Knocking the bastard off

In 1953, a British led expedition to Mount Everest included a New Zealand bee-keeper and a Sherpa who had settled in Darjeeling. There was rather a lot at stake. Ever since the discovery and the naming of the mountain, it had been identified with the British. Or so the British themselves liked to think. They…

Kashmir in the New Millennium

As symbols of normalcy go, the all-glass front of Pick n Choose on Residency Road, Srinagar, is as telling as any. Five years ago, you couldn’t find glass doors in Srinagar – they’d be a sitting duck for a terrorist’s bullet. Five years ago, you wouldn’t even have wanted the transparency of glass. Thick wooden…

Zamozza

Blurb: A mixed bag of unbelievably good and ‘what the customer wants’ Atmospherics: It has much going for it, location-wise. On the ground floor of a building on Janpath, right next door to Shiv Sagar (same owner), it is down a narrow alley within the building itself. So the ceiling is a blaze of lights,…

Delhi Landmark Restaurants

Delhi’s best-loved restaurants are not merely those that have stood the test of time; they are the ones that have broken new ground at the time they opened their doors. More importantly, they should have kept up their relevance to the present time. For the last ten years, restaurants have been opening and closing at…

Zura

Cuisine: Mediterranean Blurb: bookshelves, multi-level café, bar and restaurant with style and flair Gurgaon Sector 29 is a smorgasbord of restaurants and bars. Zura is for those times when you’re catching up with friends and want to nibble rather than gorge. Atmospherics: It is a breezy café with bookshelves and a laden pastry counter. You…

These are a few of my favourite things

This is not a recommendation of the best in Delhi: it is just my private list, one that I have carried along from childhood/adolescence/young adulthood. So, all the places have been around at the very least since 1980! 1. Bom Bay Bhelpuri, Sundernagar (at the corner of the park). Shri Bhajan Lal and his son…

What’s Cooking in Kashmir

Think about Kashmiri food and the first thing that comes to mind is the justly famous wazwan. However, try eating it for two consecutive meals and you’ll be laid up in bed for a week thereafter, so heavy is it. Indeed, most visitors to Kashmir have no difficulty finding the ristas and gushtabas of a…

The Lore of White Tea

“You can find a diamond in a coal mine,” beams the genial Rajeev Mittal of Mittal Tea House, Lodi Colony, New Delhi”just the way you can discover white tea on a regular bush.” White tea – it’s not really white, but very pale green and its leaves are long and pointed – is, quite simply, the…

Indians – good, bad and ugly

On the whole, we’re a warm and hospitable bunch of people. Whether it’s a Sardar taxi driver in New York or a village woman living in a mud hut in Kutch, no stranger need fear that he’ll be dealing with an inscrutable oriental. There is, however, the flip side of the coin. We are loud…

Kashmir and the Mughal Connection

In 1598, Emperor Akbar annexed the Valley of Kashmir to the Mughal Empire. In one fell swoop, the Mughal emperors acquired a summer home. Kashmir in turn, acquired some of its most important heritage sites. Emperor Akbar’s contribution was limited to the wall around the hill of Hari Parbat, which still stands today, complete with…