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Idlicious – Pune January 23, 2010

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Ever since I returned from my stint in Chennai, I have come to know that what they serve in the name of ‘sambhar’ here, in most restaurants in Pune, is just a fraud. Like one of those Amitabh Bachhan lookalikes- they have the haristyle, and the adopted manner-rism, but no substance at all.

Vaishali, has ruled the South Indian food scene for ages in Pune. Inspite of the long waiting lines, any time of the day, any day of the week and any week of the year, the food is to die for. Plain and simple.

Today, I finally went to a new South Indian joint in Baner, called Idlicious. Sparsely furnitured, but very clean.

The menu is simple, and to the point, with the prices that are very friendly. On top of the usual South Indian fare, they also serve lunch thali, and daily specials. They, however do not serve parathas, understandably so.

We ordered a plate of Idli – Wada, a plain masala dosa (soft), tomato utthappam, a tumbler of piping hot rasam and buttermilk.

The food was served quickly, was piping hot and very very appetizing at sight! The accompaniments included cocunut chutney, sambhar and is asked for, podi (powder chutney). Frankly speaking i was disappointed with the coconut chutney, and to some extent the sambhar as well. The chutney was not thick, as it is meant to be, but rather a slightly liquidy affair. The sambhar also did not meet the bar, but was more like daal, with stuff bolied and added. I am not saying that the sambhar was totally bad, but it could have been better.

The rasam was simply too good. It was hot, spicy and you could feel it going down your throat and settling in that very special place, where only mother’s food can reach. I’m still relishing the thought of the rasam ‘crusing’ my insides.

Our total bill came to Rs 125, which I must say, is a pleasant surprise in these times.

I would recommend this place to all. It’s ideal for a brunch sort of thing on a lazy Sunday.

Next time, i am going to try the curd rice. Friendly voices have told me, it is out of this world.

Paranormal Activity January 17, 2010

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Just the other day, Sonal and I were discussing, how we haven’t been treated to a really scary horror movie like Bhoot or Omen. Most of the so called horror movies coming out of Hollywood (Dawn of the Dead, 28 days/weeks/months/light years later etc) has been pure and unadulterated trash. Even Bollywood, with offerings like Vastu Shashtra, hasdn’t come up with any thing worth remembering.

‘Paranormal Activity’ was what it took to break the monotony of the typical horror movie definition. Devoid of any blood, gore or loud absurd music, the movie targets our primal fear.

At the heart of the movie is a young couple, Katie and Micah, who feel that there is something ‘not human’ in their house. The man of the house decides to take care of ‘things’ on his own, by filming the unexplainable activities in their house. The camera is ‘on’ even while they sleep. What follows is best described as eerie and heart stopping. Moving doors, lights switching on and off by itself, heavy footsteps, sleepwalking Katie, and other stuff which will surely have a chill running up and down your spine.

What made the entire movie so believable was the minimalistic use of technology and the way that it was shot. The entire movie is shot using a hand held camera, which gives it an air of authenticity. There were many scenes in the movie where I gasped in sheer horror, and had to tell myself that this was just a movie. Before, i went in the theater, a lot of folks had told me that the movie was over hyped, and my expectations were set accordingly. The movie is anything but over hyped. The girl sitting in the row in front of us was sobbing the loudest that i have ever seen anyone cry.

Oren Peli, the director, has done a marvelous job with the camera works, and i can safely say that he may have just started a new trend of movie making.

Even the college crowd, who can typically take the fun out of any late night horror flick, were shut up for once.

I guess no one slept with the lights off yesterday. I know, i didn’t.

Paranormal Activity is a must watch for the horror fans out there.