Monday, December 29, 2008

Word of the day: Escargot

And name of the day : Judas Iscariot.

Judas Who ?

Iscariot. like Escargot.

You just got to knock off the "e" and the "g" with the "i" and you would anyway replace the slimy, writhing, squirming but oh-so gentle escargots with.......

Incredible! [and that too for the lack of a better word in my mind which is working at a snail's pace right now]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Saffron attack!

No, I did not think of/read/speak about the BJP even once during the day! But it will go down in my mind , veritably so, as how saffron spiced my day this Christmas! ;) [pun intended]

So it started during a phone conversation this morning, when a friend mentioned how he went to this restaurant called “Zafrani” at 4 AM and had Zafrani Lassi! Well, that knocked off the sleepy part in me as I was instantly transported to the fragrance and aroma of saffron, which along with cinnamon and cardamom, happens to be one of my favourite spices/flavours. Images of the zafrani lassi loomed before me and brought out long forgotten memories of the waft of a hot cuppa saffron tea, among many others .....

Conjuring up sights and smells of saffron tea, saffron lassi, saffron in the milk and saffron in what not, I go to meet my grandmom, who tells me that I should remember to buy saffron for her sometime during the day as we are out of stock. I am saved a response by the ringing of the door-bell. An uncle from Vienna is here, he hugs my grandmom [his aunt] and gives her a box of saffron, leaving my grandmom and I to exchange some furtive smiles!

Close to 5 in the evening, Saucy Sardonix comes back after shopping and produces a box of saffron and says “How about pulao for dinner?”
I quip sarcastically “Zafrani?”
“Why not?”

And that is how my maiden attempt at making Zafrani Pulao came about - Over 2 hours of preparation and 1 hour of actual cooking [that should speak a lot about my great cooking skills]. I followed the recipe posted here with decent success. And we were all scrapping the vessel for more, so perhaps the time and effort made up for it!
Just to add, this was done in the 'asli hyderabadi style', no cheeni at all which I am sure would gladden Tabu!

Oh, by the way, the other dish I set out to cook - Vegetable Jalfrezi - finally turned out like some mashed vegetable pulp cooked in some masala base!
Ah, well, no links to this dish as I followed the recipe in my mind and one needs to do all she can to prevent such disasters from recurring.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

my [band] stand!

Stand stand stand - they say.
Take a stand!
Either this or that.

Pro life.
Anti life sentence.

Pro marriage.

Anti live in.

Pro abortion.
Anti birth.

Pro welfare state.
Anti gun rights.

Pro renewable energy.
Anti oil drilling.

Pro left.
Anti right.

Pro peace.
Anti national.

One extreme or the other ?

Which one to choose and take a stand- which shall not be attacked, criticised, ridiculed or derided?

Choose, baby, choose!

Choose, huh, yippee, I made my choice!

Pro choice?

Ughh, what kind of a choice is that?
You have squandered all your choices now!

So let me be.
Pro choice I am … after all, is n’t this the right choice, baby?

A – HA! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a life!

You get married and then wonder when you are gonna get hacked to death!!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Chandrayaan in trouble!!!

Got this awesome forward from a friend. :)

Not many moments like this but surely, it keeps coming back to me.

Of all days, today!

I am so glad I am not :

  • smooth
  • manipulative
  • smug
  • a braggart.

I hope I remain this way!

Friday, October 31, 2008

So much for a glass of water...

“May I have a glass of water ?”, GT asks the receptionist (quite a fetching pretty young babe!) at a private bank we are waiting at, to meet someone there. She motions to the water container right next to her. GT takes a glass and finds that the water container is empty. And the PYB simply shrugs! I mean it, no exaggeration, just a shrug in the mould of “as if I care!”

GT now requests her, “Madam, would you just arrange for a glass of water?” And I could see he really needed that, as being thirsty and dry-throated, he had started coughing intermittently.

