Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Relishing Kababs as never before!



(Click on Photos to enlarge view)

We are relishing Kababs at Hyderabad as never before with the opening of a number of Barbeque restaurants offering unlimited helpings. These restaurants have brought the concept of offering about 6 varieties of Non-veg. and 6 Veg. Kababs as unlimited starters before a Buffet-Main course. To name a few restaurants; they are ‘The Great Kabab Factory’, ‘36 Chhattees Bar-B-Q’ and ‘Barbeque Nation’. Restaurants like ‘Chhattees’ and ‘Barbeque Nation’ offer a live personal Grill which is embedded into your table. A variety of Indian and International Kababs with mind boggling and attractive names are brought on skewers (almost cooked) and placed on your Grill. There are a variety of spiced-oils and sauces for you to enrich the Kababs to your taste, as they are further getting heated and smoked-up in front of you. The experience of food getting cooked in front of you and the aroma is great. Your Grill is never left empty; Skewers after Skewers of Lamb, Chicken, Mutton, Fish and Prawn Kababs are brought to you. With so many varieties of Non-Veg. Kababs, we get to taste only a selected few Veg. Kababs. Only when you are finished with the Kababs, the live Grill is taken off the table and you can proceed for the Main Course. Of course, if you can accommodate any further! The main course is also a lavish spread. Normally there is one Veg. & one Non-veg. soup, variety of Non-veg. & Veg. Salads, about 3 Non-veg. & 6 Veg. Curries along with Rotis, Naans, Chicken/Mutton Biryani, even Curd-rice and finally a minimum spread of 6 Desserts. The Kabab menu and the Main course menu are different on each day.

Before the arrival of these restaurants we could taste fewer varieties of unlimited Kababs only at some Kabab festivals or Awadhi/Lucknowi/Hyderabadi food festivals that are once a year; once a week sort of happenings.

Nowadays almost all restaurants in Hyderabad serve Kababs, a la carte. Much earlier it was the popular ‘Bade Miyan Kababs’ on Tank bund, serving just Sheek-Kababs and Boti-Kababs and some outlets like Alhamdulillah at Nampally. In-between our visits to these modern concept Barbeques or other restaurants, our good-old, next-door ‘Paradise Take-away Kababs’ caters to our Kabab-appetite, but only in a limited way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bought at a Temple auction!


“Bought at a Temple auction” is Query No. 7 in my blog titled ‘Family Quiz’ of 24th June 2009. The answer is Srikanth, my eldest son. We bought him as a few days old baby in Sri Lakshminarasimhaswamy temple-auction! at Yadagirigutta.
Similarly all other 23 questions I have listed in the Quiz have very interesting and informative answers and descriptions behind them. Each of the statements in the quiz pertains to one family member. Amusing tales and blogs can be written on these. These events are just matter-of-fact, one in a million happenings in the lives of each of our family members. So if I decide to write on more and more such events in the family, there would never be dearth to my blogs!
We were blessed with a son on 8th September 1983. A few days later; I do not remember the exact date, we took the baby to Sri Lakshminarasimhaswamy Temple at Yadagirigutta and left him in the temple at the feet of God, as per an ancient custom. This custom is banned long ago but on our request this was secretly carried out. The temple priests then tied his tiny slender hand with a thick rope to a Temple post. The priests then conducted an auction to sell him to the highest bidder. To prevent any other person from bidding or seeing this ritual a few of the priests surrounded us to camouflage the proceedings. In a mock bid, I made the highest bid and after offering this amount to the Lord’s Hundi, the baby was untied and handed over to us. After seeking God’s blessings for him and ourselves we put him on a folded Sari and using this Sari to rock the baby we carried out the Cradle Ceremony within the temple. A few days later, on 28th Sep., on his 21st day after birth, we celebrated his Namakarnam and Cradle Ceremonies at home. On this day, we named the baby as Srikanth. All close relatives and friends attended this function and blessed Srikanth and us. It was a very happy day for us.
Before the birth of Srikanth, my wife had few miscarriages. This worried us and especially the elders in the family. To ward off any evil to the newly born child the elders decided to follow this ancient ritual of offering the baby to God and then buying back from him. May God continue to protect and bless Srikanth richly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

'Our Family' - Crossword Puzzle.


