Sunday, December 7, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So beautifully put. I like that. Having a meaningful existence. An alibi for a life.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
I look longingly at the freshly baked bread loaf, draw in the flavours and walk on. When at times I succumb, I regret soon enough when the bread no longer is fresh as it languishes in the refrigerator.
Till I find a solution ....
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The rather jarring music and the barking of the neighbour's dog had me scurrying for the camera and I managed to capture the brightly dressed rather emaciated ox from the window of our 3rd floor home. That accounts for the criss-crossing of wires which I could not avoid. The gangireddula is the ox that is supposed to be trained to bow and move ( I could not see all that unfortunately). And one is supposed to feed the ox with the hand so that it licks the food and thereby change the lines on your palm and your destiny. So it is said.
Interesting. Wonder how long these folk arts will last. And how many would support them.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I read this little poem in Young World ( and you may ask, why do I read the Young World!! - I generally glance through it!) by Chintan Girish Modi
Off the Mark (title)
I always wonder
why this report card
looks like a long math sum
It tells you nothing
about the games I missed
to finish homework
the pictures at the back of my notebook
and the poems I wrote to stay awake.
( I found this little poem very realistic!! I wonder how many of you feel that way too!) Whenever I pack my daughter's books each semester for safe keeping, I find little doodles, poems, messages scrawled all over the pages). In years to come, when she glances through the books, each page will have a story to tell!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
she may be right
it may be prose
not poetry ....
but would you agree
that what may
not sound good
to the ear
easier on the eye!!
Anyway, I stumbled upon this The Famous Pig Song(Clarke Van Ness) and will quote a portion of it -
It was an evening in November
As I very well remember,
I was strolling down the street in drunken pride,
But my knees were all a-flutter,
And I landed in the gutter
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Yes, I lay there in the gutter
Thinking thoughts I could not utter,
When a colleen passing by did softly say
‘You can tell a man who boozes
By the company he chooses’ —
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
That is good news. There can never be a kitchen in India without this ingredient.
The turmeric powder has always been part of so many of our traditional practices. No baby soaps for the little one. A mixture of chick pea powder (besan) and turmeric with a little milk cream is applied liberally and washed off with warm water. As they grew and played in the sun, turmeric would be the solution for the sunburn. Sore throat? A home made remedy of milk and turmeric.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
With not many entertainment options those days, we had simple games and a lot of participation of adults . This was good bonding time with the elders. Some evenings we would sit out under the stars in the garden and play games like Buzz ( we had to be good with our multiplication tables) and Memory. Everything seemed to be related to learning and sharpening our mind. And it was all fun and the competition was intense.
More recently with my kids we have played Cluedo, Uno, Pictionary, Boggle and had just as much fun.
The irritation of the other occupant of the house (:-) was what prompted me to buy the registered board game so that participation of all inmates(?) was possible. And I hope to have more evenings of fun (and togetherness) and expand my vocabulary.
And when I am alone I shall continue playing with strangers with stranger names who type in messages like gg, gl, lol, ty. Who knows these words may find their way into the dictionary sometime in future!
Till the matter is sorted out in court, I personally feel that Scrabulous might actually increase the sales of the original Hasbro board game just like it did in my case.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I first covered most open niches with newspaper. To some extent it worked. I went online and did some major research. I realised that it was a universal problem.
Not to be outsmarted I took some brown tape and rolled it over the top of the broom. I had a huge smile plastered on my face, but not for long when I found the birds trying to dislodge the sticks from the bottom of the broom!. And so the battle continues.
Well, one thing for sure, if ever you are called bird brained, take it as a compliment. They are definitely smarter and more hard working than some humans I know!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The editorial in The Hindu was about the reinstallation of the 1,700-year-old Aksum Obelisk that was recently completed at the world heritage site of Aksum in Ethiopia. The Italians returned the obelisk that was taken to Rome by the Italian troops. After successful mediation by UNESCO, the Italian Government returned the obelisk and also paid for the transportation and the reinstallation. The article states that not all stolen properties would have such happy endings.
On our visit to London we spent time at the British Museum and browsed the different galleries where some of the priceless antiquities that were seized from the different colonies where the British ruled are on display.
As the value of the antiquities is being recognised it is not surprising that illegal smuggling of some of the stolen treasures is on the rise and these find their way into private collections and shockingly into some renowned museums. Laws are thus being put in place to put a check to this. There are some like Michael Kremer, a Harvard economics professor and Tom Wilkening, a graduate student at MIT who suggest that instead of flatly banning the export of antiquities they should allow them to be rented. Their argument is that a poor country may not have the money or the know how to dig up, catalog and store the artefacts. And this might further encourage the smugglers to gain easy access to them. And they feel a leasing arrangement might infact protect the treasures! Interesting thought!
