All posts by mohittkws

love to write ...fiction ...reality ...poetry ...anything...with a story.... n yes, read!!

Month-end Financial Position as on 30th April 2018

Let me start this post by saying, “Ms-Excel is the best innovation for us simple folks who love the objectivity, the analysis and control over a subject.” So thank you Ms-Excel. Thank you Bill Gates!

 

Think of someone in 1995; 30-32 year old bloke and aiming for a similar control and documentation of his journey. How would he do it? Maybe filling up notebooks. Maybe selling & buying his shares, mf, bonds etc in physical form and maintaining a file for them. Maybe updating his bank-passbook every other day and tallying it up on month-end. So many “maybes” addressed by a simple invention… think about it.

 

Anyway back to basics for now. April 2018 was not much eventful so I really don’t have much to introspect upon. Even though 6-months into this blog, I see a trend – I am regularly being beaten by my “chosen” benchmark and I am not loving this feeling! Yet, I want to give more time to my calls, and so if this trend continues for another 6-month, I will definitely do something about the portfolio.

Nifty50 change Portfolio change
31/01/18 11,016.00 ₹ 9,95,00,000
28/02/18 10,489.00 -4.78% ₹ 9,97,60,000 0.26%
30/03/18 10,113.00 -3.58% ₹ 9,68,00,000 -2.97%
30/04/18 10,739.00 6.19% ₹ 10,09,97,951 4.34%

So in April, while the Nifty50 grew by 6.19%, my portfolio grew a paltry 4.34%! It essentially means if I had bought an index fund mirroring nifty50; I’d have been richer this month by 18lac rupees! I hope its not a costly miss….

 

Anyway, I reiterate what I said above. I want to give these calls a little more time, maybe another 6-months. Also, the same old mistake of “broker driven trading calls” continue to feature. Lets just say, I will grow up one day….

The problem with these numbers is – they just reflect your position AT THAT POINT OF TIME. They do not reflect any real profit or even loss. So one shouldn’t lose too much sleep over them. Rather a better way to look at it would be to see from point-of-purchase till point-of-sale.

So for example, if I was to buy the entire portfolio on 31st January 2018 and sell it ALL on 30th April 2018 (3-month), what would be the overall gain be? Here in my case, NIFTY50 has slipped from its 31st Jan levels, while the portfolio is in positive.

 

Time for some individual break-up –

Portfolio: ₹ 10,09,97,951
Direct Stocks ₹1,60,41,415 50%
Equity MF ₹3,46,97,786
Debt MF ₹3,21,06,750 49%
Bonds&FDs ₹1,73,10,000
HDFC Bank ₹2,34,000 1%
IndusInd ₹1,08,000
cash ₹5,00,000

 

2-3 months back, I had taken a deliberate call to do a 50:50 portfolio, and I am proud to share that this has been achieved. Again for the purpose of sanctity, I only target a 10% growth (because of high skew towards debt now).

 

 

BIGGEST LESSON FROM APRIL?

TO GET RID OF MY TRADING STOCK PORTFOLIO ! DETAILS BELOW 

(ps: these are only trading stocks. thankfully I have a separate long-term stocks portfolio with good holdings like RIL etc at dirt-cheap prices)

(pps: red-marked are poor emotional hangups and I know I need to exit them at a loss. I just dont know when..)

BHEL 28-02-2018 ₹ 90.15 5000.00 87.80
CANARA BANK 23-02-2018 ₹ 313.55 2000.00 265.95
DEEP INDUSTRIES 12-04-2018 ₹ 176.15 3000.00 155.85
GREAVES COTTON 23-04-2018 ₹ 127.85 5000.00 124.80
HCL INFOSYSTEMS 24-04-2018 ₹ 54.52 10000.00 52.30
HDIL 15-05-2017 ₹ 97.60 10000.00 33.25
HFCL 18-09-2017 ₹ 35.85 25000.00 27.90
HUDCO 12-07-2017 ₹ 84.20 7500.00 65.65
IDBI BANK 26-02-2018 ₹ 82.05 10000.00 66.15
IFCI 23-05-2017 ₹ 28.31 55000.00 19.90
JAIPRAKASH ASSOCIATES 28-03-2018 ₹ 19.40 70000.00 19.90
JINDAL STEEL 23-04-2018 ₹ 112.75 5000.00 92.25
L&T FINANCE 29-08-2017 ₹ 195.12 4300.00 173.05
NRB BEARINGS 26-04-2018 ₹ 180.20 4500.00 173.05
ORIENTAL BANK 28-02-2018 ₹ 97.40 5000.00 93.85
PATSPIN INDIA 12-07-2017 ₹ 27.69 13000.00 16.60
PC JEWELLERS 30-04-2018 ₹ 165.80 2500.00 144.50
PNB 01-03-2018 ₹ 100.90 10000.00 95.40

 

Look forward to recommendations. Please bail me out from this “obsession” to see off my trading portfolio in a no-profit-no-loss situation 🙂

F.I.R.E.

