Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Sizzling South Indian Mela(m)

It is always tricky to plan weekends here, thanks to the lovely British weather (by the way, I do like cold n grey weather!). The last weekend was thankfully sunny, though a little chill. That didn’t deter us from making a quick trip to see what the South Indian Melam (an initiative by ‘INDIA NOW’) was all about. Actually, blame the TV adverts for luring us to it! All those pictures of steaming hot dosais/vadai, and ofcourse the cultural events 🙂 (lest I sound too shallow ;-)) were so inviting!

We reached the Mela venue by around 2 pm, and had originally planned to leave in a couple of hours, but ended staying till the very last show, which was a completely dhamakedaar performance by Shiamak Davar‘s team in London. (Will come to that later, as one sentence in passing simply doesn’t do justice to the amazing performance that it was!)

We were greeted with a mellifluous rendition of ‘Vaishnava Janato‘. Sadly, there was no encore 🙂 The compère Ms.Ambika, conducted a lovely little music exercise with all the children. There must have been atleast 20-30 participants, who sang along to Sa-Re-Ga-Ma with gusto.

It was a delight to hear, and an eye-opener too, about an art that we must not let die, but instead try to pass on to the future generations.

There were more performances – vocal, Bharatnatyam, etc. (I can’t review those as I’m not much of an art connoisseur) and an impressive ‘Kalari Payattu‘ performance too, that the boys were particularly interested in!

There weren’t as many ‘stalls’ as one expected. However, there was a great little massage offered at very reasonable prices. Another hot-dog/fries/coffee booth, that served awesome french-fries at delightful prices 😉

The stall for the ‘Save the Tiger‘ campaign, in my opinion, could have benefited with more prominence. The Diabetes UK team was strategically placed a few stalls away from the one with the droolworthy hot South Indian food 🙂

State Bank of India who were one of the Sponsors, held an exciting Raffle contest, with the prize being an iPad!!! Sadly, the winner of the raffle wasn’t around. Sigh!!! I wish…er.. never mind!)

Hot Dosai in the making… and different varieties of chutney to go with it… yummm…

Needless to say, the ‘food’ staff, hosted by Turmeric Spice (I hope I got the name right!), saw an endless queue 🙂 And it was well worth the wait. We ordered hot dosais and simple yet delicious lemon rice!

As they say, the best things in life come to those who wait! The last event was a Bollywood dance performance. I wasn’t expecting much, and the delay was putting me off.

However, when the troupe finally arrived, they took us by storm!!! The Shiamak Davar team in London pulled off a spectacular performance, making even the audience dance to the tunes of Chikni Chameli and Chammak Challo!

The compère /host, Rohan, did an OUTSTANDING job of drawing the audience into the performance.

Even the man behind the show, Mr.Manish Tiwari (Managing Director, Here&Now365) couldn’t escape grooving to the tunes of Chammak Challo 🙂

The audience learnt some easy steps, particularly some Shahrukh Khan motions, and the delightfully funny ‘nodding Indian head‘ 🙂 Team Shiamak had the entire audience spell-bound, and hungry for an encore (which again, they delivered beautifully).

We truly believed their quote – ‘Have Feet – Will Dance’. Add to that, they gave a gift voucher (‘free dance session’) for all the participants.

So, that was a truly scintillating finale to an exciting event.

Well done Team South Indian Melam 🙂 I think this was a good start, and do hope we see many more such events, that bring us closer to ‘home’ and help showcase our arts and culture.

Categories
Food and recipe

Kaju Katli in a jiffy

This post is for the sweet-lovers 🙂 And this is seriously simple. If I can make it, then ANYBODY can!!

What to keep ready:

– 1 cup cashews

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1/4 cup water

(That’s it!! Can you believe it?!! :shock:)

How to make this thingy:

– Grind the sugar (10 secs or so, to turn it into a fine powder)

– Boil the water, add the sugar, let it simmer a while (5 mins or under)

– Grind the cashews (ditto), add to the simmering sugar syrup thing

– Let it thicken, no lumps, until the mixture turns dry 🙄 Don’t let it get burnt though.

How to test if its ready: In about 6 – 8 mins or so, if you take out a drop (don’t you DARE touch it by hand, or you won’t forget me or this blog in a long long time!!) of the mixture and leave it outside, it should ideally become hard. That means your mixture is ready.

– Pour it onto butter paper and wait till it cools a little (5-10 mins). Trust me, you don’t want to even touch it at this temperature!! 🙄

– Knead it well into a ball (for about 2 mins) – roll out into a circle (I kneaded it using butter paper, as the mixture was way too hot for me to handle, and I couldn’t wait that long for it to cool 😉 )

– Once fully cooled, cut into diamonds 🙂 That is my favourite part 🙂 I remember my Paati making Beda (Jeera Para) this way. Its very therapeutic, actually!!

FINITO 🙂

End to end, this should take less than half hour or so. Not bad, huh?