Long Nights of LiteratureS

Recently attended a very novel and “hatke” concept of “speed dating with literature” at the Spanish Institute in Connaught Place. It was an excellent evening of literature with readings by several well established poets/authors/playwriters from India and Europe. The concept was designed in such a manner that groups of audiences were to be read to by an author for 15-20 minutes about their work.

So we were divided into several groups of about 12-15 people each, colour coded groups and then assigned a reading session list, whereby each group gets to be with a different author in an intimate session wherein we could also interact with them once they had finished reading. End of each session, we moved out to mooch on some delicious grub, catered by Ploof, Lodhi road, before heading into the next reading.

Our opening session was with Raj Kamal Jha who has written a book titled “She will build him a city”. Truth be told, his reading left me unimpressed. With bated breathe we headed out of the audi to follow our colour coded group leader and onto our second session.

I was totally blown away by the charming and efferverscent Queen of Slam Poetry – Aisling Fahey from UK/Ireland who performed her verses with such verve and sass, that one couldnt but help want to hear more and more and more. Whether it was a poem on Mother, or on the Irish war or just about being oneself  – each was composed with heartfelt words, strung into the prose meter with perfect symmetry of expression and grammar. This is one poetess I recommend and intend to research more;read more about her work.


speed dating with literature

https://poetrysociety.org.uk/poets/aisling-fahey/         https://twitter.com/_aislingf

Katarzyna Bonda is an amazing revelation – Looks like a sassy fashion editor of a glossy couture magazine, writes about gory crimes, is the highest selling female author in Poland and reads with that perfect pitch in her polish accented voice. speed dating with literature1It was a pity that she read only in Polish as her translator didnt do justice – or rather that is my biased view as I would have loved to hear the nuances of thrill and suspense from the horse’s ….er … the authoress’s mouth! Her first novel, The case of Nina Frank, was nominated for Poland’s top crime-writing prize, The high Calibre Award. Her books will be translated in English by 2017 – I am eagerlywaiting! Long wait unless I learn to read polish first!!!


Josef Haslinger from Austria is a noted author with many books under his belt. He was caught in the 2004 Tsunami while holidaying with his family in Phi Phi and talked about how this affected his writing. One day he decided to write about his account of his horrifying tryst with one of the greatest natural disasters in human history. He read a few passages from his book and we were all transported to his world of horror. He spoke about how many people have written to him about their experience with the Tsunami and his book has helped them all recant this experience.

speed dating with literature7


A french TV reporter, photographer and now an author, Constantin Simon says he has been “indianised” though he will always remain a “gora” in India. An excellent wit, penned down into his narratives on India, made for a very humourous reading from his book – India Express. This book records his impressions of his encounters of life in the Indian subcontinent. So whether it was the launch of TATA Nano or being trampled in the Mahakumbh – he describes each with equal elan and humour.

speed dating with literature4

Danko Rabrenovic read us his work Herzlich Willkommencic. He migrated to Germany when war broke out in the Balkan states to avoid being drafted into the army as he couldnt decide who he wanted to shoot – Serbia or Croatia as one is his fatherland and one is his motherland!

speed dating with literature6

Gabor Lanckzor is a skillful wizard of arts and weaves his imagination through them all – poetry, painting, music – to create brilliant pieces of art of his own. He bewitched us with his poetry which was linked through a series of Goya’s paintings and each verse was underlined with a soulful rendition on the mouth organ to mark the end. I havent seen anything quite like this ever in my life!

speed dating with literature3

Asha Miro is an Indian who was adopted at age six by a Spanish family. She calls Barcelona and India her homes and has written a beautiful tale of her search for her blood family, titled Daughter of the Ganges! This book has been a bestseller in her adopted country and has even inspired a cartoon series.

speed dating with literature2

Andrea Bianchetti speaks Italian and it seemed he was making love with words – I concur that Italian is the language of love! His poetry is based on the second world war and the best part about his reading was the Mime artist who enacted out while he spoke in Italian. This was a poetry reading unlike any, that I have ever been to.

speed dating with literature5

The evening ended with a wine session at the reception, where the esteemed guests could be seen mingling with the public with great ease. We were elated yet sad to leave as we wanted more. And to top it all we had been there for full 5 hours – from 6p.m. till 11 p.m. and couldnt wait to attend another such session soon enough.

I really want to thank all the language institutes which put together this massive endeavour to bring such classy and poignant literature to us.