The very reason why this blog, this vent-out space came into being is a “fire in a belly” or a man possessed. Confused? Read on…

I think I have had a reasonable financial upbringing. My father rose from the bottom-of-the-rung to the very top (i.e. poor to an HNI) and my parents knowingly/unknowingly fed a lot of hunger for money in me as well. As they were poor once, they valued money and ingrained the Importance of Having lesson in me.

Except that, I turned out to be the joker of the pack.

Always drawn towards existential questions, meaning of life, social & even economic injustice etc; I think I ended up being that left-brain-dominated person who’d be often discontented in this societal war-zone crazy for money. Analysing myself, I realised I’d rather enjoy the Luxury of Being and like to spend my majority years cherishing fine arts, writing stories, day dreaming, star gazing or simply doing nothing (you can call me lazy – but hey, someone once said –

जो कुछ नहीं करते, वो कामल करते हैं ... 
those who dont do anything, do wonders

 

Net-result of these two diabolical viewpoints living inside me, I made a grand plan for myself. And thats where I learnt of this western concept of FIRE – Financially Independent Retire Early. The name is quite self explanatory, yet I shall spell it out for the uninitiated – FIRE is a conscious decision to retire/ quit the rat-race to make money 10-15-20-even more years ahead of your conventional retirement, and that living off that income. Take a moment to re-read and digest it.

 

Why do we work? To feed our ever-growing tummies, to have a roof on top, to wear shiny new clothes every month and to dine out every week, to watch a movie every two weeks and to take a vacation every six months. I guess that pretty much sums it up, right?

WRONG SIR. This is what our evolution has got us to…

Below is an excerpt I wrote for one of my upcoming books, in a part of The Roadtrippers Series –

Long ago, man was born free. He simply lived by instincts.

Hunted when required.
Slept when he felt tired.
Found companions for his needs.
Had kids. Prepared them for survival.
Importantly, he had skills to survive and wasn’t “slave to anything” from day 1…

There was no debt, no money, no taxes, no schools, no future planning, no tall buildings, no pollution, no fancy transport, no insurance, no gadgets, no show off, no peer pressure, no competition, no comparison – “only freedom”

 

 

tamasha2-1024x683.jpg

Remember VED from Tamasha? I bet he hadn’t heard of FIRE or else he wouldn’t have lost his girl, fought his parents and almost screwed-up his life. He would have simply gotten in-front of his laptop, done some numbers, lived a bit-of-a disciplined life and bingo – kept his FIRE and his sanctity intact.

 

Anyway as the above excerpt from my book and the movie Tamasha try to indicate – a man (or woman) is much more than the odd-bucks they work for month-on-month basis. But a man has to earn his daal-roti too. FIRE allows you to do both.

  1. Step 1 – Identify your recurring & non-recurring expenses. Right from your monthly rent, maid salary etc to your annual travel expense; account for it all. If your “annual number” is say 10-lacs, add an extra 10% for contingencies. The new number is x.
  2. Step 2 – Join a gym and preferably, consult a dietician too. Stick to them both.
  3. Step 3 – Multiply x by 25. so in the above case, the 11lac*25 = 2.75cr. Again add 10% for contingencies. The net result is 3cr or y.
  4. Step 4 – Put your current savings together. (do not count your primary residence as your ‘saving’). Say you have 60-lacs saved so far, you’re 80% away from your FIRE.
  5. Step 5– Save aggressively. Invest intelligently. Spend reclusively. Break down this journey to y in small parts, and do not try to match-up with your peers.
  6. Step 6 – Say you reach you y in 12 years. Good for you. Work another 6-months maybe. I am a fan of worst-case-scenarios after all. Keep repeating step 2 till it becomes your habit to do so.
  7. Step 7 – Invest your y fund in a mix of fixed-income & growth investment options. Keep a withdrawal rate of 4% per year. Hang up your booths and watch tamasha to discover what shall come next 🙂

