Logo

Who is talking?

Archive

Melghatavaril Mohar

almost 2 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I recently read a marathi book named - "Melghatavaril Mohar" on the lives of Dr. Ravindra Kolhe and Dr. Smita Kolhe. It has been written by Mrunalini Chitale. I was totally engrossed with reading the book and felt very proud of Dr. Ravindra and Smita Kolhe.They have made tribal upliftment the motto of their life. When Dr Ravindra Kolhe started nursing the poor tribals Melghat-- Maharashtra’s most malnourished area-- in 1989 the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) there was 200 per 1,000 infants. Now, it has come down to 60. His fee is just Rs 2 for the first consultation and Rs 1 for the second. Not only medical services, but they have touched upon each and every aspect of the villagers' lives, thus forming a strong mutual trust amongst them. They also faced many problems, but they converted these challenges into opportunities.It certainly needs a lot of courage to take such kind of decision in early ages and more important to do the work with persistence and self-confidence. I really appreciate the work of Dr. Ravindra and Smita Kolhe. Everyone must read this great book and try our best to contribute our share to such noble souls.!

Zapoorza - part 2

over 2 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Completed reading Zapoorza - part 2.Again a wonderful experience reading the lives of great English/French/Russian writers/poets and their enormous work !This book covers brief introduction to following writers and their literature work -Honoré de Balzac, Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Miller, Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Brontee sisters, Gustave Flaubert,  Anton Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, D.H. Lawrence, Boris Pasternak, George Orwell, Pablo Neruda, Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco and Gabriel Marquez.Respected Achuyt Godbole Sir, I am eagerly waiting for part 3 of this book series ! Thank you very much again !

Zapoorza - A brief overview of English/Western literture

over 2 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Few days ago, I read a Marathi book written by Achyut Godbole - 'Zapoorza' - A brief introduction to English/Western Literature by terms of walking us through lives of greatest English writers and their literature summary.There are two parts of the book, out of which I read part 1. This book very nicely covers the lives of greatest English writers in brief and interesting stories behind the birth of greatest novels /dramas/ poems.This book includes world class writers such as William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Henrik Ibsen, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway,Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.The 2nd part of the book includes some more famous writers such as Honoré de Balzac,Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Miller, Thomas Hardy, etc. to name a few. For a person who wants to touch upon the wide variety of the English/western literature, these books are a really good choice. I am planning to read the 2nd part of this book in near future.Thank you to Achyut Godbole for this excellent work !

"Keep calm and just do it"

over 2 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

“Keep calm and just do it” - Nirmalism

"Good is enemy of Perfect, Perfect is enemy of Done then Good must be friends with Done"

over 2 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

“Good is enemy of Perfect, Perfect is enemy of Done then Good must be friends with Done” - Nirmalism for my fellow BAs, PMs and developers learning Agile

Making huddles more effective!

over 2 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Having coached 40+ teams, I often find Scrum Masters runs into a situation where their teams finds the huddles extremely boring and a waste of time.  Often the symptoms are the same: The Scrum Masters call each team members name one by one as they give their status. The team members address the three routine questions (What I did yesterday, what I am doing today and if I have any impediments) without sharing anything other than “I was working on fixing Bug X which is resolved, I am working on task Y and no impediments” In some situations I have run into teams where a number of team members just say “I’ve done nothing yesterday, I have nothing to do today and no impediments”. The team members are often reporting to the Scrum Master or to the team member leading the huddle in case the facilitation is being rotated. In other teams, the members share information not related to the story or their work – e.g., baby sitter didn’t arrive on time, had to fix bathroom leak, was called into another meeting.  (There are merits to having team members share this information however, there are better ways to facilitate this than as part of the status). In almost all situations, I have found such teams to benefit from using a virtual task board or a physical Kanban board to anchor and structure their conversation.  The reason why I think this has worked so often is that in Agile the team swarms around a story/task and tries to get it “Done”.  The team is self organizing but it does so around a goal/objective which tactically is a story in progress.  I suggest that the Scrum Master simply assemble the team around such a task board and set the expectation that team members involved in the specific story will provide their status and report any impediments and that the Scrum Master will not call our their names or dictate the order in which they provide their status but will be taking note of the impediments.  This has worked remarkably well.  It puts team members in a narrower context and makes it easy for them to start a conversation.  They don’t have to think too hard about what they were working on as it relates to the specific story/task before them.  I encourage other team members to inquire details if needed for their own tasks or if they anticipate impact on their stories.  Overall, it remains a much lively conversation, there is active collaboration, things get solved and everyone is on the same page. I have read a number of posts on user groups and on blogs of Agile purists that think this way of conducting huddles is falling back on “command and control” style.  My experiments and observations tell me otherwise.  The Scrum Master is simply setting a norm and setting expectations on the agenda.  The team then makes the agenda their own and achieves the desired objectives.  I often insist that the Scrum Master not ask questions that are specific to a story.  If there is an aspect of the story that should have been discussed but has not, I encourage Scrum Masters to ask very broad questions to provoke thinking.  (e.g., Have we covered all aspects of this story or is there more to discuss?).  If the team still does not bring it up, I suggest that the Scrum Master save that for an offline feedback or a 1-on-1 conversation with the concerned team member. If this hasn’t worked for you, I would love to hear from you about your experience and understand your context and details.

Nirmal Merchant's invitation is awaiting your response

over 2 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Nirmal Merchant would like to connect on LinkedIn. How would you like to respond? Accept: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=30Qe3kNcjoMc34PcPsQczsOejkZh4BKrSBQonhFtCVF9CJRsz8JgAp3fnBBiShBsC5EsOoVclZMu6lvtCVFfmJB9D9Bp6VFrmlObnhMpmdzoiRybmtSrCBvrmRLoORIrmkZpSVFqSdxsDgCpnhFtCV9pSlipn9Mfm4Ctj8Jqjtzrn9IcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRBfP9SbSkLrmZzbCVFp6lHrCBIbDtTtOYLeDdMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= View Nirmal Merchant&n.com/blink?simpleRedirect=ej5vs7xBnTpKqjRHpipOpmhKqmRBsyRQs6lzoS4JoyRDtCVFnSRJrScJr6RBfmtKqmJzon9Q9DpMrzRQ9DkObmAToSROr35FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= You are receiving Reminder emails for pending invitations. Unsubscribe here: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=1JrSd5cylOr69JtngMd2lWomByoC5Uc3sRfmNFomRB9z0Sc30OfmhF9z0Qe3kNcjoMc34PcPsQczsOejkZp6BD9zANnT1UplZSrCAZqSkCoDlPrDkJpyRzoClJnSRJrScJr6RBfmtKqmJzon9Q9CZLpPRQ9DkObmAToSROr35FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= You received an invitation to connect. LinkedIn will use your email address to make suggestions to our members in features like People You May Know. Unsubscribe here: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=tj8Jqjtzrn9IcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRAqmkCpR1ScP53kRl2sPxGcCVGl4RAnQRAd5p3jkB5bn9BlARqkD1am6R6h3cRjQlJl75OnTlkqj9abmQPu5xkuj0TqRl1gk51pAhki4wUi6Zgd4phgjRAqmZI9zANnT1UplZSrCAZqSkCkjoPp4l7q5p6sCR6kk4ZrClHrRhAqmQCrDlIfngCtj8Jqjtzrn9IcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRBfP9SbSkLrmZzbCVFp6lHrCBIbDtTtOYLeDdMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= Learn why we included this at the following link: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=0Ue3sQfmh9pmNzqnhOoioVclZMu6lvtCVFfmJB9CNOlmlzqnpOpldOpmRLt7dRoPRx9DkObmAToSROr35FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= © 2014, LinkedIn Corporation. 2029 Stierlin Ct. Mountain View, CA 94043, USA

