A Tale Yonder

She lay there, unperturbed.

A gentle whisper near my ears.

She dodged my outstretched hands.

A mockery in her eyes.

As I lay on my head, for some shut eye.

Again she went, a whisper and a taunt.

Made me wide awake and agile.

She was fast and frisky.

I was so not to be.

She just wanted to see me try.

I just wanted to get this over

Then did I whip out my tool.

Brandishing like a sword I went after her, oh my dear

Crack went the whip

Crackled and mangled she lay.

In the electric net of doom, her remains astray

Thus concludes the tale yonder

Of how I killed a Fly that interrupted my slumber

Lights Out!

<<

She was crying nonstop from the moment they entered the door. It was a mix of inconsolable sobbing and high pitched wailing.

There was an intermittent pause which made him think his six month old baby had stopped crying but she was taking a breathing gap.

He lifted her from her crib and coddled her.

She was fast asleep while they were at the church.

What was bothering her? She didn’t bother to take the bottle. So she wasn’t hungry. He did a thorough search of her body for insect bites. Nope, nothing.

This was the fourth time he was entering her nursery.

He bounced her up and down, to and fro.

It took him a while, but she was finally asleep.

He left her in the nursery and came out.

She slept peacefully at night. He too slept after tossing and turning much. He hadn’t seen her cry like this.

He also hadn’t seen that the motion sensing light in the room was on before he entered the room.

She was there with the baby. Unseen, unknown.

His wife laid to rest earlier that day was there to see her little one. Unable to be seen by him, unable to touch her baby.

>>

My brother brought some motion sensing night lights. I spooked the bejesus out of him and voila!!

BC

If you think the title depicts a time before Christ, you are grossly mistaken.

If you think this is an abuse, no, it is not.

BC or Before Corona is what the new period depictions are going to be- hopefully for us and hopefully not for the future historians evolved from the coelacanths after a couple of thousand years.

Life before Corona struck was a bliss- sure, we took it for granted. We wanted a beer, we would go out to a pub and get one. We wanted pizza, we would go out and get one- or have it delivered. There we would be standing at the door, handing cash to the delivery boy.

If it was a movie, we would be there at the theatre. Solo or with your friends, you wouldn’t miss that superhero movie you have been waiting for. Standing in line at the snack bar to get a tub of greasy buttery popcorn and a large cup of aerated drink. We would brush all the mortals in our way and walk to the seat, hoping not to drop the drink or corn on people. And we would sit on the chair, rubbing shoulders with a man/woman who we have never seen. People may cough behind us, but we would sit through it without any care in the world. By the time the movie starts, we would be sitting there with an empty tub and a glass of ice. The ice in the glass doubling up as a wash for your grease.

Once the movie is over, you head over to the nearby restaurant for dinner. Once you place your order, the waiter would arrive with your dinner rolls and soft butter for you to munch until your entrees make way to the table. You all would grab the food with bare hands, smear butter on the rolls and shove it into your mouths. Replace rolls with pappad and mint chutney if you are in some Indian restaurant. Your pappad goes for a dip then a double-dip, not a frown on the face of anyone at your table. After the meal, that one friend says, ‘I share dessert with someone.‘ And yes, they eat off of a single plate, high fiving with their spoons, their saliva becoming one with the ice cream. No one bats an eyelid.

And off they go into the darkness, each of them into their own lives, talking, meeting and touching other people (in the right ways only).

The office was always a cacophony (not only the one with Micheal, Jim and Dwight) Clients walking in and out, meetings happening without break, life moving at a brisk pace- without ever slowing down. Handshakes were an indispensable part of the office culture. You are walking to the water cooler, opening the dispensing tap with the hand that had earlier been inside your nose. Your colleague comes for a drink while on his phone with the natural hands free- balancing between ears and neck. He opens the tap with his hand- what do you know- he had just been to the washroom and had gotten an important call and forgot to wash his hands. The third colleague now comes up to get water. He has water now and has indirectly touched your nose and your colleagues’ privates.

And then corona happened.

We yearn for going out. The extent of going out is to the grocery store, the pharmacy (for your regular meds) and if required, to the office. You maintain social distance, wear a mask and gloves. And sanitise often.

The office is just at home- in front of your laptop. No physical proximity to any of your colleagues. You remember sitting in your cubicle, snot-filled noses and all, not being able to skip work. Today, being in a public place like that that is an offence that could range to even an attempt to murder.

