3 reasons boxer Lovlina Borgohain is an inspiration

I love it when Indian women win in “masculine” sports, especially combat events. Boxing is such a taxing sports, tough on the mind and body, so I was elated when Lovlina Borgohain won a bronze medal in the women’s welterweight event in Tokyo couple weeks ago.

Lovlina Borgohain with her medal
Lovlina Borgohain with her medal at Tokyo 2020. Photo source: Lovlina Borgohain on Instagram

As I read about her, I was struck by her sheer doggedness and determination. Truly a legend, and still a long way to go!

Her story is inspiring, and here I share it with you:

She’s confident and ambitious

Lovlina has stated that she’s already aiming for a gold in Paris, where the next Olympic Games will be held in 2024. “I promise all of you that I will be back with the gold medal after Paris Olympics,” she said when she arrived in Assam after winning the bronze at Tokyo.

She’s super focused

Back in 2020, with the Olympics delayed due to the pandemic, Lovlina told a that in 2015 she got the Olympics rings tattooed on her wrist to remind her of her goal of winning a medal at the Olympics Games.

She is grounded and unassuming

Despite everything, Lovlina remains deeply rooted to her family, tending to the fields during the lockdown in 2020. Meanwhile, she is already advocating for more young people in Assam to take up sports as a career.

Millets made easy: Recipe for millet poha

Since I’ve been on a bit of a health streak lately, I’ve been introduced to millets. It’s not like I didn’t know what they were earlier, but it’s only now that I’m discovering how easy it is to use and adapt to them.

What are millets?

Millets are essentially small grains from the grass family. Coarse millet grains have been eaten around the world for thousands of years.

There are a range of millets available today, many known by their local names. Examples include finger millet (ragi or nachni), little millet (sama), foxtail millet (kangni), sorghum millet (jowar), proso millet and kodo millet. Just because they are all called millets doesn’t mean they are all the same. They differ in nutrient profile and texture.

For instance, I found proso millet more brown rice-like than little millet which made it easier for me to adapt to it and have with my daily dal. On the other hand, a friend loves little millet.

Either way, it’s good to try different millets to see what works best for you, and also to get your body a range of nutrients.

Cooking millets

I usually cook millets like I cook my brown rice- in my Mealthy Multipot. I use the same proportion of water like I do for brown rice and as of now, I prefer cooking it in the pot-in-pot method since I generally cook less quantities and because it makes washing up easier (yes I know, lazy me!).

Millets expand a lot on cooking, almost doubling in volume. So I generally cook only 1/3 cup at a time. Sometimes when I go extra, I wonder what to do with the leftover millet. Here is an idea: millet poha!

a bowl of homemade millet poha
My homemade millet poha

RECIPE: Millet poha

Leftover cooked millet 1 cup

Mustard seeds ½ tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

4-5 curry leaves

1 onion, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

½ cup of mixed veggies finely chopped (carrots, French beans, capsicum, cauliflower, peas)

½ tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Half a lemon

A few coriander leaves

1 tbsp oil of your choice


In a pan, heat oil.

When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds.

Then add cumin seeds, followed by curry leaves and onions. Saute the onions for a minute or two. (we don’t need to brown them).

Add chopped vegetables and very little turmeric powder, and mix well.

Then add ¼ cup of water, cover the pan and let the veggies cook.

Once they are done, uncover the pan and add the cooked millets, along with salt and rest of the turmeric powder. Mix well.

Cook again for a minute or two, ensuring that the millet is evenly mixed with the vegetables.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add lemon juice and sprinkle coriander leaves.

Serve hot with green coriander chutney or coconut chutney.

3 fashion updates for your post-vax wardrobe

I’m excited that I am double vaccinated, and maybe, just maybe I could step out to meet a friend or two (who are also vaccinated).

I haven’t shopped anything for myself in a long long time and any social event needs good clothes. So I will definitely need a mini wardrobe update. Here are three fashion pieces I want to add to my wardrobe.

A crisp smart shirt

A shirt that will work for me well for formal social occasions. I will pair it with my favourite M&S beige treggings or black trousers and kitten heels (can’t remember when I last wore heels, can my calves and ankles bear the pain again?). I’m looking for a shirt with minimal print and colour, but with a sharp cut to enhance my curves.  

