PODCAST: MARRYAM RESHII ON FOOD IN DELHI

Marryam Reshii

Marryam Reshii

Marryam H. Reshii is a New Delhi-based food writer, who has her pulse on all things related to food in her city. She is the author of Celebrated Chefs of IndiaEating out in India and  101 Popular restaurants. She is a Consulting Editor with the Times of India for their Times Food Guide.

In this interview, which we recorded at Moti Mahal restaurant, one of the oldest restaurants in Delhi. Reshii shares her food memories of Delhi. We were curious to find out about the changing palate and food landscape in Delhi over the last few decades. Reshii moved to Delhi as a 4 year old and has witnessed the city change. ”Just about everything has changed,” in Delhi says Reshii. Perhaps the only thing that has not changed is Moti Mahal, “the prototype for Indian restaurants in Delhi,” she points out.

LISTEN: MARRYAM RESHII ON FOOD IN DELHI

During the 1960s and 1970s there were not many fancy restaurants in the city. Delhi was a town of refugees in the 1960s and this is a point that Madhur Jaffrey makes in her interview on food memories in Delhi. Jaffrey was referring to the late 1940 and 1950s. So, it was intresting to hear Reshii talk about dhabas and places like Moti Mahal that her father’s friends took them for a meal in the 1960s. The standard fare in Moti Mahal was dal makhani, butter chicken and tandoori chicken. And today that is the what you will find in many Indian restaurants in Delhi she explains.

What are the changes when it comes to food palate and restaurants? A lot Reshii says. For instance, there is the meatless phenomenon that has started to cater to the palate of first generation non-vegetarians, who can’t handle bones in their meat. So there is “boneless chicken, boneless fish, and boneless meat,’ she says. “Chicken, for example, is another vegetable with wings.”

Today Delhi is home to all sorts of cafes that serve Global cuisine like Diva. And then there is a new trend of “Chaynese menu,” in Indian restaurants. “I refuse to call it Chinese,” says Reshii. These restaurants serve their own version of Chinese food that is nothing like what is served in China she explains.

What about Indian food? Where do you go for a taste of Delhi? There are two kinds of Indian food: traditional and modern Indian she says. Chef Manish Mehrortra’s award winning restaurant Indian Accent is the place to try modern Indian food says Reshii. For a typical Delhi food experience Moti Mahal and Karim’s are two places she recommends. Then there is the Curzon Room at Oberoi Maidens Hotel and 1911 at Imperial Hotel, two old  (heritage) hotels that serve continental food.

What about mithai and chaat? The sweet and savory dishes that Delhi is famous for and is one of small culinary joys of the city. Old Delhi is where you will find good chaat and mithai points out Reshii.

Finally, I had to ask her about Kashmiri food since her family is from there. Tune in to find out what Reshii has to say about eating Kashmiri food in Delhi.

You can follow Marryam Reshii on Twitter.

Photo courtesy: Marryam Reshii

VIDEO: MUIR WOODS POST CARD

Muir Woods National Monument is located a few miles north of San Francisco past the Golden Gate bridge. Named after John Muir, the famous naturalist, this place is home to old Redwood trees that are hundreds of years old. Some trees are about 800 years old. There are 6 trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty to walk around and explore this wonderful area. Muir Woods is open 365 days of the year. The entrance fee is $7 and is expected to to up to $10.

TRAVEL TIPS:

Wear good, walking shoes and remember to carry a jacket with you. The road leading up to Muir Woods is narrow, and do watch out for bikers. The park gets awfully crowded during holidays and weekends and finding a parking spot can be difficult. Plan to spend at least half a day exploring the place. If you are in a hurry, a couple of hours will also do. If you have the time you can go up to Mount Tampalpais (Tam)  from Muir Woods. The road is narrow and steep in some places as you wind your way up the road. Once on Mount Tam, there are a couple of trails to walk around and explore. There is a trail from where you get a splendid view of San Francisco city and Marin county. If you are there towards late afternoon you might even see the fog roll in from the Pacific Ocean and envelope the whole city.

There are two beaches close to Muir Woods:Muir Beach and Stinson beach.

And if you have the time and inclination you can  grab a cup of coffee in downtown Mill Valley.

ROUNDUP: ROSS ULBRICHT GETS LIFE IN PRISON

Ross Ulbricht  (31) was sentenced to a life in prison for for his role in creating and operating  Silk Road, an underground marketplace. The sentencing comes without a possibility of a parole for  Ulbricht.

US District Judge Katherine Forrest  “gave Ulbricht the most severe sentence possible, beyond what even the prosecution had explicitly requested. The minimum Ulbricht could have served was 20 years,” writes Andy Greenberg of Wired, who has been following the case since the early days.  Greenberg has written extensively on the case and also appears in Alex Winter’s film on Ulbricht and the Silk Road called “Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin And The Silk Road.”

Winter was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced this afternoon in Manhattan. Winter said, “Everyone gasped,” when the verdict was announced to The Wall Street Journal in a phone interview.

