclaim for her performance. Then I just read through the print media that it is based on some dancing lady that’s all. In some of TV news also I heard these things. Later I got to see and know about a film called Chandramukhi, where the super star Rajni sir was also there. As the film was in tamil and as  I could make out that in the story some lady is there who still lives in a portion of house. Where nobody goes, however one lady goes there and everybody finds that the soul has taken over that lady. Some scenes of snakes were also there. Then in one film named as bhool bhoolayia, I saw a dance sequence on the song by Shreya Ghosal, Amije tomar or mere dholna sun. where the Vidya Balan appeared. By the way the male dancer was the same person who appeared in the film chandramukhi.
The story line was very similar, that means the same story was made film in three regions. Each localizing as per the regions. But each has Bharatnatyam as the base. There was not much kathak in mere dholna- or amije.  Rather it was a bollywood mix or Remix of everything, steps and dress of bharatnatyam some “bol” of TARANA, song in Hindi. But then it is a film, nobody call question them. But over all the song and music was very powerful. These concepts of rebirth etc are very well Commercially exploited. And the most famous rationalist (Mr Samuel, I think)  never speak against it. He only speaks against the jyotish.  Next time TV channel should call Jyotishi from Keral, vidyabalan, maker of film marichithrathazu, mohan lal the super start and him so that both from same state they can communicate in their language well and we can listen to them what they, hailing from same state have to offer for us. In old movies also I have seen few songs where the Waheeda ji and hema ji had performed some similar situation songs
Someone should make film on the life of Rai Praveen, panna dhai, Asgari bai, Allah jilai bai or let us dramatize the story of Gauhar jaan, or Begum Akhtar since now few biographical works are available in print and visual forms. There was a well known name of “Chappan Churi” of Allahabad or benaras.

