Friday, February 18, 2005

What an Outlook!

I have been a fan of Outlook magazine, since the time I became acquainted with it in 1997. I remember the USP of Outlook was the sensational stories it would flash.

It was Outlook that revealed India’s Worst Kept Secret. It was Outlook who sporadically kept mentioning about the changing sexual attitude of Indian middle-class (Kama Chaos, Male Vanity, Desi Viagra, He Sleeps like a Baby); it was Outlook who called Dawood, a Public Enemy No. 1, and Pakistan, a Failed State.

It was Outlook that hoped Sonia Gandhi would revive the Congress party – something she magnificently did.

It was Outlook again that described the changing life-styles of post-liberalized India (Food Mood, The Trendy Conservative, Small Town Big Money, Big Fashion Hoax), but it was also the Outlook that didn’t missed out on the have-nots, the unfortunate majority.

At times Outlook was mischievous; other times, it was concerned; at times entertaining; at times questioning, and questioning boldly, too.

Outlook presented all ideas of life, ideas that can influence your own outlook, as well. Any other magazine would have done the same. But, not the way Outlook did it.

If you ask me, I’d say: Outlook is wonderful, a delight, outrageous, at times unreasonable, even funny. It is also reasonable, inspiring, titillating, provoking, biased, and unbiased, too.

Outlook is beautiful, but it’s ugly too. It is brazen – and I love it for that. It is foolishly smutty and snobby - and I hate it for that.

Outlook is a magazine that approximates the world around quite intrestingly. And, that is the reason it’s numero uno among all weeklies in India.

Its editor-in-chief, the witty Vinod Mehta, had the following to say when the magazine completed nine years, a few months back. If you read this, you can gauge as to what makes Outlook so adorable to so many.

Over to Mr. Vinod Mehta:

Thursday, February 03, 2005

An Audacious Prayer...

Khuda tujhey kisee toofan se ashna kar dey,
Key terey bahar ki maujon me iztirab nahin.

May God introduce you to a storm;
For, the sea of your life is placid, its waves devoid of tumult.

-- Iqbal.

O Darling Biryani...

Biryani, a ubiquitous cocktail-food made up of rice, spices and meat, is relished by millions of people of the Indian sub-continent; and, I personally have a lot of appetite for it, too.

Over the years, Biryani has been quite an experience. My early memory of Biryani goes back to the festival of Eid, when my mom would prepare a Hyderabadi style ‘Dum-ki-Biryani’ – never ever any Biryani can be more toothsome, as cooked by her.

Raipur, where I hail from, has a very modest Biryani offering, all the more when you compare it to Hyderabad: the undisputed Biryani capital of the world. But then, when you grow up with a certain taste, it acquires a sensitive place in you. I still crave for the moderately cooked ‘Degh-ki-Biryani’ along with the ‘Dalcha’, which was often served on religious and social occasions. My visits to Raipur are never complete without visiting the age-old Habib Hotel, for their simple, but superb Biryani.

The Biryani I have had at Cochin and Trivendrum was relatively different. It tastes great with the salad (which can be safely called ‘Raita’ in North India, as that “salad” is a mix of curd, cucumber, tomato, and onion, etc) that is served along. But yes, I must admit that Malabari Biryani is quite exotic.

Coming to the Biryani bastion, Hyderbad – there are several ways a Biryani is cooked here. But, you will get the best of Hyderabadi Biryani not at any restaurant, but in old and traditional Hyderabadi families and nobilities. Although, several restaurants in the city do serve Biryani at affordable prices, and calling that delicious will not be any exaggeration (provided you know the right places). Biryani is typically served along with ‘Mirchi-ka-saalan’, an exclusive Hyderabdi serving.

Going Northwards, I once had a Biryani at the famous ‘Kareems'’, in New Delhi, and it was awesome. I am yet to experience the Lukhnow – Awadh chapter of Biryani; perhaps, sometime my friends from Lukhnow might oblige.

Actually, Biryani is like a dialect, which changes every few miles in India. But, be it Tanveer - Nagpur, or Dilli-Durbar, Bombay; be it Lazeez - Indore, or Zam Zam – Trivendrum, or Hyderabad House in Hyderabad, Biryani has always succeeded in elating my spirits. I don’t say that I live on it, but then it’s almost an inevitable part. Biryani, for me, is a food that symbolizes energy, passion, exuberance, and lots of vigor.

I can never have enough of it!

More on Biryani at: