How to make vegetable biriyani

Go to neighbourhood grocery store and pick up a packet of Kitchens of India veg biriyani paste

Watch a movie, shop and arrive at home two hours before dinner party is supposed to begin

Read recipe at the back of the pack carefully and realise the process will take 1.5 hours.

Get stressed and switch on music loudly to stop you from hearing your own thoughts.

Marinate masala, vegetables and curd in a bowl for 20 minutes. Keep alarm in mobile to remind you of the time. Infact keep mobile handy to ensure all timings followed to the T.

Measure out rice and put it in the cooker

Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a pan and worry about how your arteries are going to choke in 2 hours. Add marinated veggies and simmer in low flame for 30 minutes with the pan covered

Rice is ready. Time to check on veggies.

Thick layer of ghee floating on top. Otherwise, looking ok. Pat yourself on the back, remove lid, turn heat to high, set alarm on mobile for 5 minutes and read a book

Arrive at end of 5 minutes to find a thick layer of burnt veggies at bottom of pan.




Turn off gas. Carefully remove the burnt part of curry and mix the rest with rice. Put on stove on LOW flame.


After 3 minutes, turn off the gas

Serve to guests after having loaded them with food made by the cook. So they are too full to want too much of biriyani

Don’t call it biriyani. Call it burnt masala rice.


Women's Day

The good

MTV ran a programme on self defence instead of its usual stuff on make up and boys.

The bad

The concept itself. I feel on par with the Giant Panda or the potato (I believe this is the International Year of the Potato). Frankly I think women are making huge strides. The problem is men do not know how to cope. Especially Indian men who are born and brought up with such a sense of entitlement, they are rudely shocked when reality hits them. What we perhaps need is an International Men’s Day to help them think about the world changing around them.

The funny

A few years ago, when this was becoming a shiny concept, a colleague got carried away by the spirit of the day and bought roses for all 20 of his female colleagues in celebration of womanhood. He got 20 dirty looks. I wonder if the whole office thought he was so desperate that he just decided to do a mass hit.


Notes from Dubai

1. Do not shop for western wear in the last minute when you are going abroad for work. You will end up buying horrible blue blazers from the last of Arrow’s stocks.

2. If you have lots of oil money, you don’t bother going to New York and Paris to shop. You just bring all the shops into your city and construct millions of malls. When you don’t have lots of oil money (eg. Me), cut up your credit cards before you hit danger levels.

3. The desert safari is must-do. I cannot think of another place where you get so much desert, get so many 4-wheel drives to take you on a safari and where you can ride on quad bikes for fun. Quad bikes are unlike anything I have ever done before. You need to keep the vehicle moving when you are over the sand. If you brake, the bike sinks into the sand and you need to haul it out. It is very addictive and one can spend a fortune on quad bikes

4. Lebanese food is awesome. I can eat humus, kaboose, kebabs forever

5. Lebanese men are even better. I would not mind risking a holiday to Beirut just to ogle at the local population

6. Dubai is a city in a hurry to turn into something else. There is almost nothing of its culture to see (Except the touristy desert safari camp and the even touristier Madinat Jumerieh). It is like looking at Singapore with Arabic subtitles.

7. The workplace is much more professional. I enjoyed the 4 days I worked there more than any other place I worked in India.

8. The city lives its stereotypes. Its taxi drivers are Pakistanis, the waiters are Filipinos and the shop assistants are Mallus.

Good place to work. Good place to shop. OK OK to live.

And added

9. Gujjus are exactly the type of tourists everyone tells you they are. Went with a bunch of them (bless their souls) on the desert safari and they took plenty of Patel snaps (i.e. posing against signboards that conclusively establish they visited the place), sneaked onto someone's else table and pretended they did not hear the earlier occupant shouting at them and enthusiastically lapsed into gujarati the minute they had anything interesting to say.