Our PYB of course has different ideas. She responds sweetly with a smile that “The water is over.” (Bet – they told her to answer customers with a sweet smile). Patiently, GT enquires if he can get a glass of water from anywhere else. And the PYB gets out her empty water bottle and says this is all she has!!!

I have been watching this rather interesting episode, quite passively, from where I was sitting, turning the pages of the timepass newspaper that goes by the name of “The Times of India”.

But now, I can almost feel my temper rising quite alarmingly. I charge up to the PYB and demand, “Can’t the Bank not provide a glass of water when someone requests for it ? A customer, that too ?” I brace myself for a long argument and keep telling myself that no way should I let this go….

And guess what the PYB does, she just shrugs and gives me one of her sweet smiles! No Sorry, no trying to find out if a new water container can be brought in or contacting some other admin person to do anything in this regard!

Yeah, her mouthing a Sorry, may not have helped matters but at least it would have demonstrated some sort of sincerity in her approach to the whole episode. But there she was, totally oblivious to whatever was happening.

I was so mad, angry and incensed at this totally indifferent/smug attitude. But as my anger rose, for some strange reason, the sheer futility and pointlessness of what I intended to say hit me. I just walked away, without even acknowledging her response. Huh!

Such things are not even worth wasting my time blogging. But I just had to get it out and here I am, feeling relieved that I let the steam out! Pray, of what use ? I don’t know and well- I am shrugging my shoulders as I type this - I don’t care!

PS : When we finally met the officer, he got us a water bottle, much to our delight!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Full circle of life?!

[Fortunately or unfortunately] You give what you get and get what you give!

Is that all there is to it?

What an idea!!! Its the idea, more than anything, which is the main driver of everything.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Diamond shopping!

So it all began on a chat. A friend of mine requested me to meet him on Sunday. “Sure! Sunday evening date, done deal – okay ?”, I happily chirped. “Great. I wanted a pick up a diamond ring for my girlfriend for our engagement and wanted your help with that”, he responded. Oops! What ? Hey, hang on, buddy, Diamond shopping and moi! Ce n'est pas possible. I am not a gold/diamond jewellery person, even by average or below average standards- with neither interest nor inclination goading me to know about them. Huh! The innocent fellow does not even figure out what he has gotten into.

But the deal is done and it’s too late for me to back out and so in all earnestness, I ask my grandmom and dad the things to look out for while purchasing a diamond. My grandmom goes on a nostalgic route, quite impressed that I am suddenly getting an interest in these things and her eyes glitter, in tune with the diamond earrings she wears. My dad gives an amused laugh, shakes his head, “Oh my god, he has called you to help in buying diamonds? Maybe you should take me along to help you!” I realize this is taking me nowhere. [So much for putting my nose up in the air even at diamond ads!]

So off I go on Sunday evening, meeting him at the Sri Krishna Jewellery showroom on Commercial Street. We enter the shop and I look around like a novice, quite like a fish out of water, but my friend just leads me confidently into a lift, which I did not even observe as existing in the first place!

We go to the diamonds section and he heads straight to the counter where the sales lady pulls out a box with two rings. He looks at both the rings which he has ordered and a confounded look creeps up his face. He is not sure which one to take. I suddenly realize, this is the moment…..

I lean forward to take a closer look at the two diamond rings. Both are quite different and equally striking and for a moment, I can empathise with him, almost. Both rings represent two different styles. One is a seven diamond traditional floral design – quite solid looking. The other is an elegant 5 diamond design and perhaps what one could wear on an evening out or even on a daily basis if one is fond of such stuff, I neatly surmise.

Soon, my stubby fingers model the beautiful rings, which sort of look like an eye sore to me, I mean, the combination is somewhat pathetic to my eyes, but of course, my friend is lost in his girlfriend’s memories and imagining which one would look better in her fingers. So I patiently do the finger-modelling job, strategically placing my fingers, over the table, a bend to the right, for closer examination, the left angle and other positions for observation, with the hidden agenda to induce a quick purchase. We ask the sales lady which one is her choice and she points to the 7 diamond one and lets out a shy smile! I smile, sans comprehension.

