Saturday, 21 March 2020

Siege of State: 26/11 – Revisit Mumbai Attacks

After more than a decade to the most horrific Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, the scars on the soul of the nation are still not healed. The survivors of the fateful event still get petrified narrating the experience of how they managed to escape the well-conceived series of shooting and bombing by trained terrorists at multiple locations.

A few years ago, I had a chance to read Black Tornado: The Three Sieges of Mumbai 26/11 which is an admirable novel by Sandeep Unnithan wherein the author had interestingly documented the factual circumstances of the 26/11 attacks. After finishing the book, I realized that I had a better understanding of the terror siege of Mumbai and the role of the NSG. But somehow the book had ignited a curiosity in my heart to know more of the event.

Recently, while exploring some entertaining stuff to watch, I came across the trailer of State of Siege: 26/11 that is an adaption of the bestselling novel Black Tornado which I read years ago. The title obviously caught my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. 
Image Source: An OTT Platform
Here is why you should be watching the series.. 
11 years on from the Mumbai massacre, this ZEE5 Originals series State of Siege: 26/11 is being released that will present the untold stories from the 2008 Mumbai attacks responsible for giving the whole country a jolt out of brutal killing.
The eight-episodes long crime thriller, all set to premiere on 20th March, is believed to highlight the lesser-known facts and the challenges faced by brave NSG commandos during the rescue operation.
The plot revolves around bravery, passion, emotions and trauma stitching the anecdotes aptly.

Star Cast 
The main cast includes Mukul Dev, Arjan Bajwa, Arjun Bijlani, Vivek Dahiya, and Sid Makkar. Each and every character has aced the desired characteristics of the assigned role and got amalgamated so well in the story to leave the audience thrilled.

Arjun Bijlani, playing Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan in his digital debut, feels every line he utters with enthusiasm. His touching dialogues like "Hum lautkar zaroor aayenge. Apna Tiranga lehrakar ya phir usme lipatkar" will fill your heart with the feeling of patriotism and the regard for the brave martyr. The sharp body language of all the NSG commandos appeals a lot.

The performance of Mukul Dev in a negative role of terrorist head Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi goes way beyond acting. His appearance, clothing, makeup and the confident dialogue delivery in a husky voice is enough to unnerve the audience.
Image Source: An OTT Platform
The Real Culprits 
The show doesn't mislead the audience by altering the facts about real culprits who are still on the loose. The flaws of the security, police, army and the bureaucracy have been delineated wherever required without any intention to conceal those.

Powerful Message
The trailer of the web series itself showcases a thoughtful message - 'Terrorism has no religion", which validates the secularist approach. It clearly conveys that no violence can be justified in the name of religion and one should discourage blatant misuse of religion for terrorist activities in the interest on mankind. Whichever country, religion or caste we belong to, above all, we are humans.

I must say I've been watching and enjoying ZEE5 earlier also, but State of Siege is certainly going to be the most gripping one. Watch out for the show to feel the pain of surviving Mumbai..

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Discover Wholesome Goodness of Palm Oil

"Awareness is like the Sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed."
I'm a believer of the fact that until you know about something in and out, just do not make an opinion. And it stands true for everything in life, be it a person, a thing or a situation. I genuinely look for opportunities wherein some trustworthy information is accessible to me. 

This Monday (i.e. on January 6th, 2020), I got one such opportunity to attend Palm Oil: Gourmet Delight, an amazing bloggers' meet-cum-food hunt organised by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) at Sip n Dine Banquet, Chandigarh where Ms. Bhavna Shah (Country Representative, India and Sri Lanka, MPOC) apprised us about Malasiyan Palm Oil which happens to be most dominant vegetable oil in the market.
Through her presentation, Ms. Bhavna delineated not just the process of origination of palm oil, but also threw light on how each of us directly or indirectly consumes it almost every day. I was astonished to know the multitude of health benefits that palm oil might provide us without any side effects.
Just to encapsulate, sharing a few pointers that I fetched at the event-

  • Palm oil is made from the fruit of the palm tree (Elaeis guineensis). The oil palm yield has two types. One is extracted from the flesh of the fruit, called as palm oil and the other from the seed called as palm kernel oil.
  • Palm Oil and its derivatives are widely used in a big percentage of our daily-use products including snacks, cosmetics, personal care, detergent, desserts, chocolates, margarine, bio diesel, packaged food items and much more.
  • Other than on-shelf products, Palm Oil is extensively used for cooking or frying as it remains stable at high heat and is neutral in taste that doesn't alter the flavour or aroma of the dish.
  • Palm oil is one of the most widely produced edible fats in the world. It is least expensive oil as compared to other edible oils due to its high-yielding crop. And that's why the relatively lesser price shouldn't be questionable for its efficacy/quality.
  • Palm Oil doesn't contribute to any health hazards like heart condition, skin problems, brain malfunctioning; rather it's likely safe when consumed in sync with other oil blends that suit your body. If you find yourself unable to blend oils, then it's advised to switch oils after a regular interval and avail health benefits of all oils in-turns.
  • Like all other vegetable oils, palm oil is cholesterol- free and it also has lower tendency to oxidize. It can be easily digested, absorbed and utilized by body as a source of energy.
  • Lastly, I would like to specifically state here that palm oil industry is observing a number of laws and regulations to reduce the impact of the industry on the environment for achieving sustainability of palm oil production. For more relevant info, click
Unlike a usual meet up, the #MPOC event was more of a Laugh-n-Learn get together where the hosts had lined up some action-packed fun activities for the attendees to enhance our finite understanding of palm oil in an engaging manner.

As soon as the presentation was over, the bloggers were divided into small groups for the Food Hunt. We were given clue cards to decode the next venue name for the next activity. From Sip-n-Dine, we rushed to Crazy Town where we brainstormed really hard to crack some tricky questions about palm oil for the Quiz Competition.

By decoding another clue card, we stepped into another lively venue i.e. The Safe House for the Blind Food Tasting Session where we were served yummilicious delicacies cooked in palm oil and we enjoyed naming ingredients used in the dish with our eyes blindfolded during the activity. What amazed me during the food tasting is that the food cooked in palm oil tastes as good as any other cooking oil!

Our last pit-stop was at The Finch for Salad Making activity, where our team creatively crafted a healthy version of veggie salad. The Palmysterious Salad, as we named it lovingly, tasted so good with a dressing of palm oil ;)

While we were all engrossed in the delightful activities, a stage was being set at our original venue for a Bollywood themed competition. I bet everyone had an abundant dose of humour. I too attempted delivering a dialogue of SriDevi from the movie Chandni.
The judges awarded the best performers with the titles of King and Queen. The winning team was rewarded for their enthusiastic participation. The day ended with tasty lunch over a cheerful conversation with fellow bloggers.

My major takeaway from the event was a much clearer viewpoint on favourable nutritional effects of Malasiyan Palm Oil that would now lead me to its better acceptance in my daily household without any opinion conflicts.

Really feeling gratified to have attended this informative session by MPOC.