Nirmal Merchant's invitation is awaiting your response

over 2 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Nirmal Merchant would like to connect on LinkedIn. How would you like to respond? Accept: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=30Qe3kNcjoMc34PcPsQczsOejkZh4BKrSBQonhFtCVF9CJRsz8JgAp3fnBBiShBsC5EsOoVclZMu6lvtCVFfmJB9D9Bp6VFrmlObnhMpmdzoiRybmtSrCBvrmRLoORIrmkZpSVFqSdxsDgCpnhFtCV9pSlipn9Mfm4CtjoJs3sTc3tzcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRBfP9SbSkLrmZzbCVFp6lHrCBIbDtTtOYLeDdMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= View Nirmal Merchant&n.com/blink?simpleRedirect=ej5vs7xBnTpKqjRHpipOpmhKqmRBsyRQs6lzoS4JoyRDtCVFnSRJrScJr6RBfmtKqmJzon9Q9DpMrzRQ9DkSbn0TdP0ToP5FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= You are receiving Reminder emails for pending invitations. Unsubscribe here: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=1JrSd5cylOr69JtngMd2lWomByoC5Uc3sRfmNFomRB9z0Sc30OfmhF9z0Qe3kNcjoMc34PcPsQczsOejkZp6BD9zANnT1UplZSrCAZqSkCoDlPrDkJpyRzoClJnSRJrScJr6RBfmtKqmJzon9Q9CZLpPRQ9DkSbn0TdP0ToP5FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= You received an invitation to connect. LinkedIn will use your email address to make suggestions to our members in features like People You May Know. Unsubscribe here: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=tjoJs3sTc3tzcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRAqmkCgl1TdA8TlRASdl1Ul7llbj1Ignlbp4Zic69PcA53mldOejBfhn1goiR6kkYPbmx3sCF7bmkJdDwUojlVullqqRl1gk5Telh9oTlRsmoQlQxhgjRAqmZI9zANnT1UplZSrCAZqSkCkjoPp4l7q5p6sCR6kk4ZrClHrRhAqmQCrDlIfngCtjoJs3sTc3tzcmAJqPpMqT8NbjRBfP9SbSkLrmZzbCVFp6lHrCBIbDtTtOYLeDdMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= Learn why we included this at the following link: http://www.linkedin.com/blink?simpleRedirect=0Ue3sQfmh9pmNzqnhOoioVclZMu6lvtCVFfmJB9CNOlmlzqnpOpldOpmRLt7dRoPRx9DkSbn0TdP0ToP5FbmISs6JOciQZpjYOtyZBbSRLoOVKqmhBqSVFr2VTtTsLbPFMt7hE&msgID=I8112622635_1&markAsRead= © 2014, LinkedIn Corporation. 2029 Stierlin Ct. Mountain View, CA 94043, USA

Sarpass Himalayan Trek Expedition by YHAI - SP5 batch - May 2013

over 3 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Sar Pass is a moderately challenging trek in the Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Situated at an altitude of 14000 ft, it can be considered as a great introduction to high altitude trekking. It is organised by YHAI every year.I participated in this trek @ May 2013 and I must sincerely admit that it was truely an amzing experience. Sharing some wondeful snaps ...Enjoy Trekking ! :-)

Sarpass Flowers

over 3 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I did a Sarpass trek in May 2013 with YHAI (Youth Hostels Association of India). It was an awesome experience as it was my very first Himalayan Trekking expedition. Enjoyed a lot !The Sar Pass is in Parvati Valley of Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, a state of India.Sar, in local dialect, means a lake. While trekking, across the path from Tila Lotni to Biskeri Ridge, one has to pass by a small, normally frozen lake (Sar) and hence the name Sar Pass Trek.Sharing some snaps of beautiful flowers that I captured ...Happy Nature !

Some good reads of 2013

over 3 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Read some good books near the end of year 2013 - Musafir - An autobiography of Shri Achyut Godbole - by Achyut GodboleArthaat - History of Finance, its principles and short biographies of Finance Industry Legends. - by Achyut GodboleGoshtich Goshti - by Shankar PatilPaulvata - by Shankar PatilFelt very good that I managed to read these books in short span of time ! Happy reading and welcome new year 2014 !May God shower me with number of good books in year 2014 ! :-)

Books by Narayan Dharap

about 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I recently purchased some Marathi books republished by Samanvay Prakashan, Ajab distributers. They have launched a very nice scheme - buy any book ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 600 for only Rs. 50. The purpose is to make some good old books available once again to the readers. Any one can avail this scheme till 28th February 2013.The two books among the others that I purchased are written by Narayan Dharap :- Dasta- ToldhadExcellent reads! I liked the story - 'Yakshaprashna' from 'Toldhad' book the most!  If you have some interest in horror genre, 4th dimension, parallel world, scientific fictions; you will love reading his books. Most of his stories show a battle between good and evil, with victory of good at the end!More information on Narayan Dharap and his books - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narayan_DharapEnjoy reading !

Some good reads

about 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

After quite a long period, I got a chance to read some good marathi books.Rasikaho - P.L.DeshpandeNakoshi - Madhavi DesaiAshi ghara... ashi manasa - Mangala GodbolePlanning to read some more in coming weekends:-)

Remember to pick yourself up & get back on your feet!

over 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I came across a very nice story a couple of days ago. Sharing the same.Baby giraffes never go to a business school. But they learn a very important management lesson early in life. A lesson that all of us would do well to remember.The birth of a baby giraffe is quite an earth-shaking event. The baby falls from its mother’s womb, some eight feet above the ground. It shrivels up and lies still, too weak to move.The mother giraffe lovingly lowers her neck to kiss the baby giraffe. And then something incredible happens. She lifts her long leg and kicks the baby giraffe, sending it flying up in the air and tumbling down on the ground.As the baby lies curled up, the mother kicks the baby again and again. Until the baby giraffe, still trembling and tired, pushes its limbs and for the first time learns to stand on its feet. Happy to see the baby standing on its own feet, the mother giraffe comes over and gives it yet another kick. The baby giraffe falls one more time, but now quickly recovers and stands up.Mama Giraffe is delighted. She knows that her baby has learnt an important lesson: "Never mind how hard you fall, always remember to pick yourself up and get back on your feet."Why does the mother giraffe do this? She knows that lions and leopards love giraffe meat. So unless the baby giraffe quickly learns to stand and run with the pack – it will have no chance of survival.Most of us though are not quite as lucky as baby giraffes. No one teaches us to stand up every time we fall. When we fail, when we are down, we just give up.No one kicks us out of our comfort zone to remind us that to survive and succeed, we need to learn to get back on our feet.If you study the lives of successful people though, you will see a recurring pattern. Were they always successful in all they did? No.Did success come to them quick and easy? No, You will find that the common streak running through their lives is their ability to stand up every time they fall. The ability of the baby giraffe!The road to success is never an easy one. There are several obstacles, and you are bound to fall sooner or later. You will hit a road block, you will taste failure. But success lies in being able to get up every time you fall.Enjoy reading ! :-)

It's that time.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Well, here goes. After more than five years of writing, cooking, eating, and traveling, I've decided it's time to take a break from posting here on Queenie Takes Manhattan. I've had an incredible time sharing my culinary adventures with all of you since 2007, but I've decided to spend what little free time I have these days on a few other projects.You can expect to see lots of me over on The Equals Project (I have my latest piece for them up in progress in another browser tab as I type), and hopefully there will be more still - eventually. In the meantime, I do hope you'll stay in touch via Twitter and Instagram, where I fully intend to continue spamming you all with my Saturday morning cappuccinos and Friday night Manhattans.So long for now, kids - and thank you for reading!Much love,Queenie/Meg

Um, hi!

