Simply Living Hardly Thinking

Not Always
July 13th, 2014 by bkbirla

Lucknow Matar Tikki Recepie

This is Lucknow special. I haven’t come across this anywhere else. Making this is simple. Boil white/yellow matar after soaking it overnight. You might need 6-7 whistles. Spread it on a non-stick. Keep disturbing it with a spatula at regular intervals. When it gets stuck to tawa, peel it and mix it back. This is what makes it crispy within. Keep pouring some ghee/oil also when it has become a bit dry. When it becomes relatively solid, make tikkis from them and shallow fry. One easy way to make tikki is that stuff it hard in a small katori and then bang it upside down on tawa. This does drink good amount of oil so plan it based on your tolerance levels. I made this with olive oil.
I haven’t done much garnishing in this pic except lime juice and red chilli powder. You can always add chopped ginger and corriander leaves. Broken gol gappas on top of this make it even more crunchy.


July 1st, 2014 by bkbirla

No greed networking





Let me get back to my childhood. We used to stay in a small place called Etawah. I am talking about late seventies here. We used to celebrate 3 festivals. Holi, Diwali and Eid. The schedule on Diwali and Eid was pretty much the same. Go around the town with dad and eat to your heart’s content. It was an occasion to connect up and ask haal-chaal. And then there were occasions of marriage in town and I always saw my dad manage the kitchen and those days were different in terms of how marriages were organized. It was not outsourced like it is nowadays. And then when someone died anywhere in town, my dad was always there to lend his shoulder to the departed soul. The principle of networking was simple, be there in happiness and be there in sadness.


And let us turn the clock ahead by thirty years. Things have changed. Festivals have evolved and so have the people. Principles of networking have also evolved. People are taught networking in colleges. People signup for things ranging from golf to NGOs just to network. It has almost become like a sales exercise. Networking has turned out to be an extremely selfish exercise.


What if we could follow rather simple rules for networking. I mean just try to help people and hope some goodness comes back to you. I know this is a bit idealistic, but give it a shot, and let me know if worked for you.


June 1st, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem – इस पेड़ पे जो लटकी हैं, वो लाशें नहीं हैं




इस पेड़ पे जो लटकी हैं,

वो लाशें नहीं हैं
खुशबू थीं वो किसी घर की

इज़्ज़त थी किसी के दर की

खेलती थी कभी शायद

इसी पेड़ के तले

छुपती थी कभी शायद

इस पेड़ की ओट में

और शायद कभी इस पेड़ पे

चढ़ के खेल भी होगा

पर आज वो लटकी हैं

एक बेज़ुबान बुत बन के

पेड़ ही अच्छे हैं

शायद इन इंसानों से

जीते जी भी छाँव देते हैं

और मरने के बाद भी

मुक्ति आग देते हैं
इस पेड़ पे जो लटकी हैं,

वो लाशें नहीं हैं
कुछ सवाल हैं वो

बहुत ही तीखे

इस गर्म सन्नाटे में

हम सब के लिये

जाति में बांटते हैं हम

जाने क्यूँ हर इंसान को

धर्म से आंकते हैं हम

इंसान की पहचान को

नज़रें बदल जाती हैं अपनी

लिंग के आधार पर

रोती होगी इंसानियत भी

इस घिनोने अत्याचार पर
इस पेड़ पे जो लटकी हैं,

वो लाशें नहीं हैं
एक धब्बा हैं शर्म का

हमारी नंगी अंतरात्मा पर

एक धब्बा है शर्म का

झूठे सांस्कृतिक गौरव पर

एक धब्बा है शर्म का

काल्पनिक आज़ादी पर

एक धब्बा है शर्म का

लोकतंत्र के छलावे पर

सच्ची अंतरात्मा तो वो है

जब कथनी और करनी मैं न भेद हो

सच्ची संस्कृति तो वो है

जहाँ नारी को वस्तु न समझा जाये

सच्ची आज़ादी तो वो है

जब इंसान में इंसानियत हो

सच्चा लोकतंत्र तो वो है

जहाँ हर व्यकति की इज़्ज़त हो
इस पेड़ पे जो लटकी हैं,

वो लाशें नहीं हैं


Apologies to people who find these pictures disturbing, but as a poet my duty is to put the naked truth in front of you.


