This is my real story…
Every girl has a dream. A dream that one day, a prince would come and take her to his kingdom. After marrying ofcourse ;)
When young, I was in awe with the cartoon character of Jasmine (from Disney’s Aladdin). I always wanted to live Jasmine’s life. And though not publically, I kept waiting for my own Aladdin to appear in my life. :-)
Years passed by and it seemed, that Genie did grant me my wish. I met my very own version of Aladdin. And coincidentally, we both, like Aladdin and Jasmine, met in real deserts of Rajasthan!! One thing led to another and a few months back, we got engaged.
Just a few days back, when I was having a girl talk with few girlfriends of mine, this topic of similarities between Jasmine and my life came up. And all of them were of the view that since ‘the Genie had indeed granted me my wish’, it called for a party!! A party which would celebrate this Arabian magic. At first this seemed like a ridiculous reason. But I gave in to their demand because in a way, I would be celebrating my own happiness. :-)
And just to bring some extra excitement and involvement among my friends, I proposed that we have a weekend party with the theme – ‘Arabian Nights.’
Since it was just 4 of us, we decided to use one of our living rooms as the party venue. The dress code for the party was to be Harem pants (loose fitted pants, which hold the ankles tightly. (These would definitely be comfortable for the kind of seating arrangement which I would detail later). I chose Harem because even Jasmine used to wear one. :-)
To go with the Harem, I chose a fitted plainer top and a hair band to match the colors. Now the most important part was the hair-do and I am really glad that all my friends have long hairs… :) And they can easily manage to copy Jasmine’s hairstyle :) And definitely the flat pointed open belly, in silver or golden to complete the look :)
Once I shared my thoughts with my friends, everyone became super excited about carrying this ‘Jasmine’ look. I myself went on a hunt for the perfect outfit, as I was the Jasmine in this entire buildup. J And since this small party was about celebrating the most important relation of my life, it became all the more important to keep the theme alive and not to miss out on anything.
Now a theme-party cannot be successful without proper ambiance. And a proper Arabian ambiance would require lots of colors and yellow lights…
Having spent most of my life in Rajasthan, best colors for an Arabian ambiance which I could relate to were colorful splash of bright tones of Fuchsia Pink, Turquoise Blue, Bright Orange, and Shiny Purple, i.e., all warm and dark colors for creating a typical desert-like ambiance of the room.
We used our dupattas for making tri-color drapes falling on one wall. And to have a soft yellow lighting, we went ahead and replaced 2 CFLs of the room with low wattage yellow bulbs!!
The seating arrangement was to be a round table with soft cushions in different colors. Since it was a small gathering, it was nice to gather around a round table.
And yes… how can I forget the most important thing, the flying carpet??
:) That became our dance floor (for a later stage)
I chose few more things to add as props. Long candle stands were placed in one corner of the room and few shorter ones were spread in an irregular fashion in the room. I also managed to borrow 2 brass cut work lamps from my aunts’ place to be hanged at two different corners of the room. And believe me, these lamps did perfect justice to the theme :)
And last thing to add to this ambiance were aromas. I specially picked up a few perfumed candles from the market to gel with party’s theme.
Outfits – Done
Ambiance – Done
Props – Done
What’s left was food. And with everything Arabic, how could food be far behind?
I must say that I was really relieved by the fact that, like me, all my friends were fond of authentic non vegetarian food. This really made my task a little easy, since the whole theme and whole ambiance would get complete with good and authentic non vegetarian food. Food was to be something that would eventually give credibility to my efforts and I personally believe that food is something which makes or spoils a party.
And when I wanted good non vegetarian food, I wanted dishes which came with fine taste, fine quality and fine aroma. These according to me are the 3 most important things that make a perfect dish.
So when I think of good food, and that too of good ‘authentic’ non-vegetarian food at a decent price, one name comes to my mind – ‘Kitchens of India‘ . Whenever I think of the curries I bought from here last, my mouth starts watering. They have some of the most amazing chicken curries and of course not to forget their chutneys, which are simply un-put-downable. :)
Since my gathering was not that big, I planned that everyone should enjoy a good variety of amazing and authentic Mughlai food.
So, this is how the food was done:
I started the dinner by serving light shorba, Malai Chicken Tikka and smoked Red Chicken Tikka (most preferred chicken starters). I chose two types of tikkas keeping in mind the different taste-bud preferences for spices. Now, the chicken starters would be incomplete without nice dips (chutneys what you call in local language) and shredded salad. So for the dips, I served Carrot Black Pepper Chutney and Mango Garlic Chutney from Kitchens of India.
