Tag Archives: Gujarat

Saraswatichandra- First impressions



Finally the waiting ends and Saraswatichandra comes into plain view. The first episode ends and I know that I’m going to be occupied on weekdays from 1930 to 2000 hours, with my eyes glued to the TV. J

After watching all the promos of the show, I am hoping that this show is going to bring a revolution in the field of Television.  At least in the show, I hope I won’t complain about the sets or the make-up being garish, as it is in the other TV soaps. It already looks as if it will be a “no expenses spared” kind of show.

Through the first episode, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has lived up to the name he made in the world of Cinema, as a man who does not do things by half. Both the settings in Dubai as well as in India are grand and the introduction of the characters just as powerful. The music quite reminded me of “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”. I’m also reminded a little bit of the movie “Saraswatichandra” made in 1968, starring beautiful Nutan and its songs. The songs of this movie are evergreen in my memory.

SLB is known as a romantic who wishes for the stories to have a happy ending but is unable to do so. Not that one can blame him for the way this story will unfold, of course since the original is a tragic love story.

The original Gujarati novel “Saraswatichandra”, written & set by Govardhanram Tripathi in 19th-century feudalism in India,  from which Sanjay Leela Bhansali has adapted his screenplay, is divided into four parts. The first is a love story between Saraswatichandra and Kumud Kumari. The second encompasses the life of an ideal housewife; the martyr, in the form of Gunsundari. The third part focuses on the displays of political nature in the lives of the characters, whilst the fourth is dedicated to the sadhus of Sundargiri, who talk about 18 ways of being an active Sanyasi while living in the material world.

It is said that the entire novel; all four parts of it covers 150 characters in total, with the inclusion of kings, ministers, Englishmen who ruled over the country at that time, as well as middle and lower class families. The novel is all about these characters and their life experiences/struggles.

If Mr. B goes as per the novel, he will show the mental and physical struggles that all characters go through, along with the third kind of struggle that two main characters; Saras and Kumud have to go through- struggle against the rules and norms of the society. The question of what is right and what is wrong will persist endlessly during the entire story. One will be reminded of Shakespeare and his women characters while watching the female characters of the story.

I am hoping to see and discuss the glaring and subtle differences that will pop up in the show with the readers and viewers of the show. Of course the show is set in the modern world, modern surroundings. The male lead, Saraswatichandra is living in Dubai but holds on to his old country culture- the way he prays to the Sun and touches the feet of his late mother and step mother- they are all quite right in characters, as is his defiance in small matters. The suit that he wishes to wear for the party is just as dashing but without the mark of richness that his step mother would prefer him to wear. These subtle games of mind and differences, I’m hoping to see more.

Then there is Kumud- the lively, emotionally strong and already matured character. Kumud is what an ideal daughter would be- smart, beautiful, engaging, lovely voice, intelligent, obedient of her parents’ wishes (most times) and well aware of her responsibility as a daughter of the house. Yet, one sees her small act of rebellion when she says no to the proposal without hearing much about it.

In a way, both Saras and Kumud are similar. Bound by their manners and yet giving out hints of their stubborn nature and their internal strength. They will consider it all but in the end, do what they think is right.

With the end of the first episode, the stage has been set for the first meeting of Kumud and Saras who have no interest in each other and very different views of life. Let us wait and see what happens in the next episode.


Trying hand at Sindhi delicacies

Western India includes Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. While I’ve had some amazing food from Maharashtra, I’m not too big a fan of Rajasthani food (mainly because it’s too hot). However one region I find that has an amalgamation of lots of cultures is Gujarat. Here one can find hot, spicy, sweet, sour and even bitter tasting food eaten with relish.

I grew up in Kutch, Gujarat where cultures blend together beautifully.  Kutch boasts of population that mainly consists of Sindhis (people who came to Kutch as refugees from Sindh region), Kutchis and Gujaratis among others. As a consequence, Sindhi food made its presence felt in my early days. I remember these aunties in the neighbourhood who used to cook mouth-watering food. They’d always bring some to cute little me. 🙂

Here are two recipes I decided to try my hand at yesterday. While the first is a healthy dal mixed with a bit of green and can be eaten with any kind of bread or rice,  the second is a flat bread. You could eat it any time when you’re feeling a bit peckish– tea-time, for lunch with curries and other veggies, you could spread some jam or butter over it and eat it and so on. I remember eating this bread mostly with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top. Enjoy!


1) Sai Bhaji

Prep Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2.5 hours



  • 3 Tbsp. Split Bengal Gram, washed and soaked in warm water for 2 hours
  • 2 bunches English spinach, roots cut off, washed and chopped roughly
  • 1 handful of fresh dill leaves
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped fine
  • 1 handful fenugreek leaves (if you are unable to find fresh leaves, you can buy a packet of “Kasuri Methi” and follow the instructions given on the packet before adding it to the recipe. Available in Indian stores.)
  • 1 large potato cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 large onion cut into 1″ cubes (to be used later and not mixed with the rest of the vegetables to boil)
  • 1 cup chopped (1″ cubes) eggplant/aubergine (optional)
  • 8-10 French beans, tops and tails cut off and strings removed (optional)
  • 1 carrot cut into 1″ thick circles (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped (1″ cubes)  elephant yam (optional)
  • 1/2 Tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 Tsp. coriander powder
  • 1″ piece of ginger grated
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 finely chopped green chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh Coriander leaves to garish


Mix the Bengal gram, vegetables, coriander powder, turmeric powder and ginger in a deep pan/pressure cooker. Add ½ cup water and cook till is done. The hint of the dal being done is when you can mash it to a pulp. Do NOT use the blender to mash it, but do it gently with an egg beater. It is meant to be a thick dal but if you feel it is too thick or dry, add some water and stir it for a bit. Add salt to taste and stir. Leave it aside for the time being.

In the meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan on medium low heat. Add garlic and let it pop until it turns golden brown. Now add cumin seeds to it along with green chillies. Cover it with a  lid and let it pop for about 10 seconds or so. Add onions to it and fry them till well done. Add this mixture to the resting dal and stir to blend well. Garish it with coriander leaves and serve it piping hot with Chapattis.


2) Koki Roti (Onion flatbread):

Koki flatbread



  • 2 cups – Wheat Flour
  • Oil
  • ½ cup Zucchini (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 – Onions
  • 2 – Green chilly
  • Coriander Leaves


Chop onions finely and add finely cut green chillies, small cut pieces of Zucchini & coriander leaves. Add them all to the wheat flour along with salt to taste and 5 Tbsp. oil. Mix all the content properly and add a bit of water to it from time to time as you knead the mixture. Make sure the dough is soft but not too soft. You can store this dough in the fridge for about 3 days.

finished kneading Koki dough

Take it out 30 minutes before you plan to make Koki flatbread. Divide the dough into small rounds and roll them with a bit of flour into about an inch thick round bread one by one.

Take an omelette pan heat it on low flame. Place one rolled bread on to it and flip it when one side is done. Spread a bit of butter on the done side and wait for the other side to be cooked. When the other side is done as well, flip it again and  spread some butter on this side too. Now take it down and place it on a plate and roll the next Koki to cook. The entire process of cooking the Koki roti takes not more than a minute once it’s rolled.

Serve it with curd/ pickle/ poppadum/chutney/butter/tea/ cooked vegetables/dal, etc.


*Thanks to Sindhirasoi.com for the Koki photo*