Easting out is a thing of the past. Food delivery is a rarity. You pay in advance and ask the delivery boy to leave the food at the door- tip can be collected from under the doormat.

Movies mean Netflix or Amazon Prime- with snacks made at home.

You are scared of people. You sanitise your hands if you think you have touched somewhere unknown, you sanitise your hand if you touch somewhere. Your face is always under protection if you are outside. You detest people. You rarely touch cash- all payments are digital.

You are not ‘You’ anymore. You are the new ‘You’. The ‘You’ who flouted rules of boundaries and personal hygiene does not exist anymore. That ‘You’ is not allowed to exist, by you, by the fear of sustaining you, by the fear of being thrashed by the people.

Stay away from people as much as you can physically. Be close with people as much as you can, digi-emotionally

The period after BC?

AD perhaps- After Depression??

Who knows?

Maybe the C in the original BC??

Quips and Qualms

Explicit content inside.

If you plan on getting offended, please proceed to read. If you don’t, please proceed to read. It is up to you to proceed to read.

Songs while on the move, becomes news on the move. A sign of ageing, I should say. I moved from listening to music while driving to and fro work to listening to news during the fag end of my twenties. And since the 30s started, news became an indispensable part of life. Australian wildfires, Hong Kong protests, Trump’s trumpets and the list goes on.

And BBC World Service had become my go-to place for news. A 45-minute briefing in the morning and a 30 minute top-up in the evening was keeping me abreast with the global occurrences.

I remember the news in December about a new strain of pneumonia in China. Who would have thought that was the precursor to a global pandemic which infected over 4 million and affected over half the world’s people.

What I would have given to be Nostradamus to predict the scale of the whole thing?

Ever since the pandemic started, I have become an avid follower of the local news too.

The home state has been doing us proud these days by having done contract tracing and proper isolation to curb the spread.

India too did well in the midst by having a lockdown at the start itself. With the infections at 396, the nation went on to lockdown its 1.3 billion population. Even with stringent measures in place, keeping the spread in check was a herculean task with the above-stated population and its population density.

What has the world been doing?

Globally, governments are struggling to curtail the spread. Yet, we see people protesting their rights to move out. Testing is stepped up rampantly, but PPEs and masks are not available.

It is indeed disheartening to see people blow off the rules and walking in public not only exposing them to risk, but also the people who do not want to be in harm’s way. Wearing masks do not make you look ridiculous, your actions do.

While salary cuts and layoffs are becoming common, it is great to see some countries honour their front-liners by increasing their salaries. It is disheartening to see the numbers rise at home and globally, but the doctors and nurses go over and beyond their means to support people.

If you are asked to be in home-quarantine, stay bloody well at home. I laud the wife of the person who called in the police when her husband left quarantine to buy booze. Boo!!! #covidiot

I believe that to ensure that the virus is kept at bay, opposition party should keep aside differences with the ruling party and ensure a smooth operation happens. By using the best technologies available, by ensuring people are educated, by ensuring enough testing is done, by ensuring enough PPEs, masks and other safety kits are made available- we could get back in track.

The utopian dream- I could call it but nevertheless.

People are to ensure that you do not go out and mingle with people. Social distancing is the call. Think that people are covered in human defecation and you touching them is their shit on you, you touching places where they could have touched is their shit on you, you near them is their shit smell all over you. No one likes someone with shit on them or smells like shit.

Damn, I have become Suresh Gopi (An ode to Bharathchandran IPS)

To test this hypothesis, don’t wash/wipe the next time you go to the pot. You’ll know what I mean.

Next step, if you think you have touched someplace, do not touch your face or anywhere in your body. Do not touch your phone or wallet or specs. Use soap to wash your hands. After all, you cannot get rid of the shit smell if you just wipe it/wash it with water. If you have a sanitizer in your pocket, rub a little on your hands. Just be safe.