June 1st, 2014 by bkbirla

Poem : ज़िन्दगी में

कितने लगायें अब पैबन्द ज़िन्दगी में

हो चुके हैं सब रास्ते अब बंद ज़िन्दगी में


रिसते हैं अब तो ज़ख्म लहू से कभी अश्कों से

अपने भी हुआ करते थे हौसले बुलंद ज़िन्दगी में


लम्हों को जाने मुझ से ये कैसी दुश्मनी है

मुझ को भी मिलते ख़ुशी के चंद ज़िन्दगी में


ना होता दर्द ना होता रंज मुझ को भी ए “कशिश”

अगर होता मैं भी संगदिल तेरे मानिंद ज़िन्दगी में


May 20th, 2014 by bkbirla

Some days you remember and some days get engraved on you

This sums it up. Memories are good, but then few things are beyond memories. Few moments, few days, few mins which take you beyond the realms of memory. Yes, they get engraved in your soul and your very existence. And this picture sums it up.
We at BBG are always proud to do music shows for various causes and we were performing in Regional Mental Hospital, Thane to entertain the patients on 17th May, 2014.
One of the patients got up and sang the following song – Donon ne kiya tha pyar magar, mujhe yaad raha tu bhool gayi

What an emotional rendition it was. All of us were just stunned. He was in tune and voice full of emotions. We could see people in the crowd crying watching this emotional rendition. Isn’t that what music is all about. And when he was asked about his story, he told that he got divorced from somebody he loved. What a way to express his feelings.


I have no idea for how long he had been waiting for this expression. I don’t even know if this expression changes something in his mental state. But one thing I am sure of is that he would have slept a better sleep, probably with a smile, remembering some good times and most of us who were present to witness this would have got a different perspective on love. Remember, this is not a movie where real life. The emotions were real and so were the tears of people who watched and heard this.


I will not thank anyone for this meetup. We at BBG are just fortunate to get an opportunity to provide an expression of emotion opportunity to somebody who needed it a lot. We are blessed indeed.


March 24th, 2014 by bkbirla

Change the world… Welcome to AdalBdal

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci


And here we are after months of work on a simple product which has the potential to change lots of things.  And when I say lots, I actually mean it. We have a simple platform for you to exchange stuff you don’t need any more –


First of all let us get our pronunciation correct. It is pronounced as “A Dal B Dal”. Do it right or you will be punished by atleast 10 PJs from me.



Aren’t we in a race where we keep producing more and consuming more depleting the resources available to us. Look around, how many things you have around you which are of no use to you but can make perfect sense to people around. It might be old books, old mobiles, old clothes, stamps, coins and many more. Isn’t it time to put them to use, if not for yourself, for somebody else.


So go ahead, first upload stuff which you don’t need any more, find stuff you might need and meetup and exchange. The platform works anywhere and everywhere. It is location aware and shows you how far things are from you. It has a built in spam protection for you as the person interested in your product will not be able to message you till you have decided to engage. Messaging will enable you to figure out the logistics of meeting and exchanging.


And another major question which I hear from friends is that how do you ensure that the two items you exchange are of equal value. Look value perception is a state of mind. We enjoy soft drinks for Rs 13 which are made for probably less than 50 paise, we buy hand bags for thousands which are probably made in few hundreds. So come out of the standard “value perception model” and build an eco-system to reuse more and more stuff. It’s easy and it can be lots of fun.


Happy AdalBdal….


March 4th, 2014 by bkbirla

SEO aur Mayavi Chudail

February 13th, 2014 by bkbirla

I am BAL

BAL = Back at Ask Laila






OK, so that sums it up. Starting another inning at AskLaila. It was fun creating this brand long time back and I still feel that there is a lot more we can do with this. Over the years, we have done few things good, few things bad and few things outright ugly. The idea is to increase the percentage of good things. I can’t spell out the entire agenda here, but certainly will be happy to listen to your inputs. Coffee is on me if you have any feedback on what we can do better.


And as part of this, I am looking at rebuilding the team. So if you are passionate about the internet and startup scene, just ping me. Looking at building a short and sweet team. Ooops, we can’t call ourselves startup after 7 years. So we call ourselves a restartup ( Thanks Rahul for coining this word ).