All answers to the Crossword Puzzle are names of our family members.
CLUES: (mostly vague indications)
ACROSS:
1. Flow of a river/stream (9)
3. Beautiful throated (8)
5. Ascending (5)
6. Dawn (4)
7. Pure/Spotless (8)
9. Lord of Lakshmi (7)
10. Possessor of fortune (7)
11. Rama’s dynasty (5)
13. Krishna/Infatuation (5)
14. Unwritten letter (6)
DOWN:
2. Victorious (6)
3. Considerate/firm/resolute (6)
4. A Raga (7)
6. Parvathi (3)
8. Popular Dental Surgeon (5)
12. Short name for golden vine (4)

FAMILY QUIZ.

This quiz is for all our family members and specially the following; who have joined us in the recent past: Dr. Lavanya, Archana, Dr. Hina, Karthik.A, Swathi and Madhuri. It would not be possible for the new family members to answer all of them all alone so they may seek assistance of their life-partners.

This is a repeat of the quiz I conducted for the family on 31st Dec. 2002.

Each event/incident detailed below; best fits one person in our family. On a piece of paper write down the Serial number of the description and against it write down the name of the family member. You may crosscheck your answers with the ones I would be providing after a week in the comments section of this blog.

INCIDENT/EVENT/DESCRIPTION:

1. Fell down and suffered amnesia causing worry to all.

2. How could he get his driving license at the age of 14?

3. Ran away from a professional college.

4. Forgot Hall-ticket to an important examination.

5. I don’t eat Non-veg., but I cook ‘Chicken 65’ well.

6. Touch heals pain.

7. Bought at a Temple auction.

8. Mastered the art of breaking coconuts in 2002.

9. Dream boy, resembles a record holder of ducks.

10. Careless then, careful now, after losing diamond studs.

11. Fit for organizing 1 & 7 day events now, but called ‘Puniki cheythulu’ in childhood.

12. Punished by TV in 2002.

13. Bruised tummy badly by diving for a fish ….or a ball?

14. Always on the move in a Sarkari Gaddi.

15. Dream boy resembles a gun / _ _ _ _gan.

16. A stitch on the face and leg.

17. Pearls from this source, adorn many ladies all over India.

18. Could shriek louder than all when small.

19. Cannot visualize, without Mobile Phone in hand or at ear.

20. Day in day out, travel is best.

21. Nicknamed after foxes favorite.

22. Dieting turned detrimental to height.

23. Silk and embroidery, reminds of him.

24. For good health, be active at all ages.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What a great Cricket Team!


We have the world’s greatest Cricket team. Whether it is a Test match or ODI match or T20 match, India is the best and a sure winner. The team consists of greatest Indians; each of them is a He-man and a Superman. Every player has many records to his credit and each of these records makes the Indian cricket commentators and cricket enthusiasts to recite them often with great pride. We love and admire them so much that we have honored them with Arjuna Awards and Padma Sri Awards.
We look forward to every match they are playing. We go to any stadium where ever it is in the world; to watch and cheer them. Every pull, drive, cut, sweep or glance by an Indian player is perfect and best. Even the defensive strokes are a pleasure to watch. Every boundary and six they hit makes the commentators shout with delight describing them as amazing, awesome, greatest, fastest, bullet-like, gigantic and so on. All this makes us scream, jump and dance with joy. Every Indian bowler whether a fast bowler or medium-pace bowler or a spinner, is dreaded by the opposite team. The best of the international batsmen fear to face Indian bowling. Every wicket they capture re-unites the team with immense joy. The bowler makes a combination of gestures which is amusing and beyond the description of a civil society. Then the bowler and the fielders run in circles and finally do a Bhangra along with the Captain. I love and admire this ritual; it rejuvenates the team and my respect for this noble game.
In the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 matches, India has won with Bangladesh and Ireland. Our team is now back-home after playing another three matches with West Indies, England and South Africa. Tomorrow they will be watching the T20 final between our mighty neighbors and very friendly countries Pakistan and Sri Lanka from the coziness of their houses. For these great battles they have won over Bangladesh and Ireland, I wish all the players are awarded with Maha Vir Chakras and Param Vir Chakras. This would make us all Indians once again proud of our demigods.
Due to the great T20 performance by the Indian team; I am enjoying my reward, a carton of 12-coke cans from my nephew - Sridhar (to appreciate this reward please refer to my blog of 7th June ’09). Thank you, my dearest and greatest cricketers!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