Suddenly, my friend enquires about “Hearts and Arrows” collection and if the rings I was modeling belong to that collection. I begin to think perhaps the jewellery stores have started selling Valentine’s day merchandise from October, but realize I could not be more wrong. Apparently, “Hearts and Arrows” is a class of brilliant-cut diamonds, quite in a superior league of its own. So another round of discussion follows on the Hearts and Arrows, while I am fidgeting around, struggling to control my boredom, my friend finishes his discussion with the sales lady and makes his choice.

The 7-diamond ring is billed and packed in one of those cute blue velvet boxes and of course, it occurs to me that if at all I ever remotely intend(!) to buy a diamond ring, then I should call this friend, who has taken the effort to google and learn all about diamond cuts and of course, the hearts and arrows (besides listening to his heart as well!)

By the way, Wikipedia says this about De Beers and Marketing:

"Over the last century, De Beers has been highly successful in increasing consumer demand for diamonds. One of the most effective marketing strategies has been the marketing of diamonds as a symbol of love and commitment.
A young copywriter, Frances Gerety coined the famous advertising line "A Diamond is Forever" in 1947, allegedly while she was dreaming.
In the year 2000, Advertising Age magazine named "A Diamond Is Forever" the best advertising slogan of the twentieth century.
Other successful campaigns started by De Beers include the "eternity ring" (as a symbol of continuing affection and appreciation), the "trilogy" ring (representing the past, present and future of a relationship) and the "right hand ring" (bought and worn by women as a symbol of independence.)"

On a parting note, all I can say is the marketing guys still need to work harder to convert the ever-diminishing club of folks like YT, to sell more diamonds! Good luck, guys! ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

BlackBerry to BloomBerry! [(c) SS]
Looks like the berries are burying me :(

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

O me! O Life!

O me! O life! ...of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
- Walt Whitman

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Came across couple of thought-provoking quotes during my readings of late :

"The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good." - Bertrand Russell

"The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not." - Eric Hoffer


Sincerity rewards ?!

It is not an uncommon sight to see chaotic traffic situations in many cities in India. From a personal and prolonged experience of living in 3 Indian cities over the past decade and constantly visiting other cities, I can say that the traffic scenario in all is of the same colour, only the shade being different. The primary reasons attributed for such a chaotic traffic situation are : an increase in the number of cars and two-wheelers, rapidly expanding population not commensurate with the development of infrastructure (read: roads and reliable public transport systems) and general apathy of the Indian population, especially the youngsters, towards the existing public transport system and lack of funds.

Assuming such a stand, the responsible officials of our state governments have a convenient alibi, one that is evergreen for them to use for generations to come… However I beg to differ.
The usual scene at a bus stand in most cities in India is that of a throbbing crowd, bereft of shelter from rain and sun, their feet often ‘tyre fodder’ for rash drivers who in turn accuse them of occupying road space. Ever wondered what would happen if that one sincere person stood in an imaginary line behind the milling crowd? Well, his/her sincerity would be rewarded by the unruly crowd by making him/ her wait forever to board a bus of his choice.

What happens to the motorist who follows the rules? The two-wheeler who keeps to the lane on the left side meant for him/her is usually rudely whacked by an over-speeding commercial cab or many a times, even private cars. If the person’s luck is worse, then the whack is given by a bus driver instead (who, by the way, invariably stops the bus a few yards ahead of the bus stop – some kick to make commuters run to catch the bus)! What happens to the honest motorist who follows the signal, doesn’t jump a red light or refuses to cross the stop line? The motorist is subjected to a volley of the choicest abuses in the vernacular by most of the fellow road-users behind him/her, is overtaken albeit there is no space or scope for such a maneuver, abused again in the face and also made to face some jarring, honking music from the rest of the crowd behind who feel it is because of this sincere person that they have to wait a minute longer!!!! He/she also runs the risk of having his/ her toes run over by the cab that tries to overtake in the narrowest of spaces on the left side. If it’s a car waiting in the right lane, then promptly comes a bike rider who either bangs your rear view mirror (remember its pointless to even expect an apology, after all, which idiot uses rear view mirrors??) or scratches the paint on the sides to a visually telling effect.

