Diwali 2018: Four celebs recall their favourite foodie memories
Four celebrities recall their favourite foodie memories around Diwali with family and friends
A meaty affair
For Sahil Makhija of the death metal band Demonic Resurrection, the festive season is synonymous with excuses for meeting up with friends. "In the early 2000s, I remember frequenting China Garden at Peddar Road.
I loved their fried rice and wontons. Now the restaurant has shut down, and for us, Diwali isn't traditional.
My grandma cooks some butter chicken and sabzi," he tells us. But Makhija, who also runs a popular YouTube channel called Headbanger's Kitchen, where he whips up keto meals, has meaty plans this year.
His family will have the opportunity to taste some of the dishes. "We aren't a very religious family, and I'm an atheist. So I'll be making some beef burgers and keto butter chicken wings. It's a brand new recipe," he reveals.
Diwali with a pinch of panch phoron
Bengali actor Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, who recently slayed the character of Laxmi Das in internet mini-series Ghoul, says Diwali for her, like most Bengalis, is more about Kali Puja. "We celebrated Kali Pujo as kids in Calcutta.
But having been in Bombay for a while now, I celebrate Diwali with the same gusto and tradition that my mum instilled in me," she says adding that luchi, chholar dal and kosha mangsho are part of her food memories associated with the festival. "Nothing can beat a good kosha mangsho," Bhattacharjee quips. This year, the actor is looking to celebrate the festival with close friends. "We will play poker and eat like it's going out of style."
Kuch meetha ho jaye
Coinciding with Diwali is the Bandi Chhor Divas celebrated by Sikhs. And for poet Harnidh Kaur, that makes for an enduring memory. "We go to the gurudwara and have prasad. Then, my mum makes kheer, using the dry fruits that come in Diwali gift boxes, and puts it in this giant bowl that my uncle gifted us.
Anyone who comes home gets a bowl of that kheer. This is important because it echoes what Sikhism professes about sharing," she says. Kaur, who has an Instagram account (@foreverawkwardandeating) dedicated to her food adventures around the world, will be trying her hand at making mithai this year. "I haven't done it before so it's a little scary. I'm 23 and I'm going to leave home soon and I won't have mama's kheer, so it's time for me to build my own tradition," she says.
You probably already know Aditi Singh Sharma for her magnificent voice and the Bollywood hits she has churned out. But few are aware of Sharma's culinary skills. Turns out, the singer takes a keen interest in cooking and shares her gastronomical endeavours on social media, often with the hashtag #chefADT. Having spent years abroad, for Sharma, Diwali and food are intertwined.
"My mother is the most wonderful chef. Even though we lived in Russia, she always made sure that there was incredible Indian food to gorge on. During Diwali, she would prepare a wide variety of sweets like halwa and her special malpuas. Savoury dishes like her finger-licking shahi paneer and khoya matar with kaju sabzi are my favourite. These, when had with puris were heavenly," she shares.
Sharma, who is also gearing up to release her first single, Aaja Mahi Ve, on Diwali, says the past few years have been difficult as performing and travelling doesn't always allow her to celebrate the festival with her family. "I have not had the privilege of being with my mom on Diwali, but I learned these dishes from her and whenever I am at home, I try to make halwa and shahi paneer and relish it with puris. There is something special about childhood memories."
Abodh Aras, the CEO of Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD) shares key measures that that you should take to protect our little friends.
* Sounds register four times louder to a dog and even more to a cat. So, you can imagine how firecrackers affect them. Even birds abandon their nests due to fear. A dog will show that it is scared by shaking, trembling, excessive barking and trying to hide or getting out of the house.
* Street animals bear a huge brunt, as they are more susceptible to burn injuries. If it is difficult for street animal carertakers to give refuge to street dogs who are petrified during Diwali, leave a temporary tag on the dog with your name, telephone number and location. Even pet owners can follow the same practice.
* Animal behaviourists advise that pet owners should distract their pets by playing soothing music loudly. It helps drown out the firecracker noise.
* Don't take or allow your pets to wander near the site where firecrackers are being burst or even near the used fire-works/remnants as they retain dangerous chemicals and may be poisonous if ingested.
* Keep emergency contact numbers handy, like that of your veterinarian and animal welfare NGOs.
* The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 24137518
* The Welfare of Stray Dogs 8976022838
* In Defence of Animals 9320056581
* Save Our Strays 9820141310
* Thane SPCA 8767612344
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