Dressberry shirt from Myntra

Bright shirt from Dressberry on Myntra

An ethnic print dress

I love dresses and I think I’m lucky that in Mumbai you can wear cute dresses all year round. But what I do want is a smart knee or midi length dress with an ethnic print. They would be great for a lunch or even to work from home (super comfy!). When it gets cooler, I just wrap a little stole around, and I’m set!

Indigo dress from Biba

Indigo dress from Biba

A relaxed tshirt

We’ve been carrying the relaxed vibes with us for most of 2020 and 2021. So what’s the harm in wearing one now as well? Worn with a pair of skinny jeans, it’s the vibe I’m feeling now.

Breathe tshirt from Pause

White relaxed tshirt from Pause

How are you updating your wardrobe this season?

Indian fashion with a modern twist in Family Man Season 2

Priyamani as Suchitra (Suchi) Iyer

In both seasons of Family Man, Priyamani (playing Suchitra) has stayed close to the style that would best be referred to as Indian chic.

In the second season, her wardrobe ranges from long kurtas to chic tops, and each look has an unmistakeable Indian element. It could be the silhouette (long buttoned dress resembling a flowy kurta) or the makeup (thin eye liner on the upper and lower lids).

Priyamani in Family Man S2
Photo courtesy: Amazon Prime Video

Despite the popularity of the Indian chic style on actors across the board (Deepika Padukone in Piku and Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns), Priyamani’s look is unique in its own way. For starters, the colour palette is not typically Indian. She goes for subtle colours instead of rani pink or crimson red. Her eyeliner is visible yet thin, not thick and bold.

Priyamani in Family Man S2
Photo courtesy: Amazon Prime Video

How do you personalise the Indian chic look?

Get Priyamani’s look

Dress from Fab India

Fab India teal cotton dress

Kurta from Libas

Green printed jurta from Libas

Lakme Eyeconic Kajal available on Amazon

Lakme kajal

Seema Biswas as Prime Minister Basu

As the Indian prime minister, Seema Biswas plays a no-nonsense, authoritative role. She’s a woman in a world of men. Men are always telling her what to do, advising her on everything from external affairs to international defence. But with a single-minded focus and mincing no words, she tells them to do their job and she will focus on hers.

As a representative of India on the global platform and the most powerful woman in the room (and in the country), Seema Biswas has dressed modestly, keeping in mind Indian sensibilities.

This means no pant suits or skirts, or even salwar kameez or churidars. She sticks to the sari with a sharp silhouette, stiff fabrics, ethnic motifs and elbow-length blouses that cover up most of the back and the upper arm. Loose, open hair is a huge no-no in formal Indian settings, no matter how well styled, so Biswas’s hair is tightly tied back in a bun.

Seema Biswas in Family Man S2
Photo courtesy: Amazon Prime Video

And since Indians generally don’t trust “fancy” women with makeup or glamour, Seema Biswas doesn’t wear any visible makeup.

But there’s one aspect of her wardrobe where PM Basu experiments. No, it’s not a sari with her name printed all over it, but a unique blouse cum jacket.

What’s that, you ask?

If you look closely at Seema Biswas, she is wearing a standard-styled sari blouse. It fits perfectly well on the arm and the sleeves end in a simple border. Her pallu is perfectly draped on her left shoulder over the blouse. But on the right side, the blouse fits OVER the sari, like a jacket. And if you will take a close look at the back, it’s not a regular sari blouse. It’s longer and covers the pallu at the back too.

Say hello to the sari blouse-jacket!

Now sari jackets are not new, they’ve been spotted on and off the ramp since years. But Seema Biswas’s blouse is quite a new concept.

I’m a little surprised with this design choice, but it was nonetheless refreshing to watch something new on screen!

Get Seema Biswas’s look

Handweave Maheshwari sari from Okhai

Maheshwari sari Okhai

Sari blouse from Fab Dadu, available on Myntra

Maroon saree blouse

Nude lipstick from Faces Canada, available on Nykaa

Nude lipstick from Faces Canada

3 animal books for Indian toddlers

I introduced my toddler to books when she was just a few months old. And before her first birthday, she was already in love with her books.

