Among other things, people do have the strangest of questions on their mind when it comes to food from north east (of India, just in case you got confused with the north east of China, Africa or the antipodes). In fact, I have often replied the polite enquiries of my colleagues of what I was cooking for dinner with a cold glare. I was bored of explaining time and again that Assamese food also  consisted of dal chawal, arguably the most common Indian meal.

But when I pondered over this topic deeper, I realised this lack of information was actually a lack of the availability of the food itself in other parts of the country. Rosang Café is an exception in this regard. For all those who have no clue what food from north east is like, do head to Rosang Cafe. Located near Upahar Cinema in Green Park, it brings the finest food of the seven north eastern states.

Jokes apart, despite being an Assamese, I myself have limited knowledge about the north eastern cuisines. I am desperately trying to rectify this problem by visiting Rosang frequently. While I would highly recommend the place to everyone, here are a few things to keep in mind before trying out food from north east.

#1. North eastern food is light on your taste buds and tummy. Not excited? Then try the piping hot dry fish chutney!

#2. Some of the dishes may have strong aromas, often not so pleasant if you aren't used to it. Come prepared.

#3. All the dishes are extremely healthy. Do tell your trainer about it.

#4. It’s not only about noodles and momos. What were you expecting a chocolate momo or a paneer one?

#5. Do not expect it to be spicy and oily. But count on it to be flavoursome.

#6. For God's sake don't come and ask for a roti or naan. Didn't you know the best thing on earth is rice?

#7. You think it will be like Chinese and Thai. You couldn't be more wrong. The spices, herbs and process of preparing the dishes are all different.

#8. Vegetarians are welcome too. We don’t sit at the slaughterhouse 24 x 7.

#9. The curries won’t look red; turmeric is not a favourite here. Did you say you already knew it?

#10. Taste a new vegetable like kol posola (banana stem). You’ll soon realise vegetables go beyond cauliflowers and peas.

While trying food from north east, please do remember that they are seven states not one. This is another problem I want to deal with it. But let’s just stick to the food here. Being neighbouring states the cuisines of the north eastern states do have similarities, however, they are as varied as the seven states and the people living in them are. Thankfully, Rosang Café picks some of the best dishes from the seven states.

Go with an open mind. Do try the spicy Dry Fish Chutney, Aksa Meh a delicious chicken curry, Fried Fish in Burmese paste and Dohneiihong, a Meghalayan pork dish cooked in black seasame seeds. Yes, the names are difficult. But admit it they can’t be more difficult than that of the Thai, Mexican or French dishes.

Enjoy the hospitality of the super friendly owner, Mary. And hopefully you’ll get to understand that part of the country slightly better.

P.S. These pictures have been taken on a mobile phone by a not so great photographer. The food actually looks much better than this.


Gwalior is often considered the poor cousin when compared to the likes of Shimla, Manali, Nainital. At times, it is not even in the consideration set. But if you dig forts, palaces and ancient love stories, Gwalior should be high on your priority list. More so, if you are running out of weekend getaway ideas.

Last month, I spent a weekend at Gwalior. Needless to say, a weekend is not sufficient for a place like Gwalior. Me and my friend were dead tired and there was still so much left to see. On the contrary, if you are up for a stamina crunching trip, even a weekend might suffice.

Here is a quick snippet on what to expect on a Gwalior trip.


Gwalior doesn't have many hotels; at least my internet search at the time didn't say so. However, it has a few budget hotels like Hotel Landmark, Hotel Grace and a few two star hotels. On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending some money don’t look beyond Deo Bagh, a Neemrana Hotel. It’s an idyllic setting to relax and to some extent a destination in itself.

Originally a summer palace of the ruling dynasty, this hotel has a range of rooms each overlooking a lush green lawn and two quaint 17th century temples on the horizon. All the rooms have been named after the royal family members like Jayaji Villas, Aruna Villas, Rohini Raja Mahal, Dhruv Villas etc. Read more about them here Ironically, not a single auto wallah at the railway station knew anything about the hotel.


If you are a sightseeing kind of person, there is a plenty waiting for you. Keep a day aside for supposedly the largest of its kind - Gwalior Fort, the outer boundary of which stretches as far as 3.5 km. Also come prepared for a long trek, as the autos are not allowed to enter the fort premises. 

Inside the fort are Gujari Mahal, an Archeological Musuem, Man Mandir Palace, Saas Bahu Temple, Teli ka Mandir, Jahangiri Mahal, Karan Mahal, Shahjahan Mahal, Jauhar Kund, Suraj Kund, a Gurudwara, a chapel and even more.

If you have to choose between the monuments due to paucity of time, then settle down for the Man Mandir Palace and the Saas Bahu Temple. Both of them are exquisite to look at and the best that the fort has to offer in terms of architecture.

Just like the history of the city, Gwalior architecture is an interesting mix of mughal, deccan and hindu designs. You will be able to see glimpses of this everywhere you go.

