The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
Early morning Chitpur. Shot by Abhishek Chamaria on Chitpur Local photowalk in March, 2015.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer specials at Casa Kitchen

A question was playing on my mind for some time- Does Kolkata celebrate summer foods in the eating out space? After all, this is just not the weather to eat out to one heart’s content. One feels like having a light meal and craves for refreshing drinks to quench thirst and stay hydrated. So when I received an invitation for a special bloggers’ preview of a summer food festival from Casa Kitchen, the fine dining multicuisine restaurant & bar on AJC Bose Rd, between Minto Park and Camac Street, I was happy.

It is called Summer Time Soiree- a fare of salads, cold sandwiches and refreshing cocktails & mocktails. I was welcomed by Mr Swarup Ghosh, GM of Hotel Casa Fortuna, which houses the restaurant. Also present was Mr Shantanu Lahiri, Chief Advisor to the hotel. He has a long experience of serving in 5-star properties in the hospitality industry and now runs a consultancy firm for hotels and restaurants.

The welcome drink was a cucumber-based one, called Cucumber Curry Leaf Lemonade. It was refreshing, especially so in a hot and extremely humid summer day.

Cucumber Curry Leaf Lemonade

Shantanu shared with us the idea behind holding the festival. In summer we do not crave for rich and spicy food, and that’s bad for health too. So they thought of curating foods and drinks with ingredients that are cooling, hydrating and full of antioxidants to take care of both gastromomic need and health. We bloggers were discussing all things culinary with Swarup and Shantanu, while Swarup told us about a mocktail they make with guava juice which is a take on Bloody Mary and reminds us of having raw guava with black salt mixed with red chili powder (commonly known as jhaalnoon in Bengali). It’s named Chatka Marie. We found it interesting and it was served. The taste of ripe guava with a recreated hint of vodka and a lick of the salt covering the rim in between sips made for a good time. It is not on the menu of Summer Time Soiree, but available on demand. Try it if you make a visit.

Chatka Marie

Coming to the menu, it starts with the coolers. There it has six fruit-based coolers and mocktails like Deep Blue Sea- a yellow and green mocktail of mango and pineapple, Just Peachy- a frozen drink with peach and orange and Fruity Delight- mixed fruit juice with vanilla ice cream and hints of strawberry crush, made to be loved by the kids. They are priced Rs 175  each (without taxes).

Deep Blue Sea
Just Peachy

In cocktails there is a choice of eight made with whisky, vodka, rum, tequila and gin. Keeping with the theme, there are fruity options like Blood Orange Sunrise with orange juice and whisky on the rocks and Kiwi Cooler with kiwi, white rum and cranberry juice. The tequila lovers may wish to indulge in a Mango Margarita (frozen cocktail infused with tequila and fresh mango) while those who like vodka cocktails can go for Pink Glow Splash and the gorgeous looking White Russian (a classic cocktail with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream). They are priced Rs 475 each (without taxes).

 Kiwi Cooler
 Mango Margarita

 White Russian

The food section is all about salads with two sandwiches thrown in. The Watermelon Sandwich is a simple yet innovative take on watermelon made this season and for this festival. It’s fresh, round watermelon slices sprinkled with home-made feta. Cool Casa Sandwich is a rich preparation of pickled zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, baby corn, gherkins and mustard mayonnaise between multi-grain bread slices. Liked its lightly spicy and tangy taste. Next came Woldorf Salad- apple pieces tossed with apple acid vinegar, mayonnaise and pieces of walnut. Loved the combo of apple and walnut with the sauce playing catalyst. It’s easily my pick of the menu and it will be loved by fruit salad lovers.

 Watermelon Sandwich

 Cool Casa Sandwich

 Waldorf Salad

I also sampled Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Glaze and Vegetable Caeser Salad, both of which should be liked by green salad lovers. The first one is char-grilled veggies, including bell pepper, with balsamic glaze and the latter is iceberg lettuce tossed with garlic mayonnaise and croutons. Also liked the tangy taste of the simple pasta salad thanks to the cocktail sauce.
 Mediterranean Salad with Balsamic Glaze

 Pasta salad

Shantanu wanted us to taste their paneer tikka and said that the paneer is made in house to maintain a certain quality. The dish was served sizzler style. Though I am not an admirer of anything made of paneer as I consider it a character-less ingredient, I liked the taste. Yes, the paneer was better.