 

Even though I have tried to put it too simply, it really isn’t. Besides the obvious hardships of savings, resisting the temptation to spend, harsh realities of monthly budgets etc; there are some hidden factors that creep in;

  • You will feel lack of motivation mid-way as it is a marathon and not a 100m sprint
  • You risk burnout
  • You maybe labelled a miser
  • your frustrations and insecurities may take-over

 

But don’t let the FIRE down…. Your self-worth will quadruple once you discover that this life is enough for everything that you can think of ! You just need to dream it better…

 

tamasha2-1024x683.jpg

Bucket List of Life

From the eyes of a 34-year old, who is sometimes happy, very introspective and often confused too.

But my eureka-moment came when i realised that unless i have a bucket list, i may be living my life a bit like the chicken who doesnt know when it will be out on the butcher’s table and be slaughtered.

No, i need to take more control of things. Even though i cant control the eventuality; i can still take charge of what i do upto that moment.

This bucket list is whatever came to my mind, in an hour of deliberate, solid and brutally-honest thinking. This represents my whole value system, who I am and what i want to be.

I am putting it out for all to read, for two reasons — (1) I want this pressure on me, to show myself out there (2) so that anyone who stumbles upon this post can do a similar exercise for himself/herself…

Earn, Earn and then, Earn some more

(1) Earn ****** INR every day.

Life is Expensive! Or for that matter, most of the stuff anyone puts on their bucket list comes for a price (unless one wants to ‘sit under the shade’ all day as their only entry)…

I am not overly materialistic, but you still have to earn to afford experiences. So earning X-amount of money is right up there on priorities list!

I am not sharing my actual number here because it shouldnt let anyone judge me.

life of a writer…

(2) Write several books

Now that I am a proud author of a published book — The RoadTrippers 1.0, i have that bug for life.

Part of the reason is to be remembered, but more of it comes from love for creating a story!

This is more of a “keep walking” kind of a goal.. must strive to write (and get published) a book every 3-years…

 

 

 

 

Health is not enough.. need some show-off too!

(3) Achieve the desired body

if someone says they are looking at health/ fitness as ‘the goal’ and not an envious body; they are lying. Its like saying — you have a large, successful business but no money in the bank 🙂 would you take that?

I want the perfect chest, the perfect back and ofcourse the perfect health too. Asking for too much?

 

 

 

 

keep up the surprises

(4) Keep her happy…

Now this is an on-going thing.. but also a very rewarding one (if you get it correct).. happy wife = happy life.. i cant make 365 days special for her, humanly impossible to do so.. so i shall strive to atleast make 1day (her birthday) special in some way..

 

 

 

 

 

Santorini & Spain..

(5) Travel to Greece and Spain

how can any bucket list be completed without loads of travel? i have been lucky, to have traveled a lot already… so the list now has Santorini, Greece as well as parts of Spain left..

 

 

 

 

Travel to Brazil

(6) Travel to Rio De Janeiro — Brazil

This is strange.. Brazil’s beaches, lifestyle etc may be attactive, but to an athiest (me), what has always attracted me the most is this Christ’s statue.. maybe because it stands for redemption?.. will find out when i get there

See pramids in Egypt

(7) Visit the Pyramids in Egypt

again.. more than countries in totality, its certain images or ‘being there’ attracts me.. Egypt’s Pyramids, mummies, their legendary stories have always been a point of fascination for me and will go there in this life certainly!

 

 

 

 

 

own a convertible car

(8) Buy a convertible

This is more of an emotional thing, stuck around with this thought for 8–9 years now. even though its not exactly a practical thought (Indian conditions!) but what the heck. Self-Pampering is a must in life..

 

 

 

 

 

start a cafe someday…

(9) Start a Cafe/ Coffee Shop

This is again a thought nurtured for a very long time. It doesnt have to be a run-of-the-mill setup though to make money — a proper chill-out space is what i am looking to do.. someday… and this one is strictly for the heart…

 

 

 

 

 

It is not for him, it is for ME

(10) Sponsor a child’s education

As the caption says, it will not be for the recipient, but it will be for the donor. The delight/ satisfaction i mean.

if i really could, i would start a school. but considering that it isnt happening (being practical here), i would sponsor someone for the entire stretch. As Mother Teresa famously said — “you dont have to feed a 100, you have to feed just 1”

For the love of movies

(11) Go Sky-Diving

not an adventure sport junkie, this one has caught my fancy from zindagi-na-milegi-dobara because i have always imagined myself like a bird and flying like them..