“Ulbricht’s defense team has already said it will seek an appeal in his case.,” writes Greenberg in his article.

You can read more about Ulbricht’s sentence here , here and here. You can read what Ulbricht’s lawyer Jason Dratel had to say after the verdict was announced.

You can read the full report of Ulbricht’s sentence on Ars Technica.

PODCAST: PRASHANT BHARGAVA ON MAKING PATANG, INDIA AND FILMS

Prashant Bhargava

Prashant Bhargava

Filmmaker Prashant Bhargava passed away on May 16, 2015. He was 42 years old. Bhargav was a  young, talented  filmmaker, who is  deeply mourned by his fans,  friends and family.

Bhragava had a brilliant eye and ear for stories, details and colors. His films like “Patang,” and “Radhe Radhe,”were visually stunning.

I had an opporuntunity to interview Bhargav over the phone about his film “Patang,” which showed at the 3rd I San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival. This was in 2011 when there was still quite a bit of residue buzs from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Bhargava and Danny Boyle shot the film in India around the same time. In the interview we spoke about the making of films, India and how films are India’s brand ambassador.

When you listen to the interview it strikes you how thoughtful and reflective his answers were. It is that same thoughfulness, reflection and authenticity that Bhargava tried to capture in his films.

Patang” is a superbly made film. Shot in the old city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat the film  celebrates the “magic of everyday” as Bharagava describes it. “I was born and raised in Chicago and wanted to make a film about a place that captured the pride and exuberane,” he says  “I had to let go of my perspective. I spent 3 years researching Ahmedabad and earn the trust of the people,” he adds.

LISTEN TO PRASHANT BHARGAVA:

The rhythm of the narrative in “Patang” is reflective of the experience Bhargava had in Ahmedabad. He would ask his actors to sit silently in a corner  of a street in old Ahmedabad and just watch. By the third hour you saw the whole landscape unfold in front of you and you start noticing things Bharagava says. That is when things would come together. Similarly in “Patang” the story actually comes together towards the end.

Even though Bhargava had a prepared script, only 3 out of the 40 cast members read the script. He wanted his actors to be sincere and wanted them to live on screen.

We also spoke about why he shot the film in Hindi. Bhargava says he  chose to go in the middle and go with Hindi and not with English or Gujarati. If you did it in Gujarati then it would become a regional film he says.

A major challenge for filmmakers is distributing their film and that is a topic that Bhargava was very passionate about. He talks about the challenges of distributing “Patang.” Even though it premiered at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival and was shown at many other festivals around the world it was still not easy to distribute the film.

Bhargava also talks about how his film gets praised and destroyed simultaneously. How does he deal with that?  He was very clear that his films are not meant for everybody. “We make films for a certain group of people.” And clearly that certain group of people enjoys his films and visual storytelling. “We broke rules and genres when making this film,” he says.

Towards the end of the interview Bhargav quotes a line from “Patang.”  “We hold on to our past with sadness but to the little victories with happiness.”  It is those little victories that Bhargava taught us to celebrate in this film.

“Patang ” is a film about the magic of everyday.

You can watch Bhargava’s films “Ammaji” and Sangam”  online.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/55000283″>&quot;MAARU AMDAVAD&quot; – from the film PATANG</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/patang”>Khushi Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

FILM NOTES: SAN ANDREAS

San Andreas” is a new disaster film starring Dwayne Johnson. I won’t even want to go into the storyline since it is so predicatable. Johnson’s personal life is in shambles and he is the middle of a divorce, when California is hit by a swarm of massive earthquakes. So, while the Golden State is falling apart literally, Johnson and his family come together.

“San Andreas” is Hollywood’s over-the-top version of what happens when the San Andreas faultline decides to erupt. We witness mutely in (3D no less)  as California is simply torn apart by a swarm of earthquakes that starts in Los Angeles and travls all the way up to San Franisco. These earthquakes range  from 9.1 to 9.6 on the Richter scale.And let us not forget the huge tsunami that hits San Francisco in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Somehow Johnson is able to ride through the huge tsunami and come out on the other side unscathed in his small motor boat. He then rescues his daughter, who is trapped in a high rise building on Nob Hill. The building by the way is breaking apart. That is the other thing -buildings simply break apart in a spectacular manner in the film. Oh! I forgot to mention Johnson works for the Los Angeles Fire Department. When he finds out his daughter is trapped in San Francisco he flies the official chopper from LA to San Francisco. Let me not even go there.

There were a couple of things the film got right. The first was how you react when you are hit by an earthquake. You have to “Drop, cover and hold on.” The second thing is that once the quakes have subsided you need to make your way to the highest point in your area. And you need to have Plan B.

You have to really, really suspend your disbelief  big time when you watch “San Andreas.” It beats Bollywood film in the “suspend your disbelief” department. I had so many questions while watching the film, and the only reason I sat through the film is because of Johnson. He has a great screen presence, plus he looks calm and strong and if you ever get caught in a disaster you can depend upon him to reamin calm and rescue you, right?

I only wish the director of the film had climbed a higher mountain and given his audience a little bit more respect, especially his Califonria audience, who are acutely aware that they live in a earthquake prone region.