 Paneer tikka

It was wonderful to meet friends and fellow bloggers and bond over food & drinks. Poorna of the blog PresentedbyP (one of city’s best food blogs), Anindya of Pikturenama and Indrajit of A Bong Petuk’s Diary were present. Also met Sanjay Sagar, a veteran professional photographer, who love shooting food & beverages.

So head for this summer food fest if you are in the mood for this kind of food.

Summer Time Soiree
18th to 31st May
11 am to 11 pm
Cost for two- Rs 1000 + tax

Casa Kitchen
234/1 AJC Bose Road
Kolkata 700020

For table reservations call 033 40218050 or 8017088003.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A nostalgic Bengali poem

Came across this gem of a poetic creation in Bengali by the dear, versatile Rana Basu Thakur on Facebook, and couldn't resist the temptation of publishing it here. It took me back to my college days in early to mid nineties and elucidates love then and now. It was posted on 3rd March, 2014 in the notes section of his profile. Rana has many such gems in his treasure chest and this one is very close to his heart.

Tobuo Boshonto
Jetaam tokhon tomader baari
Chhilo naako driver aar ei meki luxury
Chhilo hridoygaami share er auto
Drutogaami fade howa albumer photo

Chhilo na IPL aar i-Pill er chaap
Chhilo ushno chhnowa aar hridoyer uttaap
Shei school leaving beeborno ekta scrapbook
Shei JU lobby te ekta hurried lajuk look
Haathe aanka card aar Wingsung fountain pen ey lekha cheethi
Anguler phnaake Chelpark kaali
Daamal diner chhatro rajneeti.
Chhilo na add me up on whatsapp, here's my BBM pin
Chhilo Milon da, Arun da aar AC'r canteen.

Dol bnedhe Shantiniketan
Aajo mone pore amar lekha tomar gaawa gaan
Khowai nodeer paare shei odbhoot moner dwondo
Jochhonaaye snaan kora aamro monjorir shugondho
Khore'r gaadaye pose diye tola chhobita
The morning after... 
Golapi dupatta aar bekaar premiker kobita

Nochiketa'r Nilanjana'r laal fitey shada moja,
Shumon'er shei Gariahaatar mor
Shilajit'er shopno dekha ghumer ghor
Parash pathor, chandrabindu aar amader shei gaaner ghota
Spring fest ey prothom gaanja aar ramp ey tomar prothom hnaata

Amar lekha tomar aanka St Xaviers green bench ey tee shirt becha
Sanskriti aar Xavotsav ey debating society aar dhoom naacha
Lake club ey regatta
VP tey bhel-batata.
Long walks in silence
Ankahee kuchh baatein that made no sense
The spring in our steps, the songs in our heart
The love that you can never ship from a flipkart

Roilo na kichhui baakita byaktigoto
Pore roilo khuchro likes aar random updates joto
Bhalo theko, bhalo besho eta aajo chaibo
Choley gechho tumi. Aami ekhanei thakbo.

Dekhlaam hothaath aaj jaanlaar baaire krishnochoora gaachhta


Bodley gechho tumi…


Photograph by Rana Basu Thakur

Photograph by Rana Basu Thakur

Photograph by Rana Basu Thakur

Yes, this is the same Krishnachoora tree (Gulmohar) you read about in the poem. A parting shot just for you from yours truly.

Now Byomkesh vs Byomkesh

The fictional detectives and truth seekers from Bengali literature seem to be engaged in an interesting power play. In the run-up to Feluda vs Byomkesh last year, the former's producer said Byomkesh was television material. After the release both set the box office on fire. Now the same production house has bought all the available Byomkesh stories to build a franchise over the next seven years (with one release a year), while the house curently making Byomkesh committed to continue making it with one release a year. Apparently the trigger was the Byomkesh house making a Kakababu movie and planning to release it on the same day this year as the Kakababu movie of the Feluda house.

The takeout: The second Kakababu is bringing in a second Byomkesh.

Too much to handle for the audience! But the franchise game is surely going to transform this year.

It brings me to also ask: What will happen to Shabor who was supposed to come back again this year after the successful beginning in January, as its director has been chosen to direct the new Byomkesh franchisee ( shooting starting this August)?

Monday, May 11, 2015

A proud Bengali moment at National Awards 2014

Well, when I saw the above on Srijit Mukherji's Facebook page it suddenly struck that it was a great and rare Bengali moment! It hasn't ever happened that a Bengali president was doing the honours for national award for Best Director and Best Screenplay to a Bengali director-screenwriter for a Banglai film. The same recipient for the said awards is also rare, at least in Bangla cinema.