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Hello, my darlings, my doves, my gentle readers. I know, I know - it's been ages. In my defense, the last couple of months have been among the busiest in recent memory, complete with 16 hour workdays, two weeks in Austin, a quick business trip to Chiacgo...and so on.But, but, but! I had no intention of abandoning you, and I have every intention of putting things right. With that in mind, here are a couple of the remarkably delicious things I've enjoyed over the last ten weeks, along with a promise: I'll be back soon in full force.Honest. Three pea salad from Ottolenghi's Plenty.   Shrimp mole from Frontera Grill in Chicago.Plateau de fruits de la mer at Clark's in Austin.Antonelli's Cheese Shop in Austin.Rib-eye fried rice at Elizabeth Street Cafe in Austin.Chicken salad sandwich with gribenes and homemade pickles at Mile End Sandwich Shop.

Drinking it in.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

The last couple of weekends, I've taken advantage of the near-perfect early autumn weather to enjoy a few laps around the Central Park Reservoir followed by a stroll down to Joe for a post-workout caffeine hit.These outings have only added to the love I've been feeling for the Upper East as of late.We're something of the red-headed stepchild up here, what with our reputation for stuffiness and terrible restaurants, but things have been improving like mad. Plus, we have most of the good museums. It's okay; your Metrocard will work up here, I promise. Come visit!

Queenie's Treasury

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Happy weekend, kiddos! It's a gray Saturday here in New York, and I have a day of chores and errands ahead of me. Before reality sets in, though, let's take a look at this week's Treasury.Up first, these gorgeous posters from Brooklyn Larder, a wonderful specialty foods shop that sits on Flatbush Avenue at the intersection of Park Slope and Prospect Heights. All of the posters are marvelous, but I'm particularly partial to these two, representing salumi and gelato. (Head over to their site to see the others, including beer, cheese and pastries.)I'm loving these gold, crystal-studded pyramid earrings from Etsy seller Tiny Armour. They're  a little bit tough, a little bit girly, and all around awesome and right up my alley. (They come in rose gold, too, for those looking to embrace that particular trend.)As a city-dweller, I'm always on the lookout for ways to bring the outdoors in. Right now, as autumn bears down on us, I'm loving this birch sculpture from Urban + Forest. It's simple and neutral, but would add texture and oomph to any space. I'm seeing it as part of a soothing gray, navy and white bedroom, yes?

Bad experience with Tata photon Plus speed

over 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

A few months back, I finally cancelled my Tata Photon Plus / Tata Docomo subscription due to very low speeds that I consistently faced. If you read their advertise on http://www.tataphoton.com, it says :-Tata Photon Plus is a High Speed Internet Access Service (HSIA) in the form of a USB Modem offered by Tata Teleservices Ltd. The speeds offered are        Up to 3.1 Mbps (Downlink)        Up to 1.8 Mbps (Uplink)Allured by the high speed numbers, I subscribed to their USB Modem Tata Photon Plus postpaid plan and since then my journey onto the internet had been drastically slow. The speeds were so pathetic (0.10 Mbps to 0.25 Mbps Downlink) that opening any page during any time of the day would take 30-90 secs. Watching videos with this speed was a nightmare. On complaint, one of the Tata Indicom engineers visited my home and checked my network settings, machine configuration and found those to be up to the mark. Then he told that there might be a network issue with Malad West tower and they were getting many complaints regarding the speed/connectivity. Finally I got a call which stated that we could not resolve this issue unless and until we launch a new site (may be a new tower nearby) in the area.My concern was why was then issued a connection if it was not going to serve at least half of the advertised speed and why should I pay their highly charged postpaid bills. I continuously followed up with the customer care team and was really frustrated with the replies that I received. Here are some of the replies :---------------------We would like to inform you that we have verified your screen shot and found that you are getting average speed of 256kbps and there is no speed issue.Please be informed that if you are facing slow speed issue which is less than the average speed i.e.256kbps kindly revert us back which will help us for further proceedings. --------------------We would like to inform you that Photon Plus connection provides speed up to 3.1 Mbps. However, the actual connection & browsing speed depends on a variety of factor such as,1. Number of simultaneous Photon Plus users in your area,2. Time of the day internet is accessed3. Webpage accessed4. Speed of processor5. Virus & Malware presence in the back ground6. Size of RAMThus, in most real-world situations, you can expect average speeds of 256-600 Kbps (Kilo bits per Second)”FYI - my machine configuration was one of the best - 6 GB RAM,  Intel i5 Dual Core 2.4 GHz, 64-bit OS--------------------We request you to bear with us interim and you will be duly intimated about the resolution for newly site plan.--------------------I wish I could have posted the entire email chain, but I think the above replies are sufficient to judge their service and advertisement.So please DO NOT trust their Advertising speeds. You have every right to ask them questions! Verify the actual upload and download speeds with http://speedtest.net/  -> Click 'Begin Test'

Drinking on the Bowery isn't what it used to be.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Over the last ten years, the Bowery, once the place where dreams went to die - usually in a flophouse - has become the place where hotels and restaurants go to open. Several of my favorites are on or within a stone's throw of the Bowery (Peels, Five Points, DBGB, Acme), and now I can most definitely add the bar at The Bowery Hotel to the list. The drink that did it? Their Black Manhattan, made with bourbon, bitters, and Averna. Averna - an Italian liqueur made with herbs and caramel - replaces the traditional sweet vermouth, and does a super smooth job of it.  And just look at this little dandy on their cocktail coasters. I can't quite tell if he's a gentleman or a Five Points gangster, but either way, I like his attitude.

Something neue.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

I love it when Louisa comes to town. Not only because I get to spend tons of quality time with my best friend (living thousands of miles apart can be rough), but also because having her here reminds me to take full advantage of the wonders of the city.When she was in town in September, we spent a day on the Upper East Side. We managed to do some shopping (thank you, Joe Fresh and J. Crew Collection), but before that could happen, we needed sustenance. Enter Café Sabarsky, one of the very best things within walking distance of my apartment.Housed in the Neue Galerie - itself dedicated to German and Austrian art - Café Sabarsky is a recreation of the cafes of Austria, right down to the Thonet chairs, Hoffmann fixtures and sausage-rich menu. On this visit, we ordered a green salad to share, plus two different plates of sausage (my roasted bratwurst came with riesling sauerkraut and dijon potatoes; Louisa's was flavored with cheddar).The food (and the coffee and hot chocolate we enjoyed afterward) was, as always, delicious. But, for me, Café Sabarsky is always about the experience as a whole. That gorgeous room, that wonderful atmosphere...that sparkly chandelier. I just love it there. I'd say it's something you could only find in New York, but that's obviously not true. But I'm sure glad it's here.

