Under my byline

Top-class moves

Posted in Art, Foodie by Rrishi on 26 July 2009

Classical dancer Prathibha Prahlad bridges worlds, and makes us a lasagna

Last winter the city came alive with a blaze of banners and posters announcing the second Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF). The person behind the spectacle was bharatnatyam and kuchipudi dancer Prathibha Prahlad, festival director and head of the Prasiddha Foundation. (more…)


Delhi has Seoul

Posted in Art, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 5 July 2009

Mi Ran Lee makes an Indian success of Korean food

If location is everything, Kumgang’s Gonie Korean restaurant is possessed of a mixed blessing. The good aspect is that it is in the Ashok Hotel in central Delhi, within easy reach of its corporate and diplomatic clientele. The not-so-good aspect is that to get to the restaurant a visitor must trudge down two long corridors, one lined with guest rooms, the other with slightly dingy shops apparently devoid of customers. It’s not an effective appetiser.

But there are counterweighing advantages, chief among which is the admirable lady who owns this restaurant. (more…)

Winter warmth

Posted in Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 4 January 2009

(c) Susmit BoseChilas and chilling with urban folk singer Susmit Bose

“I keep telling young people that those of us who were not there in the ’70s really missed out,” Susmit Bose says. “The first stage of globalisation wasn’t market-driven, it was just heart.” He’s talking about the musical generation of Bob Dylan, with such songs as “Masters of War”, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Blowing in the Wind”. (more…)

Out of the grind

Posted in Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 14 December 2008

IDP Education CEO Henry Ledlie makes an Anglo-Indian specialty, the traditional way

“When I was young they were a happy community,” says Henry A S Ledlie of his fellow Anglo-Indians. “We had our community dances, parties, choirs, our teachers — you must have had Anglo teachers?” (more…)

Political sound bites

Posted in Art, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 9 November 2008

Pakistani multimedia artist Bani Abidi plays a chicken and eggplant game

From "Security Barriers A-L" (c) Bani Abidi 2008“She says this is Bengali. That’s completely spoiled my exotic Persian appeal.” We’re standing around offering help and hindrance to Bani Abidi, artist and Pakistani living in India, as she makes the eggplant-and-curd dish which drew that comment. The kitchen is no wider than a millionaire’s double bed, so we have to step around a bit as we chat about Obama’s promise and Sarah Palin’s looks. Serious topics like Pakistan and geopolitics are reserved for after lunch. (more…)

Method cooking

Posted in Art, Foodie by Rrishi on 5 October 2008

Graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee says he isn’t a foodie-shoodie

Duck past the line of drying clothes onto the balcony, and to your right you can see the narrow lane curve away, choked with parked cars like drab boulders. It’s like standing on the rim of a canyon, an impression strengthened by the tumbles of greenery from other balconies along the row of tall houses.

In the kitchen behind are the sounds of Sarnath Banerjee busily bhuno-ing his mutton, and meanwhile talking about the food in Karachi. (more…)

Khas khana

Posted in Architecture/Design, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 14 September 2008

Filmmaker Ayesha Sood has a taste for the simple life

The electricity comes and goes in an off-tempo accompaniment to our conversation. It’s not the temperature we’re worried about, though, it’s the chicken. Two big legs of it are baking in the little oven, and we’re expecting to eat soon.

It better be soon, because Ayesha Sood’s home, a single, spacious room overlooking a fabulous Delhi resource, the Hauz Khas park (thank you, Sultan Alauddin), is so comfortable and user-friendly that the longer we stay, the less inclined we will be to leave. (more…)

Fast food for fine art

Posted in Architecture/Design, Art, Diet, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 7 September 2008

Artist Kanchan Chander takes a break from her studio for a bite of fish

“All artists are chai-wallahs,” says Kanchan Chander, putting a tray of nice kadak chai and biscuits down before us. She means tea as fuel for long stretches of work or conversation. Chander spends several hours during the quietest parts of the day labouring away in her semi-basement studio. She has a show coming up next year. It’s hardly what one would call a bohemian existence. (more…)

Beauty bites

Posted in Diet, Foodie, Health, Profiles by Rrishi on 31 August 2008

Simal Soin, the expert behind A+ Medispa, makes us something good-looking

She’s been out all day at work, and has only just arrived at home, so she has to divide her attention between her two young sons and us — and the sons are winning.


Oye crunchy

Posted in Books, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 27 July 2008

Advertising star and chick-lit author Anuja Chauhan rustles up a crisp snack to accompany TV cricket
The Zoya Factor cover

Four bicycles jostle for space outside Anuja Chauhan’s apartment. Three are diminutive and brightly coloured, with seats well polished by the application of active young bottoms. The fourth is black, dusty and has a practical wire basket screwed onto the front. “That one’s mine,” says Chauhan, star adwoman, author of a bestselling new “chick-lit” novel called The Zoya Factor, and mother of three.


Jam and Kashmir

Posted in Diet, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 20 April 2008

Linnet Mushran, maker of the famous Bhuira jams, cooks us a delicate Kashmiri raan

Born in New Zealand and raised on a Somerset farm by English and German parents, married to a Kashmiri Pandit, sister in Switzerland and two children in teaching and film-acting, flourishing business in rural Himachal Pradesh… No, Linnet Mushran is neither globetrotter nor multi-national: she’s multi-local. (more…)

Masta of pasta

Posted in Architecture/Design, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 13 April 2008

Architect Sonali Srivastava Rastogi speedily assembles an enormous Italian meal

In Delhi’s posh but staid Panchsheel Park, one house quietly stands out from the rest. It doesn’t loom over the lane, though, reserving most of its bulk for the distant rear portion.

What faces forward is a wood-sheathed façade with deep-set but enormous glass windows. At the moment plywood hides most of it, since finishing touches are being put to the top-floor deck, which carries a swimming pool.

Its masters are the Rastogis, Manit and Sonali, architects and joint chiefs of Morphogenesis, one of India’s leading architecture firms. They see all their buildings as “containers of programmes in flux” — which is true, perhaps, but certainly the planning and construction work has little to do with flux. They’re much too well-organised for that. (more…)

A mission in the kitchen

Posted in Books, Foodie, Profiles by Rrishi on 25 November 2007

The BBC’s Andrew Whitehead feeds the multitude

A Mission in Kashmir
Andrew Whitehead
Penguin India
pp 304

“I get invited here and I have to cook my own food?” says Andrew Whitehead in our kitchen — quite accurately. He is in Delhi for the launch of his book, A Mission in Kashmir, but has agreed to cook for us at short notice. My kitchen is handy, and my family is numerous, so here he is, making a Spanish tortilla for a decidedly dal-sabzi household. (more…)