Sunday 28 September 2014

From letters to blogging - Our love story on Zee Khana Khazana

Year : 1998
Place : The iconic-St. Paul's Cathedral, Calcutta

Two schoolgirls after attending a fair which was held opposite St Paul's Cathedral decided to visit the cathedral to fulfill their long standing wish of seeing a church from inside. Little did they know that the church has timings and is not open for public throughout the day. It was the winters of 1998, the day was about to set and darkness had started to descend upon Earth when these girls were literally drawn to a beautiful chorus which was being sung by a group of young boys and girls sitting on the cathedral staircase. These two girls, me and my friend Priya were introduced to this young group who happened to be part of the church's youth team. We were warmly greeted by their entire team and it was there that Vishal and me exchanged out first hellos. 
We were invited by them next Saturday to get to see the church from inside and it was from that day onwards that I remember this extremely amiable, helpful, courteous boy called Vishal Tupper. After that very soon I had to go to Mangalore to study my Bachelor of Physiotherapy and Vishal and I exchanged our addresses and began our pen friendship. The lonely days of hostel life used to get livened up with his letters. Slowly we started understanding each other to call ourselves best friends. He discussed his girl friends with me and I my lonely hostel life. This continued 4 years and then suddenly one day I get a letter from Vishal where he expresses his likeness towards me.  The initial reaction was a big no. I reasoned how could he even think like that. We had too many differences. I tried to make him understand and advised him to move on with life. But knowing the kind of person he is made me fall in love with him. I still knew in my heart it was a useless battle, my parents would never agree. After all we are Sikh and he a Christian. It was truly mission impossible. 
Well, years went by, I was back to my city, Calcutta, working in a hospital still unsure of our future but very sure of my choice in him. With a lot of courage, I disclosed my likeness for Vishal to my parents who were obviously taken aback. I was explained the differences and the problems I will have to face and that it is not the custom of our family. 
Years went by, and my parents like all other parents were looking for a suitable match for me. Now if you believe in God, and you know what it is to put your trust and believe that he will set things right, you will understand what happened next. 
My friend Afsana from Mumbai called up my mother and suggested to get Vishal and me married. This was obviously answered by another No. Then my mother in law, my Amma called up and talked to my father and convinced him to meet up with them. They came from Allahabad to have a word with my parents and that is exactly where God changed hearts. I was made to go to the kitchen to make tea (filmi style) and with a thudding heart, unsure of what is going on in that room, I managed to hear voices which were discussing our marriage date. I was astonished at what was happening. This is certainly not what I expected. I was expecting more arguments, more 'this does not happen in our families'...etc God really changed hearts. Our marriage date was decided upon 14 Feb which also happens to be my In-laws marriage anniversary. 
Sikh marriages are usually kept on a Sunday because our rituals take place daytime and hence it is easier for people to attend on a holiday. That year, in 2010, 14 Feb happened to be a Sunday! 

The entry shoot
Exchange of greetings
Vishal and I have been of the opinion that there is always more to discover in each other and that marriage does not end knowing one other. After marriage we discovered our common passion for cooking and experimenting. Soon we were blessed with an angel, our daughter Vaanya. Now a full time homemaker, I had more time to experiment and innovate dishes. We decided to start a blog to share our passion and our experiments with the world and in turn learn more about cooking/baking. 
Sweet'n'Savoury continues to be that extension of our love where we keep sharing our new found passion. 

The cameras at work

Recently we were invited by team Zee Khana Khazana to be a part of their famous show Ab har koi chef where along with one of our favourite recipe, handed down by Amma, we discussed our love journey with Chef Gautam Mehrishi. 
With loads of anxiety we reached Mumbai with our 3 year old daughter Vaanya and were greeted ever so warmly with their entire production team. It was an experience which will remain special in our hearts for a long time. Every little detail was handled so professionally from the makeup, the lights, the set, the numerous cameras and the best part was the way they made us feel  comfortable. Meeting in person with chef Gautam Mehrishi and cooking along side was an amazing experience and he made us feel very relaxed and helped us at each stage. The surprise question answer round had us in splits where me and Vishal had to answer things regarding each other.

Chef Gautam Mehrishi-humble and helpful
Non stop fun on the set
I wish I could personally thank each person on the set from the cook backstage who took care of everything to the various cameramen who were capturing each angle, from the make up people to the people who took care that everything looked good on screen. 

Make up room
Harshad Potdar-the creative director in a pensive mood
Me and Vishal feel extremely humbled to have been a part of this show not only because of its popularity but because of the experience we took back meeting and being a part of such a passionate team. Ab har koi chef is a show that I have personally followed very closely from the time it started with Chef Jolly and it is a show which is followed by both my Mother and my Amma and by millions of other people. The hard work that the production team puts can not be really described in few words. We feel really amazing to connect with such wonderful people who are humble and very patient. 

Chef waiting for the shoot to begin
Lights, Camera, Action!
The team that came to our house for the home shoot equally bowled us over with their hard work and patience. The nitty gritty's that they take care of while shooting goes unappreciated on screen. The 3-4 minute video showing the contestant at home requires an entire day's shoot and buckets of sweat (literally)
Shooting at our home
The team that visited our house

Our show will be telecasted on 29 September, 2014 at 10:30 am on Zee Khana Khazana and we anxiously await it. 
From those years of exchanging letters to blogging together, our love for each other continues to grow each day. We feel blessed to have our parents on our side who keep showering us with endless love and wishes and we also feel blessed to have our little angel Vaanya in our lives who continues to teach us about unconditional love. 

Vaanya entertaining herself with themocol at the shoot
Receiving certificate of participation
and the gift!

Our heartfelt thanks to the entire unit of Ab har koi chef, Zee khana Khazana. Thank you for giving us memories to cherish for a lifetime. 
Our recipe Yakhni Pulao can be viewed here

Thank you all for supporting us
Amrita and Vishal


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