Like most kids, she loves books about animals. These are just three of our favourites from the lot, even though there many more animal-themed books in our collection at home! (Maybe this calls for a part 2 of this blog post?).

If you’re looking for enjoyable and diverse books featuring animals for your toddler, then this is a great list to start with.

Animal books for Indian toddlers

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Written by Bill Smith Jr and illustrated by Eric Carle

Purple cat in Brown Bear Brown Bear book

This classic children’s book features bold illustrations of animals, bright colours and has an easy rhythm that born grown-ups and toddlers will love. The kiddos will pick up animal names, colours and sequences.

I started reading this book to Toddler A when she was an infant, and she loved it. It’s still read in our home daily.

Board book, Rs 399 on Bibliophiles.

Wild Cat! Wild Cat!

Written by Sejal Mehta and illustrated by Rohan Chakravarty  

A book about cats, from tigers to lions to snow leopard! The illustrations are striking and the cat taking us around the world to introduce us to other cats is super cute.

Read this book for free on Storyweaver, or buy on the Pratham Books website, Rs 40 (paperback)

That’s not my elephant…

Written by Fiona Watts and illustrated by Rachel Wells

Another book that my toddler loved prior to her first birthday. At first, she loved touching the bumpy toenails and the tufty tail, and now she loves the repetition of the catchphrase.

Board book, Rs 498 on Amazon India

Which animal books are you reading to your child?

Bollywood Fashion: Deewana is a WILD ride

After watching Deewar couple weeks ago for a writing workshop, I had a sudden urge to re-watch old Hindi films. And so, last evening, while the baby slept, I opened Prime Video and tapped on Deewana.

Why Deewana?

Partly because it’s Shah Rukh Khan’s debut feature film and partly because I was in the mood for a typical 90s drama. Okay, but mostly because it’s got Shah Rukh Khan.

Anyway, even as I got lost in the endless string of songs and the villainy of Amrish Puri and the classic desi mom-ness of Sushma Seth, I couldn’t help but notice the distinct style differences between the 1990s and today.

Old habits die hard, right?

So here’s a revisit to 1990s fashion from the Deewana lens.

Rishi Kapoor

Rishi Kapoor’s (Ravi in the film) costumes were a mixed (err.. confusing) bag of styles, like these:

  • Head-to-toe white with a multihued jacket lining, that was also embellished with white sequins. The look was completed with white shoes and sunglasses.
  • Outrageous printed shirts
  • Big striped and patchwork-type sweaters with dark trousers
Deewana- Rishi Kapoor dressed in white suit and shoes
Rishi Kapoor in all-white

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan’s clothes in Deewana were more interesting than Rishi Kapoor’s, but sadly, the designers fell short of a cohesive look. Most of his clothes made Shah Rukh Khan’s character Raja look seem older than his on-screen age. A young, wealthy brat would be in slightly flashier clothes, that would grab attention and exude confidence.

Key looks:

In his introductory song Koi Na Koi Chahiye, Shah Rukh Khan donned a brown leather jacket, and this became a defining on-screen look for him for many years (remember the black jacket in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge?).

In the rest of the film, he wore oversized shirts with loose sleeves and high waisted jeans, often paired with a prominent belt and matching buckle. And oh, those dull colours—browns and greys. Eeeks.  

In true Bollywood fashion, the dream song sequence had the most unusual costume choices. So, in the cornerstone song Aisi Deewangi Dekhi Nahi, Shah Rukh Khan wears the most outrageous ensembles. Think teal shirt with teal trousers, a fully-blue suit (without tie, thank god), and a black and white polka dotted cravat!

Shah Rukh Khan in white suit and dotted cravat in Deewana, with Divya Bharti.
Shah Rukh Khan in white suit and dotted cravat in Deewana, with Divya Bharti.

As for the hair, it was long-ish, as was the fashion those days, though I’m not sure I dig it.

