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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photography Exhibition

This was a photography exhibition I saw at India Habitat Centre recently. Loved the colours and expressions captured in this selection of photographs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jalebis

These two men were busy creating what several of my friends (with sweet a jaw) believe is the modern day art. These two men are busy making jalebis.


A batter is artistically made into twisted round shapes and is deep fried.


Once the batter turns orange because of the saffron and added food color, the Jalebis are put into a thick sugar syrup.
You can try making them at home using this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • Vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Few strands saffron
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 drops orange food colour
  • 2 tbsps rose water

Preparation:

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and yogurt into a batter and keep aside for 24 hours to ferment.
  • Pour batter into a ketchup dispensing bottle.
  • To make sugar syrup: Melt the sugar with the rose water and boil to get a one thread consistency. To check for one thread consistency, carefully dip the tip of your index finger into the syrup, touch your finger and thumb together and gently tease apart. If one thread is formed between your finger and thumb the syrup is done.
  • Turn off fire, add the saffron strands and cardamom and stir well.
  • Heat the oil in a deep wok-like dish. To test for the right temperature, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the top of the oil, the oil is hot enough. Keep the flame on medium at all times to ensure all round cooking of the jalebis.
  • Now hold the ketchup dispenser over the hot oil and squeeze the batter into the oil into a wiggly, randomly coiled circle. Squeeze out several at a time.
  • Fry till light golden and then remove and put directly into the sugar syrup.
  • Allow to soak for 2-3 minutes and then remove.
  • Serve warm.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dastakar Spring Mela

Some more colours as Delhi goes all out to welcome and celebrate the Spring season. Over the weekend, I went to Spring edition of the Dastakar Mela. Dastakar is Hindi for handicrafts. The event held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is a celebration of the handicrafts from all over India.

As we entered the lush green lawns, we saw this man sitting outside his stall and making lac bangles.



This was his final work.

Further into the mela, I spotted these wood carvings and cane furniture pieces.

There were a lot of terracotta plant holders for gardening enthusiasts.I loved these butterfly shaped garden steps.
There was a lot to eat but the best find in the food court was Daulat ki Chat. Traditionally chat is full of salt and spices. But Daulat ki Chat is a sweet preparation. It is made of the milk foam and has just a little bit of sugar and is garnished with pista (pistachio), kesar (saffron) and powdered brown sugar. In short, it is DELICIOUS!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Environment Friendly Job: Raddi-wala

We in India have been environment friendly for a long time. Our re-cycling also keeps in mind the economics. Today I present the "raddi-wala'. The old newspapers and magazines are called 'Raddi'. It is customary for Indian households to stock a stack of old newspapers. Depending on the space in home and the newspapers a household subscribes to, the stack of 'raddi' varies from a minimum of 5Kg to as much as 20Kgs in some households.


This is Janakraj, the 66-year-old man who has been buying the 'raddi' at my house for the last 10 years. His day starts at 5 o'clock. He goes all across Central Delhi buying 'raddi' from homes and offices. The rate at present is Rs 6 per Kg. And I sold 10Kg of old newspapers.

He weighs the newspapers, calculates the amount he will give and gives the money with a smile.
He then fills his sack with the paper.

Then off he goes to earn his livelihood and make earth a better place.



He sells his collection of old newspapers, magazines, glass bottles, old plastic containers to a wholesale "raddi-wala", who in turn sells his collection to paper mills that produce recycled paper.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Suraj Kund Mela (Fair)

Suraj Kund is a place on the outskirts of Delhi. It is a picnic spot, which comes to life during the first 15 days of February every year. The Suraj Kund handicrafts mela is held in the vast complex every year in a bid to promote the national handicrafts industry.


I visited the mela (fair) yesterday with my mom. We thought that the spring day would be spent best at the fair shopping.There were several artifacts available for sale, from terracotta to jute, to wool... you ask and it was there.

This replica of the India Gate caught my eye but I did not buy it considering the real thing is just a stone's throw from my home.
Music from different states of India was also playing in different corners of the mela. Below is a group of four from the West Indian state of Rajasthan playing for the crowds and the cameras.

The ship of the desert were also in attendance. People were paying a lot of money to see the mela riding on the camels.
We were not the only people to think that visiting the fair on a Sunday was a good idea. And more minds thought like us.

And there were many many many more.

Even as we were leaving the crowds kept pouring in.


I have never seen so many people at one place. Up until now, the statement that India has the second largest population in the world, was just a statement. Now I have photographic proof! Phew it was tiring but overall enjoyable day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lots To See Inside Red Fort

I will try to keep my words to a minimum today, as there are a LOT of photos from inside of the Red Fort for all of you.