And here is a confession. While preparing for the party, I really had a tough time resisting myself from having a go at these chutneys.. :-)
Once starters were done, we moved on to the main course. Here also, I was bamboozled with the options which Kitchens of India had!! But, I had no choice but to choose just a few since the party was only for four of us. I chose to add one of the chicken curries, one of my favourite paneer preparations and a daal.
So for the chicken gravy, I used two varieties of curries amongst the available ones. One of them was Chicken Darbari, and the other one was Murgh Methi. Chicken Darbari as the name suggests is the dish for the royal courts. And because of this royal connection, the dish was rich in taste and flavours. Murgh Methi on the other hand focused on the rich aroma and taste of an Indian herb Methi (English: Fenugreek), which is yet another rich ingredient of the Indian food .
And I am telling you guys, when I was preparing these dishes, I was supremely confident that my party is going to be a grand success. :-)
Though we all were hard-core non vegetarians, I also had a few vegetarian aces up my sleeves. I prepared Paneer Malai. As the name suggests, this dish had chunks of tender & mouth melting pieces of paneer in rich tomato gravy.
I also prepared a daal using Kitchens of India’s Daal Bukhara (the default favourite of mine). And to complete the course, I ordered a Rumali Rotis from a nearby restaurant.
Once the main course was done, I jokingly announced that the party was over. And as expected, there were loud boos about the absence of sweet dish. And this is what I was waiting for. :-)
I had planned to surprise everyone with the most traditional form of sweet , i.e., the Halwa. And for that, I choose a personal favourite – Hazoori Petha Halwa (from Kitchens of India). This was a childhood favourite of mine, the one with shredded petha cooked with milk and ghee, rich in color and aroma.
And once we were done with the food, I played a playlist of Arabian musicals on my laptop and external surround sound speakers. And I swear to God, we had 4 Shakira(s) dancing on those belly dancing numbers for hours…(on the magic carpet ofcourse…) ;-)
Seriously, I could have never imagined having such an innovative and exciting party at my very own home!!
Note- This post is an entry for Kitchens of India’s My Weekend Party with Gourmet Food competition.
PS -This post is by Aditi Agrawal
Note -This post is an entry for a contest titled “WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!”
If I could connect with 5 people in a WeChat group, I would invite the following five–
Barack Obama (Head of United States of America)
Some-Mohan Singh (So called Head of some south Asian country)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Head of Hollywood Actors – according to me)
Late Osama Bin Laden (Head of the group “Screw US”)
Paris Hilton (Head of intelligent blondes, a hypothetical species)
As you can see, all these people have been carefully selected to create a group of intelligent people who are supposedly holding positions of great responsibility & authority. :-) I understand your concern on using the word intelligent in same sentence which also has Paris Hilton’s name. But rest assured, being blond is tough. It takes a lot of intelligence to be stupid!!
So with the group members selected, I leave it to them to take over the discussion forward…
[Osama Bin Laden has created a WeChat group Dead People Talking]
[Obama, Some-Mohan, Leonardo & Paris join the group Dead People Talking]
Osama: Hi guys…
Obama: How dare you add me in your stupid group? I am not dead like you!!
Osama: Relax Barack… I did this because I had a dream last night.
Leonardo: Within a dream? Which level? Man, these inceptions are tough…
Osama: Why are you Americans so aggressive about everything? Cant you people just listen to someone? Look at our Indian group member… He is so silent and relaxed.
Osama: Now that was one hell of a thought for the day Some-Mohan!!
Paris: I didn’t hear anything!!!
Leonardo: Even if you did hear anything, would it make any sense to you Paris? By the way, you are looking great.
Paris: Gee…thanks Leo. Are you single? I am famous. Actually, I am famous for being famous. I hope you saw my blockbuster ‘One Night in Paris’ [winks]
Leonardo: Yeah yeah…whatever. But tell me Osama, I didn’t hear anything. How can you say that what he just said was something close to a quote of the day?
Osama: Can we just stop it? This is what I don’t like about you Americans…You don’t let anyone talk. And when they do, you can’t listen. This is the reason why everybody is after USA.
Leonardo: Yeah…true. All the movies having aliens also show that Aliens attack America first.
Paris: Who is an Alien? Is he smart?
Osama: Ha ha…good one bro…I know how you must be feeling ;-). But lets go ahead with what I was telling you people and the reason for which I created this group. I don’t have much time. I am a dead man and I still kill dead people. Last night I had a dream. And before you ask me anything Leonardo, it was a level one, plain and simple dream with no inceptions at all.
Obama: But why should we listen to terrorists? We don’t negotiate with terrorists!!
