The fab Festivelle brunch

When the lovely duo behind Festivelle, Gul Panag and Shruti Seth, invite you to a Festivelle get together over lunch, you put on your pointy shoes and a sharp dress and make sure you’re there because where else can you find a gathering of such wonderful, super achieving women all in one place, letting their hair down and having a great time.

Given I rarely get out into the world from my cave, this was the perfect opportunity to catch up with dear pals and fab authors Shunali Khullar Shroff, whose recent release Love In The Time Of Affluenza is flying off the shelves, and Meghna Pant, who is hard at work on her next which I can’t wait to read. There was the lithe Swaty Singh Malik down from Delhi especially for this get together, Shyni Shetty, Anu Menon or as we know her better, Lola Kutty, Sonali Gupta, Smriti Kiran of MAMI, Anupama Kapoor, Nupur Sharma of PR Pundits, Preeta Sukhtankar of The Label Life, Mini Mathur, Maria Goretti, Nikhila Palat who brought the actual star of the afternoon in her arms, her little baby, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ishika Mohan Motwane, Simple Kaul, Sandhya Mridul, and I’m missing some names here, but they’ll come back to my ageing brain eventually.

Great conversations, great fun and a fun time had by all. Thanks Shruti, Gul and Festivelle, with Layal who keeps it all together, for the lovely afternoon. And the goodies from Just Herbs, Jean Claude Biguine, and Kerastase were absolutely delightful!



Of fusion and khichdi: Tresind Mumbai

The other day, the very wonderful and insistent Komal Lath finally wore down my resistance and had the offspring and me at Tresind in BKC at Mumbai for a meal. Did we enjoy it, well just let’s say the offspring didn’t have dinner that day and he’s not a chappie to miss his victuals.




The interiors are subtle and tastefully done. Copper, gold, eggshell and marbled paneling make for a muted palette which allows the food to stay centre stage. The seating is thoughtfully spaced out so you’re not cheek by jowl with the next table and are spared of their conversation intruding yours.

When you enter, they have a really snazzy ritual of putting an aromatic smoke thingie on your table to perfume the immediate area and whet your appetite. I was gobsmacked by the gorgeous show plates. They were immediately removed to make way for more practical plates for the actual messy task of eating, but they pleased me enough, given I’ve long decried the terrible trend of slates, blocks of wood, aluminium and tin plates and more.

I loved the showmanship at Tresind. They made presentation and experience part of the experience, smoothly and surely, but most importantly, they didn’t let it overshadow the flavour and taste of the dishes. Mixology, molecular gastronomy and fusion were the core drivers of the experience.

I am no food blogger, so forgive me the lack of detail. My mocktail came in a long container which had dry ice put into it, with a whole slew of infinite stuff which overwhelmed me and I finally dared taste it when it cooled down. Lava Lamp they called it. Most delicious. The offspring had a custard based mocktail which came in a boat like contraption, which I forgave it because it was so smooth.

For the starters, I had lettuce rolls with prawns and the offspring settled for Tandoori Lamb Chops with Rosemary reduction served with ghee roast potatoes. The main course was Kosha Mangsho with green peas kachori for him, and Chicken Sukka with Neer Dosa for me. Edible petals added colour and texture to the dishes. The star dish of the day though was their khichdi which elevates the humble dish to a ritual with ingredients from across the states of India being added to it, while it is still on the brazier on the table. The chef explains the raison d’etre behind making a performance of a humble dish, which to be honest, is considered comfort food in most homes across the country and not really something you would associate with fine dining.


Desert was Pina Colada, which is coconut rosogulla, lemongrass espuma, and pineapple sorbet, which the offspring and I ended up sharing because we were stuffed to the gills. The copra shavings on the dish added flavour, texture and nostalgia, growing up as one has in Mumbai with these part of pancakes and curries.

We emerging blinking into the late afternoon, sated yet not overfull, perhaps a mark of how light the food was. Do I recommend it? Highly. I found that the experience, the presentation and the knowledge the staff had about the dishes and the purpose and idea behind them was wonderful. Well worth a visit. Or two.



Magical Women. Stories edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

Of Books and Reading

Magical Women Title: Magical Women
Stories edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-9388322027
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 232
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

An anthology isn’t easy to edit. There are varied voices – each with their own agenda, writing style, and each writer that adds wonderfully to the collection. Sukanya Venkatraghavan, author of Magical Women has done a wonderful job of the anthology of 14 Indian women writers writing fantasy and all things magical in the aptly titled, “Magical Women”.