That aside, in our very own neighbourhood we have the Salar Jung Museum , where we have the largest one man collection in the world on display. The amazing collection is worth a view. It has been rumoured that when the collection was shifted from the original building which was in a dilapidated condition a lot of artefacts went missing. The Museum is one of the better maintained ones in the country. In comparison the Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur is a let down. The building itself is beautiful and imposing. Alas, the maintenance so poor. The beautiful collection of exhibits have no adequate lighting, birds fly at will and dirty the place, there are layers of dust on the glass counters, the description boards are pathetic.
All that taken into account, I know it may seem unpatriotic but some of our treasures are infact taken care off in a befitting manner and admired by so many at the British Museum. And to top it all entrance to the Museum is free! Until we learn to respect and take care of our heritage, we can leave it to the British to do this for us.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
This is a signboard that greets tourists at most Indian tourist spots. Most strange!. At some places they have an extra charge for a camera and a heavier fee for a handy cam. I can understand if you do not permit photography for security reasons at defence areas, airports etc. But at popular tourist spots? Most other places do not have any restrictions on photography at their international airports
It was most annoying when we had been to Jaipur. The forts were so beautiful and just waiting to be captured on camera. And you had some toughie checking bags for cameras being smuggled in. In the era where most mobile phones have built in cameras it seems so illogical. When you are trying to woo the tourist to India this is one rule that can be done away with. I have tried looking for sites where I can make a suggestion/feedback to the authorities concerned.
With wiki maps for the general public and satellites that can photograph all minute details on ground, it is time for those in the Tourism Department to wake up and abolish rules that were perhaps made in the 18th Century.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
He says quote -Why do news channels feel that they need to “crack” each case before the official investigative agencies do? Why can’t they limit their coverage to accurate and timely reportage of the news and of the facts?I find it an insult to my intelligence if a reporter, within minutes of the first blasts, propounds a theory on why the terrorists selected locations a,b and c. I find it an insult to my intelligence if a reporter, within minutes of the first blasts, tells me who is responsible for the attack.I’ve used the first person singular, but I refuse to believe that I’m alone. I think it’s time someone said to the news television channels:“You are not the Home ministry. You are not the Central Bureau of Investigation. You are not the Director General of Police. You are not even a beat constable.” unquote.
News channels seem to have forgotten their objective of reporting facts. They seem to be eager to create news and sensationalise their report. In a recent case, they even proclaimed an innocent man a murderer
With the number of news channels that are available, it seems that they are trying their best to outdo the other. There are many instances when news on TV leaves one very disturbed. The channels do not seem to have any respect for privacy and treat subjects with little or no sensitivity.
It is therefore of no surprise that I turn to what are termed 'mindless programs' on TV for a little entertainment. And wait for the newspaper the next day, partly to read the news and more for the daily crossword.
Monday, August 4, 2008
That speaks volumes.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
It was almost a year later that we bought our first mixie. The Sumeet mixie was the most popular brand those days. And the dosa making began at home in real earnest. Soon we had friends coming over for breakfast on Sunday . I had to wake up earlier than the rest so that breakfast was served at a convenient time .
I had a family with a healthy appetite which meant that I was in the kitchen making the dosas for almost an hour. And it is because of the Sunday breakfast that I never ever got to watch the popular TV serial of Mahabharat that was shown from 9 to 10 am. All that I watched were glimpses of each episode as I kept walking from the kitchen to the dining area serving hot dosas and waiting to hear the magic words I have had enough. After a while the reputation of the dosas slowly spread and we had friends (the bachelor kind) who landed up each week. More recently my (then) son in law- to -be who used the dosa breakfast as an excuse to spend time with my daughter . :-)
With the move from the traditional iron tawa to the non stick pan, the quality of my dosas did get affected. The oil usage was also reduced on health grounds. But without any doubt this is still the favourite breakfast snack at home.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
On the flip side, I have wondered if talent is going unnoticed. The person who jumps across the road divider would be ideal for the hurdles event, then the guy who sprints across in front of your car could well be in the 100 metres track event, the guy who pedals furiously and tries to overtake should be in the velodrome.
A sheer waste of talent!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
The other day I called to complain about the phone service. A government department known for their lethargy and disinterest. Imagine my surprise when the lady was not only polite but promised to have the problem rectified. I found myself relating the incident to many and later it struck me that it was disheartening that the pleasant customer service had taken me by surprise. Shouldn't this be the norm? I am baffled when I find a banner stating 'Customer Service Week' in a bank or a super market. Shouldn't it be customer service all the year round?
Forget organisations. At a personal level I find that simple courtesies seem to be a thing of the past. How many instances are there when you find someone trying not to meet your eye to avoid greeting you. Do men offer a lady or an elderly person a seat in a crowded bus? How many people hold open a door for others?