'GVK One' is Hyderabad's biggest and brightest Mall!

I along with my wife visited the recently opened ‘GVK One’ Shopping mall at Road No.1, Banjara Hills, on16th June. It is the best of all malls I have seen in Hyderabad. It is very grand and would look much better as all the shops come up. The mall was actually inaugurated on 1st May and my son Srikanth who has already seen a couple of movies at the INOX theatres on the top floor advised us to go there after more shops come up. However we went there to buy a gold chain on 16th June a day after Meena Jewelers opened their show-room. Being a new show-room many attractive ornaments were on display and we bought the one in the above picture, quite an old design but well made.

In the last few years many malls, department stores and multiplex theaters have come up in Hyderabad like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Hyderabad Central, City Centre, Prasad’s IMAX and so on. But ‘GVK One’ is bigger and brighter. Shoppers stop has its outlets on three floors of ‘GVK One’ showcasing international brands. Few other outlets open now are Crossword, Neeru’s, Provogue, Bossini, Levis, Addidas, Nike, Meena Jewelers, Arcade gaming etc. I am told that the floor area of the mall is 6.25 lakh square feet and that the multi level basement parking can accommodate 750 Cars. It has a six screen multiplex on the top floor. There is only one eatery KFC as of now, unlike an entire floor of restaurants in City Centre. Then there is a huge round aquarium on the ground floor with many big colorful fishes. It may be around 10feet in diameter and 10feet high and is a big attraction at the mall. I found many people around it as we were crisscrossing in the mall.

As it is just 7 Kms. from our house and Car parking is not a problem it will surely become a place to visit frequently, more for movies and sometimes for shopping.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thanks Skype!

Thanks Skype! You are doing immense service by connecting friends and family living in different countries, free of cost. Any given time I find over 12 million persons! using Skype.

Skype is the most popular Voice communication service in the world and it offers high quality voice and video free for PC to PC service.

Since my son and my nephew went abroad about a year ago, we are using Skype extensively. My youngest son Srinath is in the United Kingdom, for pursuing higher studies and my nephew Dr. Udaya Bhasker an M.D.S. from AIIMS, is a faculty member at a Dental College & Hospital in Saudi Arabia. During their daytime hours we call their Mobile phones, mostly using our landline phone with BSNL Call Card. And they call us using their Mobile phones. These phone calls normally last for 6 minutes or at the most 15 minutes.

Over Skype our conversations last for 30 minutes to 90 minutes or even more sometimes. We keep our PC ON & Skype connected the whole day. Both of them have Laptops, internet connected with webcam etc. As and when they return home and find time they call us. Some times on week days and certainly on weekends. Udaya Bhasker’s week end holidays are on Thursday and Friday. The whole family assembles in front of the PC to say hello and talk to them as we watch one another. The streaming video and high quality voice give an impression that they are with us in our room. We have a fairly good idea of their house, rooms and furniture. My son stays in a house with five of his colleagues and my nephew & his wife have a house for themselves. My son has to prepare food once a week for his colleagues and if on that evening he cannot talk to us from his room he carries his Laptop to the kitchen and he talks to us as he is cooking. We can then watch him cooking and it is very amusing because back home in India he never made tea or had to boil milk.

I just do not know how Skype manages to give all this for free. I only wish it lasts forever and I sincerely wish to thank Skype.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good-bye Mangoes, come early and in plenty next year!