Osama: Oh shut up… You people do listen to me. I had forced you to listen to me during 9/11 too. But I am no more. And the day your navy seals shot me, I realized what wrong I had been doing during my stay on earth.
Paris: So now you are an alien? You don’t live on earth? But you don’t look smart :-(
[Everyone ignores Paris]
Osama: In the dream, the supreme creator asked me to have a discussion with a few intelligent people about how all 7 billion humans should shape the future of humanity. This is the reason I created this group. We need to discuss about our, I mean, your future.
Paris: Finally people have realized that blondes are intelligent. Or is it that all intelligent people are blondes? I am confused. :-( You people don’t look like blondes.
Leonardo: Humanity….hmm…We can create a world of dreams. We bring all the subjects into that dream and they fill it with their secrets. This way we can shape humanity.
Obama: I think Osama has made a valid point. I think we shouldn’t have shot him. But please Leonardo. We already have a world. We don’t need another world of dreams. We need to see the reality. Can’t you just stop talking as if you are going to remake your Hollywood flick Inception??
Leonardo: I am just trying to be a contributor to the betterment of humanity. But it seems like this dream is collapsing.
Paris: Don’t worry Leo. I will listen to you personally. I love Inceptions. [winks]
Leonardo: [Evil Smile & looking at Osama and Some-Mohan] Atleast I won’t become an old man filled with regret. ;-)
Obama: Hmm… Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek. Our societies are deteriorating. We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should realize their full potential.
Paris: Oh myyy gaaaawd!! Are you single sir?
Obama: Different religions are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
Some-Mohan: [thinking: If I could just talk like that :-(]
Leonardo: You have my vote for the next election too!!! [wolf whistle]
Obama: We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times….and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.
Osama: This is what I was telling you when I was alive. And you people killed me for that.
Obama: May be. But your ways were different. And your ways hurt everyone. And in the end, you paid the price.
Leonardo & Paris: [Holding hands and crying]
Obama: The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on.
Osama: I understand what you are telling. And what you say makes a lot of sense. Atleast now it does. I so much miss being alive. :-(
Obama: You know, one of the things I think you understand as president is that you are responsible for everything, but you don’t always have control of everything, right?
Some-Mohan: [Shouting] I agree with you on this one!! Completely!! Even I will vote for you in next elections.
Leonardo: [Pushing aside Paris] Wait a minute. You yourself are head of some south Asian country. You can’t vote in our elections!!
Some-Mohan: Oh yes. I forgot about it. I need to ask her…
Osama: No…no.. He is referring to some It(alien) I guess ;-)
Osama: I fought so I could die and go to heaven to meet God. But it seems that dying alone is not enough. The World is not enough for me. I should have died another day.
Leonardo: You know us Hollywood people well :-)
Osama: True story. What else did you think gave me ideas about my plans? ;-) But, I must take leave. I am a dead man now. I have to go back. I think that though I am sad that I am not there, I feel that world is in safe hands.
Obama: Don’t worry dude. America will take care of this world.
Some-Mohan: [thinks: There he goes again]
Osama: Whatever… so it’s a good bye from me people.
Paris: Wait a minute. Since you are dead, you need to answer my question.
Osama: I am getting late. It better not be as dumb as it is expected of blondes.
Paris: Hmm…. Why is it that everyone wants to goto heaven but nobody wants to die?
Leonardo: Oooooooo…. Yeah Paris….I am single!!!
Obama: Is she a black who has dyed her hair blonde?
Osama: I was not wrong in adding her to this WeChat group of intelligent people. :-)
Two guys. Both working in the same office, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Rajasthan. One was married, had kids & was looking for ways to get away from his responsibilities (temporarily). Other was unmarried, pissed off with monotony of routine office work & was looking for ways to get married (permanently).
What was the best thing which they could do apart from shooting their boss??
At 11am, they decide to do something silly. They take a print of Rajasthan’s map. Ask a ‘blindfolded’ office boy to randomly put his finger on the map. The boy points to a place know for its oilfields – Barmer. Stunned… both of give each other a horrified look.
“Barmer!! What are we going to do there???”
“We are not doing anything here either…”
At 1:30 pm, they take a half day from office. The married guy calls up his wife to tell that he is leaving on a field visit for 2 days. The unmarried guy has nobody to call to… ;-)
So, both of them, drive their little blue monster for 350+ Kms to reach Barmer.
