Tag Archives: Ritu Marwah

Mastani, the Drink

It was called the ice-cream-cold-drink for years. Around every corner in Pune this version of an ice cream shake was slurped up. Layers of velvety yumminess, fruity melt-in-your-mouth goodness, translucent pieces of tutti-fruiti, crunchy pistachios and meaty almonds made for a ‘mast’ (alluring) drink. Thirty years ago a restaurant renamed it Mastani.


When two flavors, orange and pineapple were combined, a new drink was born. It was called, Mastani, named after the famous Princess of Bundelkhand, Mastani and her husband Peshwa Bajirao 1, the Prime Minister of the Maratha Empire under Chattrapati Sahuji.

Pineapple ice cream and pineapple pieces bob in orange flavored milk. The first sip through the straw brings a rush of delicious sweet pineapple syrup from the bottom. Mastani seems a royal name when compared to pina colada or fruit punch.

An eatery in Pune, “Sujata Mastani” sells over twenty flavors of the drink.

Recipe for Mango Mastani
2 cups of mango pulp
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
½ cup milk
½ cup of chopped cashews, pistachios
and almonds
3-4 chopped glazed cherries

Blend together the pulp, milk and 3 scoops of ice cream in a blender. Pour the thick shake into serving glasses.

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream into the shake.

Sprinkle the nuts and glazed cherries on top.

Other options: This shake can be made with other fruits like sugar-apple (sitaphal) or sapodilla (chikoo)

Ritu Marwah is Social Media Editor at India Currents.

Republic Day in the Air

 Finnair organized the flash mob to mark India’s 63rd Republic Day – a national celebration that honors when India became an independent Republic on Jan. 26, 1950.

Republic Day commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India. It’s one of India’s three national holidays, the other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.

India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 but it did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935. On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman.  After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. Two days later, it came into effect throughout the whole nation.

While India’s Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates coming into force of its constitution.

26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by the British Regime.

Ritu Marwah has pursued theater, writing, marketing, startup management, raising children, coaching debate and hiking. Ritu has a master’s degree in business and worked in London for the Tata group for ten years. Ritu is social media editor at India Currents.

The Ghost That Haunts Bajirao’s Palace


On the night of every new moon (Amavasya) Peshwa Bajirao I ‘s fort in Pune, Shaniwarwada, becomes a place of horror. Local people often hear shrieks of a teenage boy screaming “KAKA MALA VACHWA” (uncle save me) The boy runs down the hallway howling in terror.

This is the story of Fort Shaniwarwada.

Peshwa Baji Rao I, prime minister to Chattrapati Shahu, king of the Maratha Empire, chose the site for his residence. As per a book written by Rao Bahadur and D.B.Parasnis, “while on a hunting expedition, the Peshwa saw, to his great astonishment, a rabbit chase a hound and felt that there was something very special about the land. He at once resolved to secure the site and build there a house for himself and his family. At that time, this piece of land was included in the ‘ Kasba ‘ or village of Poona which was enclosed by a mud wall. It contained only a few huts of fishermen and weavers, from whom Bajirao acquired five acres of land by exchanging with them suitable sites in Mangalwar Peith and commenced the building rapidly.”

He laid the ceremonial foundation of his residence on Saturday, January 10, 1730. It was named Shaniwarwada from the Marathi words shaniwar (Saturday) and wada(residence). Within an interval of two years, a two storeyed Palace with three quadrangles sprung up to be the focus and centre of all the life and movement of the Maratha power.