(12) Learn the guitar

The sexiest instrument ever… any music lover cannot stop from being attracted to it… only a lucky few play it… need I say more?

Meditate

(13) Learn to Meditate

life has to have a certain depth.. it cant be about living in the moment and not have time to introspect.. meditation however is a conscious, hard state to achieve and will probably need a lot of practise/ patience…

Get tipsy without drinking them

(14) Learn Wine Appreciation

this is for fancy.. it still intrigues me, seeing connoisseurs stir glasses as if they are separating m&m from a chocolate fountain!

Loneliness is charming too!

(15) Travel alone and sit silently for a couple of days

this is a twister… i need to do this periodically — maybe once a month/ a quarter/ an year but i need to do it to me..

being an introvert, it shall help my inner-self shed the skin i put around me for living in society.. some “me” time.. and there has to be no-one around when i do so.

for the Vanity

(16) Get an Interview in Delhi Times

are we allowed some vanity here? who wouldnt like to be featured in the “go-to media” of their city?

Its not that i have a definite plan of ‘how to get there’, but would like it to happen.. someday..

Try them all!

(17) World Cuisines — Try them all!

How can a foodie’s list be completed without it? last count, i had 20 known/popular cuisines in-mind..

1-INDIAN 2-ITALIAN 3-CHINESE 4-JAPANESE 5-LEBANESE 6-INDONESIAN 7-SCOTTISH 8-FRENCH 9-THAI 10-SPANISH 11-GERMAN 12-KOREAN 13-SOUTH AFRICAN 14-CARIBBEAN 15-AUSTRALIAN 16-GREEK 17-FILIPINO 18-MEXICAN 19-BRAZILIAN 20-AMERICAN

but i dont mind the list growing …

 

 

 

 

 

End of it all?

(18) Attain Enlightenment

This is a double-edged sword,,,

as the cliche goes — one sees light from holy abodement when they are dying.. i’d like to see it and achieve it while i am alive and not on deathbed…!


Anyone who reads the post CANNOT go without commenting or atleast sharing part of their own bucket lists. It will be a crime if you do so! 🙂

Top 10 Travel Movies!

Life would be a hollow lane if one wasnt given a window to travel. It would be montonous to the core, if there werent entertaining stories/ anecdotes in it.

Without spending much time on the intro, I intend to combine the two pleasures and create, possibly, the BEST EVER list of travel-movies to you. As the proud author of travel-fiction series The Roadtrippers ; I assure you that below list is as much researched as my book(s), and is of the highest quality.

Also the list is thoughtfully forged and focuses on movies where travel is an essential element of the story — and not used to only lend beautiful backdrops. So read the list, watch the movies and continue spreading love for travel —

(1) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

The original, or should i say, baap of travel-movies for Indians. Lets just also say, it is a cult-movie for travel when it comes to bollywood. There were four main protagonists here; Hrithik, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol and Spain!

Yes, Spain was captured breathtakingly (minus Barcelona and Madrid though former’s iconic airport grafitti did make an appearance) and the country soon emerged as one of the most sought-after tourism destinations from India.

But the movie didnt just include travel for the sake of it — their road-trip helps our “buoys” rediscover their bond and re-ignited themselves for this life which happens to you only once.

(2) EAT, PRAY, LOVE

This movie is the epitome of travel for global viewers, because of its popular main lead (Julia Roberts). And rightly so too.

This is the journey of a woman which exists in every single one of us — we expect so much from life and yet when we get so little, are disillusioned and looking for an escape. Well, she does just that and goes to Italy (eat), India (pray) and finally to Indonesia (love).

The movie is feel-good, divided neatly into three parts and each of them depict beautifully (though slightly cliched) of what is promised from the title. I was especially charmed by her Bali escapades, and it featured its beaches very soothingly. Once again, travel was a big hero.

(3) Into The Wild

I think of this movie and i think of the word “quintessence” to speak of it. This is the film where spirit of travelling, living a nomadic life and importance of journey is shown in the right way. Or should i say, the best possible way. Except for its ending.. (not giving away anything at all here!)

