Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have tried a couple of versions of this chutney before on hearing of it from many different sources. Finally, I have come up with my own quick and sure fire method and the result is simply delicious.


Tomato – 4 (large; cut into big pieces)
Onions – 6 (large; cut into big pieces)
Tamarind – 2 small strips
Red Chillies – 8-10 (depending on how spicy you like your chutney)
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Roasted Methi Powder – ½ tsp
Til Oil – 4 tbsp
Salt to taste


1. Run the tomato and onion pieces in a mixer along with the tamarind strips, red chillies and salt.
2. Take a non-stick pan and heat the oil in it.
3. Add the mustard seeds to the hot oil and when they crackle, add the methi powder to it.
4. Then pour the ground mixture into it immediately after.
5. Add some salt, mix well and allow it to cook on a medium flame, covering the saucepan with a lid.
6. Keep the lid on while stirring from time to time as the simmering chutney tends to splatter.
7. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the chutney reaches a thick consistency.

The yummy chutney can be had with idli, dosa, roti, puri or paratha as you please. It lasts for about 24 hours when stored outside. It can be refrigerated for upto 4 days.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Only Parathas @ King's Circle
Despite not having had a great experience at the Khar outlet of Only Parathas, I went to their branch at Matunga along with Venkat and Vinitha as her friend had recommended it highly. Read on to find out what I thought about Only Parathas @ King’s Circle.

I have to mention here that the same premises used to house New Yorker @ Matunga a little more than a year ago.

Venkat looking kind of baffled at the paratha that had come highly recommended

The ambience was good and the restaurant was fairly crowded at 9.45 pm when we reached there. It was later that we realised that this was probably more because Matunga has very few restaurants open after 10 pm than because the food was great.

The menu has a humongous range of parathas besides other dishes such as snack items; rice items and more. We can choose the combinations of ingredients that go into the parathas in a style similar to that of choosing pizza toppings. So far, so good!
Paratha with gobi, cheese, etc filling

The waiter recommended a paratha with gobi filling along with cheese and one more item, I fail to recall. It was served hot along with a helping of raita, rajma and chole. It was the most horrible paratha that I have ever tasted in my life. To begin with, it was badly cooked. A paratha should be crisp, flaky and melt-in-the-mouth. This was like chewing on a piece of rubber. The filling was just ‘okay’.

The one with peas, onions & cheese filling

Before this paratha came to our table, I had already placed an order for another paratha with peas, onions and cheese filling. This paratha filling was slightly better than the first one while it was as badly cooked as the first one.
Vegetable Biryani

The raita that came along was very good while the chole and rajma were extremely mediocre.

Finally, we decided to have a vegetable biryani. This was not as bad as the parathas but I have tasted way better.
Part of the decor

All in all, a THUMBS DOWN for the eating experience at Only Parathas @ King’s Circle – a total disappointment.

Address: Shop No 471, Radha Bhavan, Adenwala Road, Kings Circle, Matunga, Mumbai
Phone: 65758118 / 65758228

I recovered from the trauma by making my own paneer-gobi parathas at home the very next evening.

Click here to read the food review of Only Parathas @ Khar (West).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recipe: ARISI UPMA (அரிசி உப்பூமா)

I never used to like Arisi Upma much when my mother used to make it at home. I realise that as I get older, I enjoy the traditional recipes of my home town more and have learned to appreciate them over the years. I recently made Arisi Upma for my family and it was an instant hit.


Rice (ஆரிசி) – 1 cup
Tur Dal (துவாரம் பருப்பு) – ½ cup
Water – 3 cups
Green Chillies (பச்சை மிளகாய்) – 2 (cut in twos)
Red Chillies (வெத்த மிளகாய்) – 2 (cut in twos)
Curry leaves (கருவேப்பிலை) – A few
Mustard Seeds (கடுகு) – 1 tsp
Channa Dal (கடலை பருப்பு) – 1 tbsp
Urad Dal (உளுத்தம் பருப்பு) – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida (பெருங்காயம்) – ¼ tsp
Grated Coconut (துருவிய தேங்காய்) – 3 tbsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Salt to taste


1. Coarse grind the tur dal and rice to the texture of rava. (Run the dal separately first before adding the rice to it as the former takes longer to grind).
2. Heat a saucepan and add the oil to it. When hot, crackle the mustard seeds in it. As they are crackling, add the channa dal and urad dal to the oil. Keep the gas on medium flame.
3. As the dals turn red, add both the chillies and curry leaves and stir well.
4. Add the asafoetida at this point and stir.
5. Now add the grated coconut and turn once before adding the water. Keep the flame high.
6. Add salt to the mixture.
7. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the flame and add the dry rice-dal powder.
8. Mix well and switch the gas off.
9. Pour the whole mixture in a vessel and add ghee to it and mix well.
10. Place it in a pressure cooker and cook it for three whistles. Alternately, if you have an electric cooker, you can cook it in that for about 15 minutes.