Despite all these heroics, are a bunch of city hardened motorists who manage to keep their toes and/ or vehicles intact. However they suffer a different form of injustice. For most people who have driven/ ridden on the left side of the road in India it will not come as a surprise to see an autorikshaw/ yellow board commercial cab/ overzealous two-wheeler who drives/ rides all the way on the wrong side (right side: pun intended!) and finally makes an abrupt swerve to join the mainstream traffic as he/she approaches that part of the road/ signal which cannot be traversed from the right side. Makes most people who wait in the maddening traffic at peak hours wonder if they are indeed doing the right thing by following the rules.

As the sun sets and the evening leads to night there is scant regard for the traffic lights. The reason cited is the sparse traffic on the roads. Surely, the traffic authorities have the sense to reduce the waiting period on the signals and ensure free and safe passage to each direction of traffic flow. Nevertheless, as is always the case in India, the individual gets pride from smashing the rules to smithereens. A sincere person who halts for a red light past 9 pm runs the risk of being crashed into by the over-speeding vehicle from behind. It is a given that only flow of traffic and road space govern movement of a vehicle at a signal. The colour of the light, but obviously, bears little consequence.

The numbers of such situations are far and diverse ranging from urinating on people’s compound walls, parking right under the “no-parking” sign, breaking the queue at any waiting place, spitting in public places …. One could possible go on and on about such scenarios …

The primary cause for all this is lax implementation of rules (oh, we have so many of them) - absence of punishment – applied to all in a fair and equitable manner – whether you are the Minister or his son or his distant cousin’s daughter-in-law or a rickshaw-wallah. The rule-breaker/offender goes scot free and further rubs salt on the wounds by making the sincere person appear foolish for meticulously following the rules. Be it reaching 10 minutes earlier, or having the luxury of a convenient parking (although its illegal), not having to urinate in a stinking public toilet etc…. For now only a small consolation in the conscience of few citizens who do not wish to be a public nuisance prevents the situation from worsening. I do feel that such chaotic scenes will not see their end for some time because there is simply no reward for sincerity.
But, when there is no punishment for erring citizens, where is the room to reward such sincerity among the citizens ?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Got to kill the drought of my posts...

As hockey moms ...oops, excusez moi, (forget I ever said that)... as Ms. Gorgeous would put it in her folksy manner, "Kill, baby, kill!"

Oh, she is currently No.1 on my Favourite People list. She knocks me over, literally! And tops it over by giving me this labyrinthine complex.

Pray, why, you may wonder ? Nopes, not about the gorgeous part. [Despite my 'cool glasses" look, I can't match the beauty contest material of Ms. Gorgeous with her hotshot glasses.]

Well, the story actually goes back to the one day (a little less than 24 hours may be) I spent in Ayodhya when I was 10 -11 years old. So it makes me feel like some big expert on the Ayodhya dispute and pushes me to yearn for greater things in life. After all, I also lived in the neighbourhood of Ayodhya for a few years over and above the one day visit.

No wonder Mr. Nice is floored by Ms. Gorgeous!

Its a folksy thing, people! You gotto catch it... while you can ;) LOL

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Sunday, August 03, 2008


Don't give me the lilacs....'cos as TS Eliot writes :
"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

:) :) :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

What way ahead in Bangalore ?

The bomb blasts happened in Bangalore and one woman lost her life. There she was, an ordinary citizen of our country lying dead near the bus stop. Those pictures duly made an appearance in all the news channels and newspapers.

And then, we have a panel discussion on what was really the motto behind the blasts – Why did it happen ? As a journalist put it rather forcefully, Why Bangalore ? The ‘intellectuals’ on the panel conclude that it is to tarnish the image of the city and create a sense of panic, which in turn may affect the IT industry in Bangalore.

