Sunday, October 24, 2010

How much is your Rupee worth?

We love replicating anything the West has to offer. From their reality shows, soap operas, songs to films…  with the Indianised version.

This concept however cannot be tweaked to a 1  Store. 

I mean what would one get for one Rupee? While we have a new symbol, nothing much has changed.

When I was younger, I would wonder why grandparents harped about one anna  ( 6 paise ) and what it was worth. Now, I know better. I find myself talking about the times money got me more goods, the times when a rupee coin was not left carelessly on the table.

 I paid a princely sum of Rs 6/- as fees per month for class VII (No, I did not go to the local Zilla Parishad school).  But a popular private school. Prior to that, the fees might have been lower, but I was not entrusted with the task of carrying the money, as I traveled by public transport....what if I lost the money enroute? My mother would come personally and make the payment.  Bus fare was 7 ps for the journey of 4 kms from home to school. We normally had 10ps with us and the conductor always returned the change .

I found a diary which my mother kept for everyday transactions. It makes interesting reading.

It says:
Milk - 3.78 Rs
I remember there were about 6 half liter milk bottles, so that was probably the cost of 3 liters of milk. 
Bread - 0.70 ps
Supplies - 0.70 ps ( I wonder what supplies meant!)
Plantains - 1.0 Re - that could be for a dozen
Udaya Stores - 45.00 Rs ( was that for the monthly provisions?)

It is precisely the reason why I found the project that  Jonathan Blaustein ( a photographer) undertook when recession hit the economy, very fascinating. He checked what he could buy for a dollar across the world. 

And so on a ‘jobless Sunday’ – not really, I finished all my chores in the morning and am taking a well deserved rest – I thought I would do a survey of my kitchen and with some rough calculation arrived at what a rupee would buy.

Take a look -
2 tbsp wheat flour ( barely sufficient for a small roti) , 30 ml milk ( a few cups of dilute tea) , 5 bhendi  ( insufficient for a curry ), a small ladle of sugar ( enough for the diluted tea) , a tablespoon of dal ( sufficient for seasoning), a lime ( may make  a small glass of lemonade), half a handful of red chilies ( to spice up a curry) and two chocolate eclairs ( that might make a litle kid happy).

A 1 ` store just would not work!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The 'Classy'fied Ad

Have you noticed that classified ads for houses have undergone a makeover? They read a lot like matrimonial ads.

Only superlatives.

While it is good looking/well educated / good family / tall, beautiful, handsome in the matrimonial ad, it is  beautiful, classy, posh, state of the art for the house.

Nothing short of being located in a posh locality. Italian flooring…. designed by international certified architect…. It does not matter if the rooms are match box sized, but the apartment you are viewing is a deluxe three bedroom.

Of course, we are great ones for vaastu. East facing, north-east facing, 100% vaastu compliant they say. The master has to occupy a particular bedroom even if it is the worst, only because it is ‘right direction facing’. I am not sure how it could be as per vaastu when the room has no natural lighting. Do you think experts have lost the core of vaastu science?

The park facing room is one which overlooks an unkempt open piece of land full of weeds and scraggly bushes. The one facing a lake is a threat, a heavy downpour and your home could pass off for a fortress with a moat. Stone throw from a school could mean that you would have to live with badly parked cars, autorickshaws and school buses.

A bit of luck is what you need. The title may be good, the papers may be clear, sign on the dotted line…. Move in and then you realize the impact of your decision. Are we talking of the house or the spouse?

( picture source : )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Zzzzz Factor

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps….. invariably I am awake.

I took it in my stride but last night I had a good eight hours of sleep, and I realize what a difference it made. I got up refreshed and had this feel good factor. So is this what I have been missing? I have not been one to crib earlier. So what if one does not sleep? There are so many other things I could do. Read, solve a crossword, blog without disturbance, surf or watch TV ( which is a last option). But by the third day of sleep deprivation, I would become drowsy during the day, and the headaches would increase..

They say as you grow older sleeping patterns change and you sleep much less. If it held true for all those of my generation, I might not crib.  All of them sleep the minute the head touches the pillow. Some of them have a great respect for my ‘keeping awake’ ability.

As is my habit, I rushed to the web to check solutions for the problem. There appear to be zillion theories and solutions to match each one. But one thing I am assured and reassured is that I am not the only one. There are not too many statistics for sleep deprived Indians, but it seems that it is a major problem that plague many in the land of opportunity. Americans are known to spend $24 billion a year on sleep aids like mattresses, 600 thread count sheets, high end sound machines that simulate the surf or chirping birds.

It is evident that all of us need sleep. And one third of our lives is spent sleeping. So by the age of  70 one would have spent 20-23 of his years with his head to the pillow!

Thomas Edison thought sleep was a waste of time, boasting that he needed less than four hours of sleep. But he conveniently neglected to mention that he took regular naps during the day. Some feel that we owe the light bulb to one of Edison’s power naps that he took in the daytime. Napping in daytime has been found to be refreshing and productive. Some organisations even provide napping time for employees for better inputs from their employees. Do you work for such wonderful employers?

All that apart, I recognize that I have a huge ‘sleep debt’. I am a little confused whether I suffer from transient insomnia, intermittent insomnia or chronic insomnia.

I find that in normal times when the brain is awake, I do have this ability to switch off when I find subjects that are boring. If only I could find that slumber switch. It is not a term that I have coined. It appears that there are scientists who are toiling to find the ‘slumber switch’ in the brain.

I hope with last night’s sleep my sleeping pattern has changed. And it makes no sense to ponder and wonder and lose more sleep. I hope I have regained the Zzzz factor.

Picture source -
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