Cooking Diaries: The disaster

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Weekends are generally my turn to surprise my wife and daughter. Today, this is what I made. Khaman Dhokla. Here’s a picture of what was expected and what the outcome was. It spoiled my years of reputation as a cook in my house. This is the worst disaster ever in the kitchen for me.

Cooking Disaster: Khaman Dhokla

Cooking Disaster: Khaman Dhokla

I was trying to multitask, entertain the kid and make lunch as well. And I lost track of time, till I saw smoke coming out of the microwave. The wife burst out in anger, which quickly turned into laughter, when my 2-year-old daughter asked, “Papa, Ye Dhokla Tha?”

This wasn’t the second batch of Dhokla. My wife made the first ones, and my daughter knew what a Dhokla looked and tasted like. It was yummy. Unfortunately, I didn’t click a picture of it.

Being Busy

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There were days when I just slept for the weekends. I don’t even remember the last time I slept for an hour during the day. All these days, it’s been late night sleeping, and waking up early, trying to beat the morning traffic to the office. The one good thing about being busy: you are never bored. You are either doing something or sleeping. Your brain is either working or sleeping. It never rests.

I love being busy, as compared to lying on the couch the whole day, and watching those eternally repeating movies on TV. The only time I am relatively less busy is when I am commuting. My commute to the office is about 50 minutes one way. That 100 minutes daily, is the time when I do a lot of thinking, singing and sitting. Oh, and sometimes, just waiting at the red lights, praying and pleading to God to let me move on.

But I also know someone personally who is busier than me. I envy her. Her days are more interesting than mine, or so I feel. She doesn’t tell, but I can feel it. As much I hate going out and getting stuck in the traffic, she loves all the time that she gets to spend at home.

She sleeps as much as she wants. She doesn’t want to sleepy at all, but when she sleeps, even the loudest noises on earth can’t make her turn over. Her days are not monotonous, each day is new experience for her.

Here I am, trying to catch up on all my missed gym routines, sitting on the cycle and finishing my unfinished post that I had started 2 weeks back.

First Date – Part 2

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First Date

First Date

If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

And they burst out into laughter. Keith took a bunch of tissue papers and started drying himself. Veronica wasn’t sure what to do. The initial clumsiness of the first date had gradually settled down. There was an uncomfortable silence around them. Both didn’t know what to start with. After all, they had never talked like this or even met like this before.

Keith finally broke the silence.

Keith: “So, are you angry that I didn’t pick up your calls?”

Veronica: “Not really, but I was worried. But then I figured you must be tired after yesterday night’s long phone call.”

Keith: “Yeah. Sorry about that.”

Veronica smiled. She wasn’t thinking about what had already happened. She was, in her mind, trying to concentrate on something else. She was a bit nervous, which Keith noticed. He was nervous as well. For the first time, they didn’t know what to talk about.

Veronica: “Tell me something which you have never told me.”

Keith looked surprised. What kind of a question was that!

Veronica: “Come on, that’s not a difficult question. There are so many things I don’t yet know about you.”

Keith: “But what exactly you want to know about me?”

Veronica: “I don’t know, anything, that I haven’t heard from you.”, she winked.

Keith knew it was a trick question. He took up the challenge and thought he could defeat her in her own little game. But little did he know that the game Veronica wanted to play had only one outcome. She was going to win anyway.

Keith: “I didn’t like you on the first day I met. You were too rude, and had an attitude.”

Veronica smiled and said, “OK, that hurt a little, but you can carry on. Next.”

Keith was puzzled. He didn’t know this game was going to be a long one. He was now alert, though. He raked up his brain to come up with the next sentence. And at the same time, he was already ready for some more. He started enjoying this game.

Keith: “I felt really bad when you didn’t accept the chocolates that I got for you on your birthday. I threw them away.”

Veronica: “Next.”

She had no expressions to Keith’s responses. She had only smiled at the beginning of the game. She seemed composed and very serious. She seemed to be waiting for something very specific.

Keith on the other hand, although confused, was more comfortable now. He thought he could just go on and on, and at one point of time, she would be tired, and Keith would win the game. The food came, and they started eating, the game continued. Veronica would just listen to his answers, and ask him to move on to the next one. Keith was pretty fast in the beginning with his responses. He kept talking about things that either made him feel good or bad about Veronica. As the game progressed, Keith felt like he was being overpowered.

Veronica: “Is that all that you haven’t ever told me?”

Keith: “Well, I have at least told you 100 things now. We have just been talking for a few weeks. Let me get ready with the next set of my answers. Give me some time.”

Veronica: “Sure, take your time. I will be right back.”, and walked towards the restroom.