All these stories may seem similar at some level, and probably they are – most of them reflect on Indian magical creatures and stick to making them relevant for our time and age. What is also wonderful is how the “feminist angle” is subtle, but strong. It doesn’t shout out from the rooftop, but it is there – in your face, making you aware of how you read some…

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When the #MagicalWomen coven gathers

Nirav Mehta of the Broke Bibliophiles kindly invited the authors and editor of the Magical Women anthology to a book reading at their May meet at Social, Khar this Sunday morning. Much fun was had and here are a few pics to prove it. Apart from yours truly, there was the editor and witch in chief, Sukanya Venkatraghavan, Sejal Mehta, Nikita Deshpande, Tashan Mehta and Ruchika Roy, all of whom had a story in the book, and in attendance, Vivek Tejuja, Ishmeet Nagpal, Chandni Parekh and many more.

We all read from our stories and discussed the stories, the process, speculative and fantasy fiction in India and more. And yes, if you haven’t ordered your copy yet, here is the link.

Mommytincture reviews Karmic Kids

Four years after it is out, Karmic Kids still gets the occasional review. Thanks Mommytincture for this one.


Book Review – Karmic  Kids by Kiran Manral

If you are looking to let off some parenting steam (the one that builds up due to the never ending fatigue and constant pressures of being a parent)from your system, Karmic Kids is THE BOOK for you.

I am a fan of Kiran Manral’s writing style for the humor that she weaves into her accounts of day to day incidents that probably occur in every household raising a young child. But each of the accounts when read through her words makes parenting sound not much of a task and even chuckle worthy.

Karmic Kids starts from the time of the birth of a child to the protagonist (who is in all her rights and glory the author herself). As she traverses through the milestones of her bundle of joy, she not only narrates such incidents in her typical sometimes humorous and sometimes satiric style; but also at the end of every chapter brings in another mother’s perspective as a parenting tip at large.

The topics covered in the book, vary from feeding, timely hitting of milestones, handling toddler tantrums, adjustment, learning issues to teenage issues such as need for independence, and the significance of helping the build-up his self-esteem and confidence.

At most of the places, the author does manage to get a logically successful conclusion and seemingly can-never-fail parenting tips. But the fact that she has been a real mother with some real parenting issues, is reflected in stances where she talks about her failures and how she dealt with them in a constructive way.  One such point in book is where the author admits that she had a horrendous time trying to get her boy to become an enthusiastic reader.  She goes on to record how she came to gracefully accept this particular personality trait of her son, yet decides to never give up.

If you are looking for a parenting self-help book that is full of gyaan, but more than that it is a candid story full of chuckle worthy and at some points a loud laugh worthy moments, from a mother who has faced all those issues of parenting that there are to live through.

P.S. – I have to admit here that throughout the book (or at least the part where the boy lives through his first six years of life) I found myself either nodding my head in agreement, shaking it in empathy or grinning widely at the absurdity of it all.

In the HT Brunch today

… with Andaleeb Wajid, Anita Nair, Abeer Hoque and Rakshanda Jalil.

5 women authors pick their heroes

First we had 5 male authors talk about their favourite literary sheroes. This week, it’s a role reversal!

BRUNCH Updated: Apr 13, 2019 23:50 IST

Sarah Mirza
Sarah Mirza
Hindustan Times
kiran manral,andaleeb wajid,abeer hoque
Here’s who female authors love from the books

Picked by: Kiran Manral

“Bertie Wooster from P.G. Wodehouse is a boy who never quite grew up and never will, he definitely does elevate and, for all his muddle headedness and confusion he holds a right mirror to us trying to get out of various situations life throws at us, unfortunately not always with the hilarity that ensues when he does.”


Read the rest here. 

#MissingPresumedDead in The Sentinel

“Women can zip their lips, but when they open their minds and pen, they speak more than just words. They pen down heart, mind, soul and lives – real lives. Here are a few women writers, who have made a difference in 2018 and created gyres in the literary world, and the world (as a whole). Here are some of them….

Popular Indian author and blogger Kiran Manral’s “Missing Presumed Dead is a riveting spine-chilling whodunit, which has a mentally unhinged protagonist and other undependable and untrustworthy characters. The plot has unexpected twists and turns that brings us face to face with the brittleness of relationships. Her first novel, “The Reluctant Detective” and “Karmic Kids” have become popular. Kiran is also the founder of India Helps, a network of volunteers who assist disaster victims.”

Read the original here