Food for thought- Take home a cook

Food for thoughts!!  The common saying has been that your thoughts are made from what you eat.
I am very fond of food, not the eating part I have been more interested in the cooking/making process of the food. I am addicted to the praising words, or the emotions when they love and find my cooking very good.
Earlier on Doordarshan rarely we used to get to see any program on cooking. But after 1982, some format changed at DD and with the advent of Sunday morning shows, and aaj savere aaj subah. Then channel became plural in numbers. Formats also increased. Few celeb used to come on TV to demonstrate their favorite, I remember when Smt Uma Gajpati Raju presented a cook show. Then there was e revolution. After the Siddhartha Kak, Sanjeev Kapoor, there were flood of these cookery shows and plurality in the shows. Then there was a gift from skies came and invaded our homes in form of Discovery channel, Star, Zee etc many more. Few I see belong to the Tamil, Keral, Kannad and Marathi channel. I liked the most the show on the Tamil channels. In one the Grand lady used to show the cooking and most precious thing was that she also used to sing the songs. She has got the real talent- bhuimiputri- means the daughter of the mother earth. The lady must have belonged to the pure land of mother India. I could not understand asingle word of those songs but since we the lover of music say that it has got no boundaries or barriers. So the beats the LAYKARI, the PURE “swaras”, the voice coming out of Heart reaches us. Another show is one man who always cook in the earthen pots. I love the stage design, the cooking in these mud pots, the simple way he describes each thing- here too my drawback of not knowing the Tamil does not deter me from listening and watching that show.
Few other programs I saw. One program in Kannad or malyalam was very different. In that show they tell the medicinal property of the herbs And also the cooking. Then many times I watched the show on BANGLA, either the star Bangla, or the doordarshan in bangle I get to know many dishes.
But since the advent of the TLC I am glued to it. Whenever I get time I just switch the TLC.
Earlier there were Nigella, Kylie Kwong, Floyd, Anthony bourdoin (if the name I spelled correctly), then there was program named FOOD BAZAARo the Feast . Most famous Madhur Jaffery is also there. Sanjeev kapoor doesn’t come on TLC? Few episodes I saw of Padma lakshmi. There was Rhode’s scholars. Now I am also familiar with Dr Sikha!!!. Two years back I was on the top of clouds, when I saw the “Take cook to home” Curtis stone- Most handsome and sexiest cook ever came on my television.
Many days I tried to workout how I can work like him!!!. When I went o Lucknow I thought will this type of profession work or viable in Lucknow? I am nobody in Lucknow so who will let me enter their homes. Then immediately I got answer to stop horses of my brain. But I must tell the hangover of Curtis is still there I am not able to come out of it. He always remains behind my head. After that many more came on TLC but no one matched that class!!. There was one who I think was drink maker in some hotel, now tried  a cook show-as I could make out by watching him. Few things he told were very good. His show is so so. In this year few more came on the air (Sky) but same actually by looking at them I got pain in eye as I felt I have to make efforts to keep my eyes on him. Since they always dance or move their bodies while doing everything from chopping the fish or onion, or pouring the oil, and keeping tray in oven always their bodies moving in some fashion which I find irritating- means their body language is not correct. They need to work hard but Sky has no limits!! I cannot criticize the people on TLC. I don’t find their program attractive- They are FUNKY type or so to say since I belong to old fashioned age, it was like when in 70s or early 80s the hippies were defined. Then, there is another very handsome program of James martin( read the person not program). To me he is very good looking too.  but what I found is that he is most innovative of kind. When he made mango ice-cream or something the way he plans all his ingredients and process and when the last products comes out on screen my eyes lit up in wonder!.  how come he is able to decorate so innovatively?.(which,  I never could have imagined).
Bizare food is always bizarre!
The most innovative and most refreshing show is the FOOD SAFARI on FOX TRAVELLOR. The concept is full of research and planning. Lots of things packed in a short time capsule And mostly everything available in Australia. By Kismet production. This programme is so nicely edited and presented that you don’t need any coffee table book to know the food of a particular region. I think this program is also most suited for the mobile APPlications. Where in , through the mobile one can know about food of a region. The cooking session are shot in a very friendly way/ambient. And most importantly the involvement is evident. That is most essential for nice cooking. Unlike- If I may say so’ not like Floyd’s idea. Where the presenter is always looks somewhat detached from the nice things of cooking. Sometime the cook does the things in haste. Sometimes  I feel the program is full of the aristocratic lookout of India, for them it is still like a COLONY. I mean the programme format is of like of colonial era. But I like the way Madhur does the things. No aristocracy, no sophistication just everything raw, everything is dropped in the pan in very simple way. Most naturally and not in a decorative way. As is happens in james show, every now and then I see the towel cleaning on the kitchen table etc. And other thing which I found in programmes of west is that when they taste something they use the last finger of right hand. But I think if I would ask anybody from India Mostly I would find them using the first finger for tasting anything or they would use the spoon.
In Floyd show the cook while feeling hotness of the furnace or the stove still enjoys a sip of his drinks! How? In James show everything is kept on that circular wooden piece on that the cutting/chopping is done, on same the bread or some other vegetables are also kept or the pots or utensils are kept. Some thing on my back of head thinks that it is not hygienic, But the towel cleaning is edited I think which is evident in other of his show. Jokes apart these shows are good enough to watch.
These days some shows are becoming trap of pluralism! Since the quality, the content is being diluted.
In India now we have got a new dedicated channel on food. Nobody could have imagined this type of thing 30 years back. Everybody was looking down upon these creative fields. Be it performing arts or the hotel/house keeping or the chef. Now Indian Television even had Master Chef program, though there had been a program on Master chef in Australia. Through the star world channel one can know from where the Indian television is inventing its programmes. Be it  Idol, talent search, quizzes, KBC, even cookery shows are being localized. But never mind “der aye durast aye” Now platter is full for Indian Audiences.
Food is also the most basic things human or any living being needs. Since child age every human get acquainted with the food and fooding with the help of their mother or family. First the mother, then family after that neighbourhood, then school, then the region affects the fooding habits in that order. Then off course now-days people get trapped in their surrounding fad. There are so many fad now-days which comes through the beaming of Media. Now-days people from small semi urban or rural areas are becoming addicted to the noodles, chowmein, now they now the Italian pasta, spaghetti etc.
When I attend any marriage or social functions in the area near Kanpur, Lucknow, Unnao, Hardoi I find that people keep stalls of such things, like chowmein, pasta, cheese salads, sprouts salad, veg or chicken rolls-(which in my 40 years of life never had been anywhere in these places)