So this lost over-promising boy, decides to dump everything to live a minimalistic, gypsy life and goes hitchhiking through US, Mexico and to Alaska. His adventures are risky yet fascinating. His trip is almost a delusion, yet some of his fundas do make sense, “I dont need money, makes people conscious.” But in the end of it all, as he inscribes — Happiness real, only when shared, you realize the folly of his plan.

Wait no further and watch it if it can be the only travel-movie you could see.

(4) The Beach

This is my personal favourite (although in no way saying that it is the best of this list — the list is in no particular order) movie because of its simple, yet all encompassing message for searching-souls.

It showcases a mystery beach in Thailand (possibly Koh-Samui) and Leonardo DiCaprio (shown as a thin-pin adventure seeking guy). He and a French couple go there in search of a paradise which is isolated from the rest of the world, and breeds on a culture of its own.

The movie beautifully shows how we humans are looking for that perfect place (it could be a place for real or as a metaphor) and in its quest are willing to by-go everything that makes us ‘human’ in the first place. Yet in the end, we realize the emptiness and shallowness of it.

The gorgeous scenery is a big plus ofcourse.

(5) Dil Dhadakne Do

Only Zoya Akhtar really makes movies in India that have travel as an important element (few exceptions, nothing major there). And thats why the second entry on my list is also a movie by her.

She portrays bohemian people here, born to business families. She shows a dysfunctional family. She shows a cruise through scenic Mediterranean destinations. She shows Istanbul. All that works. (though what doesnt work is the title — the movie promised that it will be about letting people chase their career passions, but ends up begging for freedom about their life partners).

Still a deserved, worth-watching travel movie.

(6) The Way

I must admit, I found first twenty minutes of this movie quite boring. But by the latter half, i was amazed at how the simplicity of this feature-film had captured my spirit.

A simple storyline of a father who goes on a pilgrimage foot-journey to Camino Santiago in Spain (again Spain!) to honor his dead son, who died due a storm on the same terrain. He makes few friends and shares amazing memories with them, and by the end decides to dedicate his life to trail-walking.

There is fewer noise in this movie, less words spoken yet something magical about the whole portrayal that keeps you binding. And by the time THANK U song appears, you actually start feeling grateful for the life you’ve got.

(7) Under the Tuscan Sun

Initially I was skeptical, Americans have a strange obsession with Italy and Italians after all. But the movie has so much to offer.

So there’s this recently divorced lady who goes on a gay-group tour to Italy and ends up buying this abandoned mansion in Tuscany to start her life afresh! Where does she gets so much guts from! i ask myself (before quickly realising its a movie).

Anyway Italian sights are gorgeously captured. And so is her life hereon. Its a light, feel-good movie and very watchable for the travel alone!

(8) Honeymoon Travels pvt. Ltd.

Okay strange things first — all 3 bollywood movies on my list have a common connection, Reema Kagti. While the previous 2 had her as co-writer, this one also has her as Director. Kudos to her!

So here are 6 honeymoon couples to Goa, in a bus especially designed and chauffeured for them. How they explore each other (as is expected on a ‘honeymoon’) and their complexes in a funny+convincing way, form the core of its story.

The movie works for me for its simplicity. A bit over-the-top too, but relationships can be wild and what better place to get your first te-ta-te with them than your honeymoon 🙂

(9) A Good Year

Spain and Italy ticked. So how can France be left behind?

This not-so-hit movie has Russel Crowe, an unethical, cocky investment banker from London temporarily moving to France to take control over his late uncle’s vineyard. There he brushes with the resident vine-maker for years, his family, uncle’s illegitimate daughter and a feisty cafe owner in neighbourhood. He ends up realizing how life’s beauty lies in simple, small pleasures and chucks his high-profile brit-job to settle in this French town.

Again a sappy, feel-good/not-real kind of a storyline but it consumes you. No less because of a beautiful estate house in France, with a huge vineyard. If only I too had an uncle living there…

(10) Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Okay, I have saved the best for the last. Firstly, this is the third movie on list with Spain in it — officially explaining why i am travelling to this country asap.

Ofcourse the movies main parts are given away in the title itself. Where it worked for me was in showing love-relationships in a totally new light! Guy loves girl, girl is confused, her friend loves guy, guy loves her friend, girl loves guy, her friend loves guy’s ex-wife, ex-wife loves guy and friend, it goes on and on. And no, i am not making its fun at all! I am just giving a glimpse of this relationship paradox!