The yummy Arisi Upma is ready to eat now. Arisi Upma tastes great whether hot or cold. Katharikkaai Gothsu compliments this dish perfectly.

Friday, July 20, 2012


A Super Entertainer!

Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan

Surprisingly, Vinny decided to catch the first-day-first-show at 8 am on Friday at Cinemax Sion with a friend. Viggy had booked for an evening show on Saturday and felt quite disturbed about this new scene. That’s when the two of us decided to catch the 11.15 am show on Friday. A smart decision, indeed! The subtitles were really a bonus. I don’t think I would have understood half of what I did if they had not been there.


It’s been eight years since Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) had donned the guise of Batman. He’d been badly injured in his war with Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight. In the meanwhile, Dent is hailed as a hero in Gotham City while Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) keeps mum about the truth.

Selina Kyle aka The Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) thieves a pearl necklace from Wayne’s home. Her real purpose is to steal the millionaire’s fingerprints. She hands them over to John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn) who is Wayne’s rival in business. Daggett uses the fingerprints to make some wild purchases on the stock market in Wayne’s name, putting an end to his wealth. Margaret Tate (Marion Cotillard) takes charge of Wayne Enterprises, encouraged by Bruce Wayne himself.

Bane (Tom Hardy) had also trained under Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) along with Bruce Wayne. He heads the League of Shadows now. Bane is in Gotham City building a network of thugs.

Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) has built a machine to produce energy that can be turned into a nuclear bomb. This machine is kept in a secret vault under the river. As the new managing director of Wayne Enterprises and extremely interested in protecting the environment, Margaret Tate is shown this machine.

When Bane and his men take over the machine and do their worst to subdue the people of Gotham City, it is time for the Dark Knight to rise. Will he be able to?


I have to give full marks for the casting. It’s just amazing how each actor fits his/her role so perfectly. The film is so well put together like pieces of a jigsaw.

That's Tom Hardy on the left transformed to Bane on the right

Each one of them – Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne as well as the Batman; Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle and the Catwoman; Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred the butler give simply brilliant performances.

Marion Cotillard as Margaret Tate played an excellent vamp. You will never recognise Tom Hardy as Bane and that is not just because most of his face is covered. The actor looks so handsome and serene without Bane’s makeup. An amazing performance!

The first prize goes to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the role of police officer John Blake. The actor has a meaty role that he has performed to the hilt. Keep up the great work.

VERDICT: If you are a fan of super-heroes, then you most definitely should not miss this one.

RATING: *****Super

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Thursday, July 19, 2012


It was a great day indeed that someone sent me an unsolicited mail via Linkedin. He wanted to know whether I would like to become a writer for Indirom. For this, I probably need to thank my friend Nilima Kadam who has recommended me on Linkedin as ‘the Indian Mills & Boon queen’.

On enquiry, I was put in touch with Naheed Hassan, one of the founders of Indirom – a website to be launched in December 2012. Since then, I have conversed with Naheed a few times on skype.

Indirom will be launching a website that will bring together e-books of South Asian romances. They already have a number of writers and editors on board. I see this as a fantastic opportunity for me. I love writing romantic novels and in fact, publish them as a series on my blog – Cupid Strike Series. Now, it looks like I get professional editors to help me with my work, a website to publish my novels, someone who will market my work professionally and the icing on the cake will be the royalty that I hope to earn.

This is what I would call a win-win situation. If any of you want to write romance and is looking for a publisher, Indirom is probably what you are looking for.

About Indirom 

Indirom is a South-African based company that is in the process of setting up an exciting new e-publishing (and web store) platform that is looking to revolutionize the romance literature genre in South Asia. The company has been set up by two globally-experienced executives - both with a deep interest in writing. Indirom is in the process of looking for writers, confident women and men, with whom they can create long term relationships, who can write romance fiction. They are looking for writers who are willing to explore the romantic in them, have a strong command over the English language and are able to tell a compelling story. In turn we offer the writer complete creative licence in terms of content, style and narrative, an experienced team of editors to work with them through the writing process and remuneration through royalties. If you are interested in writing, or know of someone who may be interested you can contact them on

Click here to check a blog written by another of the Indian writers for Indirom. Based in Hyderabad, Harimohan writes fiction and commercial copy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Film Review: COCKTAIL

A timepass romantic tri-tangle!