Divya Bharti

Divya Bharti as Kajal donned a wide range of ensembles in the film. As a single girl smitten with singing sensation Ravi (Rishi Kapoor) she wore simple salwar suits and some skirts. As soon as she was married though, she became a wealthy family’s bahu, wearing mostly saris of rich fabrics and embroideries. I especially liked the green sari which she wore in a pivotal sequence just before the intermission.

But once injured Ravi tumbled down a waterfall, Kajal had to adopt a widow’s attire. The white-wearing widow is not a custom I agree with, though it’s still practised in some part of the country. Depriving women of clothing (and other choices) is just another form of patriarchal oppression.

In her no-colour-no-makeup phase, she’s donning the nude look, with blush, pink eye shadow and pearl finish nude lip colour. In several scenes, she’s wearing loads of eye liner as well.

But her wardrobe comes to life again, after she marries Raja. So in the rest of the film you will see her in puffed sleeves tops, blouses and kurtas. Plus, lots of makeup and jewellery.

Her go-to accessories seem to be big gold earrings and gold kitten heels.  

Divya Bharti wearing black blouse and retro gold earrings in Deewana
Divya Bharti wearing black blouse and retro gold earrings in Deewana

As for makeup, Divya Bharti’s look featured carefully coordinated lip colours and bindis with wavy hair, reminiscent of a perm. The biggest surprise though were her French braids. They were super cute, and reminded me of my childhood, when I would wonder how girls made those complicated hair style (there was no YouTube then).

But her costumes sparkle in the song sequences, especially when she’s suddenly in “western” clothes.  Her clothes were carefully selected to suit her petite frame, and she carried them off with great confidence and flair.

Divya Bharti wearing blouse and skirt and Shah Rukh Khan wearing all-blue suit in Deewana
Divya Bharti wearing blouse and skirt and Shah Rukh Khan wearing all-blue suit in Deewana

There were bold colours like orange and smart silhouettes like tight, short skirts and glam off-the-shoulder blouses. Those were major drool moments for me!

Mealthy MultiPot Review

I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s had a tough time with household chores since the lockdown began in March. Despite the tremendous support from the husband, my very active infant leaves me with not enough time or energy for tasks like cooking, cleaning and simply managing my life.

And so, I was on the hunt for appliances to make my life easier, now and in the long run. (Has anyone checked if dishwasher and vacuum cleaner sales spiked during or after the lockdown?). I especially wanted something that would make cooking easier, given the amount of time it consumes every day and the sweltering heat.

Some friends who have lived abroad had mentioned the Mealthy pot a couple months ago, just before the lockdown began, so as soon as I heard Mumbai was allowing delivery of “non-essentials”, I quickly logged on to their website, explored it features, and I was SOLD. A few clicks later, and Amazon confirmed that my 6 litres Mealthy MultiPot was on its way.

There was much excitement when it arrived, therefore sadly no unboxing video. But now that I’ve been using this appliance every day since it arrived, it’s time to post my Mealthy MultiPot review.

Mealthy MultiPot with silicon mitts
The Mealthy MultiPot comes with silicon mitts like these red ones.

What the Mealthy MultiPot does

Dubbed the “9-in-1 Programmable Smart Electric Pressure Cooker”, think of the Mealthy as a pressure cooker on genius pills. Basically, you put your ingredients in it (vegetables,  grains, meat, seasonings), add sufficient liquid (such as water or stock), select a cooking programme with a specific time, and voila! Your dish is ready.

What you can cook

I’ve tried regular Indian dishes in my Mealthy MultiPot so far, such as:

  • Brown rice
  • Khichdi
  • Several types of dal
  • Sambhar
  • Dhansak
  • Boiled eggs
  • Dry subzis such as capsicum and aloo gobi

And they have all turned out well. The final dish is the same result as it would be after cooking in a kadhai, wok or a pot or standard pressure cooker on my stovetop burner.

You can also prepare oats, curries and cakes, steam vegetables, dhokla or idlis, and stir fry dishes. Lots of food ideas are out there. Some of the standard programmes include eggs (for soft or hard boiled), multigrain (for brown rice, oats, quinoa and the like), poultry (for chicken), and slow cooker (for those ultra special dishes).

My Mealthy MultiPot already has its first battle scars!

