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The Tiranga of India

Posted by: The Gastronaut on Friday August 11, 2017

As an Indian, there is an innate sense of pride when you see the tricolour hoisted. A symbol of national pride, each aspect of the flag has its own significance. Saffron on the top band indicates the strength and courage of the country, the white band in the middle indicates peace and truth, while the green band at the bottom is a reflection of the land’s fertility, growth and auspiciousness.

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Sal Mubarak!

Posted by: The Gastronaut on Tuesday August 18, 2015

I remember a friend who, tucking into a deliciously scrambled akoori, remarked, ‘When in doubt, crack an eedu’. She was, of course, referring to the Parsi embrace of eggs in dizzyingly imaginative avatars that incorporates the humble egg into cuisine and culture with equal gusto… from cracking an egg at breakfast to cracking an egg at auspicious occasions such as housewarmings!

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Freedom Song

Posted by: The Hummer on Tuesday August 11, 2015

We’re 69 ...and still counting! Each year as August 15 draws near, the skies in my neighbourhood are festooned with kites flying gaily and quite a few trees in the bylanes turn into fierce kite-eaters, their branches snagging many a delicate rib and paper heart! Flying tiranga kites in skies that take on the clear blue of hopefulness, is the closest I have to come feeling like a free bird or as if I’m hoisting the tricolour... internalizing the free spirit of an Independent nation, as it were!

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Indian August

Posted by: The Hummer on Friday July 31, 2015

Cha rahi kali ghata
Jiya mora lahraey hai
(The sight of clouds heavy with rain gathering in the sky gladdens my heart)

What’s a rainy day without paper boats to float on puddles, some tea-warmed loveliness and the unhurried languor of a Begum Akhtar song?

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Returning to the Roots with Slow Food

Posted by: The Gastronaut on Monday December 1, 2014

The Slow Food movement grew out of a strongly held belief that “eating is an agricultural act and producing is a gastronomic act.” Started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s, the movement aimed at encouraging regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. The movement has now evolved to include and recognize what connects the plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Slow food is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.

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Nine Days and Nights of Fasting and Feasting

Posted by: The Gastronaut on Saturday September 20, 2014

It’s that time of the year again. Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra, is the nine-day long festival that celebrates the triumph of victory over evil. It is a precursor to the next big festival Diwali which is celebrated twenty days later to welcome the Goddess of light and wealth. Dussehra calls on the strength of the Mother Goddess to provide renewed vigour to the soil at the beginning of the Indian harvest season. Interestingly, this Indian festival is said to correspond to a nine-day Taoist Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods which begins on the eve of the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. According to Taoism, the Nine Emperor Gods are high-ranking Star Lords who preside over the movement of planets and coordinate mortal life and death issues

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Onam: Spring Feast on a Plantain Leaf

Posted by: The Hummer on Saturday September 6, 2014

ELABORATELY DECORATED ELEPHANTS in procession at Thrissur; Kathakali artists at Cheruthuruthy; women performing Kaikotikalli - the graceful traditional clap dance; and Vallamkali, the popular snake boat race, are all part of celebrations to mark Onam, the harvest festival that celebrates Kerala's agrarian bounty. The feasts also serve to welcome the spirit of the good king Mahabali on his annual visit to his kingdom. What better than feasting and merriment to assure him that all’s well with his people.

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The Monsoon Raincheck: A Guide to Feasting in the Rains

Posted by: The Gastronaut on Monday July 28, 2014

Then the winds blow.
Then the lightning falls.
Then the flora sprouts and grows.
Then the space overflows ...

- Rigveda 8.53


They come in from the Southwest and leave the same way, on their way back from the Northeast.

On both journeys, the swashbuckling trade winds sow a trail of monsoon showers in their wake.

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A Tale of the Peking Duck

Posted by: The Hummer on Saturday April 5, 2014

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT DUCKS that justifies their high ranking in  the poultry pecking order. Bluebloods seemed to think so too. We’re  told that these full-bodied, firm-fleshed birds waddled into the hearts and onto the dinner platters of many an Imperial member of China’s illustrious Yuan Dynasty.

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Women's Day: Eight Arms, Many Toasts & the World at her Feet

Posted by: The Hummer on Friday March 7, 2014

I'D GIVE AN ARM to be a woman.” The man who says this, needs to think again. Rewind to school science class. Man has an XY chromosome pair instead of a woman's XX. Placed next to X, it's clear Y’s ‘missing an arm’.

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