Keith finally realised why he wasn’t winning yet. He had been pitching the wrong answers to her. He smiled and thought that he can win the game now since he knew what he was going to say. After all, the opponent was a girl. He was ready with his next set of responses, eagerly waiting for Veronica. He actually jotted them down on a tissue paper, he didn’t want to take chances this time. Right then, Veronica came behind her, peeping into the notes that he had been making.

Veronica: “What’s that? I see you are concentrating hard on your homework. Good. Let’s resume.”

Keith: “You think you can trap me? Get me some Gulab Jamoons. I guess this game will continue for some more time. I really like Gulab Jamoons.”

Veronica: “Fine, I didn’t know that as well. I will take that as one of the things you never told me. Continue.”

Keith: “When I saw you today, I skipped a beat or two. You are looking so different than usual. You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”

Veronica smiled this time, probably because she thought this response was a bit sugar-coated. She didn’t mind and said, “Thanks. Continue please.”

Keith: “I love the way you flick your hair whenever you turn towards me.”

It was already 10 pm, and the waiter asked them if they wanted something else, prompting them to leave. Veronica and Keith looked irritated. Both wanted to continue their game. But they had to leave now. Keith was starting to flirt with her and was in a romantic mood. Veronica was loving all the attention and compliments from him. They were enjoying each other’s company. But as every good thing has an end, their first date came to an end, on a happy note of course. It was a bit chilly outside. Keith took out his jacket and put it on her shoulders. Veronica turned towards him, flicked her hair and said, “Thanks for the lovely date.”

Keith: “I should thank you. You had planned the date, and I really loved it.”

First Date – Part 1

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The First Date

The First Date

They didn’t know each other for long. It’s just been about 3 weeks that they had been talking to each other regularly. He was a bit shy and reluctant to ask her out yet. Veronica somehow knew it, but was hoping that he would make the first move. Although Keith wanted to spend some time with her outside of office hours, he was terrified of the thought of a date with her. Everyday, Keith would try to ask her out on their first date, but he just couldn’t do it.

It had been a lazy Sunday. Keith had been sleeping all day. They had been talking over the phone for 6 hours straight the previous night. Both knew they were just not friends anymore. Yet, they talked about all the other things in the world but themselves.

Keith’s phone rang while he was still in deep sleep. He thought it must be the alarm, and fumbled for his phone, muted it, and went back to sleep. He woke up at 3:00pm in the evening, tired of oversleeping. He was hungry. He fetched his snacks box from the cupboard, opened up a packet of biscuits and started munching on them. He picked up his phone and unlocked it. There were 60 missed calls and a message from Veronica. Keith opened the message which read:

“I am hungry. Let’s meet at 6pm at the Desho’s Lounge”.

Keith looked at his watch. It was already 4. Desho’s Lounge was about 30 kms from his house. He wasn’t sure if he could make it on time. Keith called Veronica to check where she was. Her phone rang, but got disconnected. He called again, Veronica didn’t answer. Thinking she might be busy with something, Keith got up to get dressed. He was ready in about 10 minutes flat. His phone beeped. It was a message from Veronica:

“Sorry, Change of plans. Let’s meet for dinner at 8, The High Bar”.

He tried calling Veronica again, but all his calls went unanswered. He was getting nervous, not knowing what to do, he turned on the television, and started browsing through the channels. He kept on looking at his phone impatiently, wondering why wouldn’t she answer his calls, and why did she change the meeting place. He kept on thinking about all possibilities, everything that they talked about last night. Was it about the last night’s conversation? Did he say something weird or inappropriate to her? Was she angry with him for not answering her calls while he was sleeping? He was so desperate to talk to her now.

It was 6 now. He turned off the TV, picked up his keys, and was about to leave for “The High Bar” when his phone beeped again. It was Veronica. Another message:

“Sorry Love. Change of plans again. Let’s meet at the “Ebony with a view(The 13th Floor)” at 8:30″.

His heart started pounding. His eyes couldn’t turn away from his phone. “Love” was the word he was staring at. She had never done that before. He knew she would never say something casually, even in messages, if she didn’t mean it. He had never had this feeling. What was it? He had been staring at his phone for more than 5 minutes now. The phone beeped again. Another message from Veronica.

“Let me know when you start from your house. It will take me about 30 minutes from my house”.

He came back to his senses. It wasn’t a dream. He smiled and messaged her back.

“Sure Love. I will be starting in 10 minutes. See you at the restaurant. Good choice.”