Here's wishing a proper recovery to the accomplished director from his fatal leg injury in New Delhi. 

Photographs are by Photo Division. Government of India.

Monday, May 04, 2015

The tea tasting session at The Tea Lounge, The Lalit Great Eastern

When I walked into the tea lounge of the five star address at Dalhousie (the central business district), it was a pleasant surprise. It was a sunlit yet indoor lounge, thanks to the ceiling entirely made of glass. Lights are turned on only when it is dark. Thanks to the daylight (use of which obviously scores on eco-friendliness) this spacious and comfy lounge can provide the ideal setting for a relaxed business meeting or a chit chat with an old friend after a long while. I doubt if Kolkata has another dedicated tea lounge of this standard. The Lalit chain of hotels also has such a lounge only in this property.  The lounge has another feature which is as matchless. I shall come to it in a little while.

A tea tasting session is not a common event, and when the venue is in a hotel which is part of Kolkata’s rich colonial history (Founded as Auckland Hotel in 1840 by David Wilson, an Englishman who was encouraged by the thriving success of his confectionery shop), an invitation as a blogger was something that I couldn’t afford to miss.

By the way, the tea lounge was not part of the erstwhile Great Eastern Hotel when it was bought over by The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group from the state government in 2005. The lounge is a welcome value addition by the present owners, designed to offer a new environment to the tea-loving Kolkata, keeping intact the ancient British style and ambience. It has brought to life the British concept of ‘Afternoon tea’ with its Phoenician décor and a manner of service modeled on the English style of ‘Silver service’ to appeal to the tea connoisseurs.

View from the tea lounge

Mr Subhojit Sengupta, the Food & Beverage Manager started the session with a small group of mediapersons and bloggers like an informal chat.  To start with, they serve an eclectic range of thirty two varieties of tea from sixteen select tea estates of India. Seven to eight are from select tea gardens of Darjeeling and an equal number is from Assam. Others include flavoured tea, like strawberry, which are flavours carefully mixed with tea right here to create a tea plus experience.

A distinct variety from the range is silver needle tea- a fine-flavoured tea which is rarely available and happens to be one of the most expensive varieties in the world. This tea is regularly served here.

A distinctive offering of the tea lounge is the Great Eastern Darjeeling tea- a tea made in Goomtee Tea Estate in Kurseong exclusively for the hotel. You won’t get it anywhere else in the world. The tea menu describes it as available in black, green, white and oolong. When properly brewed, it yields a thin-bodied, light-colour infusion with a floral aroma. The flavour can include a tinge of astringent tannic characteristics, and a musky spiciness sometimes described as "muscatel.”  It comes at Rs 350 for a pot of tea. One can even buy a pack of the tea from the lounge to take home or to gift. It has also been made available in the other five star properties of The Lalit.

The other feature which is matchless as I mentioned in the beginning is the tea menu. It is a three dimensional thing that can be folded to make a box. Not only the various teas and their descriptions, it also shows you the actual tea leaves next to their names in small flat boxes covered with a transparent material. The waiting staff takes this to a customer who after going through a description can uncover the respective box and take out a pinch of the tea for whiffing its distinctive aroma. The waiter is qualified to make a recommendation suited to the person’s taste. Not only that such an approach to serving tea is out-of-the-box, it goes a long way in tea appreciation for the enthusiasts.

The tea menu. Photo by Anindya S Basu.
The tea menu- a close look

Here are two varieties from the menu, one Darjeeling, one Assam, for your information:

Darjeeling Phuguri- The silver tipped leaves make for a bright golden liquor and remarkable flavour reminiscent of fresh flower and fruits. It has an excellent aroma, light liquor and as unmatched sweet cloned taste which lingers for long time. Comes at Rs 350 for a pot.

Assam Halmari Orthodox- Halmari (tea garden) specializes in orthodox teas. Superior leaf from top quality orthodox clones is used to produce exotic tea blends. The tea is manufactured from young, carefully picked buds and is sun-dried. It has a very mild flavour reminiscent of honey and cocoa. Comes at Rs 325 for a pot.

Subhojit then called us to the expansive counter where he and his team showed how the tea is brewed. The tea leaf is put in an apparatus called infuser (looks like a tube with pores for the juice to be extracted).

The infuser in the cup. Brewing is on.

The brewing time depends on the nature of the tea and the customer’s taste and preference. There is a set of three hourglasses with three timeframes- 3 minutes, 4 minutes and 5 minutes which helps the customer in clocking the right time of leaving the tea in the boiling water as per personal preference.