The next step- shit smells. You do not want the shit smell to seep into your nose. Cover it with a mask. It is instinct to cover your nose with your handkerchief when you walk past a garbage dump. The whole world is your garbage dump now. I have been seeing people with masks on and their noses out. It is a moo point- like a cow’s opinion- it just doesn’t matter- it’s moo. And if it is a news reporter who does it, well, you have failed the whole purpose of media. In Germany, a lady cut a whole on her mask to make it easy for her to breathe. You do not deserve to breathe at all. #covidiot

The step before penultimate step- stay at home unless you are required to move out. Dude, you do not want to be in shit, touch, smell or see shit (that is just a hyperbole). You clean your house, so I assume it is shit free. That is if you can afford to work from home. Netflix on the couch, work on your laptop, whip up something that you can and it is the bliss that you have hoped for while you were in your office. If you have to go to work, visualize giant human excretion walking around you- stay away as much as you can. If you are a frontline worker, we salute you. You may continue to see us the way fit (as mentioned above)

The penultimate step, once you return from outside, throw your clothes into the washing machine or put it in a bucket of soap water. Do not wear shoes used outside to walk inside homes. Asians, kudos to you for this. The West still hasn’t caught up yet.

Finally, be smart on what news to follow. People are inherently dumb. And when these people make way into media- TV, social media and share news and pointers which are misleading or tainted with political motives, you have been led astray. In the event of absorbing and disseminating information, think for a second. What would a person with common sense do? If I go and protest the lock down, will the virus get scared and leave? You get the virus, you die and the propagator of this is happy that his propaganda is on. If you choose to act on impulse basis the news you see, you are a #covidiot- a Phd from Whatsapp/Youtube University.

Well, these are just things to work on. Please stay safe.

Clubbing and pub crawl will still exist once the pandemic is over. The million dollar question is, will you? You can if you want to. Stay safe.

Peace out, hombres!

Quarantine Cooks

The kitchen was my least visited place in the house. Well, the kitchen sans the area of the fridge, was the least visited area in the house.

My Facebook wall is usually is teeming with people posting their recent kitchen exploits. Every edible animal and plant was on the plate, shot wide and long with ridiculously long captions and descriptions mentioned vying for the common man’s attention.

With just barely the prowess to scrape an upma or Maggi, my cooking skills were passable at best. Hating the heat in the kitchen which drenches you from head to toe and a counter meant for 4 footers (bam comes the backache), I seldom enter the hallowed room.

Then came COVID-19 and its lockdowns across the globe. All movements were restricted Your long drives became entering the car, revving the engine and switching it off so that the batteries don’t die, your eating out became whatever came out of the kitchen.

When the mundane menu becomes too repetitive, you decide you want a change. Plus the overt exposure to media which shows eye-catching things to eat, you decide to enter the kitchen.

Necessity is the mother of invention and it begins. You want to eat pizza. You drool with the thought of pizza. All your pizzerias are closed. The open ones take forever to deliver. The stale dough rounds shatter your dreams what had shaped up for long. So you decide to take things into your hand. You google up the recipe for pizza. Replacing the Italian mozzarella with cheddar cheese, pizza sauce with ketchup and all premium ingredients with the pyaas-tamatar-mirchi (onion-tomato-chilly) from your kitchen, the pie base with something you whip up with flour- your picture-perfect pie is ready to go. The dream of subtly baked pizza from that wood fire has to materialize. You try baking it in a microwave oven. It becomes a gooey mess. And you decide to go old-school. Your pie is on a pan on the stove. The cover becomes hazier with steam as your mind races with joy. The base is delightfully golden crisp while the cheese melts into a lumpy puddle- a puddle you would willingly splash. As you gorge on the pizza, you realize two things. You have spent less than a 100 bucks ($1.40) and you are twice as happy. Necessity wins.

When you have too little to do and too much time in hand, evil thoughts do creep up. I had been toying with the idea of eating something sweet. Going up to the refrigerator in the hope of finding chocolate in it, maybe some ice cream. It was almost a week since my last grocery run and so I found nothing inside that would appease me. So I decided to do the unthinkable- make something sweet. When you have too little to do and too much time in hand, evil thoughts do creep up. My experimentation in making desserts was so limited- most of which was limited to adding Hershey’s sauce on vanilla ice cream and stirring the kheer while mom prepares Onam/Vishu Sadya. I decided to go for it. Prepare Rava Kesari- which was, according to my mom, the simplest dessert to make. Boil milk, add sugar, add saffron, add rava, add ghee fried cashews, stir and ready. And boy, it was heaven. Sweet, luscious and easy to make.