Shaniwarwada was built for a princely sum of INR. 16,110. Teak for the fort was imported from the jungles of Junnar, stone was brought from the nearby quarries of Chinchwad, and Lime was brought from the lime-belts of Jejuri. (Wikipedia)

It is said that the Shaniwarwada complex was seven stories high. On the top floor was the Meghadambari. It is said that the spire of Jñāneśvar temple at Alani, 17 km away, could be seen from there. (Wikipedia)

The main entrance to the Palace is known as Delhi Gate as it faces Delhi in the north. “It may be worthy of note here that the design of the entrance gate is exactly a copy of that of Indraprastha, the ancient Hindu capital of the Pandawas, in old Delhi. The Peshwas, being devoted Hindus, selected the design of the gate of Indraprastha, or Purana Killa, instead of imitating the magnificent gates of the Mogul capital.” (Rao Bahadur and D.B. Parasnis)

Peshwa Bajirao I had two sons with his first wife Kashibai, Nana Saheb and Raghunathrao or Raghoba. After the death of Peshwa Bajirao I, Nana Saheb took over as Peshwa and after the death of Peshwa Nana Saheb , Nana Saheb’s  sixteen-year-old son, Narayanrao, became Peshwa. Due to his young age his uncle Raghunathrao or Raghoba was appointed the regent and made in-charge of the affairs of the state on behalf of the young nephew.

However differences soon arose between uncle and nephew and Narayanrao confined uncle Raghunathrao to his house on charges of plotting to overthrow him. Raghunathrao’s wife Anandibai sought the help of the Gardi tribe to secure the release of her husband from house arrest.

Narayanrao had a bitter relationship with Gardis, the hunting tribe. Anandibai used this and sent a signed letter from Raghunathrao to the chief of Gardi. In the original letter Raghunathrao asked Gardi chief, Sumer Singh Gardi to capture Narayanrao (‘Dhara’ in Marathi that means to get hold) but his wife Anandibai intercepted the message and changed ‘Dhara’ into ‘Maara’ meaning kill. By a tiny stroke of the pen was the mighty Peshwa felled.

During the celebrations of the Ganesh Festival, on 30 August 1773, the last day of Ganesh Festival i.e. Anant Chaturdashi, several Gardi guards, led by their captain, Sumer Singh Gardi, entered the palace. They charged towards the sleeping Peshwa’s chambers, killing a clerk on the way. Narayanrao ran for his life screaming for help. The Gardis followed Narayanrao to his uncle’s chamber, where Sumer Singh Gardi hacked the Peshwa down, cutting up his body into tiny pieces and stuffing it in a pot. His corpse was cremated secretly.

The ghost of the young Peshwa still resides in the beautiful fort writhing in agony. Every new moon night he cries, “Kaka! Mala Wachva!!” or “Uncle save me.”

In it’s hey days Shaniwarwada used to be the center of Indian politics. After the death of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, kingmaker Marathas’ strategized, and planned to keep Delhi in control from here. In 1818, after the Anglo-Maratha War, it fell to the British.

The fort itself was largely destroyed in 1828 by an unexplained fire. The British were accused of letting the fire rage. The premises were used as a Mamledar Kacheriand later as a mental asylum and a prison.
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 Ritu Marwah has pursued theater, writing, marketing, startup management, raising children, coaching debate and hiking. Ritu has a master’s degree in business and worked in London for the Tata group for ten years. Ritu is social media editor at India Currents.

Deepika Padukone To Start Shooting for XXX Sequel in February


It is now confirmed that Mastani Deepika Padukone is following Kashibai Priyanka Chopra to Hollywood. When a picture of Deepika with Vin Diesel surfaced online, rumors flew fast and furious that both of Bajirao’s lead heroines were making their way to LA LA land.

Yesterday ‘XXX: The Return of Xander Cage’ director D.J. Curaso confirmed the news on Twitter. The film’s shoot begins in January but Deepika Padukone  will join them from February.

Deepika’s peekaboo picture with Vin had created a lot of excitement and mirth in Bollywood. Akshay Kumar posted a spoof picture with his co-stars fromHousefull 3 and captioned the picture, “Since Vin Diesel is busy with @deepikapadukone, we at #Housefull3 are making do with Vin Petrol.” (sic)


Later the pic was shared by Riteish Deshmukh, who also explained that their picture was more precious than Deepika’s by writing, “Petrol ka bhav Diesel se jyaada hai.” Petrol is more expensive than Diesel.”