Song of Bird

While listening to the songs of Allah jilai bai(Allah zillai Bai)  I felt as if I traveled a long journey. A very immense and thought-full journey. this journey tells how the life is or what is a life??.  Listening the Maand of smt Allah jilai bai the Kesariya Baalam Padharo Mhare Desh, we get to imagine the tough life with great valour of Rajputana, the Mewar, the Chittorgarh, the jaipur and its relation with the Mughal empire, Dhola Maru Ratan etc.   But for me she and her life was more important. How a girl, lived a hard life in those days. When girls were exploited the most. Moreover since they belonged to the community meant for singing. But I feel proud that it is due them only  that India is boasting of great cultural heritage all over the world. But time has not changed much. Look at our backyard, in post Independence India how we treat those who belonged to this community!!. In those days girls were prohibited to be seen by anyone other than their patrons. When I say girls, it means those belonging to the singing community. Shri  Muzaffar Ali has correctly made a film touching these topics. People kidnapped the girls and sold them. That time the community get few Umrao Jaan and other girl becomes the Begum of the kingdom and not leaving behind the Husaini Bua ji, who must have been also a stolen girl??? who knows?

Then another gem is Asgari Bai of Tikamgarh. She was also a rare gem of India. Once I watched her on TV. In that she came out as a frank and courageous but courteous lady. She was telling one incident about singing in front of deity in a temple. she sat just next to the door so that she should not face the deity of temple. To that she frankly said how can i face the god,the presiding deity and adding to it she said “nobody in this world is so capable of  facing the lord?? !!! Very true indeed. But the hurt and pain which she might have felt at that moment… so enormous. Since she was from that community thus she herself was not confident to sit facing the deity in temple???.  But what she said about that incidence means they were most intelligent also. Due to situations they became victim. She also once commented on the rendition of Dagar Bandhu that  “I didn’t find the tum num na na or re re da neem etc  good, what Dagar people sing”  It is not dhrupad”. it is actually for riyaz purpose. It meant for practice at home not for concert singing.   I am unable to understand all this. If people want to sing the Dhrupad they should sing in the correct way.  
In those days singers used to learn many things including the dhrupad. Since they have to sing everything as per the wish of audience and patrons. One famous example is Begum Akhtar. She made the gazal singing famous. That does not mean she did not know singing other styles. She knew many styles, Thumri or dadra etc. She sang Gazal decorated with “Raag”.  In those times being a singer was tough in comparison to modern times. we have various forms, easily available in various media. Dhamar was sung by a particular community on Holi. 
I heard Rasoolan Bai, Sidheswari Devi, Gauhar Jaan, Hira Devi Mishra, mohamad bandi, Jaddan Bai, Malka Pukhraj, Reshma, and many more. I also read about the Malka Jaan, Moti Bai (Choti and badi) Janaki bai of Allahabad, All and each tell a story of our bygone era.

There is very good work on Begum Akhtar written by Smt Padma Sachdev or Shivani ji named as Koyaliya mat kar pukar. In the end the writer wrote that on listening the story the Begum Akhtar commented “nobody else has written on her like this ever before”. Begum Akhtar sang Koyalia mat kar pukar, lagat karejawa pe chot. The same song Begum Akhtar sang in Bengali, Koyalia Gaan thama ei-bar.
I have heard that Malka Pukhraj of Jammu became famous in Delhi at the age of 12 or 14. Later she was appointed in the court of Maharaja Harisingh ji. She has brought out her memories in the book “Song Sung True”.
The Hindustani Music was prevalent from Jammu Kashmir to the Madurai. Once i read that M S (Subhbulakshmi, the Bharat Ratna) used to hear songs in neighbour’s radio. She heard many Hindustani songs. Down south in Dharwad, Smt Gangu Bai Hangal was also impressed by Hindustani Music after listening LP records of Gauhar Jaan etc. She at age of 12 was learning music by making journey to her guru. Everybody used to laugh at her. All these tender aged girls singing reminds the little singing birds. Thus it is a song of birds.