With 2 wins under my belt, I was gearing up for my third- a vegetable biriyani. For all the non-vegetarian lovers who absolutely abhor the idea of calling no-meat biriyani, biriyani- screw you- I will call my vegetable biriyani ‘biriyani’ or even ‘Prabhakaran’. No offenses to anyone on the latter name. I announced to my hungry family that I would be making biriyani today- anxious glances were shot. I could see the disappointment in my brother’s eyes as he could not order in food at 10 pm if the ‘biriyani’ goes south. And then I began. Boiled rice the Gordon Ramsay way. Cut the vegetables (potato, onion, tomato, carrot, beans). I also had some green peas ready in a bowl ready. Mom spent a good part of the 15 minutes to recut the oddities of my vegetable cutting. The prep was done- veggies sautéed in a mix of Indian spices and the resultant mixture was added to the boiled rice. The fear in my dad’s and brother’s eyes vanished as they took in the first bite. It was delish.

Three for three.

Then Masterchef Australia started airing on OTT. The ease and finesse of the cooking awed me and I tried to cook things that were in my capacity and capability. Looking at ‘Pan Seared Duck with an Aromatic Oil, Macadamia Cream Sauce and <insert random vegetable name> puree’ , I tried my hand to prepare ‘Noodles with Pan Sautéed Vegetables with Soy and Chilli Cream’ which was nothing short of Maggi with Onions and Green Bell Peppers fried and mixed with soy and red chilli sauce.

Pots and pans were full and empty in seconds- some were tasty that was emptied in a jiffy, some were so bad that even the smell/taste would make my throw-up to throw-up.

Cooking is an art, a chef is an artist. I neither know this art nor am I an artist, but loves to devour the end product.

Here’s hoping to eat out. Here’s to hope that we will get a chance to live life again normally. Here’s to all those who works outside fighting to curb the pandemic while we laze at home, cooking stuff and redeeming the lost waistlines. Here’s to all of you doing crazy stuff at home and only at home, not going out and endangering yours and other lives.

Stay home, stay safe and learn to cook.

Randomness

After a 14 month hiatus, up from the mundane and on the blog.

And I have moved my blog into a more professional setup- a WordPress blog.

I have been jotting some random thoughts throughout the year and hey presto, here they go:

  • Gone are the days where the people who used to talk aloud with no one in sight was being called mad. Now you see people, talk with actions on the roads and no one bats an eye under the assumption that they are talking on their AirPod or the likes of it. Tucked under the ears (hidden if you have untied long hair that falls over your ears), this serves as a deterrent for vague conversations and a causative agent for mental assumptions (assuming a screw or two is loose)
  • Your loved ones are hearted- the heart sign is a universally accepted symbol of love. But Malayalam calls the dearest as ‘karale‘ (liver). Is this an ignorance that just caught up or a paradigm that signifies our affinity towards alcohol and the unabated importance of liver?
  • Greeting a fellow Malayalee in the Gelf usually is thought to culminate at ‘Naatil Evdeya?‘ (which part of Kerala are you from?). A cliched question, if you were to ask me. This cliche has circumvented its perimeter and has moved on to the next question- ‘Ini enna naatilek?’ (when are you going to Kerala next?)A common question, if you were to ask me? Then comes the funny part, ‘Ethrayayi?‘ (How much was it?). The question that gives you jitters and the answer that makes you swell with pride if you paid a penny less for the paramount thingamabob that unravelled this communique- the air ticket. The lower the fare, the bigger your ego.
  • Have you ever thought that you were born with a limb too less? I have!! Imagine born with 3 hands. Casting away the oddity of an imbalanced torso, just imagine the uses. Eating at a crowded restaurant, unable to keep your phone in viewing mode to watch the YouTube video or a bittersweet season finale of your favorite show on Netflix- picture this scenario with a 3rd hand. While you hold the burger with both hands and the occasional cola swig, your 3rd hand keeps the phone intact and hey presto, you have shod the awkwardness of eating alone and the convenience of watching. If ever in a fight ( I hope not), you can pin down the person with 2 hands and beat them black and blue with the third (voila).

These are just some random thoughts that I’ve had.

Love to hear about your random idiosyncrasies too.

The Barbershop Ordeal

I have always loved evading crowds. Seldom does it work on the roads on the way to the office, but otherwise I hate crowds and will go to the extent of giving an arm and leg to not crowd in a crowd.
 
And that is exactly the reason why I don’t go for a haircut on weekends. Not only are all the salon chairs full, but all the chairs in the waiting area are too. There are people queuing for a chair in the waiting area behind the people queuing for a chair with the hairdresser.
 