Some cool features of the Mealthy MultiPot

Cooking timer: You decide how long to cook each dish, depending on your preferences. So if you like your rice a tad al dente, you can cook for a shorter duration. So each dish is completely customised to your taste.

Sealed lid: The Mealthy lid won’t open while there’s still pressure inside, which makes the pot a very safe appliance to have in your kitchen.   

Cooking indicator: An LCD screen tells you what stage of cooking is going on (pre-heating, cooking, or complete), so you’re not confused if you lose track of time writing your blog post (ahem).

Keep warm: Cooking done? The Mealthy will switch to Keep Warm mode so the food doesn’t get cold, and you don’t need to reheat.  

Delayed start: For me, the most exciting feature is the delay start button, which lets you set the timer for the cooking start time. So you can set the cooker for, say, six hours from now, fill in the cooker settings, add your ingredients, seal the pot, and then let the magic happen on its own, while you are away. Which means, that you can technically wake up to a cooked breakfast or come home to a ready dinner.

What I’m liking about the Mealthy MultiPot

The Mealthy’s features are easy to use and fairly intuitive once you get the hang of the appliance (it doesn’t take that long, really).

I love that I can set a cooking timer and forget about it. The other day I was in a rush to run errands, so I did a quick tempering (tadka), added soaked chana dal and sufficient water, sealed the pot, set the timer, and rushed out. When I came home, the dal was ready!

Making standard Indian subzis or dals is easy peasy. You need just two modes: sauté (for the seasoning/ tadka) and pressure cooking (for cooking). Nothing complicated!  

The MultiPot comes with a booklet of Indian recipes that you can try. I’ve been trying out a few recipes to see how they work with respect to timings and settings, so next time around I can adjust the timings and water proportion to get the texture I like.

What you need to know before you buy

Of course like any other appliance, the Mealthy has its limitations. For instance, I wouldn’t recommend deep frying in this pot. Nor can you prepare “instant” things, like noodles etc.

This appliance also has a bit of a learning curve as you learn to adapt recipes to suit your own favourites. You’ll need to do some experimentation and read up recipes on the Mealthy website or app to figure out how to adapt your recipe to Mealthy settings and proportions.

Having said that, once you’ve got the hang of it, there’s no looking back!


Should you buy the Mealthy MultiPot? A resounding yes.

Where to buy

The Mealthy MultiPot is available on their official India website as well as on Amazon India.


The six litres Melathy MultiPot is priced at Rs 9,990, while the three litres version is for Rs 7,750 (on the official Mealthy India website).

My super short list of newborn baby essentials

Planning for a baby and their things is a mind-boggling task, especially if it’s your first child. Trust me, I know.

When I was pregnant last year, I looked around for lists of baby essentials so that I could plan my baby shopping and be well prepared before the baby came. But nothing prepared me for the gazillion baby shopping lists I found.

Some lists I found online, a couple of lists came through friends and friends’ friends, while some were just verbal advice, “Oh, you must have this…”

It was all too much. I got overwhelmed looking at the sheer number of things my tiny person would need. But I was also determined to be organised. So I printed them all out, made notes on them, compared them, googled almost each item on the lists and… you get the idea.

By the end of the second trimester, I was super stressed just thinking about baby shopping. So one fine day, I decided to discard those endless lists, and went with what I thought was necessary for the early days.

If I something for the baby, I could always ask someone to buy it from the baby store or I could order it online (thankfully, my baby wasn’t born during the lockdown).

Thanks to my meticulous planning (yes, that’s me being humble), once the baby came, I didn’t really need much.

Phew. Those lists were just scaring me to death for no reason. These things are the newborn essentials I’d recommend any new parent to keep stocked and ready. Of course, there are a dozen (or several dozen) more things you may want for your baby, but if you must have only a few things, I’d suggest you keep these ready.  

Newborn baby clothing: Swaddles, rompers, sleepsuits

New babies come out from the comfort of the womb into the world at large and keeping them swaddled reminds them of when they were inside. It keeps them warm and cozy. Most babies younger than a month like to be wrapped up. There are some really cute swaddles in organic muslin and cotton you can buy. But remember, some babies start hating swaddles very early on, whereas some little ones would want to be wrapped for the rest of their life, if they could.