Late summer supper.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

A few weeks ago, my friends Nick and Louisa were in town, which always means I'm in for a few good meals. Even though they've swapped the wilds of rural Ohio for the wonders of Austin, they're still aiming to get a serious New York food fix whenever they visit. Their first night here, we met our friends Liz and Carrie for dinner at Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton's perennial neighborhood favorite, best known for its insanely delicious (and popular) brunch.  I ordered a Junipero Gibson (a gin martini garnished with housemade pickled onions) and nibbled on fried chickpeas while I waited for the others to arrive. (They were coming from pre-dinner drinks at Ten Bells; I was trekking in from having my hair done by the lovely Holly in SoHo.) The cocktail was perfectly cool and crisp, and kept me company all through dinner (and for a while afterward, to tell the truth). I started with a special kale salad, which went so fast and was so delicious that I forgot to snap its photo.The kale was shredded and dressed with crumbly cheese, garlic and lots and lots of olive oil. I've had many kale salads, but this one was something special. My main was the grilled steak with a tomato and onion salad. The steak was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and the rings of red onion were just crunchy and spicy enough to set off the sweat, meaty tomatoes. A bit of bleu cheese butter rounded things out, and reminded me of one of the things I love about Prune: the food is exuberant, but not overdone. They know that all you need is a touch of cheese in each bite, not an overwhelming heap of it on the plate.In another nod to disappearing summer, we ordered a side of peas for the table. They arrived, beautifully green, perfectly cooked (English peas, snow peas and - my favorite - sugar snaps), spiked with horseradish and topped with honeycomb. The horseradish accentuated the peas' natural vegetal bite, while the honey upped their sweetness. Peas, amplified. Finally, dessert. We went a bit over the top here, ordering three different ones to try. A rhubarb bourbon bread pudding, a summer pudding with whipped cream, and a pound cake with fruit syrup. All three were wonderful (and the blazing color of the summer pudding outshone the rest), but the bread pudding was my very favorite. The perfect end to a late summer feast. Next time, squash and brussels sprouts will replace tomatoes and peas, and nothing will be quite the same.Now there's an excuse to go back if ever there was one, right?

PSA.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Blue Bottle makes one remarkably delicious caffé mocha. Consider yourselves informed, insert a The More You Know gif here, etc.Either way, get yourself to the nearest Blue Bottle as soon as possible.

Queenie's Treasury

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Hello, my doves! Today is the first day of autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), so it seems fitting to share with you some of the things I've been craving (food and otherwise) in the name of the new season.First up, these delicious Tate ballet flats from the ladies at Marais USA. I absolutely love the animal print, and I'm delighted that feminine, pointy toes are back in this fall. Just imagine these with a pair of cropped trousers or a full skirt. Perfection, yes?Next, a lovely little print from Ana Victoria Calderon's shop on Etsy. The colors are just perfect for autumn: a little muted, a little soft, all cozy and warm. Just looking at it makes me crave apple cider. And bourbon.Finally, some actual food! This plum and mascarpone pie screams early autumn to me, what with its gorgeous purple color and rich, caramelized glaze. And mascarpone makes everything into its best self.

Windswept wedding.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

We've had some wild weather in the northeast as of late - tornado warnings every other week or so, which are, simply put, not normal for this part of the world. A couple of Saturdays ago, a tornado touched down in Queens, and I headed out of the city for a seaside wedding in my hometown, Old Greenwich, Connecticut.Most of the (spectacular) rain fell before things got underway, but the evening remained damp and breezy throughout. The views were gorgeous and moody - plus, I had a sparkly clutch (my prized, vintage Whiting & Davis, which I bought on eBay for a song about 8 years ago) and a well attended to glass of bubbly to brighten things up. Sadly, I didn't smooch anyone on the dock. But I sure hope someone did, because it was awfully pretty.

Bonjour!

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

See, I'm alive! (And I took this picture of a really pretty pre-autumn sky over the Plaza last week as proof!)Sorry it's been so quiet around these parts of late, kids. I've been a bit crazed, both personally and professionally, and haven't had time to tend to the blog as you've come to expect - and, frankly, as you deserve!I'll be back soon with lots of stuff (a few delightful meals out and about, plus one or two late summer recipes to use up that eggplant and zucchini). In the meantime, thanks for being patient and awesome and dedicated and delightful.

Recently.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

I've been trying to enjoy the last of summer's bounty these days. The evenings are falling earlier and earlier, but I managed to sneak in a meandering twilight stroll around my neighborhood last week. The Guggenheim looked gorgeous all lit up by the setting sun to the west. The tomatoes have been ridiculously good. I made a little sauce with the San Marzanos and ate the heirloom ones with avocado and red onion. A couple of Saturdays ago, I stopped into Joe for a pick-me-up cappuccino and a delicious hour of reading. I've been plowing through books on my Kindle this summer; I just finished The Dog Stars and started a Louise Penny mystery. I spied this cookbook when I popped into Barnes & Noble to pick up a gift for a friend. I'd never heard of Leon (a restaurant in London), but I think I might need this book sooner rather than later. Anything with a cover like this one has to be full of deliciousness. 

Queenie's Treasury

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Happy long weekend, folks! (Well, American folks. Happy regular weekend, rest of the world!) It's a sunny, hot day here in New York, and I'll be heading back out into is just as soon as I refuel with my iced coffee. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits to keep you entertained while you prepare for your Labor Day festivities. (Mine include shopping; your mileage may vary, of course.)First up (and I realize I'm late to the party on this one), the incredible work of designer Olympia Le-Tan, who creates embroidered clutches and handbags based on classic book covers. I want them all, of course, but since they cost about $2,000 apiece, I'll have to settle with admiring them from afar for now.I first spotted Christine Lindstrom's work in West Elm (I love the way they're showcasing independent artists in each collection these days), and I love her richly hued watercolors. Her Etsy shop is full of wonderful prints, stationery, and original works. If I had to choose just one, it would probably be this watercolor, entitled Grove, which puts me in mind of a fairy tale forest.On this Labor Day weekend, I'll leave you with a little bit of Paris. Freunde von Freunden's interview with textile designer Céline Saby is great, and I absolutely love the photos of her salon and apartment. The latter has a sort of Parisian surfer chic vibe to it, and I can't get enough of it, or this little reading nook in the windows. 

Montauk, part three: breakfast.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

My friend Stacey is my Food Wife. She has impeccable taste, serious cred, and a remarkable ability to throw a ridiculous cocktail party at a moment's notice. She volunteered to make breakfast the morning we spent in Montauk, and that turned out to be a really, really good idea.She made an incredible batch of slow-scrambled eggs with cheddar and chives. She cooked up some Black Forest bacon from the venerable Schaller & Weber. Best of all? She made some of the most delicious biscuits I have ever had. Light, fluffy, tender. Pretty much perfect.That's why I food-married her.

