I’ve been a little slow on the cooking and blogging front lately but I’m never short for words. So when three fellow bloggers– Ann, Jaya and Pavani— each one an amazing cook herself– nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award which goes with a tag to write seven interesting things about myself, I jumped at the bait.
Not because I think I’m interesting, mind you– I quite honestly think I’m the most boring person I know. But I never am one to pass on a chance for some good old healthy introspection and retrospection. So now comes the time to shine the light on the inner me, and find out just how interesting– or not– I am. You decide.
1. As a child (I must’ve been five or six), I was chased up and down the street by what must have been the world’s biggest German Shepherd. The incident made me fairly– although not deathly– afraid of dogs for a while. But somehow, as I grew older and wiser, the fear vanished. Now dogs are my best friends– and I try to be theirs. I even have my very own Shepherd at home now.
2. This one would be interesting to my Indian readers. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of Bollywood and the endless, meaningless movies it churns out. But in my early career as a reporter in Bombay, goaded by an arts editor with a deep nostalgia for old Hindi movies, I interviewed dozens of Indian movie stars. Of the celebrities I met, Shashi Kapoor was unassuming and friendly and utterly handsome although he was a much bigger and much older version of his ’60s filmi self. After that, whenever we spoke, he’d regale me with stories of his new granddaughter. Hema Malini was still beautiful years after her reign as the dreamgirl of Indian cinema but also still clueless and I’ve never seen anyone look as shocked as she did when I asked her how old she was (she didn’t tell me, in case you were wondering).
Shyam Benegal was as intelligent as the movies he made and Subhash Ghai was more intelligent than the movies he made. Saeed Jaffrey was intensely annoying and full of himself, but Danny Dengzongpa was articulate and extremely charming. Deepti Naval, one of my favorite interviewees, was polished and sensitive and the only Bollywood actor to ever call me after the interview appeared to thank me.
But my most memorable interview of the Bollywood kind would have to be Naushad. He was old and no longer making beautiful music, but he was an absolute gentleman and one of the nicest people I have ever met, professionally or personally. He did not even embarrass me when I confessed to him that Desi’s most favorite song of all time was Chalte Chalte (I found out only later that Naushad shared the credits for Pakeezah with Ghulam Mohammad, his disciple, who actually scored Chalte Chalte).
3. I interviewed Laura Bush in the White House when she was First Lady.
4. I am hooked on politics, although I don’t write about it (except when it’s animal related) on my blog. Mainly because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself, but also because I often cover political stories and it wouldn’t be ethical. I go to bed with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and my idea of a great Friday night is to curl up on the couch with Desi, my furry family and a glass of wine and watch Bill Maher dish it out on Real Time.
5. I tend to be friendly and agreeable most of the time, but any kind of injustice brings out the fighter in me. I hate it when I see someone trying to take advantage of the underdog, human or not. It perhaps explains why I became a champion of animal rights. I’ve screamed out my head at a neighbor in Pune whom I caught kicking a stray puppy that had wandered on his porch. I’ve lectured a boy in Guadalajara who was trying to take aim at a pigeon with a catapult (I don’t know if he understood what I was saying in English and a few broken words of Spanish, but he retreated which was good enough for me). And I never miss a chance to tell people who buy from breeders that they are contributing to the problem of pet overpopulation and the unnecessary killing of healthy animals in shelters. It may not make me everyone’s favorite person, but someone’s got to say it.
6. I was always the rebel in my extended family, and growing up I rejected a lot of the stuff girls are expected to do in Indian homes. My cousins were all fabulous cooks by the time they were in their teens but I just wasn’t interested in learning something so, well, girly. I only started cooking after I got married because Desi couldn’t cook either and we had to eat. Once I’d muddled through the learning process, I fell in love with the whole idea of creating delicious food.
7. I once won a tiny whisky-making contest organized by the Scotch Whisky Association in Glasgow. We were asked to create a Scotch from a few colorless liquids placed before us. I confess I had no idea what I was doing and they definitely didn’t clasp their hearts and offer me a job on the spot. But apparently I can mix up a pretty good brew when I set my mind to it. I even have a silver quaiche to show for it!
I know awards are plentiful in the blogging world and not every recipient cheers when they get one because, well, they’ve gotten one or a dozen before. But I do appreciate the sentiment and love behind them, and I would like to return it by passing on the tag and award to seven bloggers I admire. Ann, Jaya and Pavani would be on the list, but since they’ve already been there and done that I am going to pick out seven others who are also really creative with everything they do. Remember, dear awardees, you have to tell us seven interesting things about yourself and name seven of your favorite bloggers to pass the award on to.
Here are my picks:
Mihl of Seitan Is My Motor
Mints of Vadanikavalgheta
Nithya of Hungry Desi
Priya of Akshayapaatram
Sharmila of Kichu Khon
Taymer of Vegan in the Sun
Usha of Veg Inspirations