2 Sangrias, 6 Starters & 1 Eclectic space

When the wine sisterhood group on FB announced a Sangria night at the much in news restaurant Lavaash by Saby; excitement ran high and seven of us immediately signed up. We drove into a secluded driveway of a building with tasteful exteriors. Valet took custody of the car and last minute dress straightening, hair primping and lipstick touch up done, we climbed up a flight of steps to land into an eclectic place- eclectic, for the decor! (Shall wax about it in another blog).


Five of us made for one of the lounge seating by the large glass window overlooking the verandah and bang opposite to the bar! (Very strategic) We started out with a glass of Vino- White and red – #fratelli I think. (yeah the night is a bit blurry by now)

sangria sat at lavaash

And then the #sangrias started making their arrival. First we all tried a red grape Sangria which was pretty potent with a very full bodied red wine as the base.Second one was pomegranate based which I found young and flirty – all my girl buds preferred the first one; but I liked it for its perky flavours. It was crisper and less heavy than the red grape one. But both were just perfect for the wine and potency – we must have slurrped more than a fair share; the guys made sure we were well looked after!

Perfect food was the perfect accompainment to satiate our body and soul (mind had already started to float a bit by now). First to appear were the puff pastries – mutton and mushroom! We gorged on them till we were bursting but we couldnt get enough – tiny bites of beautiful flaky pastry puffs with deliciously flavoured fillings – all combined to make for that perfect crunchy flavoursome bite. Ummmmm!!! (5/5)

sangria sat at lavaash1

Next was something we had trouble saying as the name itself was such a mouhtful – Chicken Ham and Cheese Hye rollers – basically a roll stuffed with all this and then cut into bite sized chunks! These were a little difficult to bite into as everything spilled out when you did so – but the flavour combo had us yearning for some more! Again (5/5)

sangria sat at lavaash2

The Lavaash spice dusted Kathi kebabs were a delightful morsel – the best malai tikka version I have had anywhere in the world (I am not kidding) – the succulent , juicy tikkas had the perfect spice mix rubbed onto it and the creaminess in the marinade was just the right balance. (5/5)

The thin crust pizzas were like crisp crackers with a mix on top – whether it was the Aged cheese Lavaash pizza or the Lamb lavaash pizza- both were bang on flavour. Though a word to wise; the aged cheese is for those with the palate for it – otherwise it can appear a bit “smelly”! Most of us loved it and couldnt wait for more. (Its sounding like we were such gluttons than guzzlers; but trust me that was not it – we did equal justice to both!) (4/5)

The burgul and panir kebab was slightly dry and didnt have much flavour- almost bland to my tastebuds which yearned for some seasoning and lemon if possible! (3/5) We didnt get around to tasting the last starter on the menu which was the Sumac crusted Labneh dumpling!

Then came the main course and man oh man – Chef Saby is a gourmet wizard! We swear and hail Chef him all the way for the extremely delicious flavours in the Panir and spinach kofta (for the vegetarians) and the mutton rezala for the carnivores! But the cherry on the cake was the lemon which we squeezed and were enveloped with the most gorgeous citrusy smell which enhanced the flavours ten times and had us swooning in gourmet heaven! (sorry but now I am a bit fuzzy about whether the rice was called Govindbhog or the lemon!!!)

sangria sat at lavaash3

The girl gang lingered past the event cutoff but ordered more food and drinks which kept us going for some more time! We ended up ordering some desserts which were just stupendously sinful and amazing! Orange pound cake, nutella puff, I am hazy about the chocolate mousee or was it a soufelle and yes there was one more! Ok no more pics and cant remember the names of the dishes! Time to head home!

Special thanks to the #winesisterhood (check them out on FB for some of the coolest wine events) and Lavaash by Saby – we shall be back for more!

sangria sat at lavaash4https://www.facebook.com/events/1628828934036260/




The pasta bowl company

The pasta bowl company is a quaint little Italian place bursting with loads of good food and vibes. I first tried this place in 2013, when it was newly launched. Had a few delightful meals there, though found the selection to be small. Loved the cosy interiors with pics of Italy and some pasta stuck on plates.

Recently visited this place again and was bamboozled by the variety and sophistication of the menu. it seems as if the culinary floodgates have opened and now there is no stopping the creative and talented team at this restaurant.

Don’t have pics of most of the dishes we have had here recently (since we scarf down the food as soon as it’s put on the table) but the food at Pasta bowl company is to be had to be believed. We dined there twice this weekend & twice in 2 weekends before, and still craving for more. This place sure does full on justice to the pastas, risotto and salads (we tried mostly everything veg).

