For Halloween, Go to The Lucky Restaurant and See The Husain Painting in the Graveyard

lucky restaurant1If you are in Ahmedabad and you don’t know where to celebrate Halloween, that would be an amazing coincidence, but why not try this bizarre snack bar called The (New) Lucky Restaurant and eat among the graves? You can find it in the area of Lal Darwaja, not far from the old center of the city and next to the famous Sidi Saiyad mosque and its even more famous tree-shaped Jali!

 Fifty years ago, a tea stall was situated next to a Muslim graveyard but it was so successful that the owners decided to extend it among the tombs and neem trees.

lucky restau

Neem tree and graves

Today, the graves are painted green and surrounded by railings. They are respectfully cleaned and decorated everyday as they are the highlight of the tea joint. But whose graves are these? After searching on the internet, I read they might date back from the 16th century and were supposed to belong to the family of a Sufi.

lucky restaurant3

Croque-monsieur among the dead…

 I went there in a morning with my friend Shubbhra and we had a dosa and a delicious grilled sandwich. We were sitting by a lovely range of tombs! If you want to improve your French, it is funny to notice that the grilled sandwich I ate is a kind of snack which exists in France too. It is actually called croque-monsieur, ( croque = munch) ! And by the way, it also sounds like another French word croque-mort, (mort = dead), which is nothing less than an undertaker! ( French undertakers were supposed to bite the thumbs of the corpses to check they were really dead!)

Well, if you don’t want to try the lucky “croque-monsieur”, I heard maska buns were the best. (warm buns with butter…). The chai is also really famous for its inimitable chocolate aftertaste. The fresh mango juice is thick and yummy!

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by MF Husain for the Lucky Restaurant

 However, my friend and me didn’t even notice the highlight of the place, the gold icing on the jalebi; a real picture by Maqbool Fida Husain himself hanging on one of the walls! We didn’t know a masterpiece was in the restaurant then! The great painter loved going there and he was friend with the first owner Mohammad. He said that place gave him “a feeling of death and life”, a kind of carpe diem sensation. He made a picture and gave it to the restaurant in 2004. Well,to my mind, it looks a bit like a poster for a Tunisian travel agency but I heard it cost a great deal of rupees!

Stories are told about the great costumer: it is said the painter used to come there barefoot. Other rumors say bottles of tea from the Lucky Restaurant were ordered to be taken by friends especially for him while he was self-exiled in Dubai!

 Now, the last question is: Are you ready to have lunch among the dead? In Ahmedabad, some people say they feel the presence of God thanks to the shrines and some others go there every morning to spend an auspicious moment providing luck for the rest of the day… so now, you know why this teashop is called The Lucky Restaurant!

For further reading, you can go to Oddity Central or Live Mint.

Click on the photo to see where there are from.

And to finish, the rules of the restaurant pinned on the wall. I can’t read Gujarati but I know the last rule is “Don’t fight with the waiters!”

lucky restaurant2

Categories: Gujarat, India in pictures, Kitchen, Museum, Voyages | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Jesus, Gandhi and Mother Teresa act for UNICEF: Anybody can be a saint!

UNICEF

During a dinner given for the  people who dedicated their lives to goodness and peace, a Swedish average Joe finds himself among Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Jesus.
I particularly love Dandy JesusChrist delicately sipping his glass of vintage Bordeaux!

This is my favourite:

There are three videos you can see on Amigos de India

The UNICEF site

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Vintage Commercial for Peugeot 206…

The Salon de l’Automobile is taking place currently, in Paris. This is a huge exhibition where you can go and see all the new cars, from the cheapest to the most expensive. I hate this event because it creates horrible traffic jams and it makes the tramway overcrowded as everybody wants to go there!

But never mind! Let’s celebrate the French Car Festival by watching this 10 year old commercial for Peugeot 206.

For your information, Raja Mushtaq sings the song called Heaven is a Place on Earth! Click here if you want to dance!