That day too was a dismal day in my records of evading the crowd. The barbershop/ salon/ saloon/ hairdresser whatever your part of the world calls it, was full. 5 chairs were occupied and all the seats in the waiting area were too. I was the lone one standing. Signalling the crowd on the sofa to scooch a bit, I sat.
 
To talk about my salon, it is an old world shop which prides in its regular customers. With my 3 year bond with them, they were familiar faces for me and knew what exactly had to be done to my colossal head. This was an old time shop who never ceded to the beats of English songs but would either entice you by playing nostalgic Bollywood songs or would test your patience by playing some dubbed Bollywood movie.
 
So back to today, everyone who was not on the salon chair was glued on to the 5 inches in front of them, swiping and sliding to get that panache moment, but never getting to it. 
The ingress and egress from the barber chairs continued like clockwork, no one cutting the line, everyone was in a hurry yet no one hastened the flow.
 
And then my turn came. And I was assigned to a new guy- (he was just another guy who had never ever cut my hair)
 
The haircut and beard trim went fine. My usual routine of head massage and face scrub was the one that was eventful and even today, sends shivers down my spine. 
Like a potter moulding clay, his hands went all over my hair. That monstrosity of a human being had squished and squirmed my skull. I could hear my cranial bones pleading to me in anguish while each of his arm movement let out a creak, a squeal and a howl from the head.
 
After he ensured that oil had seeped as deep as my medulla oblongata, he tried straightening my spine. What started slowly had escalated to full-blown punches. I was in half a mind to sue him for physical torture. 
 
Once that self-imposed torture was over, he started off with my face scrub. He started off with a moderate pace over the contours of my face with a cream. Once the almond scrub was out of the pack, he again started to show his true colours. I could bet my face was two tones fairer by the time he was done. Or was it just a mirage due to the lightheadedness he had gifted me a while ago. 
 
But something wonderful did emerge from this ordeal. My deviated nasal septum, after all the torture it subjected to, became less deviated making my breathing a less laborious affair.
Walking back to the place a month later, breathing better yet shivering a bit, I really did let out a sigh of relief not seeing him. My usual guy did his usual thing and got him usual pay and an unusual tip, all just like clockwork. 

 

  

Going Nuts over Coconuts!

TLDR: A long overdue post, delayed by my insipid routine. 
We are not normal people.

We are crazy.

We love being loud.

We love the intense fervor in life. We love our country, our religions, our festivals and everything that is associated with being Indian.

We love cricket, not only the gentlemanly game, but also the one with masala and mayhem. 

We are divided by our thoughts and actions, but come an outside farce questioning our integrity, then cometh the force with which we retaliate.

We are Indians first, then classified as a Malayali, a Tamilian, a Punjabi etc. etc.

Our festivals are something that always remain close to our heart. Be it in any corner of the world, your heart travels miles to feel at home. Supermarkets stock up festival items to ensure that the craving of the body, heart and soul is appeased despite the fact that you bear the groveling heat and bone freezing cold to fend for yourself in a foreign land. 

As a Malayali in the Gulf, a so called cliché adrift in the lands down south, we seldom find it difficult to celebrate our festivals, be it Vishu, Onam, Eid or Christmas.

Thronging in big crowds in the supermarkets during the festival eve, walking the aisles specially earmarked for the festival items, people load their trolleys with the festivity items. 

A glimpse into the Vishu shopping fiasco at a predominant supermarket chain in the “Gelf”
<< 
She was tall and curvy in all the right areas. There was not a man (and a few women) who did not gawk at her. Her trolley lay filled with the choosiest items befitting a chef in a Michelin 3 star restaurant. Truffles, provolone cheese, apple cider vinegar, bagels and whatnot. She was gliding over the supermarket floor, her trolley inching through the maddening crowd, her estrogen overdose driving them nuts.
The Vishu counter was crowded. She stopped right in front. Lindt chocolates were on sale on her right side aisle. No, she moved left. To the Vishu counter. 
She marked her arrival, her perfumed self had instantly made the crowd part to 2 sides, making way for her into the stacked shelves of banana and jackfruit chips, of semiyas and paladas, of payasam mixes, condensed milk and pappadams. 
Helping herself with all the goodies, the jackfruit chips lay cozy with the provolones and truffles of the world.
>> 
<< 
The “Gelf” offers the Mallus amongst all other Kerala goodies, our ever-beloved coconut, in its rich and varied heritage. Imported from India, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Indian coconuts remain our favorite. To add to our convenience, scraped coconut in small plastic containers are our to-go purchase of every single visit of every single person. 
The coconut stall in this particular supermarket is unlike others. Scrapped coconut is not to-go. You can choose your coconut from the nut sack, and they are scraped in front of you. So now you can figure out what goes on during a Vishu or an Onam eve. Hell breaks loose near the counter and the coconut guy develops his biceps and triceps in a day. 
People run helter-skelter and  with their overloaded trolleys, a child in one hand and a lot of coconuts on the other, it is fun and scary at the same time. 
>> 
How much ever we wish to change, we still have something in us that holds us to our roots. 