At public places we are sometimes shoved aside without the polite excuse me. At a show people talk loudly and do not put off their mobiles even after several requests. Niceties like thank you, please and excuse me are terms that seem to be forgotten . People jump the queue. Children are allowed to run and throw tantrums in public places while the parents do nothing about them.
Pleasantries are not about the other person you are dealing with. Whether they deserve it is not important. It should be a natural behaviour on one's part. It is a reflection of who you are, and how you were raised. And it is a trait that is worth passing on to your children.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I did not say it. I wish I could be credited for something as wise as that!! I had to share it with you.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Above - The Station then in 1920 - photograph from the Hindu Archives.
And now in July 2008
Luckily, as we were on our way to take the train back home, this view suddenly sprang before us. I was not seated in the front, but it did not deter me and I dug into the bag and pulled out the camera just in time to get at least a reasonably good view of the station quite a good distance away thanks to a good 8 MP camera that I had with me.
Quoting from the article it was probably inaugurated around 1873. Conceived as a subsidiary to the main station at Royapuram, the building was designed by George Hardinge, a famous British architect living in Madras. The Central Station with its clock tower is an enduring landmark. The building has gothic elements and is well maintained. Its biggest advantage is that there are no steps to climb with luggage. Early on, all the best trains started from platform one. It is significant that all the premium trains now start from platform nine, 10 and 11 while platform one has trains doing only short runs. Interestingly, it’s the only station that has a platform numbered 2a -Actually meant for delivering water and goods to the station staff, the Shatabdi now starts from here.
The elder one would probably remember this station - the number of trips made home from Chennai and she would also be thankful that there were no steps to climb!!
Monday, June 30, 2008
It has been some time since we went to the Secunderabad railway station and it was a pleasant surprise to see it all done up. At night when the darkness hides the filth on the tracks the station really looked good. I did annoy those who were with me as I took these pictures.
The Rajdhani train was at the Secunderabad station. The train that has been totally branded by Airtel with their message Barriers break when people talk. Great way to advertise considering the fact that the train covers the distance from Delhi to Bangalore. The cost is estimated to be Rs 6 crore per train and the maintenance and annual fee amounting to another 3.5 crore per year.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
And do it even if someone else is paying the bill!!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It was a ooh and an aah and the salesman just caught the look and expression and let off his sales talk. It is from one single piece of walnut wood, exquisitely chiseled from Kashmir, blah, blah blah. Our man fell for it hook line and sinker.
It is not as if we did not appreciate the piece but for the price that was being quoted?? Definitely not thought the three of us and walked away. Only to find that someone had stopped and made the purchase. We were told that we had no aesthetic sense.
It still finds a place of pride in our living room. At least out of respect for the price tag.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
My own understanding of classical music is limited. And strangely I appreciate classical music best when I watch the artiste perform. Off late I have attended Western, Hindustani and Carnatic music and have enjoyed them all.
Shiv Kumar Sharma spoke about the beauty of Indian classical music. The performances can never be rehearsed. He said that most times only the ragas that might be played or sung would be decided in advance. The accompanying artistes come to the stage with just this information. On stage the musician improvises the raga keeping to the fundamentals as it flows to him. No two performances of the same raga would ever be identical. It is therefore to the credit of the accompanying artistes that they need to be alert to what is being played and give the necessary support lending to the melody.
While the Hindustani artiste creates an aura about their art it is time for the Carnatic musicians to keep in tune to the changing times. Their performances are in no way inferior but they do not seem to get the reception the other musicians command. It is time they added some glamour to their show. It is time for the carnatic musicians to move on. If they had noticed, even M S Subbalakshmi , the grand lady of Carnatic music had her own style - the flawless make up and the beautiful kanjeevaram sarees were glamourous to her time. The musicians should take a note from the Hindustani counterparts. Change to more contemporary style of dressing ( Shiv Kumar Sharma wore this bold rust kurta with beautiful embroidery, and the stones on the rings sparkled as he waved his hands). Introduce the music to the audience. Speak about the raga. Add some humour. Keep the audience involved. And in the process keep classical music alive for untrained ears like mine.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I have never been a fond of the potato unless it is in its unhealty avatar like the potato chip or the french fries. The tuber is generally thrown into the shopping cart as a standby item when nothing else is available and is useful when you have guests dropping by.
There is a Potato Council, a Potato museum, a Potato magazine - The Spudsman. WOW. That speaks a lot for a food that was discovered just 400 years ago.