The hourglass set. Photo by Anindya S Basu.

We were showed the brewing of the very special Jasmine tea, known for its aroma. It was a revelation, I must say. The jasmine flower is bound by the tea leaves into a small ball called pearl. When the pearl is dropped in the boiling water, the leaves are slowly separated and the flower comes out. The whole thing looks like a blooming flower and holds great visual appeal. For this characteristic this tea is also called the blooming tea. Subhojit informed us, it is said that the pearl sleeps till it is put in hot water, and once done, it wakes up.

The blooming tea. The flower inside is visible now. And the pearl is placed outside the teapot.

Subhojit’s pick from the menu would be the Great Eastern Darjeeling tea, Silver White tea (a specialty from the famous Makaibari tea garden), oriental tea and masala tea (in which select Indian spices are mixed to bring out a winning flavour which is very Indian). Masala tea is highly popular overseas.

The food menu perfectly compliments the eclectic array of teas, with a range of European savouries and desserts interspersed with Bengali snack food. For instance savouries include Norwegian smoked salmon between mini bagels and date mustard (Rs 475), shrimp tartlets with Moroccan chermoule a spice (Rs 475), frittata with gruyere & onion jam (Rs 375) and Bengal style fish fingers with mustard (Rs 450). Each portion consists of six pieces. Desserts include British tea cake, New York cheesecake, apple cinnamon strudel, assortment of French macaroons and Hazelnut Praline Napoleon among others.

The highlight of the menu is a British hi-tea, called The Great Eastern hi-tea and interestingly, a Bengali take on hi-tea aptly named Jol Khabar. Both have a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version. While the British one comprises of a selection from the savoury and dessert range, the Bengali one includes Bengal shingada with cauliflower & peanuts/ mangsher shingada, fish finger, jhalmuri and an assortment of sandesh among other things. The British one is priced Rs 1000 for veg and Rs 1200 for non-veg and Jol Khabar is Rs 850 and Rs 1050 for veg and non-veg versions respectively.

The hi-tea food items. Bengali at the sides and British in centre.
Jol Khabar- the Bengali take on hi-tea.

I tried the Great Eastern Darjeeling tea which I liked, followed by the fine British Earl Grey tea. To go with it I picked up a mini sandwich, chicken shingada, paneer wrap and cheesecake. The paneer wrap (with the wrap made of whole wheat) was good. The cheesecake was delicious and melt in the mouth, so I took a second helping.

My plate. The cheesecake in front and the wrap at right.

The lounge is open from 10 am to 9 pm.

Felt good to meet fellow bloggers Poorna Banerjee and the couple Anindya S Basu and Madhushree Basu Roy. Anindya is a gifted amateur photographer, as you can see from his pictures in this post.

Overall, a satisfying and truly different experience that will stay on the mind for a long time.

The details:
The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata
 1,2,3 Old Court House Street 
Dalhousie Square
Kolkata 700069 
Ph: 033 4444 7777

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Startending Night with Zibi Zapert at Yauatcha

He is a sought after mixologist globally. He also happens to be the global brand ambassador of Johnnie Walker Blue label. Over the years he has been putting his bartending skill to use in a number of clubs, cocktail bars and hotels in Amsterdam, Dublin, London and Delhi, apart from Poland, the country of his origin. He also runs a hospitality consulting agency and works with companies providing training to bartenders and tailoring cocktails.

So when I learnt that Zbigniew (Zibi) Zapert  was going to be the guest mixologist at the bar at Yauatcha, the Michelin-starred  oriental cuisine restaurant at Quest, in what it called the ‘Star’tending Night on 24th April, I was pleased at the privilege of seeing him at work on receiving an invitation as a blogger.

I arrived a little late and saw Zibi already in action at the bar counter. The short guy with a clean shaven head looked perfectly chilled out, just like his guests in the Friday evening. After being ushered in by Anindya, the GM, I made myself comfortable on the stool at the counter for a ringside view of the master at work. Over the next one and a half hours I discovered that he was great fun at work, equally for his colleagues and his guests, often smiling and enjoying every tiny bit of it while staying focused on making the cocktail to perfection with his artistic touch. At the moments when he was concentrating on making a drink he looked as absorbed as a painter giving gentle brush strokes on his canvas. Not for once I found him behaving like a highly sought after celebrity mixologist who endorses one of the iconic brands of the finest scotch whisky in the world. I am sure it’s one of the qualities that make him what he is.