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Dimple Kapadia, Diana Penty
Director: Homi Adajania

Venkat, Vinitha and I caught the film at Cinemax Sion on the second day of its release as we were quite impressed with the promos.


The film is set in London where Veronica (Deepika Padukone) works hard and plays harder. She is a professional photographer. After one of her rave parties, Veronica sees Meera (Diana Penty) crying her eyes out in the washroom. She takes Meera home to find out that the latter is married to Kunal (Randeep Hooda) who is a fraud. Meera does not have anyone else to turn to and accepts Veronica’s invitation to live in her apartment. Meera takes up a job as a graphic designer. 

Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) is a software engineer who had recently moved base to London. The Casanova hits it off immediately with Veronica and moves into her apartment and directly into her bedroom. The three of them remain friendly while Meera is a mite wary of Gautam’s flirtatious nature.

Randhir (Boman Irani) is Gautam’s maternal uncle who proudly takes responsibility for making his nephew a ladies’ man. Gautam’s mother Kavita (Dimple Kapadia) thinks badly of her brother but believes that her son is Mr. Perfect. She’s keen to see Gautam married and lands up in London suddenly.

Without thinking, Gautam introduces the traditional Meera as the woman he loves while Veronica watches on in amusement. Kavita is quite impressed with Meera and insists on going with the three flatmates on a holiday to Cape Town. While Meera and Gautam pretend to be in love, Veronica spends a lot of time with Kavita and is touched by her motherly love. Having had no affectionate family, she begins to dream of marrying Gautam.

Gautam is shocked at this turn of events. He had never thought beyond an affair with Veronica. Things get worse when the Casanova falls in love with the innocent Meera and she returns his feelings. The two of them see a totally different side to the fun-loving Veronica when she finds out that her best friends are in love with each other.

Things turn quite dark after that, especially when Veronica has a near-fatal accident. Watch the film to see who gets Gautam.


Saif Ali Khan is superhot and sails through his role. I suppose it is child play for him by now, having done a few similar ones. Considering that he is 42, it’s a wonder that he is able to get away with the role of a man in his early thirties. And believe me, he’s good!

Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia have executed their roles perfectly.

Newcomer Diana Penty as Meera is very good, especially considering that it is her debut role. Her acting skills are truly appreciated.

Deepika Padukone – somehow despite hearing a lot of criticisms about the actor, I feel she is very good. Having said that, I need to point out that she keeps repeating her party girl role too often – Love Aaj Kal; Karthik Calling Karthik; Break Ke Baad and how many else that I have not seen, I don’t know. It looks that she has been doing the same role again and again, getting a little better after each performance. Well, considering that this is her latest, she has done the best party girl role so far. It has extended to give forth to an easygoing Veronica who evolves into one with a bad temper as her hurt comes to the fore. Deepika has given a great performance!

VERDICT: The film is very light and a fun-watch.

RATING: *** Smart

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Finally, Abhishek Bachchan has chosen a great role and executed it superbly!

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Asrani, Krushna Abhishek, Prachi Desai, Asin, Archana Puran Singh
Director: Rohit Shetty

I had been wanting to see the film since before its release but none of my family members showed interest. Finally, Venkat and I managed to catch the film more than a week later. I was quite surprised to see Planet 3 of Cinemax Cinema Sion full. The 2-star rating given by most publications had obviously not deterred the public. But then, I have stopped depending on Mumbai Mirror’s ratings as this is the third film where I find myself disagreeing with their views.


The story is loosely based on Amol Palekar’s Gol Maal. Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) loses a court case involving his family property in Delhi. His father’s friend Shastri (Asrani) insists that Abbas moves to Ranakpur along with his sister Sania (Asin). Shastri lives with his son Ravi (Krushna Abhishek) and works for Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn), a man both rich and powerful. Prithviraj cannot tolerate dishonesty. Shastri promises to get Abbas a job with Prithviraj.

Abbas breaks open the lock on a local temple when a child falls into the pond behind the walls. To avoid a riot in the village, Ravi introduces him as Abhishek Bachchan to Prithviraj. Abhishek lands a job with the man. Prithviraj is quite impressed with his new employee until he catches him doing Namaz at the local mosque. That’s when Abbas Ali without the moustache is created. Things turn hilarious as the gay Abbas Ali is hired to teach dance to Prithviraj’s sister Radhika (Prachi Desai).