Rompers (also known as onesies) are the most popular form of baby clothing. They usually have snap buttons at the bottom for easy diaper changes. But many Indian families prefer jablas or loose kurta-like tops with strings or buttons. Go with whatever works for you.

Sleepsuits are a little different because they generally are of a thicker fabric and generally cover the baby completely, right up to their cute little feet and toes. Sleepsuits are also terribly cute.

Keep handy

Socks, mittens and hats, especially if it’s winter or it’s cold where you live or where the baby sleeps.

Baby changing stuff: Nappies, diapers, changing mat

Nappies, disposables or cloth diapers? That’s one of the early choices you make as a parent and a possible bone of contention in many households. There are pros and cons of each type of baby “underwear”, but whatever you choose, make sure you’re stocked up.

Not all households or bedrooms have space for a changing station. So we go with the next best option- a changing mat. You can choose from the regular plastic ones with fun baby prints or “dry sheets” that are easily washable.

Keep handy

Diaper rash cream.

Some kids have extremely sensitive skin and can break out in rashes in their diaper area pretty early on. Keep a cream handy (many options and brands available), or apply coconut oil.    

Baby cleaning stuff: Wipes, napkins, baby bath products

Babies pee and poop multiple times a day and need to cleaned just as often. Even if you’re using cotton dipped in clean water, it’s best to have store-bought wipes ready for emergencies and for the diaper bag (for doctor visits etc).

Napkins are also used all the time—for a quick sponge bath, for cleaning up spills and spit-ups.

With their delicate skin, newborns need special skin products. With dozens of brands offering baby washes, soaps, creams, oils and lotions, you (and baby) will be spoilt for choice.

Keep handy

Burp cloth.

I’d never heard of a burp cloth till I saw it on one of those newborn essentials list. It’s basically a longish napkin that you place over your shoulder when you burp the baby. The idea is to keep your clothes clean if the baby spits up.

Coming soon: Essentials for new moms

The ultimate list of kitchen essentials: Part 2 (cookware)

A while ago, I shared the first part of my ultimate list of The ultimate list of kitchen essentials: Part 2 (cookware) your kitchen and keep it running smoothly.

But then you also need tools to turn those ingredients into edible, delicious, satisfying food.

So, what do you need for your kitchen to cook?


With just a few cookware pieces, you can cook a whole variety of foods and dishes. Most of the utensils are versatile and multi-purpose, ideal for small kitchens and compact homes.

Luckily, most utensils are available in a variety of sizes, so if you’re cooking for just one or two people, you can go for the smallest sizes or just a size above the smallest. It’s always good to have a larger cooking utensil or two for when you want to cook in bulk for the next few days or next couple of meals, or have guests coming over.

It’s tempting to go for the smallest utensil size when you’re cooking for just one, but if you plan to cook for at least a couple of meals together, you will need a larger vessel.

Pressure cooker

Every Indian kitchen needs at least one pressure cooker. Why? Because a pressure cooker can be used for many, many things. Need to boil potatoes in a jiffy? Pressure cooker. Want to cook brown rice quickly? Pressure cooker. Prepare dal? The pressure cooker, of course. 

Of course, you need a bit of umm… “special skills” to use a pressure cooker, because they need to be opened and closed in a very specific way. But once you get the hang of it, it will be super easy. (The first time I used a big pressure cooker, I had to Google “how to open pressure cooker from X brand” and I was lucky enough that they had posted a YouTube video demonstrating this).   

The most popular brands in India for pressure cookers are Vinod Steel, Prestige and Hawkins, though there are many more that are also very good.

Small frying pan or skillet

Again, a versatile piece of cookware for the Indian kitchen.

A small-sized frying pan is useful for cooking for eggs and omelettes, making a quick tadka (tempering) for your dal, pan-frying something, and even making pancakes and small uttapams. Another great use- spread some butter, use it to toast your favourite grilled cheese sandwich on medium flame to get the right bit of melted cheese. Yum!!!

I use the skillet to sauté something quickly (in very small amounts) , for roasting makhana (fox nuts) and whole spices, and for cooking something lightly like pieces of paneer.

