Friday, November 28, 2008

Victoria Terminus

My dad was posted in Lonavla, a hill station in the Pune district in Maharashtra. We took the trains to visit my grand-parents in Kanpur often and we would change trains at the VT station. As kids, my sister and I would marvel at the architecture of the Victoria Terminus building and the size of the railway station. My dad who was an engineer with the Central Railways would bore us with stats about how many trains stopped at VT and how many people changed trains at that station while we would cling to his legs trying not to get lost in the sea of people rushing in all directions. VT was a happy place for me and my sister. We had a twenty four hour train journey from VT to Kanpur and we would double up on supplies at the VT station - popcorn -check, Stardust/CineBlitz - check, Archie's comics - check., the latest Amar Chitra Kathas - check.

So its with horror I watched the terminal become a part of the siege of Mumbai. While a lot of news has been focused on the higher end hotels of Taj and Oberoi and rightly so, since these are still ongoing campaigns, the assault on VT was on common people who travel by trains every day. If there is a silver lining to this terrorist act, it is bringing Indians of all stripes and colors together. Indians are also banding together to demand more from their government. Mumbaiites and Indians have shown resilience and defiance to terrorism before and they will again.

Update: The siege is over.

Style Icon of the Week

Of course, Michelle Obama. A lot of ink has flown to describe Michelle Obama's style. However for me, she is a rare combination of style and substance. She has a natural elegance, a grace and a non fussy style. Comparisons to Jackie Kennedy are overblown because unlike Jackie she is your everyday woman in her forties - a working mom, exercises regularly and spends an effort in portraying a down to earth style. She has been criticized for some of her fashion choices but I find it refreshing that like any of us she has had her fashion faux pas. I also find it interesting that at important events she coordinates her outfits with those of her children Malia and Sasha as if to put forth a united family front.

All eyes were on Michelle when she spoke at the democratic convention. The pressure was on, the media dubbed it as the most important day of her life and the most important day of her husband's career. She was there to soften his image, to show to the world that their family is like any other American family. Michelle chose a teal sheath dress designed by Maria Pinto. It was a simple understated v-neck dress that won her rave reviews from all. I loved this dress and it earned a can of tuna from Cal.

Thai-born New York Designer Thakoon Panichgul designed her dress on the night her husband accepted the democratic nomination. The dress is called a "reverse Kimono" and sold for $1250. Michelle picked the dress after it was shown on the runway. The dress was too floral for my taste while Cal thought Michelle should have paired it with some high-heels to look more lady-like.

Then came the monstrosity of a dress - The Narciso Rodriguez black and red dress from the designers Spring '09 collection that she wore at Grant Park on election night. The dress was modified from its original version to make it look fit for a first lady. Her saving grace was Jill Biden who looked cold and shivering all through the evening. The dress was awful but I and Cal both loved Michelle's confidence in picking such a bold number and rejoiced in having a first lady who finally breaks out of the boring skirt-suit or pant-suit mould.

Just when I thought Michelle was doing all wrong, saw a picture of the Obamas at the white house with the Bushes. She was back to her sheath dress in a color and a cut that looked fabulous on her. I was not surprised that the dress was a Maria Pinto. The dress retails for $750. She did play it a little safe this time but was appropriately dressed for the event. I gave her two thumbs up while Cal meowed her approval.

Cal and I, can't wait to see what choices she makes for the inauguration day and the balls.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

No turkey for us this year. Hubby and I decided to cook an indian meal. Hubby is preparing Mughlai Lamb Biryani while I am making my traditional Chhole, Paneer Butter Masala, Eggplant and Raita. We picked up some Naan from Whole Foods to complete the menu. Hubby is also making Oriya Cheesecake (his family recipe) for dessert.

Most of the recipes are courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey. The Paneer Butter Masala recipe is from the fun and food blog.

Cal is having canned tuna and some Whisker Lickins for dessert.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai Under Fire

Cal and I send our condolences to everyone affected in Mumbai and hope the nightmare would end soon. Amit Varma reports from the front line.