He didn’t know why he typed in the “Love” word in the message. But he thought he would pass it as a joke in response to her “Love” in her message. Keith was very happy now. He started going through all that had happened since last night, in his mind. Why did she change the meeting place twice. Why did she choose Ebony after all. He knew it was one of the most romantic restaurants nearby, while the other places were just usual hangouts. It was pricey too.

Keith reached on time. He parked his car, and went on to the reception to check if she already had a reservation. The receptionist ushered him to a table where he could see Veronica flipping through a magazine, seemingly bored of waiting for a long time.

Keith: “Hi Veronica. What’s all this about? Why wouldn’t you answer my calls? Why are we having dinner here?”

Veronica: “Calm down Keith. Take a breath. Have some water, sit down, and then we will talk.”

Keith sat down, took a deep breath, and looked at Veronica. She looked different. She was wearing a red top and a long black skirt. Keith had never seen her wear a skirt before. She was looking lovely. Was it her birthday? Why would she want to celebrate her birthday with him.

Keith: “You are looking different. Looking lovely. Is it your birthday? Why didn’t you tell me before.”

Veronica: “No Keith. If it were my birthday, I would have asked you to get a gift for me. I just wanted to have dinner with you today. I was a bit confused about the place, but finally settled for this. Do you like it? By the way, thanks for the compliment.”

Keith: “We will see. We have the whole night to arrive at any conclusions about your choice. Let’s just get started with the dinner. I am hungry. I guess, you are too.”

Veronica: “Of course I am. I haven’t eaten since 4. By the way, how come you missed all of my calls?”

Keith: “Oh, I was sleeping. Sorry about that. I never sleep so late. Anyway, tell me, what’s the special occasion.”

Veronica: “Come on, do I have to spell it out? Are you that dumb? It’s our “First Date” you idiot.”

Keith couldn’t take in the words. Although he knew it was the first time they were meeting outside office, it never occurred to him that it could be a date. He was also surprised at the blunt response from Veronica. And he really felt like an idiot right now. It was a little too much for him, all the things that had been happening today and the yesterday night. They stared at each other, until a loud voice startled both of them.

“Excuse me.”

It was the waiter. He pointed to the glass of water in Keith’s hand, from which water was spilling over onto his shirt.

— To be Continued…

Passenger Name Change – IRCTC

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IRCTC - Passenger Name Change

IRCTC – Passenger Name Change

This post is about IRCTC – Passenger Name Change Rule. Confirmed tickets can be transferred to blood relations, i.e, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband and wife.

Recently, I had to transfer a confirmed ticket from my sisters name to my fathers name. I knew about this rule that tickets can be transferred between blood relations. So I set out on the journey. As per the rule, the ticket can be transferred to any of the following relation, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband or wife. Not everyone is aware of this rule, not even the railway employees. When I asked about the IRCTC – Passenger Name Change rule to one of the employees, he scolded me and said it wasn’t possible.


The IRCTC website doesn’t tell about the process. Although its not a very long process, if you don’t know about it, you can end up making multiple trips to the railway station. Here are the two official links which briefly talk about the Passenger Name Change process, but they don’t contain enough information.

The change if name or transfer of ticket cannot be done online. You have to complete the whole process at the nearest railway station/railway reservation office.

You would also need a few documents for the whole process to be smooth and completed in a matter of minutes. And some planning of course.

Documents needed

  1. Original E-Ticket/I-Ticket
  2. Letter from the original traveller mentioning the intent and other details like PNR number, train number and relation to the person who will be traveling instead.
  3. Original ID proof of the 1st traveller.
  4. Original ID proof of the 2nd traveller.
  5. Original Document which proves the relationship of both.
  6. 2 copies of each of the above documents. (You would need 1, but just to be safe)

With all these documents, you will need to go to the nearest Railway Reservation Office at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train. I was very very lucky, to get it done just before the 24 hour window was over. Thanks to the helpful staff of Indian Railways.

Note: Check all your documents properly. Name, Age and other details should match on the ticket and on the proofs that you are going to present. If they don’t match, your request might be rejected.

Process (In Bangalore City Railway Station, but should be similar elsewhere also)

  1. Take all your documents and go the the Deputy Station master. He will verify all the documents. If satisfied with everything, he will put his seal and signature on your application. He will ask you to go the the Station Master.
  2. The Station Master will again verify your documents and check if they are in order. You will get another seal and signature on your application.
  3. Take the application to the Chief Reservation Supervisor, who will verify your documents yet again. Once he is happy, he will directly make the change of name on his computer for the given PNR. Also, he will strike out the old name and enter the new name on the ticket/e-slip itself, and put his seal and signature.

With this ticket you can proceed with your journey. The whole process shouldn’t take more than an hour if you plan properly.

