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‘Healthy’ cakes new Diwali favourites

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KOLKATA: Muffins over motichur laddoos, cupcakes over kaju barfis, chocolates over sonpapris, the sweet note this Diwali got trendy.

Several families in Kolkata are giving the traditional sweets a miss this festive season, opting for cupcakes, baked goodies and chocolates. Businessman Akash Rohira, who has been sending over platters of cupcakes of various flavours to friends and relatives for the past few days, has chosen baked goodies for their freshness. “As there is a huge demand during the festive season, sweets in many reputed outlets are not fresh and even the ingredients are bought much in advance. It becomes embarrassing if the sweets gifted to a friend turn out to be stale,” said Rohira.

Fitness-conscious Kashish Arora has shifted to cakes from laddoos and barfis prepared in ghee. “The traditional Diwali mithai is laden with ghee. I am concerned about my fitness and so are my friends. None of us indulges in heavy sweets. Cupcakes and muffins are our preferred choice,” said the 31-year-old banker from Salt Lake.

But health experts pointed out that replacing sweets with baked goodies would not be of much help as they contained dollops of butter and sweet. “Cupcakes and chocolates contain a generous amount of butter and sugar, similar to the ingredients of any traditional mithai. If the amount is not minimized, a shift to baked goodies may not have the desired effect of cutting down on calorie count,” said Jayanti Banerjee, dietician at AMRI Hospitals in Salt Lake.

Confectioners have also started customizing their delicacies, keeping the calorie content in mind. Smita Khurrana, who has been flooded with orders since Durga Puja, uses healthier olive oil and less butter. As soon as they are taken out of the oven at the small bakery in her Theatre Road home, her blueberry cupcakes have been flying off the shelves.

“Most of my clients have only one request: to go easy on butter and sugar. Most of them are young and health-conscious people,” said Khurrana, rushing against the deadline to deliver her orders. On an average, every customer has been picking up around 10 pounds of the goodies, strawberry and chocolate cakes being the popular picks.

The shift, however, has not affected the sale at outlets, such as Bhikaram, Haldiram’s and Tewari’s. “Laddoos, sonpapris, kaju barfis and badam barfis are flying off the shelves. All our products are prepared in pure desi ghee but there are huge takers. We have not witnessed a drop in sales,” said Nathu Lal Tiwary of Tewari Sweets in Burrabazar.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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Kolkata to rock with MLTR, Afrojack in December

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KOLKATA: Megadeth, The Wailers, John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and now MLTR and Afrojack. It seems Kolkata, which missed several opportunities in the past to host international stars, has shot back to the music landscape big time.

Just when the city was half-way through the hangover of the Weekender NH7 festival, the news of MLTR and Afrojack coming down to Kolkata to perform in December has sent music buffs into a tizzy. And add to this Kolkata’s own home-grown music festival Jamsteady Big Sunday, which promises to have 20 Indie artists performing. Kolkata, it seems, will rock in December like it has done never before.

According to E365 Media Solutions managing head Kinjal Bhattacharya, the man behind getting international artists perform in the city, the music scenario in Kolkata is changing fast. “I feel Kolkata has developed an ear for international music. Due to the penetration of Youtube and Soundcloud, more international artists are getting an audience in Bengal. The astounding turnout at the Megadeth & The wailers concert proves that Kolkata is ready for popular international music.”

On the prospect of MLTR playing in Kolkata, Kinjal added, “Previously, we have got artists like Infected Mushroom, Ron ‘Bubblefoot’ Thal and tried to serve to different genres, but with MLTR we want to appeal to a larger audience. Being a pop band, the act has wide listenership from school goers to adults.”

Percept Live, the organization behind Sunburn, which is bringing Afrojack to Kolkata, is confident that the event will be a huge success.

Jamsteady Big Sunday, on the other hand, promises to be bigger and better with performances from Fossils, Underground Authority, Mumbai’s Sky Rabbit and Yesterdrive from Shillong. On being asked what encouraged him to come up with the idea of the festival, its promoter Nishit Arora said, “We want the people to experience music and nature together. We want to give them a taste of a drive-out festival, as it happens all over the world.”

Underground Authority frontman Santhanam Srinivasan Iyer, who is playing in Jamsteady’s Big Sunday, feels it’s a perfect platform for local artists to showcase their talent and at the same time have some fun.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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Extortion bid lands two in Kolkata police's net

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KOLKATA: Within hours of a Suri magistrate being allegedly manhandled for not paying ‘appropriate’ Kali puja subscription, city police on Tuesday arrested a senior functionary of a south Kolkata club for trying to extort money from a restaurant-cum-bar. Though cops have arrested one of the accused, identified as Bubun Bhattacharya (37), they denied that the bar was vandalized.

According to the complaint filed by The Silver Oak authorities, Bhattacharya represents Dakshin Kolkata Desh Gourab Sangha on Raja Basanta Roy Road. “The accused was in charge of collecting subscriptions and donations. He went to this restaurant and demanded Rs 40,000 from the manager. When he was refused, the accused first threatened the manager and warned of dire consequences. Acting on the complaint, a case of extortion was initiated by Lake Police. Using CCTV footage from the area, the accused was arrested from the Tollygunge area,” said DC (southeast) Gaurav Sharma.

According to sources, police may arrest a few others for their involvement in the threat. “The strongest possible section has been slapped to send out a loud message,” said a top officer at Lalbazar.

In another incident, this time in Bhowanipore in south Kolkata, police arrested one Debabrata Das, hailing from Budge Budge, around 2am on Tuesday from near Jadu Babur Bazar for trying to extort and even rob a bag full of cash, reportedly for organizing Kali Puja. When locals intervened, he threatened them with a gun. But when locals refused to give him a free way, the accused fled and took refuge at a dark alley adjoining the market. It was from here Das was arrested by Bhowanipore police. Earlier last week, police commissioner Surajit Purkayastha had instructed the officers in charge of 69 police stations to treat complaints of extortion ‘with promptness’.

However, truck operators are still not happy with police action. Most of them do not even report cases of extortion in fear of retaliation. If any complaint reaches the police control room, one of the several radio flying squads deployed in the areas would be informed. Police has made special arrangements for controlling extortion at specific localities, said a senior police officer.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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