Categories: Media, Music | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Funny little Gujarati things…

When you stay for a few weeks in Gujarat, you can see such funny little things:

FUN13

Monkey sending a text…

ET’s House! (Baroda)

FUN3

Monsoon Bike…

FUN4

Don’t spit in shopping malls! (Ahmedabad)

FUN5

The bin is speaking… (Baroda)

FUN7

Hrithik Roshan makes you write…

FUN8

Resting dog… (Ahmedabad)

FUN9

Hi!

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Dusty bike!

FUN14

Modi wall painting (Ahmedabad)

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A lady giving birth on the wall of a temple… (Patna)

Categories: Fun!, Gujarat, Voyages | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Finding Mathias Duplessy

Duplessy playing the morin khuur

Duplessy playing the morin khuur

There are too few French artists in Indian cinema not to talk about them, especially when these artists are talented and the film worth having a look at.
The man is Mathias Duplessy. With his Rajasthani partner Mukhtiyar Ali, they composed part of Finding Fanny soundtrack, a film directed by Homi Hadajania ( Cocktail ), shot in English and starring Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor.

In the huge maze of Youtube, I found this unexpected song which gives you so much Ding Dong happiness that you feel you can live forever.

But writing about Mathias Duplessy would take years. Finding Fanny is a needle in the haystack of his career. His web site is full of his compositions. Their common point is great diversity. Mixture of Jazz, Blues, Gipsy, Asian, Arabic hints which is certainly the reason why he is so often offered to work for foreign films, documentaries and commercials.
Each piece of his music is a new journey. The World turns in his magical hands, playing from the Japanese flute to the Morin khuur ( a Mongolian musical instrument).
In India, he took part in the background music of Peepli (Live), produced by Aamir Khan and that you can watch on Dailymotion, but shhh, that’s a secret! In this movie, an indebted farmer decides to commit suicide to save his farm and his family. Diving into cruel real India, you also meet great actors such as Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Naseeruddin Shah.
I could also talk to you about Prashant Nairs Delhi in a Day, or Mumbai’s King by Manjeet Singh… All those films that one misses, gold-fruited shrubs hidden by Bollywood’s concrete skyscrapers.

But really it is too difficult to find Mathias Duplessy! The man has no geographical limit, no musical border. My music is a journey in space and history, he says. His art gathers all the universe, all the cultures, all gods, all sounds…Nothing seems to stop him in his quest for plural sharing.

Also read:  Wikipedia   Mondomix  M.Duplessy’s site

Categories: Cinema, Music | Tags: , | Leave a comment

BOLLYWOOD SHAKER: Rainbow Shot

Which Indian actor will you drink after this colourful recipe?

You need:

… a few glasses of Rainbow shot,

+

half a bottle of Puff Daddy…

shaker-puff daddy

+

..a pinch of Harry Potter…

shaker_harry-potter

 +

and a laaaarge spurt of Care Bear!

shaker_bisou

YOU SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!!!

shaker

AND YOU GET:

RANVEER SINGH!!!!

RANVEER SINGH!!!!

Categories: Fun! | 1 Comment

Adalaj Step-Well: A Sandstone Jewel near Ahmedabad

Adalaj Stepwell

Adalaj Step-well

I stayed for three weeks in Gujarat last summer. A place I wouldn’t have had the idea to go to if I hadn’t had my friend Shubhra living in Ahmedabad. She took me to a must-see: Adalaj Step-well.

Gujarat is the state of step-wells; they call them « Vav ». Basically, step-wells are water tanks which collect the rain. The water was used for anything in the village, from cooking to religious rituals. There are about 120 step-wells in Gujarat. They were meeting places where rich and poor, men and women, villagers and caravan travellers went to, to get water, to enjoy the coolness of the depth or to pray under the carvings of hindu gods.

