Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie that I stumbled upon while doing a search on how our memories work.

Joel Barnish (Jim Carrey) is a withdrawn man with an inactive social life. One day on his commute to work, he has an urge to go to Montauk instead of work. On the way back from Montauk to New York he hits it off with Clementine (Kate Winslet), who is the polar opposite of him. She has brightly colored hair, and is an unrestrained person who speaks what she thinks. What they do not know is that they had had already been in a relationship for two years, and when it turned sour they broke it off.

The reason why they are unable to remember any of it is, is that Clementine had had her memories of Joel erased. The heartbreak of the relationship breaking off too much for her to bear with. While Joel was managing to deal with the relationship not working out, he broke down when he came to know that Clementine had him erased from her memories. Distraught, he goes to the same company (Lacuna Inc.) and signs up to get her deleted from his memories.

The way it works is that representatives of the company ask the customer to hand over all items they have that are personally associated with the person that want deleted. Then they ask you to think of the memories associated so that they can form a brain map specific to the person. Once the configuration is done, they attach a computer based apparatus to your head and begin a systematic deletion of memories while you sleep.
This dream/memory world is where most of the movies takes place. Starting with the earliest, Joel goes through all the memories associated with Clementine. The most recent memories are painful, and full of angst with all the passive aggressiveness they had displayed towards each other. The deletion of these memories serve as a catharsis for him. However as he goes further in the past, he begins to recollect all the happy and rosy moments he had shared with her. He begins to realize that the pleasure of these memories is worth living through the pain of not being in a relationship anymore. But being stuck in the dream/memory world, he cannot do anything to stop the process which is taking place in the real world in his apartment.

The memory sequences are absolute brilliance. The narrative of the story jumps across time here. From a scene which takes place in the past, to a scene in the future where the movie started, to what is happening in the present where the Lacuna crew is deleting the memories. The visual imagery as to how the memory gets deleted, and what Joel tries unsuccessfully to prevent it captures the viewer with awe.

The movie however is not just about these two. There is a crew of three working on the deletion, of which Mary (Kirsten Dunst) and Stan (Mark Ruffalo) are in a relationship. The third character Patrick (Elijah Wood), is using the personal files and objects of Clementine that had been given to create the deletion as means to gain knowledge to impress Clementine and date her. This small but very wonderfully told sub-plot is as interesting as the main story line.
We already know that Joel will be unsuccessful in preventing the deletion on account of him not recognizing Clementine in the future when they meet in Montauk. While they start afresh , oblivious to what has already happened between them they receive records of their memories from an employee at Lacuna who believes that the company has done something very wrong, and has sent all the customers their records. You will have to watch the movie to find out how the two of them deal with this disclosure.

The title of the movie is inspired from the poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. The poem is about the tragedy of a love affair that couldn’t be, and the heroine’s believes that she can only be at peace if she can forget about this love that could not be.


How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;


This is one of my favorite movies that seamlessly combines romance, science fiction and philosophy. I will leave you with the trailer of the movie.



Written for day 5 of the A to Z Challenge

Doug Stamper, and why he fascinates me

I took to the A-Z challenge thinking that I would write about things that I like, places that I’d like to be at, stories that fascinate me. So after a recipe, and two food joints I want to tell you about a character who fascinates me. The central characters in most stories get a lot of attention and love. In itself there’s no harm with that, they are the central characters for a reason. However there are times when the supporting characters are awesome on their own. One such character is Doug Stamper from the House of Cards TV series by Netflix.


Doug Stamper is Frank Underwood’s (a central character of the series) Chief of Staff. He is ruthless and efficient as Frank, and seems to lack a conscience quite like the underlying essence of the show. It doesn’t how something needs to be done. What matters is the when and the what. This is why he is an essential man by Frank’s side, part of all his schemes and manipulations. He is more than a henchman, he is fixer, and a failsafe. He deals with situations and people many times, keeping Frank updated so that Frank can do what he has to.

The premise of the series is that Frank has been promised the position of the Secretary of State for his work in securing the election of the President. However once in power, he is passed on as the President feels his need in the Congress instead. Soon Frank and his wife start their covert machinations to gain power, influence and what was to be rightfully theirs. All this with a generous helping of vengeance. Doug doesn’t question any of this, he understands. He accepts this in a very matter of fact manner, as if it is to be the natural progression of things.

He uses coercion and fear as means to get his things done. He is keen at spotting weaknesses of people, and then how to exploit them. Such is the effect of him and his machinations on people that, when approached about it by a member of the press the person chose to let their life and troubled past be out in the papers instead of telling of what Doug got done through them. His machinations go on to the level of setting up people much in advance, only for them to be brought down at the right time, in the right manner for Frank to benefit from it.