What I love about this place is the personal attention to detail and customer feedback that the chef and owner maintain here. It’s blissful to dine in a place where they remove your plate for replacement as soon as you mention that the flavour is not to your liking. No long winded explanations, no excuses – just a smile and an offer to change the plate! I rate it 5/5 because of this!
We have tried a bunch of dishes in our 3-4 visits, which are as below:

Some drinks to whet the appetite, our favourite by now are the Virgin Mojito & Tropical Surprise – both have fresh flavours and energise instantly, a much needed relief in this balmy, sultry weather!

Tomato & Basil Bruschetta – wow! We wished the serving is if four instead of three as it’s tough to share equally in two people!!!!


Red & green apple salad with balsamic vinegar and dashes of red wine is, simply put – uplifting! Sweet yet tart, it has the perfect flavour balance to appease ones palate.


Gnocchi – heavenlicious stuff; soft, pillowy bits of pasta with creamy potato filling – all ensconced in a perfect red sauce!
Risotto – once with Pesto and once with Siciliana – oh man, cant decide which to have again. The flavours if fresh pesto lifted the risotto to another level while the Sicilana had unique flavours of its own!
Panezella salad – WOW!! The fresh veggies, perfectly crunchy and full of loads of flavour with just the right amount of bread chunks!
Stuffed pasta with chicken Ragu sauce – mmmmm!

The flavours are well balanced, nuances of wine/balsamic are so finely incorporated, almost as if they are seducing your palate and the service with a smile is just the icing on the cake. Loved the Tiramisu tho the nutella pancake was a bit of a let down & the only bit of let down in an otherwise wonderful dining place! More power to the chef!

Weekend was full of some sinful food and drinks! Saturday lunch was back at (where else) ‪#‎thepastabowlcompany where we tried the veg lasagne and were not disappointed at all! Infact it was simply outstanding for the flavours and just the right amount of crunch in the veggies. The sauce was to die for! And the presentation was just gorgeous!


We decided to give the Nutella pancake another try, though we requested for it to be made well since our last impression was not very good of it. Needless to say, this time it was perfection guaranteed!


The Pasta Bowl Company is located on the second floor of the Crosspoint mall in DLF phase four, just opposite to Galleria!


SugarBug café

Landed up in garden estate on Sunday and checked out this cafe which I has been hearing rave reviews on many food forums on Facebook – sugar bug!!! Cute name and very pleasing ambience too, in fact found the large table sizes with plenty of elbow room and an organised cutlery basket to be very efficient! Coupled with cheery pastel colours and accessories, the place has quite a cafe- esque feel; yet is cosy and wholesome too! The fat seat cushions have been covered in gorgeous fabrics with lots of fun prints – bugs, jars, bottles, butterflies, etc- in bright vivacious colours. most of the accessories were from The wishing chair and went perfectly with the English garden theme.

The pastry counter had some luscious looking selection on offer while the blackboard listed various exotic food items like salted caramel, pulled chicken, bacon bread – all very enticing!!

We were tempted by the salted caramel choux – the pastry was slightly doughy but the salted flavour was perfect and the cream filling in the pastry was fantastic too.


I carried home a choc croissant- warmed it up in the microwave and it was chocolate heaven in another dimension. Both items are on my must have list again!

Once again, Sunday sins were committed at the sugarbug cafe in garden estate where we gave into indulgence to check out their waffles (only checking it out) – salted caramel sauce, berries sauce and wanted vanilla icecream too but it was out ( had to check out as much as we could, for the sake of other patrons) – verdict – jury is still out (literally) uff! Tauba!! Equals to GAZAB!!!!! Mmmmmmmm

imageOrdered cold coffee too, which was made to order to our taste and was just that perfect hit of caffeine!

Ended up purchasing some burger buns, while my companions got garlic pull apart bread, bacon bread – will wait for their verdict on the same.

our next outing has to be for their pancakes and sandwiches – shall update soon!

This perfectly gorgeous cafe is located in the basement of the community centre at Garden Estate, Gurgaon and is open to all from 11-8 on all days except Monday’s. It’s run by a father- daughter duo; I should say a doting father and a very sweet n shy daughter! Lovely to interact with them.


Arty design festival

 Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep. _ Scott Adamsimage

Saturday was teachers day. It was also a day that saw me check out the Arty Design festival which takes place at the DLF Promenade mall and is touted to be a much awaited event! I was excited to explore new designs and designers. And there was a promising line up.

But all was not what it promised to be!

Reached DLF Promenade mall at 12.45 with some friends and the first shocker was that the event was being hosted out in the sun. I felt very sorry for the stall owners who baked in that sun and would also miss out on shoppers as most were keen to avoid the blaze. Second was, though it was to start at 12:00, stalls were still being set up at 1:00!