Montauk, part two: Lunch time.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Our first order of business in Montauk? Two hours on the beach. Our second? Lobster rolls.After spending some time sunning ourselves on the sand, we piled into our cars and headed west to Amagansett, home of The Lobster Roll, better known locally as Lunch. The paper placemats on our table listed endorsements from celebrities as varied as President Nixon, Barbra Streisand, and Christie Brinkley & Billy Joel (in case you thought this restaurant was new, it's clearly not).We ordered drinks (mine was the Lobster Ale, which was pleasantly satisfying and a bit round in the mouth) and lobster rolls - plus some clams casino. (Thanks, Stacey!)As you can probably guess from its given name, Lunch is known for its lobster rolls, and they were pretty good. Flavorful meat, tasty toasted buns, and a touch (perhaps too heavy a touch) of celery. I liked the mayonnaise to lobster ratio and the not-at-all mayonnaise-y coleslaw, but there was something missing here, some alchemy that I've found in other rolls that just didn't make itself known. Solid, though? For sure.

Queenie's Treasury

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Happy Saturday, kids! I've had something of an unusual week, what with my whirlwind trip to Montauk and a very busy couple of days at work. I'm ready to enjoy the weekend, and have already been for a run and visited the Greenmarket. Before I head back out to sun myself and read in Central Park (wearing SPF 30, minimum, of course), let's take a look at this week's Treasury!First up, the gorgeous, almost unbearably cool Brooklyn abode that's home to Solange Knowles and her family. It seems like a seriously fun place to be - not to mention effortlessly stylish and comfortable. I wouldn't mind an invite, is all I'm saying.Next, some exciting news courtesy of SF Girl By Bay, who attended a launch party for the new collaboration between The Curiosity Shoppe and The Shops at Target. Everything looks great, but I'm particularly excited about this continental US-shaped serving board. It will most definitely be making an appearance chez Queenie come October 20, when the line becomes available.Last, but certainly not least, these incredible photographs by artist Alberto Seveso, created by injecting water with two different inks. Don't they make you think of billowing, delicate silk? I cannot get enough of these.

Montauk, part one: the beach.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

A couple of weeks ago, my friends Matt and Marcia invited me and our friend Stacey to join them in Montauk for a couple of days. They'd rented a house for the week to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary, and wanted to have friends out to join them in the revelry.Obviously, I said yes.Montauk is a tiny little village out on the eastern tip of Long Island's South Fork - in fact, it's so far east that it's the easternmost point in the state of New York. It's long been considered the chillest part of the Hamptons, thanks to its history as a surfing and artist-friendly enclave. (Rufus Wainwright married his longtime partner at their home there just yesterday.)Town laws forbid chains of any kind, so all of the hotels are tiny and charming, and Starbucks is nowhere to be seen. Hipsters have invaded in recent years, but I have to say: they weren't too annoying.Several hours of both days were devoted to serious beach time. The waves were strong (both Marcia and Matt took serious bangs when coming in from paddle boarding), and the sand was soft.And though I didn't snag a photo, I can tell you that the stargazing was likewise amazing from the beach. Matt, Stacey and I trekked down there one night (powered by a not inconsiderable amount of wine and bourbon) and laid back on the sand. It's rare for a New Yorker to see more than a couple of stars at once; to see clouds and bands of them - and to understand why we call it the Milky Way - is a rare treat, and one to be savored.And we ate a lot, too. More on that soon.

Finger licking good.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

One of my very favorite things to order at Uchiko in Austin are the shishito peppers. They arrive piping hot from the pan, blistered and sprinkled with crunch salt, and I can't help but burn my greedy little fingertips eating them. Shishitos are a relatively mild pepper - with a spicy lurker here and there - and so you can eat the little guys in one bite, seeds and all.When I saw shishito peppers for sale at the Union Square Greenmarket on Friday, I sprung at the chance to try my hand at blistering them at home. How hard could it be?Turns out, not hard at all. I highly recommend you try it as soon as possible. Like me, you can eat them up on your own. Or, if you're in a sharing mood, make them (and a batch of gin gimlets) for a crowd.Blistered Shishito Peppers1/2 pound whole shishito peppers, washed and completely dried1 tsp. canola oilSea saltHeat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until screaming hot. (A drop of water should dance across the surface.) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the peppers with the oil until evenly coated. Once the pan is hot, add the peppers and cook until well blistered all over, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.Remove the peppers to a plate, sprinkle generously with salt, and serve immediately.Serves two as a snack or appetizer.

Chappaqua, August 18.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

A gorgeous sky in Chappaqua last weekend. We've been having ridiculously nice weather in New York of late, especially given that August is supposed to be the most miserable month of all around these parts.

A visit to Asmita center for Handicapped

over 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

A couple of weeks back, a small team (which organizes some social responsibility activities) from our company visited Asmita Center for Handicapped. I along with my wife also joined the group. Asmita is a NGO based in Mumbai. It runs many projects, amongst which, runs a small vocational training center for physically challenged people in Ashokvan, Borivali (West), Mumbai. Their motto ‘Hum bhi kisi se kam nahi’ is not just on paper, but we could see that motto being carved out into the hearts of many students undergoing various kind of trainings at the institute. The center mainly targets handicapped people who are confined to their homes due to their disablilties and lack of self confidence. Asmita volunteers go to the society (which targets mainly slums) looking for such students and persuading their parents to send them to the center. Recently they have started involving college social project teams to reach out to physically challenged people in the society. Each batch consists of about 15-20 students who are trained for about 2 years. The main aim is to build self confidence within these students so that they have the confidence to face the society and the required skills to earn a livelihood for themselves. Up till now the trust has helped more than 1000 handicapped people (called as 'AmrutPutra' and 'AmrutKanya' ) in the center.The activities in the center include sewing, wood/board panel cutting and painting, making greeting cards, making paper plates, stitching (bags, aprons, mats, etc), agarbattis, other handicrafts used by KG schools, teaching computer basics, etc. At the end of their training period, the students are provided with machinery and equipment to enable them to earn a sustainable living.Sudha Tai Wagh has been running this center for almost 2 decades on a voluntary basis. Hats off to her dedication! We have certainly a lot to learn from such kind of people. When we were talking to her regarding various aspects/challenges about training the handicapped people,  I remembered this ultimate quote by Mark Twain - "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see". The proof was right in front of us! :-) The rest of the volunteers consist of teachers (most of whom are students who have passed out in earlier batches), retired people, some young students, helpers and a bus driver. The bus, donated to the trust, picks up the students from their homes to the center and drops them back at their homes. The center also employs a physio to provide medical help to the students. On our visit, we met with the students, the trainers, the founder member and other volunteers who had decided to spend at least a part of their time supporting the cause – each had a special experience to share and the visit turned out to be a beautiful interaction for all of us there. We watched videos of the Asmita’s performing team – it’s a team of specially gifted artists who can play musical instruments with their feet, dance on a single leg, sing and entertain like never before! The talent and more importantly the enthusiasm exuberated in these performances is hard to express in words.They show cased their products and one would never believe that these students could have made them!  Some of us tried our hand at rolling the agarbatti – and none could do it as perfectly as Amol -  Amol could not bend his arms like most of us can, and crawls on his knees.Each one of us carried back a lot with us - Asmita's people, its humility, its simplicity, its dedication and much more! They definitely need a financial support, but more than that they need volunteers (part time/ full time) to help in their cause. We can definitely try to make a small difference in the lives of  physically challenged people! I am wrong saying this ... It is actually going to change our lives for sure! Let's make them friends forever ...I would end this post with a very nice quote by Janet Barnes -"I have not been handicapped by my condition. I am physically challenged and differently able." 