An interesting story of how a french farmer decided to popularise it in his area. Parmentier acquired a miserable and unproductive spot of ground on the outskirts of Paris. There, he planted 50 acres of potatoes. During the day, he set a guard over it. This drew considerable attention in the neighborhood. In the evening the guard was relaxed and the locals came to see what all the fuss was about. Believing this plant must be valuable, many peasants "acquired" some of the potatoes from the plot, and soon were growing the root in their own garden plots
It is time that I treat the potato with a lot more respect.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
And seems a popular name too for cottages and resorts in Europe. And if the delivery guy at Dominos sniggers next time we give him the address we could enlighten him.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I still have not got the chairs
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
digicam worked for a few hours and we have these images. We posed for several others. I remember them so vividly and looked forward to seeing them in print, only to discover that the reel had not been inserted properly.
Praise for the purple squirrel
Question: Why is this squirrel purple?
Answer (choose one):
1. Because he isn't ripe yet
2. Because his mother threw him in the laundry with all the purple T-shirts
3. Because he fell into a glass of merlot
4. Because he became a serial killer in a vineyard
5. Because Barney the Dinosaur sat on him.
Correct answer: None of the above (but nice try anyway)
A Purple Squirrel is a rare breed, a one-in-a-million job candidate - as I have learned from reading the blogs and web sites of several recruiters and employment specialists. Our company is downsizing and I am making every attempt to get out before the Titanic goes glug-glug for the final time.
So I have learned something new and very useful: A Purple Squirrel is the "PERFECT" candidate who fulfills all the qualifications that describe a job.
In short, a Purple Squirrel is a tough nut to crack. I want to be a Purple Squirrel.
Who would not want to be a Purple Squirrel!!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
We are surviving the hot summer thanks to the cooler. I wonder how long the cooler will last. Not many are to be seen these days. Just like the mats of khus khus that were tied in the doorway ( when we were kids ). It had to be watered every few hours. The smell was heavenly and a slight breeze outside would pass through the mats bringing down room temperature.
All these have made way for the air conditioners. And those used to the modern cooling machines are no longer able to resist a slight rise in temperatures.
Aah the prosperous middle class. This must be the middle class that President Bush is now blaming for the spiralling food prices in the US.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
My father on his postings outside Hyderabad, would move there and my mother and three kids remained in Hyderabd, so that our studies were not affected.
I remember traveling with my mother ( I wonder why my brothers were made to stay back home) to visit my father who was posted at Rajahmundry. It seemed a long drive. And the sight of the river Godavari was breathtaking. There was no road bridge then and we had to get the car on the ferry and it took almost an hour to cross the vast stretch of water. The guest house of the Paper Mills was on the banks of the river. And there were steps where we could sit down and let our feet into the water!!. I was told that there were crocodiles in the river and was always on the lookout for one that might stealthily creep up.
During one of our visits, we were taken and shown around the mill. I remember the huge boiler ( these were days of not so modern machinery). At the end of the visit we were given a scrap book ( of purple paper). I had paper cuttings of important news items stuck on the pages of this scrap book ( with cooked rice used as glue) for a very long time.
A few years later my father was posted at Bodhan in Nizamabad, this time he was in charge of the sugar mills. Here we made several trips with family and friends. The ride here was also very comfortable since my father's official car was a huge Dodge car. (It was quite fancy those days and on one instance our car was actually mistaken for the prime minister's car and we caused quite a few scary moments for the pilot motorcycle rider since we overtook him!!).
The house at Bodhan was large and had huge lawns . The tracks on which the train with wagons full of sugarcane passed close by and we were allowed the privilege of pulling out fresh sugarcane stems and biting into them ( my teeth were sharp then!!) and juice dripping all over. Evenings were spent sitting sitting on the lawns gorging on delicious snacks. Of course an educational trip to the sugar mills was part of every guests itinerary. The sight and smell of molasses was quite overwhelming. I don't know about my dad, but this was a job I quite enjoyed. I had a lot of fun sitting with the receptionist (while waiting for my father to finish his work) and transfer calls with the old kind of telephone exchange. For some time I was also a lift ( elevator) operator. All this while my brothers played table tennis in the recreation room.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
This report in the morning paper today took me back to an incident that flummoxed my dad. This must have been sometime in 1973-74. The Nobel laureate Dr Norman Borlaug was in our city and he was attending a conference at the University. My father was to have received him there. My brother was doing his course in journalism and was working as a reporter for a small newspaper . He desperately wanted to interview Dr Borlaug and tried hard to convince my dad to set it up. My father was known to be a stickler for rules and ensured no favours especially to anyone in the family. He refused and did not give it a second thought. Was he not in for a surprise when Dr Borlaug reached the venue (where my father was waiting to receive him) and the car stopped , the door opened and Dr Borlaug stepped out followed by my brother!! Our man had managed to meet him before his journey and my father's colleagues who recognised him had allowed him to travel with the Nobel Laurette in the car so that he could have his interview!! That was my brother those days. I wonder whether he is as enterprising and aggressive now!!