Then there is a villain in the form of Prithviraj’s cousin. Abhishek Bachchan and Prithviraj manage to beat him up (at least three fight sequences) to rescue Radhika from his clutches. While Radhika falls in love with Abbas, Prithviraj has a difficult time making her understand that her dance teacher is gay. In the meanwhile, Prithviraj is attracted to Sania who looks exactly like Apeksha (Asin), the woman he used to love. Apeksha had died four years ago. The climax is all about Prithviraj finding the truth about Abbas Ali and his sister Sania.


The film was simply hilarious from beginning till end. There is, of course, Rohit Shetty’s fetish to break up a number of expensive vehicles, but then that is a bonus that comes along in all his movies.

Except for Guru, I haven’t been too enamoured with Abhishek Bachchan’s acting skills. But then, Director Mani Ratnam can make the most unsuccessful actors act; case in point being Arvind Swamy and Madhu. So, AB Jr performing well in Guru did not necessarily make him a great actor.

But Bol Bachchan directed by Rohit Shetty is a good platform for Abhishek Bachchan and he has done a great job of both the roles. While the gay Abbas Ali is a superb performance that keeps the audience rocking, the serious one as Abhishek Bachchan is also a good one. The best scene was the dance he performs as Abbas Ali to many different songs. It was simply too good.

Ajay Devgn has produced the film and played the role of Prithviraj Raghuvanshi. His ridiculous English speaking skills are too comical. I did wonder whether Mahatma Gandhi would have found it easier to drive away the British if he had had Prithviraj to help him. I found a bit of overacting in his role, but then probably that was required to make his character funny.

Prachi Desai looked simply gorgeous and did well in her role too.

I always thought that Asin tended to overact in her roles. I have seen her in both Tamil and Hindi versions of Ghajini and in Ready with Salman Khan – can’t recall any other films. In this one, she plays Sania. Her makeup and dressing style were perfect for the role and the director has kept a tight rein on her role portrayal and that deserves a special Kudos. I will leave the viewer to decide whether the appreciation is for the actress or the director.

Krushna Abhishek was simply superb as Ravi Shastri and his comic timing was just perfect. His scenes with Asrani and Archana Puran Singh were excellent.

More than all that, the film had a lot of pleasing colours of a Rajasthani village and was very easy on the eye.

VERDICT: It’s definitely worth a watch if you like comedies. It’s way better than the brainless ones doled out by Priyadarshan and Sajid Khan.

RATING: ***1/2 (Better than Smart but just short of Snazzy)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


All Stir Fried

Yesterday was Vinny’s birthday and she took us to All Stir Fry to celebrate it. She had already been there with a friend a few weeks ago and had been quite impressed with her experience. The restaurant has been newly renovated and is part of The Gordon House Hotel.

Vinny at the entrance to The Gordon House Hotel

Click here to know more about All Stir Fry – menu, rates, location, etc.

While they have an a la carte menu, a dimsum bar and a satay bar, people are more attracted towards the noodle bar that is the Unique Selling Point of the restaurant.

Entrance to the restaurant

You are presented with a bowl and tray on placing an order at the noodle bar. The rate is Rs. 500 plus taxes for either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. You can pick up the ingredients of your choice and present them to the chef. Give him the list of sauces and other flavours that you want and he hands over a hot bowl of stir-fried noodles in a jiffy.

Birthday Baby and Viggy

The ingredients are placed at a counter with a variety of cooked noodles on the left. In front of you are the vegetarian ingredients and behind a partition are the non-vegetarian ones. The vegetarian ingredients include green & red peppers, carrots, spinach, bamboo shoots, corn, baby corn, spring onions, onions, French beans, lettuce, shallots, paneer and tofu – all of them peeled, chopped, sliced and diced to perfection.

Proud parents - Venkat & Yours truly

I believe the non-vegetarian section includes a variety of seafood as well as chicken. A painted board guides you on how you fill your bowl – white with red border for vegetarians and the ones with a black border for non-vegetarians. We are to fill the bowl with the noodles first and the veggies later so that the chef can cook them in the reverse. When I entered the kitchen area, I was glad to see that the vegetarian food was being cooked in separate woks.

The veggies counter

On the left were small bowls with sample sauces in them so that one can taste them and decide what they want in their food bowl. There was Canton Sauce, Szechuan Sauce, Takkoe Sauce, Kung Pao Sauce, Spring Onion Sauce, Pepper Barbeque Sauce and four more that I fail to recollect.