A little bowl of summer.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Some of the most delicious things are born of necessity. My corn, avocado and cucumber salad most definitely falls into that category. I first made it one hot, sweaty night when I couldn't face cooking but was too hungry to wait for delivery. The only vegetables in the fridge were corn and cucumber, and one lone avocado hung out in a bowl on the counter.Figuring that nothing tastes bad if you add enough basil, I husked the corn and sliced the kernels off into a shallow bowl, chopped and added the cucumber, and pulled a few leaves from my windowsill basil. Finally, I split the avocado and added half of it to the mix. A healthy amount of salt, dash of pepper, and light pours of sherry vinegar and olive oil followed. (My feelings about sherry vinegar are akin to those I have for basil: it makes pretty much everything better.)The resulting salad was far tastier than I expected. The avocado melted just a bit under the salt and vinegar, becoming part creamy dressing, part vegetable. The raw corn popped with every bite, and the cucumbers added satisfying heft. (Cucumbers, heft - who knew!) And, of course, the basil was delightful. Nothing says summer like a shower of basil. (And if you need more punch, just add a scallion to the mix.)Corn, Avocado & Cucumber Salad1 kirby cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch chunksKernels from 1 ear of sweet corn1/2 an avocado, cut into 1/2 inch chunks5-6 basil leaves, thinly slicedSea salt and freshly ground black pepperOlive oil and sherry vinegarCombine the cucumber, corn, avocado and basil in a medium bowl. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, then dress with a drizzle each of oil and vinegar. Toss until well combined and let sit for 10 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning, adjust to your liking, and serve immediately.Serves one as a main dish or two as a side.

Queenie's Treasury

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Happy Sunday, my doves! It's a gorgeous morning here in New York, and I'm headed out to Brooklyn for some quality time in the sun with a very dear friend. Before I go, though, let's take a look at the goodies in this week's treasury, shall we?First up, the truly lovely, tiny apartment inhabited - until recently - by Katie Armour, one of the two founders of Matchbook Magazine. Katie's 500 square foot space oozes with personality and is filled with treasures. It's a little jewel box of a home. Shortly after her place was photographed for the August issue of Matchbook, Katie moved from San Francisco to New York. I'm sure her new digs (in my neighborhood, no less) will be every bit as lovely.Next, I have a birthday coming up, and I have my greedy little eyes on this ring from Bauble Bar. I love a monogram, and I love a signet ring, and I simply love this. Trying to decide which finger it should live on. Ring or pinky?Finally, a ridiculously large house on the Bowery, made possible by a genius real estate buy back when property in the neighborhood could be had for a song. The 72-room building is now a single family home for an artist and his family. Crazy, right?

The cold stuff.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Each summer, sometime in July, I remember: I have an ice cream maker. (A cheap one that has lasted five summers so far.) It's not that I truly forget about my ice cream maker; after all, its canister stares me in the eye every time I open my freezer. But I seem to forget about the glories it can bestow upon me. Then it gets hot and nasty and my cravings increase, and I remember: it's time to make the ice cream.This year, I bought my first-ever ice cream cookbook, the incredible Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. After just one outing, it is now my official ice cream bible. Why? Well, Jeni doesn't have you fuss around with eggs and custard. Instead, she explains the science behind her American ice cream base, including the reasons for using a little corn syrup, and the genius addition of softened cream cheese to help emulsify the mixture. And her recipes are organized by season, emphasizing fresh, local ingredients. But not in an obnoxious way, I promise.And, let me tell you: it works. This is wonderful, creamy, balanced, stress-free ice cream. I tried my hand at her recipe for sweet basil with honeyed pine nuts, and it was magnificent. The pine nut praline was a snap to make (my one alteration: use parchment paper to line your baking sheet), and the crunchy, sweet bits of nut added interest and earthiness to the sweet and spicy basil-flavored ice cream.I think my next attempt will be her beet, mascarpone and poppy seed ice cream. Oh, yes. (And, if you're not game to make the stuff at home, you can always order Jeni's ice cream, made with love in Columbus, Ohio, from her website.)

A little bit of France on Third Avenue.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

 The food blogosphere has been abuzz of late about the opening of a New York outpost of Maison Kayser on the Upper East Side. Founded by French baker and pastry chef Eric Kayser, the bakery and patisserie has shops all over the world, and is now taking the Big Apple by storm. Obviously, I had to stop by as soon as possible to see what all the fuss was about.The goods (I sampled a few different kinds of brioche, a bit of raisin bread, and a bite of baguette) were uniformly delicious. The plié au chocolat I ended up spiriting away to Central Park was delightful - its custardy innards cut through with dark chocolate, its pastry hardy but flaky. That said.I tried to grab lunch in the café, and it was a nightmare. Since it was their first weekend open, and since the Upper East Side tends to descend upon any decent restaurant like a horde of hungry teenagers, I knew it would be crazy. I was ready for crazy.But I wasn't ready to be ignored while the host chatted with the people on either side of me, or to be brushed off when I asked if I could put my name on the list to be seated. (Given the whole being ignored thing, I wasn't going to trust someone about my place in line unless it was written down.) While the storefront crew were incredibly helpful and pleasant (especially given that I saw several customers cut the line and generally act like jerks), I am still pretty peeved about my experience with the cafe staff.I'll likely give them one more go, on a weekday this time, but that's about it. Hopefully it will be a different host, and the Real Houswives rejects around me won't be as exciting for him.

Julia at 100.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Today is Julia Child's 100th birthday. It's safe to say that if you live in the United States and eat food, you owe a debt to Ms. Child. She was one of the driving forces behind the home cooking revolution that swept through our kitchens in the 1960s (and continues to this day), and her influence is everywhere.Tonight, as I make gougères to take with me to a friend's house on Friday, I'll think of Julia. As I eat my heirloom tomato salad (recipe here), I'll think of Julia. And as I pick up her wonderful memoir My Life in France for yet another read, I'll think of Julia. And, apparently, every time I use Google today, I'll think of Julia.Even setting aside the mammoth accomplishment of her Mastering the Art books and her status as the biggest TV food star of all time, Julia Child was a seriously fascinating lady. She worked for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, helping build the organization that would later become the CIA. She lived all over the world, and her relationship with her husband Paul was an inspiring partnership - not to mention the inspiration for some seriously adorable Valentines. Even if you don't have Julia's boeuf bourgignon on the menu tonight, I hope you'll take a moment to remember her in your own way. And if you don't take a few minutes to watch PBS' amazing remix of her shiniest TV moments, you're a fool. Bon appétit!

What I spied a-marketing.

over 4 years ago | Queenie Takes Manhattan: Queenie Takes Manhattan

Spotted at the St. Stephen's Greenmarket on East 82nd Street last Saturday. Amazing colors, right?