While Frank (who routinely breaks the fourth wall to address the viewers) has many wonderful quotes in the series, one quote of Doug’s and his manner of delivering it is very impressionable. He was once an alcoholic where it got so bad that it began to interfere with his life and work. He was one of the few people Frank gave a second chance to, and Frank has been undyingly loyal to him for it. He has remained sober for more than 14 years, but still attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. This was what he said at one such meeting, which he as a sponsor took a recovering alcoholic to.


I’m Doug and I’m an alcoholic. One of the things I do for a living is count. I count votes. Yays, nays, neutrals, abstaining. And I’m good at it. But the most important count I do has nothing to do with work. It’s the number of days since April 4th, 1999. As of this morning that’s 5,185. The bigger that number gets, the more it frightens me because I know all it takes is one drink for that number to go back to zero. Most people see fear as a weakness. It can be. Sometimes for my job I have to put fear in other people. I know that’s not right. But if I’m honest, like the fourth step asks us to be, I have to be ruthless. Because failure is not an option. The same goes for my sobriety. I have to be ruthless with myself. I have to use my fear. It makes me stronger. Like everyone else in this room, I can’t control who I am. But I can control the zero. Fuck the zero.

Michael Kelly, the actor who plays Doug has my respect for his wonderful performance. He really puts the spirit in the portrayal of this character.

Written for Day 4 of the A to Z Challenge

Canara Coffee House

One of the first things that I wanted to know of, once I had taken up a job in Baroda was where all the good food is available. I have friends from college who call Baroda home, and they were more than happy to take me to the right places. One such place is Canara Coffee house.



Canara Coffee house is a place where people have been going to with their family for years now. The place is popular strictly on account of word of mouth at how good their food, or because someone from the family has been going there for at least a generation now. The thing that Canara Coffee house is most famous for is Poona Misal.


Misal is a Marathi word and means mixture. Typically sprouted moong (green gram) is mixed well with spices and pastes, and topped with chopped onions and tomatoes along with some namkeen chewda. Namkeen Chewda is in itself a spicy mixture of dried and fried lentils, chickpea noodles (called sev), peanuts (called sing), roasted rice puffs (called mamre), and more.

A generous helping of curd is given along or dabbed on top so that it serves to cool this hot and spicy mixture. You can choose to have it as it is, but that is not fun. You can take a spoon, and mix it all up. This gives you a lovely mixture of things hot and cold, sweet and spicy, crunchy and wet.


Another thing that this place is famous for is their South Indian food. You will find the standard fare of Dosa, Idli, and Uttapam here. MY personal favorite happens to be the Masala Uttapam which is pan cake made from a batter made mainly from rice and dal. Then a generous layer of spiced, mashed, boiled potatoes along with onions is applied. When you have it with their Sāmbhar and chutney, it is absolutely yum.


Look at these pictures which show how the place still retains its old charm.

8-canaraext 7-canaracorner 2-canramenu
The thing with the lights is their menu. They have a wonderful concept for the menu here. The menu has a listing of all the dishes they serve along with its price. Since the things that are served change for breakfast and evening meals, each item has a light turned on to show if it is available for serving at your time of order. I absolutely love it.


If you ever want to visit this place, I am attaching its location on Google Maps. Let me know when you’re coming, and we’ll enjoy a meal together.





Written for day 3 of the A to Z Challenge 2014

Barista, the place I belong to

Everyone has a place that is special for them. A place which they are not just fond of, but a place that makes them feel comfortable, a place where they get a feeling of belonging. The Barista Lavazza café in Baroda happens to be mine.

Baroda is not where I came to know of Barista, our connection is much older than that. More than 10 years ago when I used to haunt the Crosswords book store at Mithakali in Ahmedabad, I would spend time in the adjoining café with the book I would have had bought. That café happened to be Barista. It was a ritual for me to read my pre-ordered Harry Potter on the day of release in Barista. When having bought anything other than Harry Potter, I would spend less time in there, but a visit was always on the cards.

Then something horrible happened. Barista shut down, and was replaced by some other chain of coffee shops. It was decent, but didn’t have the same feeling as Barista. Years later, when I had to meet a friend in Baroda, she asked me to come to Barista. I was overjoyed to learn that Barista had opened sop again. Lavazza had taken over, and opened up at new places. They were smart in the fact that they didn’t change what was already bringing back the old loyal customers, and yet had something for new lovers. My love was back.

