Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Friday, 3 January 2014

6 Ballygunge Place: Nothing compared to a mouth watering Bengali meal !

Branding that attracts you
I am a foodie and a cook. But what I like most is enjoying Bengali cuisine cooked in traditional style. Last time when I went to my hometown Kolkata, I discovered a new outlet of the famous restaurant ’ 6 Ballygunge Place’ which has got various outlets in Kolkata and even in other metro cities. I was aware of the quality of food and style of dining as I heard a lot about it from my friends, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to experience traditional Bengali style dining. It’s situated at the heart of Behala, very near to the D.H.Road. Situated on a second floor of a shopping mall, it’s an attractive entrance with mind boggling displays near the main door.
The trendy outlook
The first glance: The very appearance of the restaurant is quite trendy. We saw dining tables with the capacity of 4. Cute stainless steel crokeries were displayed with a wall decor of Old Kolkata paintings. The sepia based paintings and white wall paint decor gave a nice feel. The waiters were quite hospitable and offered hot towels and a menu card. The feel of the menu card was like that of a wedding reception. The waiters used stainless steel bowls and spoons to serve food. The table decor was awesome. I was amazed to see poems encrypted on the table mats. A good ‘eye catcher’ and time pass for a customer.

The attractive table decor

The service: The service is truly good. We were offered traditional Bengali menu. The waiters very much hospitable and were focussed to serve their best. We were given a choice of vegetarian and non –vegetarian plate. Non vegetarian had two choice- fish plate and mutton plate. Both ended up in mango chutney and sweet dish. Separate menu card was offered for kids under the age of 12.The table and the inside decor made us feel comfortable. It was an air conditioned dining room with a capacity of 50 persons. The waiters constantly monitored the plates and offered unlimited food. Fish, luchi and sweet dish was not unlimited though.
Mouth watering 'never ending'variety
Food: It’s an awesome place to enjoy traditional Bengali food at a reasonable rate. Were were offered- luchi, basmati rice, shredded potato fries called jhuri aloo bhaja, palak saag, shukto, alu dum sabji and mung dal. We were offered 4 luchis per plate. This is the menu for a simple vegetarian meal which costs 250INR denoted as the starting range. A fish mutton meal will have a plate of additional two medium sized mutton pieces. A fish plate will have an additional two pieces of medium sized prawns cooked in coconut sauce. The food was tasty and was cooked in the minimum possible oil. It was an enjoyable meal. We were offered mango chutney and mishit doi at last. The mishti doi was given in country pot or bhar. The chingri malaaikari was awesome and so was the mishit doi. The floor price of the plates was 250 INR and the ceiling price was 550INR. It is a great meal at a reasonable cost.
The Happy ending

Verdict: Anybody fond of traditional Bengali food is advised to come here and try the awesome chingri malaaikari dish. Mishti Doi is mouth watering; it’s denoted as the culture food of Bengal. During festivals like Durga puja, Poila Baisakh and  weekends are always filled to hundred percent capacity. Kolkattans like to enjoy mouth watering traditional food at restaurants rather than cooking at home. At least the present working couple generation likes to enjoy world class food at a comfortable restaurant. So, if you have guests at home who’s visiting Kolkata for the first time never miss the chance of bringing him to 6 Ballygunge place , the brand name being ‘ Chakum Chukum

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Serengeti National Park- the ultimate of wild life experience!

I have heard many a times about Serengeti National Park. This year I made up my mind that I will experience the ultimate of wildest adventures and observe the wild beauties from a close distance. From Arusha it took me six hours by road to reach the Serengeti plains via the Ngorongoro conservation area. It was an exciting experience. Rated by UNESCO as one of the best wild life conservation areas of the world it was a protected since 1942. We learnt that it was a vast area of 15,000 square kilometres dominated by wild herbivores and carnivores.

Various moments of a cheetah captured

 The first and foremost sight that caught my eyes was a cheetah family sitting on a rock. It appeared like a royal personality watching its prey from the watch tower. We came near and photographed. The guide told that the visitors need to be careful and should not come near 50 feet distance as it is a punishable offence.   We photographed it's moves from a distance inside the jeep.

Uncomparable hospitality

We landed up in a hotel in the jungle area. Amazingly these hotels have got all the amenities that a human need in his life. Most important was that you could see wild beauties like giraffe and impala grazing near the fence and hear the howling of hyena at night. That was a thrilling experience. The visitors opt for – game drive and balloon safari. The hotels give the detailed information and necessary arrangement. Adventure experts even prefer to go for walking safari and a photographic tour.  


The wild grass eaters

 The next morning after having a wholesome breakfast proceeded on our way where our eyes caught a family of giraffes. These beauties crossed our vehicle and allowed us to photograph. Other creatures like impala, elephant and buffalo were available on the way. The road was a rough one and the open roof jeeps were suitable for viewing the animals. We were given a binocular which allowed us to see the creatures from quite a long distance. The buffaloes were strong creatures and I was amazingly watching them covered in mud. The reason was told as they want to get rid of the parasites on their body my mud arresting them and finally rubbing against some trees.


The King Lion


The Lion family

At about 11 am we came across a family of lions which was the most memorable experience of my life. There was about a group of 15 lion and lionesses resting against a marshy land. We photographed the king lion and the lioness too. The cubs were busy mudding each other.  With great vigour and pride the ' Lion king ' stared at us with welcoming eyes and allowed us to get his rare photographs and video clippage.

Climbing Lion - a rare view

We approached a bit further and saw another wonder. It was a lioness sitting on a branch of tree. Almost ten visitor vehicle gathered on the place and photographed this rare moment. We were told that climbing lions are seen in Lake Manyara but we were truly luck to see that in Serengeti.


The leopard moves recorded

Approaching a bit further our eyes caught of a bright black and white stripe hiding in the bushes. Carefully observing with a binocular we found that it was a leopard. We recorded every step of it and as it approached near the tourist vehicles, carefully crossed the road and reached at the bottom of a tree where it was in the mood to rest.


The Serengeti information centre and picnic site

The game drive has got beautiful picnic sites where you can park your car, relax and have your lunch packed by the hotel. The Serengeti information centre has a decent place to sit and enjoy lunch. The guides at the information centre will impart knowledge on the types of flora and fauna found in the area. Skeletons of various animals were found at the information centre. I was nice to watch the jungle and map and see where you are standing along with the vivid flora and fauna description.


Eye soothing savannah grassland

Our eyes were accustomed to see the various flora in the plains. It was nice watching the savannah grassland vegetation. 


Migration of the wildebeest

The next day early in the morning we saw the wildebeests in a line which was denoted as the ‘line of migration’.  These herbivores form a line and follow each other blindly in search if the soft green grass. They were migrating from the Masai mara conservation area. Animals unknowingly cross the geographical border in search of grass. It’s a wonderful phenomenon. 

Serengeti- a home to the wild beauties!
With over 70 larger mammal and 500 avifauna species available, Serengeti boasts to be one of the greatest game reserves in this planet. I will say that it’s a scintillating experience watching this wild population, understanding their nature and life. The hospitality is incomparable, the management is efficient and facilitates tourist to have a pleasant ride.

My utmost request to any poacher reading this article is ‘Live and let live’ and say ‘no poaching’ and conserve the rarest of the wild beauties to restore the ecological balance of the world.