iOS to Android- The Saga of a Paradigm shift!!

People often consider the iPhone as a lifestyle upgrade, a statement of a person who has arrived.
The social status symbol it has often been perceived, does using an iPhone speak volumes of what you truly stand for?
An Apple fan myself, having owned 3 iPhones and 2 iPads in the last 5 years l, I did the unspeakable.
I went and bought myself an Android phone.
Not just any phone, the much acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S8.
Having used the ever-famed Samsung Galaxy S2 in the past, I knew the ins and outs of an Android but found myself a teeny-weeny wobbly while using the new phone.
From the cool exuberance of the iOS to the practical cloak of the Nougat, the change was a vast stride.
Everything from having to unlocking the phone to the updates, a paradigm shift that undertook in the spur of a moment love for the bezel-free screen of the S8.
I miss the Mail app and Safari browser from the iPhone, but I have gotten used to the ease of typing in numbers from the same screen on the Android keyboard ( I wasn’t a big fan of 3rd party keyboards on iOS)
I miss the fingerprint sensor on the front of the screen, now I don’t have any buttons at all in the front. Unlocking the screen has been a hassle, having to lift my phone everytime to do so but the sheer brilliance of the infinity display lighting up makes it worth the lift.
Homescreen access, mail, browser, chats, and whatnot, everything has changed.
My phone charges from 0-100 in less 100 minutes. They drain off in less than 10 hours. Where is my strategic advantage?
Pairing to the Bluetooth in my car is a pinch. Every time I get a call on any app apart from the regular line, I need to go over to the phone to answer/cancel the call, while my ex-allowed me to do it directly over from the steering.
The change over was difficult, I agree. But the quintessential question that remains: are we connecting with people the way we were meant to? Technology has made it easy but we have taken it for granted.
What did I start with, where I ended and the short path I traversed? I am lost for words, literally and figuratively.
Yours truly.

Food Trail-3- Beriani Flames

Soulful biriyani, vibrant packaging and sinful cravings- if a biriyani that gets delivered to your place can check all the boxes, yes; it is bound to be a delightful experience.

A delightful experience sans all its glitz, Food Trail trails Beriani Express and the faring of its beriani. 

The folks at office decided to try out Beriani Flames, a newly opened biriyani (read beriani) joint in Riggae, the latest business venture of the company’s star salesperson and an astute businessman, Mr. Manoj.  

The orders were placed and the delivery was on time, as promised. With a plethora of beriani options to choose from, the folks ordered chicken, mutton and vegetable beriani.
As a vegetarian, biriyani has always been a harrowing experience, good just enough to scrape through the plate, nothing to cherish. And then there was beriani that took me by surprise.

With the packaging befitting a cake, the beriani take-away packs arrived on the dot. The packaging had packed in all the goodness of the beriani along with an ambient temperature. Just as I opened the packaging, the strong aroma rose through the pack and wafted through the room.

The rice was cooked to the right consistency. The vegetables were properly sautéed and infused to the rice. The spice infused masala, drizzled with rose water and a few sprigs of saffron, struck the perfect chord between taste and smell.

The accompaniments: the raita was real bliss; pure curd blended with host of herbs and had bits of cucumbers floating on the top. The side gravy was the only let down with a thin film of butter on the top making it tad too heavy for the arteries. The pickle on the side, well, was a pickle.

The non-vegetarian berianis were also packed with goodness: ample pieces of protein, which were very well balanced with the spices.  

Biriyani, in Kuwait, for me, a vegetarian, has always been rated on the scale of 1 to disappointing. Beriani Flames is a realization that good biriyani is just stone throw away, well, a colleague away.