Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Helpline - Book Review

If this book wasn’t recommended to me by a friend, I would’ve definitely missed out on it as this is not the kind of book I usually pick off the shelf. The first look of the book, its title and the introduction, give a grim impression of the story. On the cover, words like depression, dreams, pressure, pain, failure, void, form the silhouette of a young guy pointing his hand above his ear in a gun-like gesture; blood splash on the wall; "THE HELPLINE" written in blood red.

The back blurb…

Samir is suicidal. Rachael works for a suicide helpline. Fate connects them through a phone call. And so begins Samir’s story of love, longing, errors, regret and a girl who changed his life.

The helpline Rachael works for is said to be mysterious. What can be so mysterious about a helpline I wondered. So, Samir is a frustrated young lad and Rachael is the girl who changed his life. Simple? No.

The story keeps alternating between present and flashbacks. The start is a bit slow but the story gradually picks up speed. I finished reading the second half of the book in one go. As the writer makes you juggle between the past and present of Samir’s life, you will realise that you know him. You have at least one person in your knowledge who is or was in a similar situation. An increasing number of teenagers are attempting suicide for unfathomable reasons and not many have been brave enough to explore this topic.

Never judge a book by its cover. In this case, don’t judge the book by its editorial mistakes. Yes, there are some easy-to-spot grammatical errors in the book which can be easily ignored if you concentrate on the story. At least I did.

Though this is his debut book, the writer, Uday Mane, seems to be a natural storyteller. He has very intelligently, with his story-telling, given insights on behavioural patterns and emotional wants of a suicidal person. I had taken up this book expecting it to be another teenage love failure story by an upcoming Indian author. And boy, I was proved wrong! This book has made me want to start reading books by Indian authors that are good but not lime-lighted to their worth. 

So before you go and find out Samir’s story, do recommend if you know of any such books.

You can buy the book here: 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Authentic Sindhi Curry Recipe

Sindhi kadhi or curry is the highlight of Sindhi cuisine. Whenever I am to treat friends to Sindhi food, Sindhi curry is the most awaited dish, after Dal Pakwaan ofcourse. It is a fairly simple preparation usually paired with rice. You can keep the rice for cooking simultaneously and your complete meal will be ready in 30 minutes only!

1 Gram Flour
2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
5-6 pieces Kokam
2 tsp Tamarind
2-3 wholes of Green Chilli
7-8 wholes of Sweet Neem Leaf
Fresh Coriander - For Garnishing
1 ltr Water
½ cup Cooking Oil
2 tsp Red chilli powder
1/4 tsp Powdered Turmeric

Vakharr (Vegetables):
200 gms in wholes Cluster Beans
200 gms Potatoes - cut in 4 pieces each
100 gms Ladies Finger - slashed in between vertically and cut in horizontal halves
100 gms Ivy gourd - cut in horizontal halves
100 gms Indian round gourd) - cut in 4 pieces each
2 Drumsticks - cut in finger-length
100 gms Cauliflower
1 finely chopped Tomato
The choice and quantity of vegetables can be changed according to personal preferences.

Any thick base utensil like Pressure Cooker or Stockpot.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Soak the tamarind in ½ a cup water

Pour oil in the cooker followed by mustard, fenugreek, curry leave and cumin seeds on a medium flame.

Add gram flour when mustard seeds start crackling.

Keep roasting the mix till flour turns reddish
Enjoy the smell of roasted gram flour.
Warning: You might experience mouth-watering here on

Add turmeric and red chilli powder and start stirring.

Add water followed by salt while still stirring.

Add vegetables (Optional)
  • Start with beans and ivy gourd as these take a little time to cook.
  • In 5 minutes, add Indian round gourd and potato.
  • Let it cook for 2 minutes then add cauliflower.
  • In 10 minutes, add ladies finger and drumsticks.
  • Toss in tomato and green chilli.
  • Cover with lid for 10 minutes or until all the vegies get cooked (fork-tender).
Smash the tamarind to extract the pulp thoroughly. Filter the tamarind water.

Add kokam and tamarind water to the boiling curry, stir for a minute.

Serve with coriander garnishing and enjoy the simply nutritious and healthy Sindhi food.