  1. Try to submit your request 48 hours before the scheduled departure, just in case you are asked to provide more proofs/documents or clarifications. For me, there was a difference in the age of the 1st traveller on the ticket and on the proof that I had submitted. Although my application was accepted, but it wasn’t that easy to convince them that I wasn’t a tout. Also, I went once to the station 2 days before, and found that the Station Master was on leave, and that nothing could be done that day.
  2. Plan to visit the station at a time where you are most likely to find all the 3 persons in office. The Dy. Station Master, Station Master and the Chief Reservation Supervisor are mostly out of their offices, doing rounds of the station. So, may be you will have to take their phone number from their offices, and call them on their mobile if you have been waiting for a very long time.
  3. Passenger Name Change can be done for any train and any class of ticket.
  4. The application need not be submitted in person. Neither of the travelers are required to be present. A third person can get all the required documents, and complete the formalities.


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It’s been a long time that I have blogged. The last one was last year. And it’s already 3 days into 2016.

Thanks to my daughter, I am enjoying my time away from the screens. She has been keeping everyone busy these days. She is all over the house.

I could only complete about 1800 kms last year on my bicycle. This year, I should improve it by at least 50%. Its not like a new year resolution though. Let’s see.

Happy new year. I know its a bit late, but as you now know, I was kind of super busy all these days.

Traffic troubles for all

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Those Empty Roads

Those Empty Roads

On the way to my office, I have to cross the most dense traffic of the city. Every day is a new challenge. And thanks to the repair works, even the footpaths are occupied by mud, slosh and huge circular pipes (God knows when they will finally be sent into the ground, and free up the footpath). So, the frustration levels of us commuters have crossed the limits.

The bike people: Now, the bikers are a bored lot. They just stand on the roads, and honk. While not moving, they are busy cleaning their rear-view mirrors, checking their smart phones for new notifications (Come on, everyone else you know is either also stuck in traffic or sleeping), looking at other bikes and cars while keeping a tab on the countdown on the traffic light. The countdown is like the start of a bike race. People start their engines at the count of 10, and slowly nudge forward and cross the lines already by the count of 5. Some people zoom ahead at the count of 3, and the idiots like me, don’t move an inch unless they see the green lights. But the funny thing is, somewhere down the road, I make a point to overtake all those who made a head-start. That gives me immense satisfaction, and is my way of enjoying the traffic. It even feels a lot better on the days when I am on my bicycle.

The car people: Well, they have already been past the frustration limits. They have accepted the traffic, and it’s troubles. They don’t care how much time it takes for them to reach their destinations any more. A car these days, might have a pair of faulty brakes, but their radio and the speakers would always be in prime condition. And the Radio stations, you have so many of them, you can actually tune in to your favorite song for just about any situation. The people on the 4 wheels are not as bored. Rather, it’s quite a comfortable ride for them. Just some time for themselves, their only alone time. It’s like being castaway, with a radio, and a smart phone.

The bus people:, first fight for boarding the already overcrowded buses. They fight for a seat. They fight to get a ticket and to get back their change from the conductor. They fight to get down at their stops. The only time when they are not fighting during their journey is when they manage to get a short nap, be it sitting or standing. The nap makes all these fights worth the effort. When they finally reach their destination, they are charged up, all because of this power nap. For that, I consider themselves the luckiest people on the roads.

People on foot: Now, the pedestrians are the happy lot. At-least they have got a few inches on the footpaths for themselves, which otherwise was being used as motor bike trails. More traffic is always better for them, since they can now cross the roads easily. The footpaths now have more space to walk on. The only thing that is bad for them is the copious white and black fumes that gets thrown on their faces. You can see most of them change into their “Daaku” costumes before they step out of their houses.

The rest: You must be wondering who else would be facing the troubles of traffic!!! Those four wheeled motor-less vehicles… No, not the hand carts. The four-legged animals. Yesterday, I saw a herd of cattle stuck in the middle of the road among vehicles all around them. And they were just clueless and stood their until the road got cleared. The only difference between them and the humans, they didn’t honk even once, unlike us.

Busy Busy Busy

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Busy Bee

Busy at home. Busy at office, and busy in sleep. That’s how the last month went.

At home:

Aadya (7 months now), is super-active now, and needs to have a few pair of eyes always on her. Within a minute, she can reach places which she is not supposed to. So, she has made me more alert, and I my brain is now programmed to always multi-task (well, at-least 2-tasks). My hand-eye co-ordination has improved manifold. All credit goes to her. At times when I try to force her to have lunch/dinner, she doesn’t like it. And expresses her displeasure by making it almost impossible for me to put spoon in her mouth. But, with lots of practice, I have now learnt to win against her. 🙂 No matter what she does, I can now make her have the whole lunch without even spilling a drop. Although she is restless, and always throwing her arms and legs around, my hand-eye co-ordination is beyond her understanding.