The movie must be seen if you are looking for something totally out-of-the-box.

But the biggest take-away for me was — how travelling to a new place (Barcelona here. Japan in another movie, ‘Lost in Translation’) can spoil you and suddenly corrupt your senses into this make-belief world that often doesnt exist.

— — — —

As the list ends, I know I couldnt possibly finish this post without mentioning a few more names. I thought long and hard about them, but finally couldnt include in this list atleast. they are —

Thanks for reading. please add your comments with your favorite travel-movies too.

ps: i love to be criticized and argued with, for my choices;)

10 things I would do if I had more time?

We all suffer from it, don’t we? We all are pressed on time — the most valuable resource we’ve ever had. Sometimes I wish the scenario in the movie In-Time was for real…

Anyway there is always “time” to sit back, relax, maybe pop open a can of beer and deliberate — what if i had more free time? What would i do?? (corollary. because i have all the time, i also have all the resources i.e. money, health etc… oh come on, its a fun exercise!)

(1) Pack myself in a bag and keep travelling.

The most cliched and over-used statement (ever!) on any blog, article or book of this kind. If you agree, then you must identify that perhaps, travelling is the most sought after leisure of all humankind.

Well, one must space it out wisely otherwise they risk a burnout. So if i had all the time (and no obligations), I’d keep travelling for a couple of weeks — every two months, and to a new place each time. No repeating.

(2) Watch all of IMDB’s top 100 movie lists.

There’s some old-world charm in sitting in front of the ‘idiot’ box, and watch bestest-of-the-bestest movies. Films are often a source of inspiration, values, culture (other blah blah too) — but i choose them for entertainment alone, and they are worth it.

(3) Stop trading Intimacy with Familiarity.

Okay honestly I am of that brigade that says, “we are done with social media.” At the same time, I have to resort to it from time-to-time because ironically, who has the time?

(4) Learn and play more music.

Because music is bliss. Pure, unadulterated.

Unfortunately though, you gotto have a ‘tunnel vision’ to learn and play it with panache. And that basically means more time at your disposal. But yes, the joy you get with this trade-off is unmeasurable too (damn you, numbers!)

(5) Write more often. Read more often, too.

I hate to admit it but my writing pace is quicker only to airtel’s network in my area of residence!

AND i last read a novel without any interruption when I hadnt become a father!

Enough said.

(6) Play video games like there’s no tomorrow.

I have often analysed video-games (read Roadtrippers 2.0 in 2020 to know what i am talking about) and almost always reached the conclusion that we adults stop children from playing them — because they are fun! and because we are not able to afford them ourselves! (in terms of time)

I remember winning the world-cup 2003 on my videogame as a revenge-act to Australian cricket team (the ‘real’ world cup final was lost only last month by our team) and its a pity that i didnt have any crackers to burn that evening…

(7) Teach my son some real world values.

There is a lot he will learn with time, but the process could have been expedited if only his busy pop (who is killing time currently by blogging) could spend more time with him. I really dont know how to describe this point here.

(8) Try some untried ‘sins’ of life.

I am sure almost 99% of you reading this post have tried alcohol. Or even cigarettes. Or even some nasty weed. Drugs. One-night stands. Skinny Dipping. Some other ‘harmless’ sins (as compared to the original ‘seven deadly sins’).

No? Then how about trying some of them with no-strings attached condition

(9) Drink like a fish.

Okay, much like above (8), drinking alcohol is more fun when you know you arent going to be blamed for/ accounted for — hangovers, drunk driving, ugly incidents of misbehave etc.

So if i had all the time in the world, all I’d probably opt for is have a big bottle of icy chilled beer with a large straw dipped in it.

(10) Drop ambition and not chase goals.

Lets be honest — ambition and goal chasing is self destruction beyond a point. Because it is an endless chase, where the goalpost keeps shifting. Also it ends up making you selfish, mean and often uni-dimensional. So if i had an unlimited supply of time (in the broader sense, as defined in introduction) — i’d not waste it chasing emptiness.

 

 

 

Thats it for this post. please post some interesting ideas to pursue if you had all the time too! It will get you thinking, and probably give some grey hair but it will all be worth it in the end! And yes, please read my book here – The Roadtrippers

Top 10 Food-Fan Moments!

I respect what i eat, food is one of the few pleasures of life which stimulates all senses — taste, smell, look, feel and sometimes hear too (ever heard the sound of coffee machine in action?).