Kadhai or wok

You need at least two kadhais or woks in your kitchen, even if you’re a small household. After all, Indian subzis are best made in kadhais. 

Saucepan or pateela

You will need the humble pateela every morning to make chai. These are available with a single long handle or with two or none, and both serve your purpose. I also use a medium-sized saucepan to make instant noodles, to boil some sprouts or small quantities of pasta, and even to toss up a salad (off the flame).

Large pot for dals and curries aka tope 

Most Indian kitchens have large steel pots they use for a variety of reasons, for cooking rice or curries. You can invest in one such pot if you are going to cook in larger quantities. It is most helpful to have such pots with handles so they are easier to move about. But many of the larger steel pots come without handles.

Other cookware (optional, but useful):

Griddle with “lines”: This is like a stove-top grill on which you can toast your sandwiches, grill chicken, fish or even veggies and paneer.

Flat tawa with handle for dosa: This can be a non-stick tawa, because they’re generally easier to handle.

Tawa for chapatis and parathas

Other cookware essentials

Sometimes the most useful things are overlooked, because they are small, and you realise how important they are only when they are missing, like a button on your shirt.

These cooking tools are as useful as the pots and pans and griddles, and you definitely need to budget for them when you go shopping.

Wooden spoons and spatulas: For cooking, stirring, stir-frying

Ladles or karchhis: For cooking, stirring, serving dals and curries 

Spatula for frying (this is the one with holes): They are also called skimmers, but not many people use that word! 

Flat steel spatula for eggs, pancakes and dosas

Colander: This is a large steel strainer with a mesh for washing vegetables and draining cooked spaghetti.

Tongs aka chimta: For chapattis and parathas

Kitchen pincers aka pakkad: For lifting pots and pans that don’t have handles

Rolling board and rolling pin aka chakla and belan: For chapattis and parathas 

Large steel plate aka paraat: For making dough for chapattis and parathas

Small strainer: For tea and milk

Chopping board: If you cook meat, best to have a separate board to use only for meat.

Knives: Knives are of different shapes and sizes, and each knife serves a different purpose. The small ones are inexpensive and easy to manage. The fancier ones that are similar to chef’s knives may need regular sharpening.

Peeler: For potatoes, carrots and other vegetables 

A word on kitchen storage

If you love cooking, especially different cuisines, you will have a gazillion ingredients and you will need containers for them all. Your counter will fill up and your kitchen cabinets will be overflowing. Even your fridge will always be full.


Yet, we all need to make the best of what we have. Look for ways to optimize your storage space, and don’t go all crazy buying too many ingredients. You will also need to be very organized and keep everything back in its place, if you don’t want things to get lost!   

Kitchen storage essentials

Steel containers for storage: Keep several containers in several sizes, to store everything from atta to biscuits.

Plastic or glass containers for storage: If you are saying NO to plastic (good thing!), opt for neat-looking glass containers with airlocked lids. This ensures your snacks stays fresh.

Oil pot: These are usually of steel, and make it easy to pour oil when you cooking.

Ghee pot: Again, made of steel and they have an easy open lid to get out the ghee quickly.

Masala box:  The focal point of an Indian kitchen, my steel masala box has travelled with me from India to Myanmar and back. Six years plus, and still going strong. With the right quality steel, you will quickly get attached to your spice box. 

Useful tips on buying cookware

Sizes: If you are a small household, then buy the smallest or the medium sized utensil. You don’t need big ones, unless you are cooking for a larger family.

Maintenance: Ask the retailer about the correct way to wash and use the utensils. This is especially true for pressure cookers. Each brand has its own special technique, so if you’re not used to it, you could be struggling for hours!

Comfort: Try to buy kadhais and other cooking utensils with heat-resistant lids and handles.

Non-stick or not: There is a general belief that non-stick cookware is harmful and can make your food toxic. But they are easy to wash and you can cook with less oil or butter. So should you use them or not? While most experts say non-stick is safe as long as you don’t cook it in very high temperatures, choosing to use non-stick (or not) is a very personal choice. Read this article by Nutrition Diva and another one by Good Housekeeping to get a better understanding on the subject.