Every year as the rains arrive the wonderful season of Mangoes begins to fade away. As of now with just two rains in the last few days Mangoes are still available in plenty. But in another ten days we would be missing our national fruit known all over the world as the King of fruits and the food of Gods. Few weeks later if the desire to taste Mangoes arises we will have to satisfy our selves with off-the-shelf Mango juices, Mango Jelly and Mango bite peppermints.
This Mango season has been good, contrary to the forecast that the availability of the fruits in local markets would be less due to low yield and boost in exports. All along the city’s outer roads and colonies Banaganapalli (Baneshan) Mangoes are being sold in huge quantities, on Pushcarts and Tempos, as usual. In competition to the larger roadside fruit stalls selling a variety of Mangoes the departmental stores specially SPAR near Somajiguda Cross roads is continuously displaying many varieties of Mangoes since the commencement of Mango season. Only the prices are higher; than last year.
Our family favourite is Himayath Mangoes though we taste many varieties every season. This variety is to be cut and eaten and tastes much better if chilled. So is the case with the more popular Banganapalli which is cheaper by half compared to Himayath. Both these varieties of fruits are of normally large size, weighing 3 to 5 fruits per Kg. Banaganapalli is mostly yellow in color and Himayath is dark yellow with tiny dark dots all over the fruit. Alphonso is just like Banaganapalli in shape and colour but is a smaller fruit. The price of Alphonso and Himayath are same. According to me Himayath tastes better than Alphonso and Banaganapalli. For juice we buy a variety of fruits the common one being Pedda Rasalu. Pedda Rasalu is a big long Mango with a thin skin. Good to hold the fruit and suck the juice and good for making Panakam - juice of several fruits collected and sugar and a pinch of cardamom powder added as essence.
For almost 30 years in 50’s 60’s and 70’s we did not have to buy Mangoes. There were 5 Mango trees in our house and we had a 5-acre Mango grove with 116 Mango trees, about 5 Kms. from Kothagudem along the road to Paloncha. Every season as the trees begin to flower, the garden used to be handed over to a fruit contractor to take care of the garden and collect the fruits. As per the agreement he will have to pay us an amount for the yield and he has to give us two Bullock-cart loads of all varieties of Mangoes from our garden.
Every Mango season is not complete without having some traditional ways of having the fruit, Puri with Panakam and Dosas with Panakam. We will be truly missing Mangoes in the days to come. 

Sudhiksha joined School today!


My granddaughter Sudhiksha who is 3 years and 9 months old has joined regular school today. She has joined LKG – Lower Kindergarten Class at Gitanjali Devashray School, Secunderabad, which is 2.5 Kms. from our house. She will have to attend school from 8:30am to 11:45am. The school has buses for picking up students but it is only for Students studying UKG and higher classes. This year; Sudhiksha’s mother Dr. Lavanya will have to take up this responsibility in spite of her busy schedule at her Dental Clinic. Sudhiksha will be at this School for 12 years that is until she completes her 10th Class. As she was leaving to school today, I took photographs of her and her daddy shot a movie of her right from the time she took everyone’s blessings at home to the time she reached school and settled down in the classroom. We found many other children crying but Sudhiksha sat quietly watching everyone and everything in the classroom keenly.
Earlier Sudhiksha attended ‘Cubs’- a half day Playschool close to our house, for two years. As a matter of fact during her second year at ‘Cubs’ she also attended another Playschool ‘Roots to Wings’ in the evenings. That has made her very intelligent, talkative and brave.
On this very important day we wish her all the best in her life and pray God to protect her always and bless her richly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hyderabad’s Rainy Season of 2009 has arrived!

This year we did not have any intermittent or at least one summer shower in Hyderabad to give us some relief in 3 months of severe heat. The day temperature was mostly 40 to 42 deg. Celsius on most days causing a lot of inconvenience. And more so when there was power shedding. In my very first blog in April this year, I wished for some summer showers and as it did not happen for weeks I was disappointed. I was following the weather reports which first said that Southwest monsoon would hit Kerala by 24th May and reach Hyderabad by about 29th May. Then the reports said ‘Aila-Cyclonic storm’ had diverted the Southwest monsoon from Andhra causing so much destruction to life and property in Orissa, West Bengal and Bangladesh.