We are just coming to that, lets move across to Delhi where we have the Union Home Minister with us, says the Correspondent. And the Minister says, the Centre is planning to provide its cooperation and assistance and also CISF security to IT!

Right! No one disputes Bangalore’s status as the Silicon Valley of India and the incredible success of the IT industry here. But is n’t providing CISF to IT industry alone taking it a bit too far ? It’s such a short-sighted measure, wonder where is the logic to this ?

So the city may burn, get bombed and go to hell. No one cares about it, is it ? The ordinary shopkeepers, vendors and hawkers on the roads, autorickshaw drivers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen ……What do their lives matter? They do not work in the IT sector, generating export earnings in our economy…

While I understand the importance of the IT companies and also take cognizance of the fact that they are also targets which may well be within the radar of attack by terrorists and unscrupulous elements, it is utterly hilarious to provide CISF to the IT companies.

What is the need of the hour is a holistic approach where we invest money and training in our systems of policing, intelligence gathering, maintenance of law and order, coordination of intelligence agencies, crime detection and prevention.

Without such holistic technical and intelligence support, it is foolish to think that 100 cops standing around a building and guarding it would ensure the building and its occupants is safe and secure from acts of terror.

The terrorists will find newer ways of attacking and doing what they do best – spreading terror. The challenge is to stay ahead of them and win the war…..

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Think about this!

A hard-hitting article on the attitudes aurrounding rape and its defence - which is a common feature across many societies... (Full text of the article also here)

"Unfortunately, though, there are countless examples from around the world of women being blamed for rape. It’s either because of what we wear or how we behave; it’s who we sleep with, or it’s what we drink.
“Blame culture” attitudes towards rape victims are widespread: according to a poll of young people carried out by Amnesty International last year, more than a quarter of those asked said that they thought a women was partially or totally responsible for being raped if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing.
A survey in Ireland earlier this year on attitudes to rape found almost 40 per cent of the 1,000 adults questioned believed rape victims themselves bore some responsibility in certain circumstances — if, for instance, they wore sexy clothing or were flirting. "

"Scotland’s justice secretary said that it was “hard to believe” that in a modern Scotland there are people who still think that if a woman is dressed in a certain way or has been drinking it’s her own fault if she is raped. For how many decades have feminists being saying this? Why has the message not got through? And how many more women will be raped because men can pretend they are “confused” at the “mixed messages” put out by women who dress up to the nines for their own enjoyment?

Let’s be clear; women have the right to go out, dressed outrageously and be gagging to pull a man for sex. Consensual sex. Women do not want to be raped. Ever. All rape is “real rape,” even if she is wearing a skirt up to her neck, has her breasts on show and is drinking and flirting like crazy. Rape is sex without consent. Which part of that is difficult to understand? "

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Warm musings of a peaceful afternoon

Of crossing the railway track and letting yourself into a world moving at a different pace than your own.

There is no paucity of time here. It is a quiet life, offering flashes of beauty and peace, each moment bettering the previous.

Staring endlessly at the gentle ripples of the lake waters, meandering through long winding roads by the lake;
Catching a glimpse of ducks ducking in and out of the waters, the kites flying overhead, the crow cawing over a piece of left-over food and mynahs cooing in the bushes of some wild flowering plants;
Tall coconut palms swaying sensuously in the languorous breeze of the late afternoon, almost seducing the onlookers; (hi)jacked by jackfruits hanging in clusters, tempting one to pluck and eat them…
Villagers gossiping around a big banyan tree, its never-ending branches a mute witness to scores of such sessions held amidst the young and the old alike;
Young kids playing cricket on a vacant ground with a rectangular piece of wood as a cricket bat and a couple of sheep grazing nearby serving as wicket or perhaps short leg! Beautiful women in bright sarees praying in a small temple beside the peepul tree, whose trunk bears marks of kumkum and haldi;

You keep traversing the road not taken and in some time find yourself again facing the lake waters and then, out of nowhere, the sound of a sharp horn, almost blowing out like a long whistle, breaks the earthy silence, shaking you out of your reverie – only to be followed by a train speeding through the greenery, the lake waters and the coconut palms, its brownish- orange coloured engine chugging along………………..