On checking in a hotel and enquiring about places to visit in Barmer, the response which they got was not a good one. To their utter horror, the receptionist told that Barmer was no tourist destination and there was nothing to see here. With poor communication, it was tough to google out places nearby. At this point, a close friend of the unmarried guy telephones him that they are very close to Indo-Pak border. With nothing better to do, they decided to drive 150kms towards the border. With almost no mobile signals, they just had:
- A list of villages enroute to the border
- Road map of Rajasthan
- Useless smart phone(s)
- The Blue Monster
The next morning, receptionist was all laughing when they told him that they were headed for border.
“Nobody goes there. There is nothing there. This is not like Wagah border with all the ceremonies happening. Last year, a young guy (on bike) like you both was found dead enroute to the place. Its 150 kms of pure desert with temperatures in between 50-60 degrees.”
But guys won’t listen. And already pissed off with their bosses, why the hell would they listen to anyone else either??
So they drove. Keeping faith in the blue monster to take them to their destination, they kept driving and driving, ticking off one village after the other on their list…
Coincidentally, they had a room thermometer with them. And what it showed was astonishing.
The temperatures reached way beyond 55 degrees Celsius!! In this extreme heat, the only ‘constant’ touch which they had with civilization was a railway track, which led to Pakistan.
“What?? A track to Pakistan? Are you kidding us? Only buses ply between India & Pakistan!!”, said the married guy.
“& bullets, missiles…” added the unmarried one.
“No Sahib. Munabao is India’s last station on India-Pakistan border. But tracks continue well into Pakistan. Upto Karachi. There is train named Thar Express which goes there. ”, said a small tea stall owner in one of the villages named Gagariya.
Now that was one hell of a discovery for both the guys. With the trip going almost nowhere, they were now heading for a place in India, which almost no-one knew off & which was of such importance to those who knew about it.
Last Railway Station of India. Oh My God!!
They drove and drove. Eventually they made it to the Indo-Pak border. Unluckily, Border Security Forces did not ‘officially’ allow photography. But, as usual, there were alternatives… ;-)
And finally, the picture that said it all… the picture that made them feel that they had achieved something. Something which most Indians would never be able to.
I was reading someone else’s “Back to blogging” post when I realized that I haven’t written on Lumuhuku for last 3 months!!! Even last two posts were more like loud thinking rants than real posts.
Frankly speaking, I am unable to come up with something to write on. My readers have run away. I have data (graph below) to prove it…
Though I think a lot, I don’t feel like writing about my thoughts anymore (atleast for time being). And a quote by Albert Camus sums it up quite nicely –
We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.
By the way, I am active on a blog which might not be of much interest to everyone reading this post. It’s a blog on stock market investing in India – Stable Investor.
It would be nice to see a few of my old readers there.
As far as Lumuhuku is concerned, I don’t know when I will be able to write something substantial here. But just to put it on record, this blog is still alive, but (most probably) in exile.
I hate it when I get an idea (read enlightenment); have butterflies in my stomach; need internet access to build up on the idea; am not able to access internet for hours; forget the crucial details of the idea; end up dumping the idea as I can’t remember why exactly did I term it as an enlightenment!
If people were companies and companies were people,
Then it would be very tough for an owner to give up stake in his company.
But in the long run (& to an extent) …..it is necessary.
I got an automated mail this morning from Robin Sharma, which talked about ‘the best advise (I) had ever got’. One of them was that you have to run your own race.
Due to cultural conditioning, we are hardwired to look outside for validation. Our definitions of success and failure are what society wants it to be. And it is pretty hard not to compare yourself with others. External comparison is convenient. It is easier to have benchmarks which are not within our control than those which may be within us. And reason for this is that introspection is tough. It is tough to take a call about what exactly is your personal definition of success; which race are you running; whom are you running against?
And worst part is that it is possible that you are good at something that society considers to be good. But it may not necessarily be good for you. It may not be in synch with your values, beliefs and general purpose of existence. What then happens is that you blindly follow this path of hollow success and end up realizing that though you did climb the ladder successfully, it was the wrong wall (!)
Another danger of social definition of success is that if you measure your success relative to how everyone else is doing you will probably end up far below your potential.
So you need to remember that…
Your life is your own. You have to choose your own race. You have to choose your opponents. Even if it means that you are your only opponent. Atleast you would be running the race on your own terms. It is better to fail at one’s own race than win at someone else’s.
Some questions to help you ponder over this thought –
- With whom are you competing against?
- Where has this race taken you?
- Are you happy with where you have reached?
- Was the answer to above question dependent on what others think of you?
- Are you running the best race for you?
- Or are you running someone else’s race better than they are?
And your life should not end with saying – I have finished first at their race.
It should rather end with – I have finished my race. (Position is redundant).