The vav I saw in Adalaj was one of them. You have to imagine that construction as a kind of underground five-storey building ending in a sort of staircase which gets deeper en deerper and which is decorated with hindu and muslim carvings: flowers and geometrical symbols for Islam, gods, animals and people in their daily lives for Hinduism and Jainism. The more you walk down, the darker and cooler it is. The water is still, mysterious, silverlike, and glittering with lucky coins at the bottom.

Shubhra told me the interesting legend of its construction and this legend itself epitomizes the usual Hindu-Islamic mixture you often find in Indian architecture:

In the late 15th century, a king called Rana Veer Singh decided to have a well built for his people who suffered from drought. The construction started but unfortunately, muslim Mahmud Begada, attacked Rana’s army and killed him. The muslim conqueror had taken Rana’s land but he also wanted to take his widow Rani. She didn’t refuse the proposal but she asked Mahmud to finish the step-well before the wedding. Once Mahmud had granted her wish, she knew her people was safe and to remain faithful to her dead husband, she ran to the step-well and threw herself from the top.

Now, even if the presence of the tourists inside the well deprives you of enjoying the freshness and the silence of olden days, the park surrounding the monument is the perfect place to have a nap under a frangipani tree or to have a picnic on the lawn. However, don’t think you could flirt with your sweetheart between the twisted arms of the large banyan because we saw on our way back, a group a policemen, sticks in hands, going to chase the shameless lovers!

A few pictures:

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MTI playing the full with a broom...

MTI playing the rani with…a broom…

 

Hindu carvings

Hindu carvings

Banyan tree in the park

Frangipani tree in the park

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Categories: A Piece of Myself, Gujarat, India in pictures, Voyages | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

The Six Pack Dictatorship…

For a few days, the whole Bollywood world has been buzzing after the publishing of this photo from Farah Khan’s next release Happy New Year:

A pack of six Khan...

A pack of six Khans…

Shah Rukh Khan proudly showed this on Twitter, adding with his usual false-humility that he was shy speaking about his body. He doesn’t seem shy about showing it!

However, this muscle trend is not new! It was launched two decades ago by Sanjay Dutt, but it is Salman Khan who really built his success on weight-training machines and became the godfather of body-building. Now, the 6 pack virus has spread in B-town: the stronger, the sexier, the more hairless, the better!

The web-debate is raging on Twitter, facebook and other, to know if Shah Rukh’s 6, 8 or 10 packs (whatever!) are real! Fake, photoshops, cocktails of anabolic steroids, hours and hours of weight-lifting, will-power, Divine grace, everybody is speculating but the only thing that everybody is sure about is that Shah Rukh Khan has changed beyond recognition!

Strangely enough, the fans are dazzled with admiration, very few seem to be bothered by this superficial craziness. As for me; let’s be franck; King Khan’s new body reminds me of a dead cockroach lying on its back under a kitchen cupboard!

Between you and me, I don’t understand that excitement for cheese graters! While young wolves such as Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh or Tiger Shroff can show off their oily chests (and the rest!) onscreen, older actors -we won’t call them « veteran actors » yet, they’re so moving trying hard to look like still virgin Adonis – desperately busy themselves turning their middle-aged love handles into Mr India’s bumpy torsos!

Yuk!

High Tec Body!

The result is becoming pathetic: some actors jeopardize their health in the gyms – are Hrithik and Salman’s serious brain problems a mysterious coincidence? – and filmsmakers make fools of them by using softwares enabled to make them look like Hulk after his transformation! By the way, I won’t talk to you about Aamir Khan in Ghajini, I prefer to forget this puzzling mistake.

Well, what else can I say? These men that one calls « spornosexual » (I let you analize this word by yourselves! Hum…) have now invaded Bollywood films! Although some actors still resist the fashion and make acting their priority; we must face the facts, sisters; we have found serious competitors in the race for diets, waxing and beauty tricks!

Categories: Cinema, Society | Leave a comment

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