A lot more things coming up from Asklaila soon….. Stay tuned.

February 10th, 2014 by bkbirla

BBG Show to raise funds for Indian Cancer Society




Words fail me today as I write this. Poetic expressions and language are not enough to express the flow of emotions and feelings. But let me try to write in as simple words as possible.

It all started 5-6 months back. One of my friends, Akhila, was in a Ayurvedic place getting treated for some pain and she suggested that why don’t we do something at Karunashraya. And then the world conspired to make it happen. A chance meeting with Bharat led to me attending Diwali Celebrations at Karunashraya and then we discussed this idea of doing a fund raiser. And from no where I got connected with the fabulous team whose commitment levels were amazing ( no more awesome ).

And I realized very soon that this was a very different organization and the cause they work for is so noble that even if we contribute to it in any possible way, we will be the privileged party. But then we had never done a ticketed show. We at BBG take pride in being totaly non commercial. We love music and love spreading happiness via it, that is the reason why we do it, nothing more, nothing less. But then when I put across the idea to do a fundraiser I had support from the BBG gang. Shalini and Falguni as always were eager to make it happen. And then started discussions with artists. Shammas was one of the first one I talked to and he as always was enthusiastic not only to sing but also help in organizing. Nanu, Mathangi, Kumaran, Vikram, Malvika, Chitra, Kunal, all of them did not bat an eyelid before confirming to donating their talent for the cause. It was so nice to see these accomplished artists were so excited about the cause. I am so touched by their support and makes me feel proud to have them in BBG fold.

As the show preparation started, the tension was clear on my face. I guess everybody around saw it. And so many people offered to help. Anu, Ekta, Mahantesh and Chetan to name a few of them. The team at Indian Cancer Society was always supportive. Ritesh from Mumbai penned down some great lines for me to host the show. Some awesome music lovers came over from different parts of the country to just attend the show. Lata from Mumbai, Rajani from Hyderabad and Kalesh from Chennai to mention a few of them. Vinod and Praveen made sure that the memories of this show will linger on with their insightfull photography.


And then as the music unfolded on the stage, my thoughts were wandering thinking of patients who have only few months of life left. We sometime hold life so tightly that we almost suffocate it. May be we could lead a life holding it gently. Letting it loose sometimes and holding back in another moment. May be we could live every moment. Just like a cruiser biker who enjoys the travel more than destination.

This was our first attempt at doing a fund raiser. We might have made mistakes and we thank you for being gracious enough to forgive us for them. All we promise is that we will continue to work hard, we will continue to be 100% non commercial, we will continue to spread happiness via music. BBG has given lot of us an opportunity to find a purpose in life.


Stay tuned…


December 29th, 2013 by bkbirla

How do you esacape leg scissors of a 6 year old boy

This is not a post about wrestling, this is not a post about self defense either. This is story of a kid. I don’t know his name. I don’t even remember his face clearly as it was covered with a cloth. But the interaction I had with him is a life time memory. Something which will be engraved in my memory all my life. Something which will inspire me when I am down. Something which will remind me how life blossoms in the face of adversity.

So here I was on a stage with probably 30-40 kids who were suffering from cancer were and were in different stages. We at BBG take pride at organizing events which bring happiness to various people and this was our effort to bring smiles to kids via music.

So here comes a kid, who is probably 6-8 years old, hell bent on making it to top of my head. And as I pick him up, he quickly makes it to top of my shoulders, ready to play Tabla on my head. And the dancing on the stage continues. So my 40 years of lack of exercise shows on my face. I am a bit tired, requesting him to get down, but this guy is a tough nut to crack. He plainly refuses. Oh boy, how do I get him down. I am getting tired. Tried all forms of persuasion and may be mild force. The only thing I could get him to do was, got him down from the shoulders and in my hands and this is the position where he got a wrestler style leg scissors on my legs. This was going from bad to worse. Holding him in my hands and he had a nice grip on my legs. Now what do I do. Short of options, I asked all the other kids around for help.

And they figured out the most innovative way to help me. Yes, they tickled. Ya nothing else, they tickled the kid. And his grip on me became softer. And these memories will linger on and on and on…..