So food deserves more attention that it gets, due to our chaotic lives and pompous egos.

Here is a list of my top ten food dishes thoughtfully created, amply supported by visuals. This is a ‘list of personal favorites’, more like my homage to them and doesnt necessarily feature any newbies/ wow dishes.

Read it, see it, and like me — rush out for your second dinner for tonight!!!

(The list is in no particular order. Distinguishing good food on basis of ranking is a crime, after all)

This humble looking dish can set you back by a thousand bucks!

(1) Dal Bukhara — ITC

Every North-Indian kid grows up eating his rotee with dal makhani; isnt even a news anymore. But once you taste the real blood.. err.. dal makhani from god’s home (ITC Bukhara, Delhi or ITC Peshawri, Agra/ Jaipur); you understand the phrase — “the difference between lion and wearing lion’s skin”.

Their dal is so delicious, i often end up eating their packeted-versions at home (with all its preservatives etc). Pity that these superficial five-star-restaurants do not allow kids for dinners anymore, else I’d be spending half of my income on Dal Bukhara every month!

Domino’s garlic bread with jalapeño dip

(2) Garlic Bread — dominos

Poor Domino’s Group and their management wouldnt even think in their worst of nightmares, that somebody living in a remote Delhi house could actually think of cheating them, ransacking their premises or lie point-blank to their home-delivery staff to eat their garlic bread+ dip combo! I have no shame to admit that i have done it, and will do it again and again (if need arises!)

I dont want to end up with legal bills here so wont reveal what had happened. But to sum it up, i can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the month.

(3) Alkauser’s kakori kebab roll

Its funny but a self-proclaimed food connoisseur (me) hadnt even heard of this place till a couple of years back. But having “found” it during a random conversation, I couldnt help but ending up there every other day to gorge-up their super-spicy, soft kakori kebabs.

It is said that Indian gods are vegetarian, and christian gods are not. I dont know about who’s who but certainly the former are missing some real stuff! I am agnostic anyway 🙂

Singapur Chowmein- Hot Pot, Rajinder Nagar

(4) Singapur Chowmein — Hot Pot

This is a true story. A Singaporean was once having a work-conversation and I ended up telling him about “Singapur Chowmein” and how is it different from “Hakka Noodles”. Believe me — we did not do any work for the rest of that day and he fell nano-meters short of booking his India-ticket to try out this chowmein version!

Above dish is sold at a food-truck near my abode, the place is so tacky (to some) that conservatives may not even try their food. But try reasoning this to folks who have tasted their singapur chowmein, and they will tell you the difference between living and breathing.

Sushi Platter

(5) Sushi — Wasabi by Morimoto

Japanese food is the latest craze in upmarket Delhi food scene and rightly so. Their food is light on the stomach, simple and super-healthy!

But beware of the fakes. Again going by Dal Bukhara example here of separating real lion from the unoriginal one. And so before sushi becomes the bread-pakodas of 2035; try it out at Wasabi by Morimoto.

Any gratitude will be accepted by me in form of food vouchers…

samosas — local patel nagar

(6) Samosas — local East Patel Nagar market halwai

I tried real hard on google; then Zomato; Swiggy; EasyDiner; Burrp; and 58 other food-sites (i almost ended up creating one of my own after this search!) but couldnt find the REAL NAME of this shop.

never mind, this halwai has been selling samosas before British came to India. Actually before Mughals. Lets just say, the samosa is still the same. and so is the chutney. And so is his shop set-up. We’d be happier if price was the same too…

But the samosas are worth every penny spent!

Image not attractive, the food is!

(7) Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce — Amici Cafe

Pardon the image here. I couldnt find anything better. If anglicised fish is your scene, Amici is the place to be. They have two versions, Lemon Butter Sauce and Pizzolia Sauce. It is difficult to pick a winner of the two (thats why i said — it is unfair to compare good food).

You find me a better angrezi-fish and I will end up treating you there!

Baihtak’s Navratan Korma

(8) Navratan Korma — Baithak

This one is for personal nostalgic value. It must have been the first restaurant I’d have frequently visited as a child and so their dishes stuck to my five senses ever since. I will reserve any eloquent description here, as they may not be pioneers of this dish. But again, this one is for memories.