Dance, Dancing, etc

On 3rd November I saw a dance programme TV channel. The background was quite good. But at first I was amazed by the anchor, what a change? I was not able to recognise Smt Arshiya initially, I was watching her after a gap of almost 20 years. At home in black and white TV (UPTRON) she used anchor the national programme of dance on Sundays. But I saw her at the triveni in Delhi, when a festival called as VIDESHI Kalakar utsav was organised and also various other programme used to be performed in that MANDI HOUSE campus, housing not only TRIVENI but also the KAMANI, BHARTI, so many others. At one programme a dancer from HUNGARY was performing and I was siting on the stairs of TRIVENI, there I saw her also among the audience. It was way back in 1992 or 1993 around that time. So almost gap of 20 years was there. Then once the camera also paned and guru Munnalal Shukla was visible. I had met him at the Kathak Kendra, when I used to visit kathak Kendra almost everyday, in search of my god Pt BIRJU MAHARAJ. Those days his room was I think on ground floor. The main office used to be on first floor. Just next to the staircase was the gallery that lead to the door of his room. I used to roam around that door, in hope that atleast once I could catch hold of his darshan. Lots of many used to visit him there but mostly the students. Those times once he also served as director of kathak Kendra. I had once an opportunity of watching the HOLI choreographed by him. That was performed in the lawns of kathak Kendra, since national school of drama was also there in same campus, and on the ground floor the CCRRT, was housed. Puppet workshops and similar activities used to go on in this campus. And given my kind of MIND I used be there as a WANDERER. Most innovative dance sequence was there in HOLI, the dancers were throwing the colors from the first floor on persons sitting on groundfloor. Whole concept was very good. The regular item in HOLI the DAPli item was also there. But Shri Munna Shukla ji never tested me nor shown any interest in teaching, He could have asked me to perform something or he could have said you come in my school on such and such day and time I will take an examination and if you pass I will admit you. But alas I could not impress him, My appearance must not have impress him, I come from very poor background I could not afford very good quality of cloths, perfume or car etc so.

The dancer was Smt Nisha Mahajan. I have never had seen earlier nor I knew anything about the dance 20 years back. But the costume told that the dancer was from conservative school, since the mughal court attire was used in performing the kathak bols etc and the dress usually is worn while performing the tarana, however nowdays dancers have started innovating in the costumes also. I was impressed by the persona of Smt veena shroff. Many used to talk about her as the collector of accessories of hair dressing. And the kathak Kendra students have changed the attire fashion also.

Doordarshan should enhance time and quality of dance and music programmes so that new generation gets exposure to our national heritage and that too having a quality.



Panchayati raj

Anna Hazare ji has raised the voice of panchayati swaraj also from the platform of Ramlila grounds. in midst of lokpal bill movement many issues have been raised, while on one hand people at different forum themselves are linking many issues to this lokpal bil, on the othere hand Anna ji has also linked issues. One most important issue is the Strenghtening of panchayati Raj Institutions. Powers and duties of a gram panchayat. This has been in the core. But Lok pal bill must also contain all aspects of corruption from village level to the national level. Anna ji has made or if I may say so he has nursed a village, and brought that village to this level. It is due to him and his dedication that with the involvement of villagers that village has developed so far. Many people dont know, what he has done. But he has done what nobody could do in these so many years after independence. Since independence no movement has awakened or kindled so much interest and brought people of this country together. They are now united standing agianst this DEVIL of corruption. Those who are afraid of this are trying to divide this mass movement. From J&K to Guwahati, from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu everybody is with Anna Hazare. Who else has done this before??.  He has created a history. At least now everybody is aware of the core issues facing our nation. That is called democracy, each citizen is awakened and trying to do introspection, and trying to see, think, listen, and stand united in anyway they can. Now the DEBATE has begun in the actual form or shape. This is a kind of debate. ALl the issues are now in public domain. This is named a public debate. And if at this point of time govt may decide to have voting on lokpal bill and decide to amend the bill. Some people are saying that 153 amendements were brought to reach this level of RTI, IS this a good achivement that you have brought so MANY amendements. That means the thing which was brought to the parliament was not complete or good enough, so why to waste time and do exercise beforehand and bring a nice draft, what is the need of amendement and SO MANY amendements, they give numbers with wide open EYES and say that look there were 153 amendements. why to waste precious time of our parliament.CANT YOU REDUCE THE NUMBERS OF AMENDMENTS, AND PASS A NICE DRAFTED BILL. Let a nice darft be placed before parliament
what do we know about Swaraj.
Do we have sanitation and water management system as it was in harrappa mohan je daro. Do we have iron or steel making technology as it was there thousand year ago, the pillar at Mehrauli in Delhi is the best example. Ship building technology was also lost after advent of outsider and invaders. we had a flourishing trade links with west and east worlds. South East nations have been in touch constantly since early 3r or 4th century. AnKor Wat temple is the best example. The Ramayana of Bali is another such example.