Zibi Zapert

Zibi was particularly enjoying the moments when he was matching the rhythm of shaking the drink with his colleagues for the evening- the team of bartenders at Yauatcha. He was also coming out of the counter every now and then and interacting with his guests in a freewheeling manner, seeking feedback. He was equally game in explaining the intricacies of an outstanding cocktail to those who asked. His childlike enthusiasm was indeed admirable and infected the bartenders. It was testimony to the fact that his passion and work have a successful marriage.

Shake, shake, shake 

Four of his signature cocktails were handpicked for the special menu for that evening, spanning a range of liquor and wines:

  1. Tanqueray Ten Breakfast Martini- Tanqueray Ten (a dry gin), Grand Marnier (a premium cognac) and orange marmalade.
  2. Tanqueray Ten Blighty Mojito- Tanqueray Ten, cucumber, mint and tonic water.
  3. Johnnie Walker’s Gold Collins- Johnnie Walker Gold Label, beer reduction, basil, orange juice and ginger ale.
  4. Zacapa Treacle- Ron Zacapa (rum), orange juice and Angostura Bitter (a dry ale).

Zibi with Tanqueray Ten Breakfast Martini
Zacapa Treacle

The first two were priced at Rs 750 each and the last two at Rs 1200 each.

The blighty mojito is obviously different from mojito, if you have observed above. The blighty mojito, originally created by Jake Burger, is a distinctly British take on the ever popular mojito, substituting gin and tonic for the white rum and soda in the original recipe and adding a refreshing touch of cucumber to the mix. Interestingly in Zibi’s mix of blighty mojito the tonic water retains its place.

As I found out from team Yauatcha, no. 1, 3 and 4 were the highest in demand among the guests who waited keenly for their drinks as Zibi was dishing out one colourful cocktail after another. And apart from the signature cocktails, he made a few others to delight his guests, which included:

Lalu with Ketel- Oolong infusion, lemongrass and litchi juice blended with Ketel One vodka (from Holland).

Old Fashioned Talisker- Angostura bitter and chocolate syrup mixed with Talisker single malt whisky.

I wanted a fruity cocktail and was offered one made of litchi juice, sugar syrup, rose water and champagne. Loved the fine taste and passed on the compliment across the counter!

To go with the cocktail I was served prawn dim sum (dim sum is one of Yauatcha’s fortes) accompanied by pickled vegetables, soy sauce and chili sauce. The sweet n sour veggie cubes, and the lighter versions of the said sauces added to the taste. It was followed by Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun- a soft steamed wrap (like dum sum’s) of chicken-encased prawn, shaped like a thin roll drenched in soy sauce. The wrap melted in the mouth bringing forth the crispy chicken casing that acted as the perfect foil to the juicy and soft, steamed prawn (the same as it was in the dim sum) in this sublime creation.

Crispy Prawn Cheung Fun. Photo by Tania Kathuria. 

The evening will indeed be memorable, thanks to the master, and make Yauatcha stand out among the other eminent upscale bars and pubs in the mall.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Prosenjit's Ananda Plus interview and a counterview

Read up Prosenjit's interview in Ananda Plus (of Anandabazar Patrika) yesterday which came after a pretty long gap (Read it here). The Bangla film industry is going through one of its worst crises ever as mainstream movies, including those by the biggest of stars are regularly failing at the box office. He came up with a few recommendations, which I could not be in agreement with. I posted it in response to the Facebook post by Indranil Roy who took the interview (where he shared the link to it and solicited feedback). Here it is:

At the outset, I salute his concern (he's always showed it), intention and spirit for Bangla film industry. No doubt, we need successful mainstream movies for the industry to survive. Multiplex successes can contribute little as the majority of roughly 250+ theatres are single screen.

I couldn’t make sense of his main recommendation. He wants Dev and Jeet to do 2-3 movies a year for the industry to survive. But they’re doing exactly that! Each of them has had 2 mainstream releases every year at least for the last two years (I’m not counting Buno Hansh and Royal Bengal Tiger). This year Dev has already had one. Isn’t Prosenjit keeping tabs? The point is: the movies have to run at the box office for the industry to survive. Dev’s movies are bombing one after another (the last one being this year’s Herogiri) and Jeet is not much better off either. Bachchan grossed well, but it did not happen as smoothly as Boss. And Game (2014) had bombed before that. He isn’t doing a single movie now and the apparent reason is that he doesn't have a worthwhile offer.