Completely lost in Dhak ...

over 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Another one day bike trek organized by Abhijeet ! This time he planned a trek to Dhak and we joined him to explore the nature trails. Dhak is considered to be one of the most thrilling and challenging treks in Karjat region. We were also very excited for this adventure. It was around 290 Km return journey. (Thane - Lonavala - Kamshet - Kundeshwar and back). We wanted to reach to the narrow ridge between the 'Kalakrai' cliff and the mountain, from where one can climb up to the Bahiri caves. However, we faced very heavy rains and dense fog. We got completely lost .... Since we wanted to come back on same day, we finally decided to return back. It was really difficult to trace the return path in such a dense fog ... but finally we managed it :-) Though we could not complete our trek, we enjoyed the waterfalls, Kundali river, the dense forest as well as fog and the rain bullets ! And needless to say we enjoyed being lost in Nature ! ... Sharing few snaps ...

Beautiful flowers

over 4 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Sharing some snaps of beautiful flowers (Lotus and Krishnakamal) ... These photos were taken at National Park, Borivali. I am sure you will like it ! 

Love this song…..

over 4 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Love this song…..

How to make Quinoa soft and fluffy

almost 5 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Rinse, rinse, rinse your quinoa before boiling it. Quinoa to water ratio for boiling should be between 1.5 to 2. Bring the pot to rapidly boil on high heat and then turn the heat down to a low simmer for around 12 minutes. Turn the heat off and let quinoa sit to soak the rest of the water and cool down. My first attempt was a crunchy, clumpy mess.  Not only did I not rise the quinoa (which seems to make the most difference) I also let it boil on high heat all the way through.  I tried adding more water but that didn’t help. I had been wanting to incorporate quinoa into my diet because of all I heard about its low glycemic index and protein richness.  I was inspired by Kevin’s delicious quinoa salad which was simply delicious.  Preparing the salad in bulk is a bad idea because the whole thing becomes mushy as the tomatoes, onions and cucumbers loose their water.  Instead, I have settled for dicing all the vegetables beforehand and saving them in separate containers.   When I need to make my salad, I just prepare the quinoa and then throw in the already diced ingredients and top it with some mint and cilantro leaves.  Tastes fresh and yummy.

Trek to Harihar fort

almost 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Monsoon has just started in Maharashtra and we could not hold ourselves to experience the green and lively nature in rains. On 7th July, Abhijit and Rajesh planned a one day bike trek to Harihar fort near Nasik. It was around 280 Km of round journey from Mumbai to Harihar and back. The road that we took was Thane -> Kasara -> Khodale -> Nirgudpada.  The base village of Harihar fort is Nirgudpada. It was my first long journey bike experience and I loved it !Harihar (approx. 3,676 ft) forms a part of the Trimbak range in Nasik region. There are total 117 steps carved beautifully in the rock patch and you really feel like flying on the wings of the wind when there is a very windy and rainy weather while climbing up the steps. We enjoyed the trek very much! Sharing some snaps...

One slide I wouldn’t mind preparing. Within two flights I...

almost 5 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

One slide I wouldn’t mind preparing. Within two flights I knew I like more rich and brooding wings a opposed to light and bright.

Two states

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Should I call this a mere coincidence? A couple of weeks back, my wife and I attended our friend's marriage (Love marriage to be specific). My friend is a Maharashtrian and the bride (who is also my friend) is a Kannadian South Indian. Needless to say the match that the God made is perfect! Both liked each other, fell in love with each other and then finally decided to get married :-) Everyone enjoyed the wedding ceremony. In the evening, we went to our another friend staying nearby where I located a book - 'Two States - the story of my marriage'  by Chetan Bhagat. I got interested into the book by reading this - "Love marriages around the world are simple! Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They get married. In India, there are a few more steps:-Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy.Girl's family has to love boy. Boy's family has to love girl.Girl's family has to love boy's family. Boy's family has to love girl's family.Girl and boy still love each other. They get married."Was this a coincidence that my eyes caught only this book among the other books resting on the bookshelf ? I had just attended a love marriage of my friends who belong to two different states in India. I tried to imagine the conversations/discussions that might have happened between the two families - two communities when my friends had told their decision to them. But I know imagining about a battle is always easy than actually fighting it! So kudos to my friends for winning it ! :-) I borrowed the book from my friend and was totally engrossed with reading the book after that! A story about two friends - Punjabi and Tamilian, deeply in love and want to get married, not by hurting their parents' feelings, but with a smile on both parents' faces instead! An excellent book which touches your heart ! What I most liked is the approach the couple took to convince their families instead of fighting and rebelling. Chetan has beautifully narrated the story and you won't feel keeping the book down until it is completely finished. Hats off to you Chetan ! I loved the book ! Would like to end this post by providing a part of the speech(message) from the book that the girl's father gave during the wedding ceremony. We should carve this message on our heart :-"So why do parents object to cross community/culture marriage? It is not only about another community. It is the fact that your daughter has found a boy for herself. We as parents feel disobeyed, left out and disappointed. We bring our children up from babies to adults, how can they ignore us like this? All our frustration comes out in anger. But we forget that this has happened because your child had love to give to someone in this world. Is that such a bad thing? Where did the child learn to love? From us, after all, the person they loved first is you.Actually, the choice is simple. When your child decides to love a new person, you can either see it as a chance to hate some people - the person they choose and their families. Which is what we did for a while. However, you can also see it as a chance to love some more people. And since when did loving more people become a bad thing?Yes, the Tamilian in me is a little disappointed. But the Indian in me is quite happy. And more than anything, the human being in me is happy. After all, we have decided to use this opportunity to create more loved ones for ourselves!"Enjoy reading!  

Tuesdays with Morrie

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I finally read the book - Tuesdays with Morrie (by Mitch Albom) which I decided to read after I watched the wonderful drama Wah! Guru last month. The drama is based on this book. The thoughts about life and death created such an interest in my mind that I finished reading the book in a single day. I actually got into it! Good utilization of my Saturday time! :-)Sharing some beautiful thoughts/aphorisms from this book :-"The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it.""Everyone knows they are going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did,we would do things differently.""To know you are going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you are living.""The truth is once you learn how to die,you learn how to live.""At seventy eight, he was giving as an adult and taking as a child.""I embrace aging. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at 22, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at 22. Aging is not just decay. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you are going to die, it's also the positive that you understand you are going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.""If you are trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you are trying to show off for people at bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.""When you are in bed,you are dead.""People are only mean when they are threatened. And that's what our culture does. That's what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worry about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself.You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.""Death ends a life, not a relationship."And will end this post by this beautiful moral story :-The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. It's enjoying the wind and the fresh air until it notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the store."My God, this is terrible", the wave says."Look what's going to happen to me!" Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to the wave, "Why do you look so sad?"The first wave says,"You don't understand! We are all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?"The second wave says,"No, you don't understand. You are not a wave, you are part of the ocean!" Enjoy reading !

Some updates about my blogging

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I decided to separate out the technical stuff from this blog to another blog. So I have now 3 blogs :-1) About Nature, Literature, Life :-http://niranjansarade.blogspot.com2) Technical Stuff :-http://niranjansarade.tumblr.com/Have recently shared the slides for my talk @RubyConfIndia 2012 in the above blog.3) My poem collection :-http://dhundamanasi.wordpress.com/Enjoy reading !

Speaking @RubyConf India 2012

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I am going to speak @ RubyConf India 2012. This event is happening in Pune ! The title of my talk is 'What lies beneath the beautiful code?'So get...set...ready... ! :-)Please stay tuned for the updates !