Murgh Lababdar Biryani — Moti Mahal Delux, Rajinder Nagar

(9) Murgh Lababdar Biryani — Moti Mahal Delux, Rajinder Nagar

Haha, caught you! Now if you have read this far, you‘d know that a foodie’s list wont be completed without something out of his own den.

But again, the Murgh Lababdaar Biryani (with yakhni) cooked at our kitchen is like none other. I can tell you that the secret lies with spicy-sweet yakhni, or the caramelised onions, or the “dum” our chefs put in while preparing this one. But all this is crap.

We actually pick our chicken with great love, tender and care. We make sure that livestock is well-fed and is appropriate for slaughter, and then preserved along the right temperatures… Tell you what — all that is crap again.

The biryani is real good. period.

Tiramisu — Bigg Chill

(10) Tiramisu — Bigg Chill

All good meals end up with dessert. I could probably choose 10 other reasons (and dishes) to dine repeatedly at The Bigg Chill, but if i was 89-year old, confined to my bed and waiting for death to take me; I’d ask my nurse to get me a bite of this pastry.

Enough said…

Okay, i started out this piece with my personal top 10, but there’s always scope for more. So i include (11) Hazelnut Cappuccino from CBTLTechnically, its not even a dish. Its a drink. But its a drink that beats whisky, beer or rum for me. And all heavy meals usually do end up with a coffee which is often the case here…

Hazelnut Capuccino

Thanks for reading. Please spread your love for food by commenting with your fav dish and its source too. And yes, continue reading The Roadtrippers.

 

******* EDIT ******

From last 4-months I have turned into a “vegetarian” by-choice. The list however is reflective of my food experiences over last 34 years of my existence. I intend to do a re-post soon, an exclusive-veggie one!

******* EDIT ******

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Some say “There are no free lunches in life”, and maybe they are right too. I am forced to critique however, and remind them of an afternoon meal at a gurudwara, comprising of dal, sabzi and rice (pity if you havent had it ever..)

 

The point is — Best things in life often come for free.

 

Again cynics might question it, but our creator didnt put a price-tag at the stars. It is we who made star-gazing with a hi-fi telescope, from the top of a hill, in Tuscany, a “task” to sought-after, without which watching the stars wont be worth “facebooking” about.

So here’s a humble list of five life’s simple pleasures that actually are thrown-in complimentary. They are gifts of life which come without their wrapping-paper — now it is upto each one of us, individually, whether to retain them or to throw them away. But recognize we must.

(ps: like all other blog-posts, i request everyone who reads it to contribute and add those simple pleasures of life that make it beautiful)

 

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(1) Flirting or Romancing someone with your eyes.

I hope everyone has been to school. And been attracted to the opposite (or same) sex. And have had encounters where the above has happened. It comes without even asking for it.

The sudden charge of emotion, the wave it sends down your spine — is inexplainable through words. But is totally, totally worth enjoying again and again and again.

 

 

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(2) Hearing the right song.

There is something therapeutic about music, and if you are denying that — then either you are lying or you haven’t experienced bliss yet. Please excuse yourself the quest for any greatness from your job and try it out. It works when you are upset, angry, in love, remorseful or even in search for solitude.

 

 

 

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(3) A long walk in beautiful weather.

I just hope parks are used for more than make-out spots. I really do.

But a long walk in the neighbourhood park especially after a light drizzle, and misty bushes, with flowers blossoming and a bit of a chatter around — it all becomes food for soul. Unpaid for.

 

 

 

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(4) Reminiscing about old times with friends.

This one is my total favourite. And its a pity I get to enjoy it less often than I should. And i end up realizing its value more often than not, after such a session.

I think we mistake the term “experience” by referring to the value they bring to our work or our job. But true worth of this term is when we get to look back at that game of pool with our college buddies, or looking back at how our first date went etc. Walking down the memory lane doesnt cost a dime, but gives pure pleasure.

 

 

 

(5) The feeling after a healthy workout.

Our body is our true temple. And if we are not treasuring it, its going to cost us dearly sooner or later.

Anyway for those who are, they exclusively get to feel what I am talking about here. That workout could be at the gym, at the sports, or any other ‘noble’ form. But that giddy feeling of self-accomplishment it brings post-workout is undeniably good.

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Now I have deliberately kept this list short. Because this list could be quite personal, in the sense, there may be totally different five activities for you and I havent realized them yet. If only we could all spare some time and consciously create such lists for ourselves…

Keep reading The RoadTrippers Series.