The other two must visit places in the city are the Jai Vilas, erstwhile palace of the Scindihias and Tansen Ka Maqbara. While the former is standing there in all its glory, the Tansen’s tomb could have been better maintained. The fact that the entry to the Maqbara is free and also that it is in a bustling market area has transformed the place. At best it is comparable to a local park where people feel free to come and sleep. Despite the indifference of the government, Tansen’s resting place manages to give its visitors what they come seeking – peace. In fact, both I and my friend were anxious about spending so less time at such a beautiful place. Given a choice, we would have happily spent the entire day dreaming there.

On the other hand, the pristine white Jai Vilas that has often been shown as the home of heroes and heroines in films of the 80’s has now been turned into a museum. The rooms of the palace are still laid out as they were used once upon a time, each of them with a unique colour scheme and a magnificent story to tell. Some parts of the palace continue to be used by the royal family even today.

Do give the Kala Vittika and the Light and Sound Show a miss. The Kala Vittika has absolutely nothing inside and the Light and Sound Show is way too outdated with almost no lighting and graphics. In fact, those who have seen the one at Delhi Old Fort will not even call it a Light and Sound Show.


Sorry to say food lovers, there is not much to eat here. The food at the Deo Bagh was average, and beyond that we couldn't find anything. There are few dhabas lined up near the railway station that dish up spicy stuff. But they can hardly be called sumptuous. Also it will be best to stick to vegetarian food, as majority of the people at Gwalior seem to be vegetarian.


Gwalior is full of interesting stories. The fort itself was built by Raja Surya Sen when sage Gwalipa cured him of leprosy. Again Raja Man Singh fell in love with a tribal girl named Gurjari whom he named Mrignayani. It is said that Mrignayani’s love for her husband was such that even Emperor Akbar couldn't do anything. After conquering the Gwalior Fort, when he took her to his Agra harem she continued to love her husband even after many days and refused to comply. Seeing her dedication for her love, the emperor reunited her with Raja Man Singh.

So, the next time someone says there is not much to see or do you know what your answer should be.


This 22nd of December, Assam Association celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Laxminath Bezboroa. The event took place at the renowned Siri Fort Auditorium. I am not much of a music lover myself. However, I decided to go ahead with the show for lack of anything better to do.

The event started off with a chorus “Aami Asomiya Nohou Dukhiya” a composition by Beboroa. A common refrain throughout the programme was remembering the contributions of this illustrious son of the state, who explored almost every possible form of writing and gave Assamese language a new identity. Apart from that, the pertinent question was how we can keep alive the language with the newer generations, especially with those kids who live away from their motherland.

Quite interestingly, the line up of the function consisted of the second generation of artists. The first being, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, both sons of Amjad Ali Khan and Subhalaxmi Khan. Mrs. Khan, a classical danseuse happens to belong to Assam. And the second being, Angarag Mahanta with his band East India Company. Angarag is the son of popular Assamese singer Khagen Mahanta. While both the Khan brothers and Papon have an association with Assam, the similarity ends there. The music they represent and their presentation were poles apart.

Spiritual Conquest
It was heartening to see the audience maintain a pin drop silence throughout the performance of Amaan and Ayan. While Amaan came across as a serious and disciplined performer and Ayaan was more on the flamboyant side. The jugalbandi that both of them created along with their companions was amazing.
It’s only when you watch a classical performance you realize, the amount patience and riyaas that goes into a recital. I deeply regretted the fact that my understanding of classical music was so limited. I am a trained Bharatnatyam dancer myself. However, I still do not understand the ragas well.

After a point of time, my ignorance got the better of me and I found the music repetitive. I cursed myself silently for not being able to enjoy true talent. I could only appreciate the highs and lows of it. Sadly, my opinion was also the opinion of my friends present in the hall. Despite that the audience maintained perfect decorum throughout their performance.

The performance continued non-stop for about an hour. It would not be wrong to say that we were transported to a different spiritual level altogether. Needless to say, that it ended with a thunderous standing ovation.

Power of Rock
The next performance was that of Angarag and his band. The crowd welcomed him with loud cheers. Angarag is consummate performer, his body language confident, his voice captivating. From the moment he appeared on the stage till the time the show ended, no one looked anywhere else. He belted out his popular numbers from his albums, Coke Studio and some Bollywood songs. He handled every cat cry every demand comfortably. And when a young fan declared her love for him he replied with great panache that he loved her too.

Before long, he had every one on their feet and the ‘sitting comfortably auditorium’ became something close to a rock concert.

Two Worlds in One Universe
In the aftermath of the show, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that his rocking performance which had everyone on their feet overshadowed the standing ovation that the Khan brothers received. It brings to forefront an important question, how we as an audience should appreciate art? Do we know how to take our culture forward?

In this regard, Papon aptly said that we have to present our culture to the younger generation in a way that is not imposing. His songs, his music truly reflects his thoughts. Be it Boitha Maaro or his version of acoustic folk Bihu, it all spells his belief.

And yet, we cannot underestimate the magic of something pure. Perhaps, the best way to judge them is to understand that they represent two different worlds. One has the remarkable power to instill a rare stillness in the otherwise restless audience, and the other has the magic to get everyone up on their feet. While there is place for the popular there is also place for the classical. And in tandem, they become a whole that is our culture.