Living a smart life

My sponge cake batter is yellow and fluffy and almost ready to bake. The oven is pre-heated, and I pour the batter into my cake tin. I remember my mom’s instructions very clearly, “Remember, the cake should be baked for nine minutes, and nine minutes only.”

The oven dial is not exactly accurate, and I need a timer. I will have to scramble to get my phone from my bedroom, open the clock app, seek the timer and set it to nine minutes.

Or I could just say, “Ok Google, set a timer for nine minutes.”

And when nine minutes are up, my cake will be all soft and sweet and scrumptious.

The uses of my smart home assistant extend beyond the kitchen.

I use it to get a weather update. My mom uses it to discover new recipes. The husband uses it to get the news.

And this nifty little smart device is not the only smart thing at home.

In our small household, we have a few smart devices between us. And they’ve made our lives easier. My productivity has gone up (I work from home), and it’s easier to organize my tasks and errands. My home feels cozier, warmer and even more personalized.

But should you invest in such devices?

There’s only one answer here: A resounding YES. We need a Smart Home in the 21st century.

Why? Because smart devices will give you so much more than you could ever imagine. It’s time for a #SmartHomeRevolution.

Here’s how they make your life easier.

Unwind and relax

You come home from a long day at work. You want to relax on the couch, listen to soothing music, and catch up on football scores.  And you want to do all that without lifting a tired finger from your tired body.

So what do you do?

You ask your home assistant to do it—it will dim the lights to your favourite setting, play your favourite Kishore Kumar songs at low volume and narrate the scores of the Premier League matches.

Stay on top of things

I hate to say this, but old age is quickly catching up to me. I can’t remember everything anymore. So when I need to keep track of things to buy, who else do I turn to but my handy assistant?

Starting a shopping list with just my voice, all I need to do is keep adding things to the list and then access it when I go shopping.

And then I can also remember to pay the utility bills, the domestic help and credit card bills on time, using the voice reminders.

Learn more about the world

The other day a kid was caught using a smart home device to do his math homework. I think that’s brilliant, and it turns out the kid later thanked the assistant. The kid’s mother was rather amused as well.

Arithmetic apart, the world is a wonder, and any curious soul is filled with mind boggling questions that need precise, accurate answers. The smart home assistant comes to the rescue. How heavy is an elephant? What is the currency of Japan? When was Akbar born? Who fought in the Second World War?

Useful for homework, useful for work, useful for kids, teens, grownups and grandparents.

Get entertained

It’s party time! Get your home assistant to do the entertaining so you can focus on having a good time with your buddies. Your handy assistant will set the perfect mood lighting by syncing with your Smart lights, pull out recipes that will impress your guests, and even play your choice of movies and music.

Meanwhile, the kids have fun play dates with their little friends when they have quizzes, games and nursery rhymes for company.

Feel independent

Seniors and differently abled people often struggle with simple day-to-day tasks that we take for granted, like booking a cab on their phone. The font is too small, the location is difficult to pin on the map, and the phone app itself can be confusing.

But a virtual assistant can provide tremendous support. They can book cabs easily through a series of voice commands. And then, they can order food, book movie tickets, and listen to their favourite devotional text… without needing to ask anyone for help.

How wonderful is that!

Get fit

When the husband embarked on his weight loss journey, his constant companion was his fitness band. It kept him motivated, alert, active and engaged. The result: around a dozen kilos lighter, he ran a half marathon in less than six months!

And if running and exercise is not your thing, your smart devices can help you with your wellness activities. De-stress with meditation and sleep guidance, access healthy recipes and count your calories by simply asking your assistant.

And so, say yes to #GetFitwithFlipkart.

Keep yourself secure

My friend in Mumbai uses a Smart Camera to keep an eye on her bedridden mother’s household in Bengaluru. With this easy-to-use technology, she ensures her mother’s needs are attended to at all times, day or night.

When I heard about the daylight theft in my neighbours’ house a few months ago when they were away, my first thought was—why didn’t they have home cameras? With such inexpensive yet super useful tools, their hard-earned money would be secure.

Still sitting on the fence about creating a smart home? It’s a new year, it’s time for an upgrade!

#GetFitWithFlipkart #SmartHomeRevolution