After waiting so long, finally, the Southwest monsoon arrived in Hyderabad yesterday around 4:00 PM. It rained in two spells with a short gap in-between up to 10:30 PM. The temperature came down immediately and the evening and night were pleasant. As it began to rain I took out my 3-year old granddaughter Sudhiksha out of the house and we got partially wet in the rain. She was giggling all the time. Last year she was not very willing to come out in the rain. Then I made some paper boats for her which she left in the stream of water flowing along our compound wall. Last year also she played a lot with paper boats but was not willing to step into the stream of water all alone, we had to hold her. This year she stepped into the stream herself and was enjoying stomping the water. There are bound to be more rains and she is going to enjoy more. Yesterday’s rain was a surprise; it happened suddenly so we missed the hot snacks we prefer to have sometimes when it rains in the evenings.

I keep my garden plants bright and healthy using a watering-shower can but the few big trees specially a huge creeper tree we have catch dust in summer and tend to look unhealthy. With yesterday’s rain the trees are looking very bright today morning. However the rainy season also causes chaos in the city, there are frequent power disruptions, water logging on streets and in low lying residential areas and traffic jams due to stagnation of water on main roads and vehicles breaking down.

Today is Mrigasira Karti. As per local customs we have to eat fish on Mrigasira day. So I went out early in the morning to a nearby Super market and bought fish. We had fish-fry for lunch and dinner.

On this day every year and since decades ‘Free Fish Medicine’ is given to thousands of Asthma patients at Hyderabad by the Bathini family. There are controversies regarding this medicine which is first put into a live fish and then the patient is made to swallow the live fish. In spite of the controversies people come to Hyderabad from all over the world for this medicine.

I strongly expected it to rain today and that is what the weather reports also said but it turned out to be a sultry and hot day. I hope the days ahead will bring in substantial rains.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolates, Soft drinks or Dinner for the Winner!

Please do not call these simple gifts as bets or stakes or wagers. Then it would mean sinning and gambling, the latter of course is illegal.

Since several years; I and my nephew Sridhar have been playing this Game of taking sides. Whenever Indian cricket team is playing a Test Match Series or a Limited (50) Over Match or the recent version of Twenty20 or in the Finals of a Tri-series Match or in a World Cup, we support different teams. Sridhar takes the side of India and I support any team that is playing against India. Sorry if I have hurt your feelings for India, I do this for fun and entertaining (irritating?) others. May be I love teasing Sridhar; he is 28 years junior to me. I used to do this with my elder brother Dr. Lakshminarsu and when India won the World Cup against West Indies in 1983 I treated my brother to a dinner at Lung Fung a Chinese restaurant in Secunderabad. Sridhar was hardly 3 years old in 1983.

After Sridhar began to understand cricket and became an ardent fan of many Indian cricketers I started playing this game with him. If India wins; he gets a treat from me and otherwise I would be the beneficiary. The treats are mostly in the category of Chocolates and Soft drinks! When he was small and he won the game, the occasion called for another Party where in the presence of all family members he was gifted with the items promised by me. There are several photographs taken on different occasions at different ages of Sridhar (India) winning.

It is now time for the Second Twenty20 World cup in England and both of us or at it again. This time we would be looking forward for a 12-Can Coke Carton! Sincerely!? I would like to say, Good luck to you Sridhar!

Friday, June 5, 2009

God bless Prenderghast Road!