We did a half hearted round as it was HOT! Our picks were these two stalls- we loved the creativity and marked them up for future shopping extravaganza!

“Socrates said, “Know thyself.” I say, “Know thy users.” And guess what? They don’t think like you do.”  _ Joshua Brewer

Meet Priyanka Gussain, the spunky owner of Zubiya who allowed us to click pictures and model in her wares. Loved her funky prints on scarves and short jackets- water melons, cats, owls and many more.  I thought the hand painted Shoes were the most eye catching item in her stall! They do come with a warning of not to wear on a rainy day!


                                                                        Modern gypsy modelled for us!                                        


                                                                      Hand painted shoes are just wow!!

You can Get Zubed at http://www.zubiya.com or connect with Priyanka at P.gussain@gmail.com. Check out their page on FB http://www.facebook.com/zubiyaarts

There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” _ Milton Glasser

This next one belonged to a lovely lady – Simran Chhabra- with some equally gorgeous wares. Her jewellery pieces were a creative mix of retro and traditional but the most amazing part was how light and comfy these prices were. In fact, the lady informed us that she has been rated as the lightest jewellery at one of the design fest.  More power to her!

Connect with her on sonam.simchhabra@gmail.com


                                                                Humongous ear rings but super Light!        

              image                                                                                           ring – a- ring – a – roses!!! 


This lady very kindly posed for us in the body armour plates sorta jewellery pieces she was selling. Man I tell you- fashion sure has changed a lot!

We didn’t have the patience or the strength to wander anymore and most of the other stalls were still incomplete. So it was time to treat ourselves to some gluttony and we did just that at the Ooh La La counter in the food Court!




Marching to Goa!!

10.03.2015 So bday dhamaal continues unabated. Next on the cards was this trip that got planned for Goa with Pallavi (strangely, despite our intense bonding, it’s our first trip) and all thanks to Sonu Di (yeah she is my biggest holiday benefactor these days- love you Di 🙅😘) as she had some vacation miles at a Mahindra resort in Monterio, near Baga beach.

Finally the day couldn’t have dawned any faster, if I could have done it myself!

Swimsuit- check

sundresses – check

camera – check

list of places to visit – check

a book – check

tickets – check

airport – check

Selfie at the airport-  check


From full sleeve jacket to almost no sleeve Tee in sunny Goa!


An hour of cab ride (yeah the airport, train station, etc are all out of Goa by about 50 kms) with two impatient Delhi-ites who couldn’t wait to offload and become beach bums!

At the resort! (Don’t miss the reflections of sunny Goa in the glares please)


I hope you have noticed the width of smiles increasing in direct proportions to the closer we got to the destination! 😈

Room with a view, and what a view!


Now onto planning a girlie trip of a lifetime in Goooooooaaaaaaah! Stay tuned!


Oh womaniya!!!! 

07.03.2015 saw me at the Pop-up restaurant at the Asiad Village – a place I had  been wanting to go since ages. The food was being reported as revolutionary – fig ketchup, pulled chicken, etc! Mumbai se aaya mera ek dost was in  town and we finally managed to plan out a meetup, since meeting two years ago! Halleluajah!

Pallavi joined us in and while we sat in the outdoor covered pavilion, unexpected thunder, rain and hail greeted us with gay abandon. We splashed indoors since the wind was dousing us with a gentle but cold spray. Food, service and even wi-fi was admirable.

We parted to head our separate ways with a promise to meet sooner – We should Mulchand before you head out to the orient!

Pallavi and I had a date with our favourite band – Indian Ocean, which was playing its musical journey over the years, split into two days! Day one the downpour delayed the concert by more than an hour.

We warmed up once the charismatic band members came on stage to belt out their glorious numbers – lustful and energetic to the core with some awesome percussion!

   08.03.2015 saw us back at the Pop-up! Also coz it was Woman’s day – (we have an informal pact since the start of our entrepreneurial journeys last year) Pallavi and I have a date of sorts!

 Some more glorious food and pitter patter of rain later, we headed out to the auditorium only to find another delay – this time not sure what it was blamed on. 

 The band started with Bandeh and finished with Ma Rewa, pepped up with great jugalbandi by Amit Kilam (isnt he gorgeous) and the rest of the band! We tried to head to the stage to try and get a selfie with Amit but he was gone before we could even blink!! :-( I do miss out on Aushim’s soulful voice, though Himanshu Joshi does a wonderful rendition of his own! But some things are golden and yes gone!!! 

 A wonderful sunday and Woman’s day – well spent in some cosy company and heartwarming music!