Also a statement that an actor’s stardom suffers heavily due to wide exposure through commercial appearances merits a debate. Abir (Chatterjee) is the one of the most exposed stars today. Every other day he is seen in some brand promotion/ inauguration or the other. Rather than his stardom taking a dip dive, it has risen notches after his Feluda and Byomkesh movies released simultaneously last December. Stardom is largely determined by box office success and if it’s in order, commercial exposure probably does little damage to it.

Would like to come back and add to this post if there's an interesting exchange of notes on the Facebook post.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Station Café- the continental stop at Sealdah

Honestly speaking, Sealdah is too downmarket a place to even think of a continental cuisine restaurant. So when I came across this restaurant opening up few months back beside the flyover on my way home through Sealdah station, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact it was no short of a culture shock. The place is known for a variety of cheap food available on the street and in some no-frills eateries. There is no good restaurant around, even a small and decent dine-in place for Bengali’s favourite cuisines- Mughlai and Chinese.

Soon after the opening, they put up a board with white paper pasted on it showing hand-written combos and standalone dishes- like soup & sandwich, grilled fish, roast chicken with capsicum rice. The prices did not look like ‘made to suit the area’. So it felt that quality continental food without compromise on cost was being served.

I looked up Zomato and the surprise went up as I saw a handful of reviews appreciating the food. So I ended up on way home last evening. 

The modern interiors give it s proper café look with casual wooden chairs. Apart from ground floor, it has a low first floor carved out of the ground floor height, which gives a view of the flyover at the same level. It is located on the narrow walkway beside the flyover to the station from the Jagat Cinema end, on the same side of the road, in the middle of old shops.

Ordered a grilled fish without looking at the menu as I was in the mood for the dish for some time. The menu is neatly divided between soup, entrée, salad & cold dishes, round the hour, main course and beverages & desserts with plenty of non-vegetarian and vegetarian options. The prices fall between budget and premium. For instance a cup of coffee comes at Rs 45 and cream of chicken soup at Rs 65. As summer is approaching, I like the fact that that they have cold dishes like chicken mayonnaise (Rs 175) and fish mayonnaise (Rs 210) on the menu.

The grilled fish arrived within fifteen minutes, served with sautéed vegetables and potato chips. A thick fillet topped with a milky white cream-based sauce and mustard sauce. The fish was of good quality. Inside the crisp exterior was succulent fish, with mustard sauce in every bite. The sharpness of the sauce enhanced the taste.  The veggies in between the bites balanced the taste and helped relish the fish all the more. A good evening snacking experience! The menu price was Rs 220 but I got it at Rs 180 as part of an ongoing offer.

Wish to go back to the café to explore more and come back here to share it.

(Photos sourced from the Facebook page of the restaurant)

To know more about the restaurant visit Zomato through the following link:

Click to add a blog post for Station Cafe on Zomato 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The IPL 8 opener in the city- random thoughts

After the glitzy, uber-glam opening ceremony last evening the city filled out Eden Gardens to the brim to watch the home team play in the opening match against the biggie Mumbai Indians. And they were happy going back at short of midnight having seen KKR defeating Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets. Here are some random thought pieces on the match telecast. 
  1. How much cricket it is remains debatable, but IPL definitely remains a well marketed property and still secures a good chance to get big audience. A match can be caught at leisure post work. One doesn't even need to make an effort. I caught the last part (KKR batting) sitting at the dinner table. Compare it to the recently concluded World Cup matches. Who would watch morning cricket?
  2. Surya Kumar Yadav, the young new recruit showed class and great promise in his fiery, match-winning 46 off 20 balls which included six sixes! He will be watched.
  3. Shah Rukh, thanks to an injury is off work and made it to the field with his self-proclaimed cheerleader gang of children including the tiny AbRam. This man can still embarrass the smartest of people having the gift of the gab with his wisecracks. On being asked by Navjot Singh Sidhu (the commentator) what the secret to his growing glow at this age was, he remarked, “ Bas Siddhu ji, bachche paida karte jao”. It was more indefensible as it referred to himself.
  4. May be commentators will one day learn how to pronounce Kolkata, that it is NOT pronounced ‘Kolkaw-ta” (T as in target) or ‘Kawlkata’.
  5. Last year Nokia and Rose Valley adorned the front of the KKR jersey. Rose Valley secured an enviable position for any brand- at the upper part. This year Nokia has become history and Rose Valley’s head's present address is Enforcement Directorate lock-up. So none of them have retained the positions. The front has gone to the rising smartphone brand Gionee.