Deepika may be heading to the Dominican Republic where the film is going to be shot. The plot of the film has been kept under wraps. The third instalment ofXXX will focus on Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), who will be seen surrounded by a team of sexy women. The shoot, it was rumored, was going to take place in Canada and the Philippines as well.The original film starred Mr Diesel as an extreme sports athlete recruited to be a spy and use his unique skill set to stop a global terrorist.

Star Wars Light Sabre Meets Bajirao Mastani’s Dandapatta Sword


When fans showed up to catch the long awaited film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, the light sabre wielding troopers and Yodas found themselves face to face with dandpatta sword weilding Mastanis, and nauvari sari wearing ranis. One warrior princess had painted the Star Trek trooper’s helmet silver and morphed it into a chain-link clad Peshwa armor.


The movie group organized by the dentist Sheetal Gokhale watch the latest Bollywood release, first-day-first-possible show at a theatre closest to Santa Clara. Today, however, they had driven an hour to Century 25 in Union City to catch the last 10 pm show of Bajirao Mastani, an Indian historical romance film produced and directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and released the same day as Star Wars.

Early in the fortnight Neha Joshi had wondered, “It would be interesting to see how many ‘Kashibais’ and ‘Mastanis’ we will see that day.” As the countdown began and the excitement built, the Facebook movie event snowballed from the usual twenty-five to nearly 300 women.

A movie hall that could accomodate the 300 strong group was not available in the South bay. Star Wars had booked up all large theaters.  A 418-seater theater in Union City was found.

The planning on what to wear started in earnest. Ladies dressed up in period attire, clicked selfies and posted them on the group’s Facebook page for feedback from fellow princess peers. Video tutorials on how to tie a nauvari sari were posted. Advice was exchanged on jewelry,how to function in a nauvari sari and recipes for Mastani drinks.



“I have a Marathi nath gifted by a friend but I am wearing a suite (not Anarkali) Am I dressing up confused? How can I fix the look”- Shweta Mehta.(sic)

“I have Mastani’s anarkali but not the jhoomar, Kashibai’s nuth but not thenauvari, Mastani’s nose ring but not the hair, Kashibai’s thushi but not the grace.
But I am not at all discouraged.
Your ‘MastBai’ is on her way, Bajirao!” -Savita Phatak.(sic)


Original marathi song and dance numbers were shared to enhance critical enjoyment of the music of the movie Bajirao Mastani.


The offer of a pre-bought ticket waiting at the door along with a cup of hot tea, the Indian burgerand the fruity creamy “Mastani” drink was too much to pass up.


Carpools were organized from various locations: Cupertino, San Ramon, Fremont. Ladies who had never met before, stepped into cars together, and drove off to meet their Bajirao.


By the time they rolled up swaying to the traditional Marathi dance tune “pinga- pinga,” they were virtually best friends. The princesses stepped out of the Facebook screen and entered the Century lobby.

“Chaahe zameen phat jaaye ya aasman gir jaaye! Mein mar bhi jaaoon to meri rouh aayegi, Mona darling.”- Alka Writes.

“Neha, bay area ki kasam late zhale tari aaongi…beena vaysh bhusshah key…lol”- Gangubai Gottale



“The excitement builds … well fortified for the wait with vada-pav and masala chai warming the stomach”- Jaya Gautam.


A flash mob choreographed by Lakshmi Subramanian broke out at the front of the theater, before the movie started.


Dubsmashed dialogues, that had been posted on the event’s Facebook page over the last few weeks were shouted out loud, along with the characters on the screen. “Ishq… Jo toofani dariya se baghawat kar de – woh ishq… Bhari darbaar mein jo duniya se ladd jaaye – woh ishq!!”

Whistles and cat-calls reverberated in the theater. The Mastanis were putting the next-door Star Wars fans to shame.


As the ladies emerged from the movie-hall members from a galaxy far far away requested for selfies with them.


Meanwhile the Ladies of the Valley were already making plans for their next meet, where they were going to morph into Bahubali’s women.

Ritu Marwah has pursued theater, writing, marketing, startup management, raising children, coaching debate and hiking. Ritu has a master’s degree in business and worked in London for the Tata group for ten years. Ritu is social media editor at India Currents.