She takes power naps a lot. At times, she sleeps after an hour of soothing and coercing her to sleep, and she wakes up before even I have finished praising myself for the accomplishment. Her power naps can be of durations anywhere between 5 – 30 minutes. More perseverance, a lot more, I guess.

Weekends are no more rest days. They are now the busiest days for us. I am so busy, that at times, I forget to brush my teeth, or take a bath for days together. Anyway, taking a shower doesn’t make sense these days, since she spoils the best of my T-shirts without any warning, whatsoever. I think I have to change the T-shirt that I am wearing right now. I can smell something.

At Office:

When we are so close to a release, and think it’s going to happen anytime now, some new issues come out from their hiding. The release that we have been trying to do since the last 2 weeks, is finally out, and I can breath a little more oxygen. It’s been quite a busy month at office also. When I reach office, there’s always some fire burning.

The road to office is always busy. The traffic has been increasing day by day. The days I get stuck on the roads, I wish I could fly my bike, seriously, and then give up the idea, when I hear someone also is also thinking the same, but loudly. That situation would be much worse that the situation on the ground.

But now, since the fire at office has been in control, I can breath some fresh sleep into my busy schedule. And give some more time to do other things as well. And get a little order in my day to day activities, like brushing my teeth, and taking bath regularly. But I am worried if Aadya will recognize me if I shave off my overgrown beard.

Pilaaan… The plan never works

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The day I choose to do things in a planned way, everything works against me, and throws my well planned schedule out of course. This has happened to me time and again, and still I keep trying. I sometimes wonder if planning has actually worked for anyone at all, or its just me.

I wanted to wake up early. Finally woke up at 8 am.

I wanted to do some exercise today. It was too hot outside.

I wanted to reach office early today. Couldn’t leave early because a meeting was scheduled right before I was supposed to leave home.

Strange as it may seem, I am much less worried or tensed when my days are unplanned. No expectations, to targets to run for, and a happy and calm day. But then, being a husband and a dad, I am supposed to at least act as if I have planned everything perfectly. And it better be a good plan.

Good plan is the one which has unlimited number of backup plans in case any one of those fail.

When my wife asks, “Have you made your plans?” I answer, “Of course. Don’t you know me? I don’t keep anything for the last minute.”

And think to myself, I just told the biggest baddest lie of today and look at my wife. She smiles and probably is thinking the same. 😀

Cycling chronicles: Over 1000 kms

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Rock Rider 5.0

Rock Rider 5.0

The distance to my office is about 16-17 kms one way, and the days I chose to cycle to office, it feels like a really long time. 34 kms, in a day, cycling, I had never imagined that I would be able to do it regularly, without fainting. I haven’t fainted yet. But, I do sweat a lot. And after reaching office, I have to take  a mini shower before I can start to work.

It’s a Rockrider 5.0. Weights 14.5KG (Light weight comes with a higher price tag). 21 speed 3X7 grip shifters.

Overall cost: 11, 000 INR

I have already crossed 1000 kms on the odometer. But, I am quite far away from my target, 3500 kms in a year. And there are only 5 more months to complete the remaining 2500 kms. That’s about 16kms a day, which doesn’t look realistic. Let’s throw that target of mine out of the window for this year. I don’t want to revise the target for obvious reasons.

A few things for people who want to buy bicycles.

  1. Don’t go for the geared ones unless you are planning to ride it for more than 10 kms at a stretch. It costs you more, and is not worth the trouble dealing with all those gears. Although you will get used to the gears, you would hardly use them during short commutes.
  2. For Bangalore roads, you need good mud-guards which would ensure that your own tyre don’t throw mud on yourself. The shopkeeper was suggesting me not to fit the mud-guards while buying it. He asked me to come back after a month and get it fixed, since it was summer time then. I am glad I bought them. 4 days later, it did rain while I was out cycling.
  3. A bell and a night light, (Rear view mirror is optional). You would probably think that they would never be used. But trust me, you will definitely need these.
  4. A pair of gloves, if you are going for long rides.
  5. And of course, a good helmet.

You might now want to buy everything here in one shot. If you are coming back from a long break, some practice before going on longer rides is definitely required. It will take some time to get adjusted to just about everything. Right from your posture, pedals, handles and the seats, it will be very uncomfortable. I took about 2-3 days to be absolutely sure that I could handle all kinds of roads, traffic and my fellow commuters on the roads. After all, I was starting to bicycle again, after a gap of 12 long years.