Venkat was not too happy with the experience as he is neither keen on self service nor was he happy with the taste. He enjoys Indian Chinese more than the authentic one, I think.

The rest of us had a great time. While I am not too keen on Chinese – more like Pan Asian – I was game trying a couple of bowls of different flavours. By the way, the number of bowls of food that you pick up is unlimited. So, even if you don’t much like one, you can just keep it aside and take a fresh one.

I chose noodles with some of the veggies and the Pepper Barbeque Sauce for my first bowl. It was absolutely yummy. I got a bit adventurous with my second bowl and choose flat noodles with bamboo shoots (have only read about these and never tasted them – they weren’t too bad) besides other veggies. I requested the chef to add garlic flakes, crushed peanuts and fresh coriander along with Spring Onion Sauce, Takkoe Sauce and Kung Pao Sauce. Paisa vasool!

Vinny had different flavours and combinations in tiny portions three times over so that she got a chance to taste a variety. Viggy went mad and had the time of his life as he is the most adventurous of all. He just loved every bowl that he brought to the table – three or four, I failed to count.

I will award a straight THUMBS UP for the overall experience of the food served, the service, the ambience and the costing – PERFECTO!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Book Review: THE TWENTIETH WIFE by Indu Sundaresan

I happened upon this book quite by chance at Crossword Bookstore, Imax Cinema. I got hooked just reading the synopsis and a few pages and decided to buy it immediately. The book kept me reading into the wee hours of the night while I had to force myself to go to bed as late as 3 am one night.

In the author’s own words 

The Twentieth Wife is a work of fiction, although it is based on reality. Mehrunnisa was thirty-four when she married Emperor Jahangir, and over the next fifteen years she ruled the empire in his name. Seventeenth-century travellers to Emperor Jahangir’s court lavished attention on her in their accounts at home, for she was at the height of her power then. None of the men actually saw her; their reports to their employers at the British and Dutch East India Companies are part fact, part legend, part gossip from the local bazaars.

They all invariably hinted at the drama surrounding her birth, a love affair with Salim before he came to the throne and the suspicion on him regarding her husband’s death. Contemporary historians usually do not agree. Yet, all the authors agree on some points: Jahangir never married again; Mehrunnisa was his twentieth – and last – wife. Although he alluded to her only briefly in his memoirs, she was the most important person in his life until 1627, when he died. Theirs was a love that formed the basis of poems, songs and ballads in India.

My take on The Twentieth Wife

The book begins with the birth of Mehrunnisa, who goes on to become Nur Jahan. The fourth child of Ghias Beg, a refugee from Persia, the baby brings the whole family luck as they travel towards India, their destination being Emperor Akbar’s kingdom. Ghias Beg manages to get a good post at the Mughal court.

Mehrunnisa – Sun among women – grows up to fall in love with Prince Salim even at the age of eight. It takes her about 26 years, a first husband – Ali Quli – and a baby girl – Ladli – before she gets married to her prince who is now Emperor Jahangir.

The story is about Nur Jahan as well as Jahangir and gives the reader a fascinating outlook on the Mughal Empire.

Fact and fiction are woven together so beautifully and perfectly that one can never differentiate between the two and that’s the wonder of this piece of literature.

I was floored by each and every description – be it the weather; the terrain; the palaces and other structures; the elephant fight; the Diwan-i-am – the Emperor’s court; the harem; the zenana ladies; the eunuchs; Ghias Beg’s travel from Persia to India – I can go on and on. I enjoyed reading each and every sentence. I am amazed at the kind of research that must have been put in to write this kind of work. It appears as if Indu Sundaresan had personally visited all those places during those times in history. Do I need to say more?

Over the past three days, I soaked in a volley of Mughal literature. All those stories I had read and heard in my school history had not prepared me for this. The characters that I had seen only in sketches appeared to jump out of the pages of the book and play their roles instigated by the author.

I simply loved the book! Thank you Indu Sundaresan for bringing history alive! You inspire me!

Click here to know more about Indu Sundaresan and her books.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: NIGHT WHISPERS by Judith McNaught

Judith McNaught writes a lot of historical romances and I am greatly fond of them. I was amazed to find out that she had also written Night Whispers – a contemporary novel – and decided to get a copy. I am glad I did.

What is the book about? (This synopsis is from Judith McNaught’s website

A policewoman in a small Florida community, Sloan Reynolds knows that her modest upbringing was a long way from the social whirl of Palm Beach, the world inhabited by her father and her sister, Paris. Total strangers to Sloan, they have never tried to contact her – until a sudden invitation arrives, to meet them and indulge in the Palm Beach social season.