Your mind takes it all in and feels a strange (maybe not so much) fusion of peace, quiet, contentment, elation and wonder.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mind over matter ? Tis' the Rafa Effect!

Here goes Saucy Sardonix :
Is it possible to win the French open and Wimbledon in the same year?
Even if you are not Bjorn Borg?
Well, being Rafael Nadal is good enough!!!

2008 has been a sensational year for Rafael Nadal. Not because he managed to win the French open and Wimbledon the same year, but because he has managed to sow the seeds of self doubt in the mind of a certain Mr. Roger Federer. In my amateur assessment, Wimbledon 2008 was lost by Federer because of the mind job that Rafa had pulled on him.

Anyone who saw the Wimbledon final knew that Federer was very much at the top of his game, his strokes were flowing, the aces working and the volleys dropping but Rafa had managed to break him early with some sensational ground strokes and reduced Roger Federer to 2 sets to love down after 90 minutes of play. Federer the great champion, so used to crushing opponents with his graceful accuracy, was lost in an unchartered sea. He has never been able to recover from 2 sets to love down except on 3 insignificant occasions. More importantly he has never seen those sort of situations on his favourite piece of grassland.
Yes, much to credit, Federer did manage to scramble back a set in the tie breaker of the 3rd set and save match points in the 4th set to win it again in the tie breaker. However there is no tie breaker in the 5th set of a grand slam men's event. With Roger Federer fast losing all the break points he managed to create with difficulty, the belief that the Nadal serve could be broken was fading faster than the evening London light. Eventually at quarter past 9 in the setting London sun, Nadal did what he believed he could and broke the defending champion in the 15
th game of the 5th set. After a grueling 283 mins of classic lawn set, bereft of only the vintage and hitherto dying art of serve and volley, Nadal served out the match.

Ecstasy, disbelief, fatigue and relief were given vent to in the common outflow of tears the gladiator shed before monkeying up the stands to collapse into the arms of his supporting team.
Gracious as ever in defeat Federer acknowledged that his victor was better while Rafa won the modesty competition as well by saying that one Wimbledon win doesn't make him better than Federer whom he still acknowledged as the best player around. The wounded Roger Federer said he would come back for the silver he had surrendered to Nadal, but this was the year when Rafa would do his customary biting of the trophy.

The magnitude of Rafael Nadal's achievement is that he won the French and the Wimbledon within 6 weeks beating the same opponent, Federer, and proving to the world that it's the player and not the surface that matters. The Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal was seen as an unspoken grudge match. It was widely expected that Federer would win and prove to the world that it was the surface and not the player that defeated him. To beard the lion in its own den, to beat a Roger Federer in full flow on the centre court of Wimbledon in the finals is why Rafael Nadal's victory is spoken so highly of. As with the EURO 2008 championships the Swiss remained good hosts and the Spaniards walked home with the silverware!

A Windmill Makes a Statement

You think I like to stand all day, all night,
all any kind of light, to be subject only
to wind? You are right. If seasons undo
me, you are my season. And you are the light
making off with its reflection as my stainless
steel fins spin.

On lawns, on lawns we stand,
we windmills make a statement. We turn air,
churn air, turning always on waiting for your
season. There is no lover more lover than the air.
You care, you care as you twist my arms
round, till my songs become popsicle

and I wing out radiants of light all across
suburban lawns. You are right, the churning
is for you, for you are right, no one but you
I spin for all night, all day, restless for your

sight to pass across the lawn, tease grasses,
because I so like how you lay above me,
how I hovered beneath you, and we learned
some other way to say: There you are.

You strip the cut, splice it to strips, you mill
the wind, you scissor the air into ecstasy until
all lawns shimmer with your bluest energy.

