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“Mitha Dali” – Ratha Jatra special – Puri Jagannath Mandira

On the auspicious occasion of Ratha Jatra, I could not help but recollect all the fond melodies and memories associated to this grand festival. I found myself looking for ways to feel closer to home. Warm memories of the occasion swept over me, with the drum beats and jhanja kirtana being so distinct that I could actually feel the reverberation of those beats. For a short introduction, Ratha Jatra is the grandest chariot festival that takes place annually in the mystical coastal city of Puri in Odisha. The three deities- Lord Jagganath, Lord Balabhadra and Subhadra are decked up in their finest adornments as they travel out ceremoniously in their newly built chariots to visit their beloved aunt at Gundicha Mandira about 2 km from their abode at the Sri Mandira. I scoured the internet for any live broadcast of the grand event and was lucky enough to find one. Utter joy swept over me as I saw the three grand chariots with the deities on their way to their beloved aunt’s home. It brought

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“Piaji” – Our very own Falafel – Chana dal vada aka

As we sinked into our homey seats at the popular Mediterranean restaurant last weekend, it took us almost no time to agree upon falafel as appetizer. Just about then, it struck that irrespective of different tastes and disposition towards food almost everyone loves falafel. It’s undoubtedly the perfect starter which doubles up even as an entrée as a delish Falafel wrap. For those very few of you who might want an introduction, falafel refers to Middle eastern seasoned fritters made with chick peas and/or Fava beans. One bite into the crispy goodness and I had that Aha! moment wherein it actually dawned upon me as to how very similar it is to our chana dal fritters or “Piaji” as it is known in Odia. The mere mention of “piaji” almost instantly transports me to the rainy, stormy evenings that turned fragrant with these fresh out of the oil, crisp, spicy and completely wholesome fritters accompanied with puffed rice and onions marinated with lemon juice and green chilies. It wasn’t the fi