A woman who values her investigative work more than a Dior dress, Sloan is unmoved by the long-overdue parental gesture. But when FBI agent Paul Richardson informs her that her father and his associates are suspected of fraud, conspiracy, and murder, Sloan agrees to enter into her father's life – while hiding her true profession.

Sloan's on top of her game until she meets Noah Maitland, a multinational corporate player and one of the FBI's prime suspects – and finds herself powerfully attracted to him, against her deepest instincts. When a shocking murder shatters the seductive facade of the wealth and glamour surrounding her, Sloan must manoeuvre through a maze of deceit and passion, to find someone to trust – and to decipher the truth behind those terrifying whispers in the dark.

My take on it

I am an avid reader of romances and have enjoyed reading a number of historical novels written by Judith McNaught. Some of them are Whitney, My Love; Until You; Almost Heaven; Something Wonderful and Once and Always. I would go so far as to say that each and every one of the books that I have mentioned here is a gem.

Having read only the historical novels written by Judith McNaught, I was surprised that she wrote contemporary ones too. Not just that, Night Whispers is extremly well written and obviously a lot of research has gone into this one, especially about the way the police force functions in the USA.

Sloan’s character is beautifully structured. I was so happy to read the way her relationship develops with her long lost sister Paris. Then there is the cantankerous grandmother, the bossy FBI agent, the hero Noah’s father who is nothing short of a darling, the irritating and adorable teenage sister of the hero, Noah himself, Sloan’s father, her mother, friend and many others. The characters come alive while the mystery surrounding the murder that takes place keeps the reader on the edge. Noah has a dark side to him, it seems. Whether Sloan find happiness with the man she loves is what you will have to find out after reading the story.

If you like romance especially with a lot of mystery woven within, then this is one book that you cannot miss.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


On the way! We could not get enough of the greys and greens that were so soothing to the eyes :)
The monsoon had not quite caught up with Mumbai when we decided to go for a day trip to Saguna Baug on Sunday.

This is the second time that I am visiting Saguna Baug, a farm very close to Neral in Raigad District. Click here to check out their website. The farm is set in 16 acres of land that runs close to a perennial river. The last time I went with a group of people, I had not started blogging and so had not written about it.

Well, it was truly a 'baug'. Don't miss the bumble bee in the mauve coloured lily
One can visit Saguna Baug for just a day or go for an overnight trip. It took us two and a half hours to reach the farm, travelling approximately 90 km from Sion. They charge Rs. 475 per person for providing breakfast, lunch and tea. The cost also includes a boat ride; fishing, if you are interested; a nature walk and a trip to the river.

A number of hammocks were tied to bamboo trees. Vinitha is sitting on the one closest to the dining area

We left Mumbai at only 11.30 am and hence reached there in time for lunch. They charged us only Rs. 250 per person for vegetarian lunch. Non-vegetarian dishes are available on request at an extra cost. The lunch was simple Maharashtrian fare.  The food is extremely mediocre. I personally found it tasteless.

Lunch being served in a buffet

The main attraction is the river. We went there in the afternoon when the crowd was relaxing after lunch and hence had it to ourselves. Venkat and Vignesh insisted on bringing the car to the shore while Vinny and I walked through farmland. It was simply beautiful and picturesque. It was a lovely experience wading in the water while Vinitha and Vignesh went swimming. We hung around there for about an hour before getting out. There are comfortable bathrooms with showers where one could wash and change.

The benches and chairs at Saguna Baug are all made from bamboo grown at the farm itself

There is a tank full of colourful lilies and a round cage that held rabbits and a hamster. They were all too cute for words. We did not take the nature tour as we were too lazy. I remember doing that the first time. It’s a tour that runs for an hour. They take you around the farm and show you the many trees there, their uses and how they are grown. Quite interesting!

You find bamboos everywhere you turn. Don't they look majestic?

Another thing I missed this time is a ride on a bullock cart. I went on one the last time at a separate cost. It is fun!

We found these rabbits and one hamster in a cage on the way to the river. The hamster looked exceptionally cute

They do have cosy huts where one could stay overnight. I am sure you can find the cost and other details on their website.

More greenery and plantation on the way to the river

The place is not too bad for a day’s visit. The big advantage they have is the large staff who are all extremely polite and helpful.

The highlight of our trip - The River! I don't know the name if it has one