- A highly-opinionated delineation of situations encountered in India, USA, China, UK and wherever my life takes me...

Friday, March 31, 2006

The way to a man’s heart?

With the ‘severe’ winter forcing me to stay indoors most of the time, the lack of lip smacking lunches have pushed myself to wander and explore. I tried out some Indian restaurants in Devon [Viceroy, Sher-e-Punjabi] and Mount Prospect [Cuisine of India] but the urge to make the process of eating tasty, nutritious and healthy food has driven me to experiement with self-cooking. It is really not ‘self’ cooking as I get most recipes from my mother and do some Googling on the internet. Of late, I have started to enjoy my cooking and tasting and have also purchased lots of spices that will lend an Asian touch. I hate cutting vegetables as also discovering that some ingredient is missing and have to get it ready.

Cooking can be easily classified equally to a planned professional activity. The week’s shopping can be the planner for the days ahead. It teaches you to plan ahead, solve mathematical equations practically, compare taste and add additional items, predict the taste, preserve the food , create new recipes from existing ones, balance your diet and lead a healthy life knowing that you are incharge of what you eat and not Mr Big Mac, hiding in a Subway at Kentucky.

It is very easy for beginners, even though the learning curve is longer.

For all those cursers who think that cooking is feminine, let it be. But, eating is masculine !

Keep on looking for some lip-smaking and mouth-watering recipes that will be posted.
Any by the way, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach...!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Driving USA ahead

With an Instruction Permit and a ‘driving school’ car, I hit the road from behind a steering wheel. What a change from the congested roads and erratic traffic in India ! Almost every driver stays ‘away’ and let me experiment a couple of tricks. I was not sure if I was driving a car as the whole process was so peaceful and smooth. None of the roads are crooked, narrow or take a sharp turn and have been designed with the ‘driving-challenged’ in mind. The sign boards say it all and at times overwhelm you with information, but ignore it at your own peril and you will lose a lot of cash in the process of a chain reaction [traffic violation- bad driving record- insurance premium hike etc]. A lot of thought has been put into the planning of the road network and the traffic that flows through them. The sign boards have been put for guiding drivers to their destinations without much fuss, but you got to keep watching carefully for a missed turn will be very hard on your gas bills. The planners have taken the driver’s compass out of his head and put it up in the signboards, this way they narrow the separation between the ‘challenged’ and the ‘gifted’. Automatic transmission abound on cars of all types, making it a fuss-free process for women to hit the road.

I had to take an ‘entry’ into those Interstate type highway to test my ‘highway’ skills and was instantly blown off by a huge truck as we jostled for a slot in one of the multiple lanes. Once on the highway, driving becomes passive as one just has to keep the steering pointed to the road, hit a little gas and perhaps sing a tune. The numerous boards and navigation displays will take you fast and safe to your destination. The average speeds done on these highways are approximately 70kmph and hence car control is crucial, especially with Hummers, Yukons and Durangoes for company. A collision would be ‘mind blowing’. I took an ‘exit’ very soon and headed for some nice twisties and crooked roads to monitor my maneuverability.

As I impatiently await my full privilege driving license by watching earnestly at the gorgeous cars and motorcycles, I feel that day is not far away when I can ‘ROAM FREE’.

Love Thy Neighbour !

Border tensions and G Bush’s nuclear gift apart, I had a wonderful time tasting the different delicacies at a Pakisthani restaurant. I was circumspect at first, but it ended the moment the first piece of chicken landed in my buccal cavity. The taste was fabulous and the quantity overflowing, making this place a ‘must visit’ in my list of favorite places for authentic Pakisthani food. The atmosphere was friendly and you can use your hands instead of the cutlery. A dinner-menu with the pictures and description of the dishes makes it very easy for those unfamiliar with Pakisthani cuisine. A quantity check with the waiter is essential before you order or else you will have to pack lots of it ‘TO GO’.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Hang Outs

There are the following three famous Hindu temples or places of worship.

1) Aurora Balaji Temple
2) LeMond Balaji Temple
3) Swami Narayana Temple

The people who throng this place generally are
-Indians [actually they come for the canteen]
-Hindus [trying to remain in touch with their spiritual side]
-Others [interested in knowing world religions and cultures]

Aurora Balaji Temple
A simple South India architecture that houses vaishnavaite Gods and Goddesses and located in Aurora, a South Western suburb of Chicago. The environment is serene and sent me into belief that I am still in India. There is an attached canteen that seems to dole out large quantities of Prasadam and for-sale food. I saw a bigger crowd near the canteen than the santum.

LeMond Balaji Temple
A temple constructed on top of a hillock for both Vaishanavaite and Saivaite deities. Though the architecture is predominantly South Indian on the outside, internally the way the idols are kept, clearly indicate North Indian roots. The Saivaite and Vaishnavaite sections are separate. The attached canteen serves delicious food, authentic in taste. The detailing is very fine as there is even a designated place for crushing lemons and breaking coconuts for your new cars.

Swami Narayana Temple
A recent addition to the list, Swami Narayana temple is an architectural marvel. The decorations and structures have been made to impress people visiting the place. The white marble carvings and the fiber optic lighting kept my attention diverted away from prayer. The wood work was intricate and skillful. There are lots of paintings and writings displayed that speak volumes about the Hindu culture and religious practices.

A visit to any of these places is an absolute must, if you are even remotely interested in India or Hinduism, for these places are a miniaturization of India, though half-an-earth away.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Building Snowmen? NO!

It was my first experience with SNOW. For a person who spent the best part of his life cursing the SURYA-Bhagwan for his merciless over-abundance of his RAYS. It was a pleasant experience.

DEVON : India and Pak [away from home]

We have always thought of THE WEST as a world away from the developing countries of Asia [India, Pakisthan, China, Korea]. But there exists, in the nooks and crannies of USA, small pockets of countries that are true to their original. We can call them Mini-India, China town, Korea Town..etc. But, in Chicago, it is DEVON.

The streets are littered with garbage, the traffic is erratic, the pedestrians are haphazard, the crowd noisy…where have you heard this before? INDIA? This is Devon Road, Chicago city, 2006. This is so notorious that Americans, in general, have a slight hesitation in going there.

Devon has lots of shops and restaurants of Indian and Pakisthani origin. They are true to their national roots inspite of international transmutation. You get anything Indian, if not India. Be it Pav Bhaji, Idli- Vada- Dosa, Spices or fresh meat. More importantly, you get them at “Indian” prices.

Costly miss..!

What a biker am I?
To stay in town and not visit International Motorcycle Show 2006 that took place just 2miles away?
This was truly unintentional, but nevertheless a costly miss. So costly, that I considered going to Atlanta, Gerogia to take part in it. But this planned was shelved due to a "bigger deviation".

Chicago Auto Show 2006

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Chicago Auto Show 2006 took place during Feb10-19, 2006 at McCormik Place, Chicago.

Please click on the following link to view some pics.

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Passionate about whatever I care to spend my time on.