- Cate Marvin

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Left's right : it just left

Too much drama on the news night today- the Kabul Mission bomb blast, selection of the national cricket team for the forthcoming test tour of Sri Lanka and of course, the biggest of them all - finallement, the Left has left the UPA Government.

Watched a fiery session of Barkha Dutt interviewing Ms. Brinda Karat and Mr. Kapil Sibal couple of hours back and the acidic crossfire between the two, of course with Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad from the BJP chipping in about his great party here and there (reminding me of mustard seeds tempered in a hot dish of sambhar)!

I found the exchanges between Ms.Karat and Mr.Sibal riveting – clearly that’s the effect the news channels aim for with TV audiences, a good match - in terms of English communication skills, media savviness, boldness (even temerity), adroitness at twisting around words and coming up with derisive statements made with the sole intention of making the other person in the studio seem like a first rate idiot, solely responsible for the failed relationship. It was raining aces and overhead smashes. [Perhaps the effect of watching a 4 + hours epic Wimbledon final on Sunday night.]

Mr. Sibal asserts ‘bad timing’ and Ms. Karat retorts ‘PM issued a statement on foreign soil’. ‘Hey, hold on, Brindaaa!’ shoots off Mr. Sibal, ‘PM made the announcement aboard Air India – which is considered Indian territory.’ [Whoa, Mr. Sibal, you sure do the lawyer community proud!]

Being no sore loser, Ms. Karat ups the ante bringing in ‘uranium for buses and cars’! [Oops! Which world did I suddenly find myself in ?] And, yeah, there’s more coming, baby...‘why so much push only for the Nuke deal, what happened to the Iran-Pakistan pipeline if energy security is a national concern’, belligerently demands Ms. Karat.

Mr. Sibal’s unfazed response : ‘We are acting in the national interest to end 60 years of our isolation, beyond retaining power!’ What a noble gesture to our countrymen from the country’s grand old party. And then, oozing charm, Mr. Sibal croons, as regards the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, you know the problem, Brindaaa. You know where it’s stuck and how our Petroleum minister is negotiating. Come on [hon].

So on and on it went – Each one justifying one’s position and defending the act of the political party one belongs to.

It just showed how low the relationship has sunk. As Barkha Dutt concluded, there was just so much acrimony and bitterness between the two at the moment that there hardly appears to be space for any reconciliation in the near future.

Well, who knows! Like is often said, in politics and diplomacy (and some other arenas also), there are no permanent friends or enemies - only permanent interests. Maybe the Congress and the BJP should get together. Oh, of course, lest we remember to forget, it will always be in the national interest!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


A good friend of mine called me couple of days back, wondering why I have not posted anything on my blog for a while now!

I was quite surprised to hear this - keeping in mind the nonsensical ramblings I post on the blog, (Saucy Sardonix infact considers it a 100 % waste of time- this entire blah-ging business of mine - and I politely remind him that so long as it is my time, it is okay with me!!), to take the effort to call me up and find out whats cooking on my blog, over and above wasting time reading what's posted and commenting at times, is surely something.
This friend, I suppose, must be involved in far more useless pursuits than YT! ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HAPLESS FEDERER?????????????????

Saucy Sardonix has been at it again!
Post 2003, his first Wimbledon crown, Roger Federer had myriad adjectives prefixed to his name. They ranged from phenomenon, invincible, master, indomitable and so on in that genre… But come Roland Garros 2008, Federer and the rest of the world watched and heard in disbelief how the word hapless prefixed his illustrious name! Rafael Nadal was a prodigious teenager when the maestros of the tennis world predicted him to be the man who would challenge Federer's domination of the pro men's tennis. His liking for the slow red clay was well known. Fittingly he picked up his 1st French open in 2004 and from then on proceeded to dominate the world of clay. His penchant for long rallies, powerful topspin forehand and lightning fast court coverage helped him cement his position as the No.1 player on clay. The French open final of 2007 was a set short of a classic. Nadal won in 4 sets and Federer made a match out of it. The 2007 Wimbledon final was widely regarded as a classic with Federer emerging the victor in 5 thrilling sets. What Nadal accomplished with that epic 5 setter was to send a strong but silent message that he was fast improving on surfaces other than clay.