Between MG Road and Ministers Road lies a short PG Road,
Over eight years ago demolitions took place to widen this Road,
No one knows why, for there were no problems on this Road.
On 4th Nov. 2000, after a 3-day notice, an armed demolition squad arrived,
And in Public interest! Selective properties were demolished,
Since then the road became narrower as more vehicles could be parked.
Authorities posed to commence here a super highway construction,
But left some influential houses & a function hall as obstruction.
Eateries and parking lots have come up on the road causing indignation,
This uncalled project continues to inconvenience beyond imagination.
Master Plan is blind to the problems of the overcrowded MG Road,
And soon enters the 10th year of torturing the Tame and Tiny PG Road.
The above rhythmic narration projects the problems we are facing on the Road in front of our house in Secunderabad. The Road is Prendergast Road and is called PG Road in short. All the property owners along this Road were served notices on 1st Nov. 2000 showing the area of land they will have to forego in public interest for the widening of PG Road. And on 4th Nov. 2000 the authorities came with police protection, men and machinery and began demolishing compound walls and structures all along the Road sparing the properties of some influential owners and a function hall.
We had to give away 40 sq. yards of our precious land. We had to relocate our structures, compound wall and gates. A meager compensation that was mentioned in the Notice never reached us, for which of course we never bothered. Then they took over 2 years to cut trees, relocate electrical poles, telephone junction boxes and cables along the old Road and lay the wider Road. Right from the time of surrendering our properties the extended road is being used for parking vehicles right from MG Road end to Ministers Road. From Paradise to PG Road it has become a paid parking area. Many eateries and road side vendors have come up all along the road and the buildings of many influential people and a marriage hall belonging to a powerful community restrict the width of the Road to the past size. All these factors only increase traffic, obstruct free flow of traffic and cause frequent traffic jams. With no authority bothered about these unlicensed roadside eateries and no police to regulate traffic and prevent haphazard parking on our erstwhile properties; PG Road is reduced to a commercial lane with no benefit for the residents. The Master Plan of the Municipal Corporation is a big flop, there is no public convenience whatsoever. May wisdom prevail over the authorities, let them make a real wide road as planned and make this a silent and peaceful colony as before.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My brother's 60th birthday celebration.




My brother Dr. Lakshminarsu’s 60th birthday was celebrated recently at Garden retreat Resort. It is located at a distance of 45 Kms. from Paradise, Secunderabad, on Karimnagar highway close to Mulugu town. Brother’s eldest son Dr. Sudheer hosted the party. My brother was informed that instead of having a birthday celebration at home our two families that is brother’s and mine will have a daylong party at Garden retreat Resort. He was told that on the day of his birthday we would be starting early, have breakfast at the Resort and with a variety of recreation in between have lunch, evening tea with Chaat and return home towards night. He was not told of various other family members who were invited to join us in this celebration.
On the day of his birthday as we were preparing to leave to the Resort all other family members began to arrive at our house one after another and greeted brother. He was pleasantly surprised. As per brother; 10 of us including Sudhiksha-our tiny granddaughter were to go, but it turned out that as a surprise an additional 27 family members joined the party. There was our sister’s family and the families of our two nieces. Then the families of my sister-in-law’s brother and sister and Dr. Sudheer’s father-in-law and sister-in-law’s families joined us. Every family turned up in their cars, and we all proceeded to the resort as a caravan of eight vehicles.
After reaching the resort by 9:00am everyone went round exploring the beautiful Resort, the gardens, the recreation facilities, the Ostrich and other birds there and so on. Then we had a special spread of breakfast. This was followed by cake cutting, exchange of garlands between brother and sister-in-law and elders blessing them and youngsters wishing them the best and seeking their blessings. The huge cake and the garlands were also a surprise to brother. Then most of us spent a lot of time in the swimming pool. Everyone kept themselves busy the whole day playing Table-tennis, Volley-ball, and Carroms. After a sumptuous lunch some members retired for a nap in the rooms provided for us and others kept busy playing Anthakshari and Dumb charades till late in the evening. Then we had Chaat and Tea and just before returning back to the city we posed for a family photograph. Some of us were tired after the daylong entertainment as you can see in the photograph but everyone was extremely happy to be there that day. The day turned out to be a very memorable one for all of us because of the large family gathering and the nice time we had. A few family members who were abroad at that time could not make it; persons most missed were Dr. Udhaybhasker and Dr. Hina, brother’s son and daughter-in-law.
Large-size copy of the family photograph which is at the top of this blog is given to each of the families that attended the party. It is to remind them of the love and affection they showered on my brother and the good time we had on that day, even several years later. And this blog is also for that purpose.

The Hidden Castle! Is most enjoyable!

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