“San Andreas” will no doubt do very well at the box-office. The film releases today in San Francisco bay area.

The film stars Dwayne JohnsonCarla Gugino, Alexandra Anna Daddario, Paul Giamatti and Archie Panjabi.

  • Title: San Andreas
  • Running Time: 114 minutes
  • Status: Released
  • Country: Hollywood
  • Genre: Hollywood

There are two things that the film got right: 

VIDEO: ALEX WINTER ON “DEEP WEB: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BITCOIN AND THE SILK WEB”

Filmmaker Alex Winter talks about his new film “Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin And The Silk Road,” that premieres on EPIX on Sunday, May 31, 2015. The film looks at Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, his arrest and the charges filed against him. The film also looks at drug war, fourth amendment and online privacy.

You can listen to the full audio interview with Winter on the film. This interview runs almost 40 minutes.

Google I/O 2015 Roundup From Android M to Virtual Reality

Google I/O 2015

Google I/O 2015

Google made quite a few announcments this morning at its annual Google I/O conference currently underway in San Francisco. Sundar Pichai delivered the keynote address that was punctuated with demos of new features and products the Mountain View-based company is rolling out.

Google has 1 billion Android users, and that user base keeps growing every month as mobile phones fly off the shelves in various parts of the world.  “And there are 4,000 unique Android devices on the market, from more than 400 manufacturers and over 500 carriers,” as Google put it. Mobile is where there are opportunities for develeopers and companies and Google wants to make sure it provies a strong arsenal of tools for its developers. Google is arming its developers for the mobile revolution in this fragmented market.

By the way, was it just me or did I hear a lot of   of references to what Google is doing in India?

Wired  and C|Net have a great round-up of all the annoucements ranging from Android M to Android Wear, Project Brillo, Google Now, Google Photo to Virtual Reality.

 

Introducing Google Photo With Unlimited Storage

Photos and videos. We have gigabytes of images stored across various devices and they remain largely unorganized. Google now has  a solution – Google Photo that allows for free, unlimited storage of photos and videos for Android, IOS and desktop devices. It is available on Google Play and Apple store starting today.

Google made the announcement at its Google I/O conference that is currently underway in San Francisco. Anil Sabhrawal, head of Google Photo, gave a demo of the product. He took a selfie and shared it on Twitter. Sharing is a big part of the photos and videos we take. He repeatedly underscored that you can keep these photos and videos private and not share it publicly, unless you chose to do so.

The app organizes photos by people and places, and you don’t need to tag it. Google takes care of it. You can store photos upto 16 megpixel resolution.

I can see how Google Photo will instantly appeal to users because of what it offers: unlimited storage and automatic organization of your photos and videos.With Google Photo, Facebook now has a clear challenge. For many of us, Facebook (after Flickr lost its way) was the place to store and share our photos and videos. It will be interesting to see how consumers adapt to Google Play.

And one more thing, your photos and videos are automatically backed up.

VIDEO: ROBOT THAT HEALS ITSELF

Robots are coming. You have probably heard about the coming of robots with increasing frequencey in the past few month and how they may steal our jobs and hearts.  You probably watched the new film “Ex Machina” an easily accessible film that takes you into the world of humans and sentient robots. Now, meet a robot that can heal itself in under 2 minutes. Recently, French roboticist Jean-Baptiste Mouret and his team unveiled their research on how these robots heal themselves in Nature. You can also read about it in Live Science.

Watch this utterly fascinating video that gives you a peek into how Mouret and his team worked on their healing robot project. Fascinating is not the right word. Lower jaw permanently unhinged is a better way to describe when you watch how this robot dynamically learns and adapts by intelligent trial and error process. This includes losing more than one leg and a motor and then learning how to adapt within minutes and in some cases within seconds.This kind of healing has lots of practical applications espeically in a disaster situation.

 

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends For 2015

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends for 2015 is here. She unveiled the report at the Code Conference this morning. Naturally, there is a lot of buzz, instant analysis and debates about where we are headed in this market. Meeker is a well-known Wall Street analyst, who came out west and joined the storied venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2010.

I scrubbed through Meeker’s slide deck  of 197 pages, which includes the cover page, transition pages and acknowledgement. There is a lot to ingest that requires time, reflection and thoughtful consideration of what trends Meeker and her team uncovered through their research.

In the meantime here are some quick observations. So, what is the big story?

The big 20-year change =People connected 24/7 with mobile device.

Mobile phones, video and e-commerce is growing and folks want flexible work environment. Is there anything about boom and bust and overvaluation? Yes, there is. Meeker points ou there “pockets of Internet company overvaluation,” and some under valuation and that very few companies will win. Here is the clincher. Those few companies will win big.

Meeker also talks about the market in China and India. India is one of the top countries in new internet users and has the third largest markets she points out. She also underscores how mobile phones and apps are growing in India the big growth of mobile as percentage of e-commerce sale.

You can read and watch more about Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends here, here and here.

Photo courtesy: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers