The panel discussion started at 11am at the auditorium. The session explored two things, firstly the Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking by Krish Ashok and secondly, discussion on the book What’s Wrong With You, Karthik? by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan. The session brought in two different kinds of genres together. This panel was interspersed with many interesting facts and informative stories.


Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking with Krish Ashok

The discussion was taken up by Krish Ashok. This session gave great insights regarding the science behind Indian cooking. Cooking is completely about experimenting with new tastes and there are no set of rules or any one-way guide to cooking. Krish explained the ideas and theory behind cooking through his book ‘Masala lab’. Krish Ashok is not a chef but is excited to cook daily; he is not a scientist but can aptly explain the science in cooking. He learnt cooking from women in his family who could cook perfectly. Krish mostly prefers the scientific way of cooking because it lets him test his own skills and tastes.

 The speaker spoke of daily examples which we never have thought about. Have any of us wondered why our grandmother threw a tea bag into the pressure cooker while boiling chickpeas, or why she measured using the knuckle of her index finger? Is this done with knowing the science behind it or just like that? Did our mothers and grandmothers think about seasonings and perfect flavorings? Krish also drew the attention of the audience towards authentic food; relationships between food and science, modern techniques to save time in cooking and the role of chemistry in it which reminded us about our high school chemistry lessons.

 Masala Lab by Krish Ashok is a science nerd’s exploration of Indian cooking with the ultimate aim of making the reader a better cook and turning the kitchen into a joyful, creative playground for culinary experimentation. The book is exhaustively tested and researched work that keeps one curious and engaged. The panel was concluded with a quick and informative Q&A.



What’s Wrong With You, Karthik?  Siddhartha Vaidyanathan with Aparajitha Sankar

Soon after Masala Lab concluded, the session was taken over by Aparajitha Sankar in conversation with Siddhartha Vaidyanathan.The panel started with the introduction to Siddartha’s book What’s wrong with you, Karthik?.

 The book revolves around a 12 year old boy Karthik who has just got admission into St. George’s, an elite boys’ school in Bangalore. Being born in a conservative family, the protagonist faces big change in his life during this time. The book talks about his life in the period of a year, the challenges he faces, changes he undergoes, things he learnt and finally the recognition he earns. The plot connects well with the city Bangalore and the author shared his experience of living in the city for 22 years and recalled his childhood days. Set in the 90’s, the storyline is a coming of age story that anyone could completely relate to. The author also read out a few pages from his book. The session wrapped up with the story on how the author being an engineer stumbled into cricket writing.


About the Author: Bhuvanashree Manjunath is a freelance writer and a poet, currently pursuing Civil Engineering in Bengaluru. Being an avid reader and book lover, she enjoys working as a Book Reviewer. Apart from literature, her fields of interest include painting, photography, music and teaching. She finds solace in writing poems and blogs. She currently writes for TheSeer.