P’s SPA-cial Valentine


There are men who do not bother to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. Kind of stoics.‘Just like another day’, thy say. ‘What does it matter, what’s the difference does it make if it’s 14th or 15th’, they say. Boring, imbecile men!

There are a traditional few who make it a point to wish and take their lady love out for a dinner or for a long drive. ‘Let’s go to Prem’s, honey and drink Black Dog together’, they almost beg on their knees. Whoa! Mister! Hear yourself saying that. Black Dog is your favourite, not mine. You go and knock yourself out. What do I care?

Or they say, ‘Oh, honey, let’s drive all the way to Thosegad.There is this huge spring, let’s have an open air picnic there.’ The glee and enthusiasm on their faces may scare you. An open air picnic unlike an open air movie, is actually a work. Your responsibility is NOT to munch stale popcorn’s anymore but to make them. My name is P. I don’t fall for these traps.

‘So P,’ Vimal, Shruti’s husband, asked, ‘what a man could do to treat his lady love nicely on a Valentine’s Day?’

I said, ’Plenty.’

You wish to do something special for your girl? Then surprise her. And don’t make her work too hard. Sing, go dancing, cook, fly to Timbuktu, do dishes, buy expensive gifts… the list is endless.

Last time I went to Post 91 with friends. Man, what a place! Good food, red wine, Jazz, cherry on cake. Perfect!

This time, of course, I asked ‘M’ to make it really Spa-cial. You know, S-P-A-cial. Like SPA and Facial. Oh, it kind of puns! I didn’t notice it before. 😉

Now, don’t make those wired faces after hearing the word, Spa. ‘M’ did. It took me thirty seconds of tactical berating to make him smile again. Thank God, he was happy as a child. But people veer.

Men don’t know but they should sometimes escape from their prized macho world: the office, the cricket field and the realm of top notch performance and dog eats dog kind of world.And be a little self-indulgent. No! Buying electronic junks don’t ever count. That’s a hobby at best.

My friend Shruti is a big spender and tries to make others spend too, as if the revival of the economy depends solely on her. She suggested big, costly names. My ‘M’ is a little on the thrifty side and I don’t mind that. We kind of balance each other that way. So, he and I went to this Aroghya Spa, on a, ahem, ahem, one on one offer. All thanks to his breathtaking command on Google search.

Where we did all these detailed stuffs, like really detailed,but…wait, I can actuallyread you out from the brochure:

Relax – Vishudha
120 minutes:

“Spice scrub wrap and aromatherapy massage: This treatment begins with a deeply nourishing herbal scrub and heat-stimulating wrap with exotic spices, followed by an hour-long indulgent full-body massage. This energizing treatment relieves muscular tension and improves blood circulation.”


So, actually, we just lied down there and surrendered ourselves to their mercy and they did all kind of stuffs. Heavenly.

At night, ‘M’ blindfolded and took me to the window where he had arranged Italian dishes that he claimed he cooked himself, so proud of him!


With some soft music and dim lights, he opened my fold and fed me with a spoon from the dishes. Trust me when I say, I could have fainted. But I decided to wait out for the rest of the night.

New Year Dining & Wining (Without whining)

It’s that time of the year to make wonderful plans and lighten up as the first day of the year dawns. The heart yearns for memorable moments together with families and friends. The resolutions are made; even when one apprehends that they may not last even a week. Of course, getting together will invariably mean eating together and drinking together. Where is happiness without it? Deciding what to eat and what to drink and which one goes well with which ones: that part is tricky. In an Indian context, it’s trickier. Not because we don’t have ancient treaties deciding about it for us (we have many for other worldly matters, like stars and sex), not because we don’t like Chinese, Italian or Continental (We do. We love them.) Just that if someone in the house feels that extra craving for Biriyani, it’s almost a sin in our country to deny her, her blessed portion. Then the important question is which drink will go with it.

Now, let’s not take a long time to decide. Let us go through two quick recipes to tempt you enough to give them a try. One European and one Indian.

Pasta and Strawberry Wine:

The other day, Shruti, our whimsy friend, rang up and asked “Heya, I wish to go to such and such a place where the climate is chilly and the atmosphere is New Year-y, and the foods and drinks served are the best. Advise.” I paused a little and took a deep breath, hanging the ladle in my hand mid-air. You see, I had to be a little careful about suggesting something to Shruti. She is not only whimsy; but also claim herself to be classy. One bad advice may mar my reputation forever. I dodged the dilemma with, “Can’t suggest any. Not offhand. But if you are willing to cook a little, come to our Mahabaleshwar farm. We will have Pasta and Strawberry Wine.

The Recipe:


Fresh Tomato, Sausage, and Pecorino Pasta

Cooking Instructions:

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage.
Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil.


There, you have your Pecorino Pasta. Eat hot and slowly with little sweet sips of ‘Come On Charlie!’

Biryani and Strawberry Wine:

Now, everyone is not Shruti. Not that they don’t claim themselves to be classy. For some, Indian food is Indian food. And, so many of us are vegetarian. For them here is a great recipe for Veg Biryani.


Basmati Rice, cauliflower- cut into small florets, carrots- peeled and cut into small cubes, green beans- trimmed and halved, olive oil spray, sliced onion, curry paste, mustard seed, chopped fresh coriander, flaked almonds, lemon.

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 190C/ Gas mark 5. Steam the cauliflower, carrots and beans for 4 minutes, or until just tender but with a bit of bite.
Spray a pan with a little oil, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened and turning golden brown.
Add the curry paste and fry for a further minute. Add the rice and mustard seeds and mix well to coat.
Tip into a lightly oiled baking dish, pour over the hot stock and stir together.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed.
Stir in the steamed vegetables and cook for 5 minutes more.


As your Veg Biryani is ready, open a bottle of ‘Come On Charlie!’ and enjoy a duet of hot and spicy rice and sweet bodied taste of pure strawberry wine.

If you have happened to find, “Come On Charlie!” on both the occasion, please understand, it has to be so. It is THE finest and purest strawberry wine available in the country and it compliments both the Indian and Continental gourmet meals perfectly well.

Hello World!

Hello World! Is not what one is supposed to say when one is born in the virtual world, on www?  Then again, in the physical world, a newly born child doesn’t speak. It cries. The tender sound which could be a little harsh sometimes is the sign of its vitality. A healthy sign, people say. We are not newborns. We; the Founders, the Winemakers, the Marketers, the Distributors, the Plant Workers; even yours truly, the Blog writer, we are way past of our legal drinking age. But our conception is a newborn. India, the country of Beer Drinkers, Rum Drinkers, Whisky Drinkers, Feni Drinkers, Dawa Drinkers, Tadi Drinkers, Mahua Drinkers, and ubiquitous Country Liquor Drinkers, will produce the Purest and Finest Fruit Wine in the World. That’s the DREAM!

So, the next time you’re in a French Vineyard, or in an Italian one, looking at the acres of plantation, the sophisticated attached plant, the devotion of the wine making families and then wondering will this high art ever reach the Indian shore… well, you have set yourself up for a pleasant surprise.

And the surprises will be unfolded on the blog. And our journey too. And all the joy and the agony associated with it. We will laugh aloud with all of you sharing the good things of life and will cry openly in your midst in creative desperation. Is not cry a sign of vitality?

Hello World!