Aavarana by S. L. Bhyrappa

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Recently I read a Marathi translated version of a novel called 'Aavarana(2007)'. The book has been originally written in Kannada by the bestselling novelist Professor S.L.Bhyrappa and translated in Marathi by Uma Kulkarni. The novel portrays the relationship between Hinduism and Islam - in the past and in the present, with two stories going on a parallel track.The term 'Aavarana' is used in Vedantic literature to denote that aspect of nescience (Avidya) that obscures all things. It is the 'Avidya' that hides the real truth behind its covers. Prof. SL Bhyrappa chose the same name to his novel because he wanted to highlight the current so called Secular and Social faces in India who are trying to hide the real truth with the help of political support. The book is very informative as the author has actually referred to many books himself before writing this novel. This list can be found at the end of the book nicely included as a part of the story. The incidents that he has narrated by means of a story are based on these references. The author has made very clear that the relationships between communities should be based on a strong foundation of truth rather than systemic misinformation. To be frank, today's education about the Indian history lacks the truth.One should definitely read this book and have an introspection about what we have been taught since childhood and what is the actual truth. Certainly, no one should feel against Islam or any other religion, that is not the book's intent as clearly stated by the author. The intent is to understand that no relationship can stand successful if it is not based on a strong foundation of truth. Because truth will never die!

Wah! Guru

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Last Sunday, I watched an excellent Marathi drama called 'Wah! Guru'. My favorite actor Dilip Prabhawalkar performed excellent in casting the character of Professor Sapre. The drama is based on Mitch Albom's best-selling novel 'Tuesdays with Morrie - an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson'. It is a story of courage and optimism of Professor Sapre who is diagnosed with the terminal illness of Motor Neuron Disease (MND), a very rare disease due to which the patient loses his muscular control and finally succumbs to it. But Prof. Sapre asks himself - Do I wither up, or do I make the best of my time left?He makes Death as his final project. Since everyone is going to die, his death can be taught in personal class, that's what he thinks. He starts teaching the bridge between life and death to one of his students by narrating small inspirational stories. And the student actually benefits from his teachings, his positive attitude.I liked this dialog - 'When you're in bed, you're dead!'And also this conversation between the student and the professor:-Student : "Why should we care or think about death now as it approaches towards end of our life ?" Professor : "My thinking is opposite. The life ends when death approaches us. And hence we need to think of Death every day."The ebook is available @TuesdaysWithMorrieSo, please watch this wonderful drama or read the book if you haven't already ! Needless to say that my next plan is to read this book ! :-)

I love this section in my newspaper..

about 5 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

I love this section in my newspaper..

Lol…the fun in being married..

about 5 years ago | Nirmal Merchant: Urban Gypsy

Lol…the fun in being married..

Making Gedit look like Textmate for Ubuntu

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

Textmate is the most popular editor tool available exclusively only for Mac OS. Developers love it due to its simplicity, lightweightness and excellent feature set availability. While working on Ubuntu (11.10 64-bit), we have the default gedit editor available which is also very good. However, if we want to have some Textmate like features with gedit, we can follow these simple steps to make gedit look like Textmate:-(1) Installing extra gedit plugins :-$ sudo apt-get install gedit-plugins(2) Installing Textmate 'Monaco' fontDownload from http://www.gringod.com/wp-upload/software/Fonts/Monaco_Linux.ttf and execute below commands:(3) Installing syntax color scheme darkmate.xmlDownload the darkmate.xml file from http://grigio.org/files/darkmate.xmlFrom gedit, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Font & Colors. Then click Add button and locate the download file(darkmate.xml). Also select the Monaco font.(4) Activating installed plugins from gedit -> Edit -> Preferences -> PluginsFrom this pane,we can enable following plugins as per our requirements :--Bracket Completion-Code Comment-File Browser Panel-Snippets-Word Completion, etc.With these settings, your gedit now looks like Textmate :- If you want to avoid the above steps, then we have also another option called Gmate. GMate is a collection of plugins, themes/styles and other improvements to get TextMate-like features in Gedit. The package will add some themes and plugins you can enable/disable from the Gedit preferences. To install GMate in Ubuntu, use the following commands:In the upcoming posts, we will also try some other text editors available for Linux Ubuntu.

Recording tests with JMeter

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

We had a requirement of load/performance testing in one of my earlier projects. Instead of using commercial and expensive Silk performer, we gave a try to open source Apache JMeter and it worked really well for the purpose that we were looking for.The Apache JMeter is an open source software, a 100% pure Java application designed to load test functional behavior and measure performance.There is an excellent step by step guide available @JMeter proxy Step-by-step for how to record tests with JMeter. The guide explains the steps for creating a test plan with JMeter's proxy. The proxy records the requests sent to the server.There are different kind of Listeners available for viewing load test results like Aggregate Report, Aggregate Graph, Summary Report, View Results Tree, Monitor Results, etc. Sharing one sample output of Aggregate Report :-While setting up the load tests, we also need to take care of some config elements for more accurate results like HTTP Cookie Manager, HTTP Authorization Manager,HTTP Cache Manager, HTTP Request Defaults,HTTP Header Manager, etc. I could not go through all the elements of test plan in depth due to time constraint, but one can go through these documentation links for stepping into more technical details :-- JMeter User Manual - Elements of a Test Plan- Component Reference

Installing VM(with Ubuntu + RVM + Ruby + Rails) on my Windows 7 system

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

I wanted to give a try on my Windows 7 system to create and run Virtual Machine with Ubuntu OS. As my colleague Manohar rightly pointed out the reason @Ruby on Rails Development Platform in Enterprise behind this, I followed the instructions to install VMWare and Ubuntu on my Windows 7 laptop.A. Download and Install VMWare Player which is free for personal non-commercial use. B. Download 64-bit ISO of Ubuntu.C. Create a New Virtual Machine for Ubuntu 64-bit using VMware Player. The steps are simple. It takes default 512 MB of RAM but I allocated 2 GB of RAM. It took me around 1 and half hour to install all the necessary files for ubuntu. So have a patience!My host system configuration :-Processor: Intel Core Dual i5 CPU, RAM: 6GB, 64-bit Operating System, Windows 7 Home PremiumSome issues that I faced and the corresponding resolution :-(1) With Ubuntu 32-bit(recommended) ISO file download, the VMWare could not identify the 64-bit Ubuntu OS. So I downloaded 64-bit ISO file for Ubuntu 11.10 verison. With this file, the VMWare was able to detect 64-bit Ubuntu OS correctly.(2) When I went ahead with the installation, I got 2 warnings/errors :-To run virtualization software and virtual machines, hardware virtualization technology should be enabled. I enabled Virtualization Technology (VT) in motherboard BIOS settings which is disabled by default and then restarted my machine. This resolved my issue and Ubuntu(64-bit) was then successfully installed on my VM.I followed the steps mentioned @Ubuntu, Ruby, RVM, Rails, and You to install RVM, Ruby 1.9.3, Rails 3.1.3 and mysql2. The steps are self explanatory and straight forward to follow. Thanks to Ryan Bigg for this !Now I am ready to try out some ruby/rails development on Ubuntu @ my home pc :-)

Snaps from Sudhagad fort

about 5 years ago | Niranjan Sarade: InLoveWithNature

My wife and I recently visited Sudhagad fort near Pali. Sharing few snaps captured from Sudhagad fort. (Sunset view is my favorite! :-)Tailbaila view from top :-Sunset view :-Enjoy the nature beauty ! :-)