After renting out a different place with new roommates in the same area, I could easily spend more time at Barista. It was natural for one of us to be tired from work, and ask the other to join him for coffee at Barista. Barista still serves some of the best coffee that I have had. Their hot chocolate is to die for. Let me walk you through the place with pictures.

Welcome to Barista

BaristaoutsideThis is one of the few places that I know where people love sitting outside as much as they love the insides. There is no special sitting arrangement outside, just two ledges on either sides of the door where you have glass panes. There is enough space to sit on it.


There have been many nights when roommate and I have spent sitting there just chatting away into the last hour of the night forgetting what happened at work, or sometimes just reading in silence.


When we went in as a group, this was our spot. One could keep track of the score if there was a cricket match going on. We could all have our drinks and snacks placed in front us, on the centre table.

baristamochaWhen it came to hot drinks, I prefer their Cafe Mocha. It is such a wonderful blend of chocolate and coffee. The cookies help as well 😀

At times when I felt like reading alone, I would order a Brrista for myself. It is their version of a cold frappe which has icecream blended with coffee. The only sad thing about this is that I end up finishing it quickly in three sips, and am left wondering where it all went.

baristaart2 baristaartThey have such lovely wall art decor. The first one has “AT ANY TIME OF DAY A CUP OF COFFEE DELIGHTS, REVIVES AND STIMULATES THE SENSES.” on it.

BaristacoverThis is another lovely piece they have, that takes up almost half of the wall. I love how they have not drawn the features and expressions of the people in it, and have left it to the viewer’s imagination.

BaristaMyspotThis is my spot when I go there by myself. If someone is already occupying it, you may find me sulking about it. The moment they leave, I get up and move to it before anyone else does.


This a panaroma shot from the spot. I can cover the entire place from it, corner to corner. I can see the wash room and wait at my seat instead of having to wait at the door for the person to come out. The barista can signal for me when my order is done. I can look at the outsides through the door and glass panes, and keep an eye out for a friend who may have made plans with me. It also has a charging point right behind the chair, and I can keep my laptop plugged in. I remember sitting hours over there playing games on my laptop.

baristacupOne day I received a call from the Barista office regarding a feedback form I had filled up. They had called to confirm my address, and they sent in this lovely mug as a gift along with a letter.

baristaletterThe letter reads as :

Hi Hrishikesh,

Thank you for writing in!

We appreciate feedback like yours that inspires us to move in a positive direction.

I am enclosing a small souvenir with this package.

Please keep writing for customers like you are the ones we work for. 🙂


Barista Team.



They’re the best!


 Written for day 2 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2014.


Recipe: Appe with green chickpeas

Appe is South Indian dish that is popular in the Konkan region of India. Traditionally, Appe is made from rice flour and Urad dal. Since green chickpeas (hare chane) are in season, I’ve added a twist to the recipe to make it with the chickpeas and semolina (Suji). You will need a special cooking utensil called ‘Appam patra’ for this. It is a pan with mini bowls built into it. You can see how it looks in the pics that follow.

• Green Chickpeas / Hare Chane – 2 cups, soaked over night
• Semolina / Suji – 2 cups
• Onion – 1
• Peanuts – 2 table spoon, crushed.
• Green Chillies -2
• Coriander – 1 table spoon (Optional)
• Red Chilly powder – 2 teaspoons
• Asfoetida / Hing – 1 pinch
• Tomato Puree – 2 table spoons
• Salt – To taste
• Water – 1 cup
• Oil – to fry

• Finely chop the vegetables (Chick peas, chillies, onion). I like to run them together in a chopper

appam ground
• Place the vegetables in a large bowl, and add the spices.
• Add Semolina and the crushed peanuts. Mix well.
• Add the tomato puree and mix well.
• Add half a cup of water. Mix the concoction so as to remove any lumps. It shouldn’t be too runny. Only add the other half cup of water if your mixture is too solid and cakey.

appam mix resting

• Let the mixture rest for at least 30 minutes.
• Put the Appam patra on medium heat, and grease it with oil.
• Using a spoon, place a dollop of the mixture in each mini bowl.

appam cooking
• The lower part should get done in 5 minutes. You will notice drying and browning around the edges when this happens.
• Delicately over turn the dollop in the mini bowl.

appam done
• Pour oil around its edges.
• You can cover it now with a lid if you want the Appe to be softer.

appam covered

And voila, you’re done with the Appe. You can serve it with a chutney of choice.

appam all

Since I had some leftover rajmas from the night before, I used that as a dip instead of going for a chutney.

appam plated

Happy eating 😀

Written for the A-Z blogging Challenge for April 2014. I would not have been part of this challenge had it not been for the nudging of Blogwati G, Shail Di, Janaki, and Kajal