This is the ticket we purchased to see the Red Fort. I think it is a beautiful one so I plan to save it.
The first thing I noticed while we were entering the fort was this tile, placed at the bottom of all the plaques describing the sections of the fort.

Below is the entrance of the famous Meena Bazaar of Red Fort. This is a covered market, built to ensure that the Mughal women were safe when shopping in the olden days. Even at 8 30 in the morning the market was beginning to open. These are some of the jewellery pieces I saw in the market.

Pigeons and that too in a reflection shot was too tempting.

These are the pillars at the Diwan-e-aam. The Diwan-e-aam is colored red and this is the place where the king addressed the ordinary citizens of his kingdom.
The unique thing about this place is that the king was able to hear the petitioner's voice clearly from any point of the Diwan-e-aam. The photo below is that of Diwan-e-khaas. It is built in white marble and had been painted in silver and gold. This is where the king held audience with his state guests and ministers.

The opulence of the place forced me to indulge in some photography. :-)



The small balcony kind of structure that you see on the right of this photo, was a window to the river Yamuna, which over the years has changed course and now a lush garden is maintained in the river-bed.Below is the Moti Masjid. Moti in Hindi means pearl. It is named so because of its white marble structure.

And this is a group photo courtesy Ananda Gupta (who was also the brain and soul behind the tweetup)



From left to right: Vishesh, Priyanka (Me :-)), Sunaina, Meeta, Shubhi, Suchita, Priyanka, Sunny, Vivek and Daksh.
Sitting Lions: Ananda sir and Rubin sir.

Thanks a tonne people. It was a fun outing!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red Fort, New Delhi

I saw this sunrise today, just outside the Rajiv Chowk, Metro Station. I was up this early for a reason :-) A school-time friend of mine, Sunaina (who is officially the most funny person I know), had a fortnight ago passed around an invite for a tweet-up. This is how it worked, some photography enthusiasts thought of arranging a photo shoot at Red Fort. Since I had not been able to get the Red Fort on Delhi Photo Diary (DPD) until now, I jumped at the chance.
So a bunch of people, all strangers for me (except for Sunaina), met at the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station. From there we boarded a train to Chandni Chowk.


Chandni Chowk is the old part of the Delhi. The lanes are narrow, the buildings are in dilapidated condition and the crowd is intimidating because of the sheer number of people in the area.

We walked from the Chandni Chowk Metro Station to the Red Fort or the Lal Qila (Hindi).

I really liked the 'modernity meets history' vibe of this building. Sunaina made some astute observations about the name of the shops and had me in splits.

A few more steps and we were outside the Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara.


There is no place around the world, which is more secular. We were going to Red Fort, which houses within its campus, Moti Masjid (Islamic place of worship). On our way we crossed a Gurudwara (Sikh temple) and the Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, which is the oldest and best known Jain temple in Delhi. The Lal Mandir is exactly opposite to the Red Fort.And finally, the group reached Red Fort. When we reached the place, the sun was on our faces so we managed to get silhouettes.

After some more 'sunny' photos, we proceeded inside. I will bring more photos in the coming days.
Since I have mentioned her name so many times in this post, here is Sunaina. Actually 2 of her!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rajasthani Dance, Dilli Haat

This is a beautiful lady who was dancing in Dilli Haat to entertain visitors, ranging from within the city to foreign nationals, last evening.


No photo would have been able to do justice to the dance I saw in Dilli Haat yesterday. That is why I made a video. This is the Kalbeliya dance, which finds its origin in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The inspiration for the dance is serpents and same is the case with the dance movements and clothes.

video

Hope you enjoy the dance. Since I use my camera phone for this blog, the video has been shot vertically by mistake. Next time I'll do a better job. But I hope despite the pain in your neck, you will enjoy the dance. :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grandma's Kitchen

This is one of my favourite sections in India Habitat Centre. This is the 'Grandma's Kitchen', which serves amazing pastries, cakes, doughnuts etc. It is a nice place to celebrate something as little as getting a seat in a crowded bus or something as important as a birthday. :-)


Above is the Grandma with her bicycle and below are the treats, to bring water to your mouth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday Book Market, Darya Ganj

The best way to spend a Sunday is with books, as most of you will agree. That is exactly what I did yesterday. Went to paradise, Darya Ganj. Books and more books everywhere. My friend and I walked for several kilometres scouting for books. We came back with an impressive loot. :-) So next time you are in Delhi on Sunday, you know where to head...







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