2008 has been arguably one of the most miserable years for Federer. By his own lofty standards he has been a miserable failure. By the general standards of men's tennis he has been just another ordinary player. An illness hampered his defense of the Australian open and that defeat to Djokovic boosted the adrenaline of many others. He won the Estoril open thanks to a walkover and without a single win, on the tennis court in a final; in 2008 he stepped onto the red clay of Roland Garros. Rafa by contrast just came off an unbeaten clay court season and was the booker's favourite to be the lord and master of Paris for the 4th time running. On june 8th 2008 the Philippe Chatrier court hosted the now familiar duo of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the 3rd time in a row. Over the next 108 minutes the aghast Parisian crowd witnessed the most comprehensive demolition of the swiss master in a grand slam final. Rafa winning a no contest in straight sets 6-1 6-3 6-0.

The magnitude of his loss made the ever sporting Federer apologize to the crowd for wining just 4 games after he showered compliments on Rafa's game. The statistics that were unearthed were mind numbing. It's the first time since 1999 that federer had dropped a set 6-0. He faced break points on all but 1 of his 11 service games. It was the shortest French open finals in 28 years. Yes. Roger Federer is inching closer to that elusive summit on which nests the mantle of 'all time great. But can he find a way to shake off the Majorcan master Rafa whose tizzy topspin helped him equal Borg's record of 28 consecutive wins on the red French rectangle?

Surely the easiest option for 'hapless clay court Federer' is to find the high from the "grass" on the London suburbs across the Chanel. Should Rafa win on the hallowed grass of Wimbledon this year then men's tennis is in for serious overhaul. The white attire and green lawns have generally been possessive with Roger Federer and he is yet to lose a match in 35 appearances here. But will there be a repeat of the classic 225 min epic of last year's men's final? Will the supreme swiss master retain his vice like grip over the London lawn? Are the makers going to scribe a new name on the cup this year for the first time since 2003? Will Roger Federer retrieve the temporarily detached prefix of 'supreme' to his name or will the world watch a crownless swiss king for the 3rd time this year? July 6th 2008 will answer these questions.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The year of the Lotus has just begun in Karnataka.
The southern bastion has been broken into....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hate and anger gives you the unrestricted license to assume, presume and imagine all sorts of non-existent contortions to reality.

And guess what, all the contortions and unreal things also begin to take a 'real' facade! :(

It takes maturity of mind and a subsumation of one's ego to take the first step forward.

But then, why the hell should you take the first step ?

This is why the conflict deepens and never reaches a mutually amicable solution.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"very morose and depressed"
Don't think too much!
"My thoughts are killing me!"
That, my dear, is always a power struggle - between you and your thoughts.
Who is the master and who is the slave ? Sometimes, the master himself is enslaved and overpowered in strange, unconceived thoughts.
"Let go of the overpowering nature of the thought, put it in 'hibernate' mode and believe in the dumbness of your actions, at times. Period."

In all humility, that's the sanest thing you could ever do.


You often go back to a time (or many!) when you were dumb, stupid and ignored the writing on the wall (but, who wrote it? Which wall is this?!) Refused to trust your sixth sense and chose to believe in the ephemeral comfort of the big words spoken. Words which were shallow and devoid of any promise or hope but you chose to believe them, foolishly or wisely. Perhaps a fleeting thought to the slippery path, but no, how could that happen ? Finally, it was your choice - to be dumb and stupid and not trust your instincts. And you paid the price for it.
Instinct is a powerful factor in determining the road you take in your life.
Play the game by instinct!


When you cannot empathise or understand, why sympathise ?
I am what I am and what I choose to be.
I don't want your sympathy!

Friday, May 02, 2008

My Century ;)

A 100 + posts!
And still batting at 103 not out.
Preparing for the long haul- some sadly played dot balls, some quickies (think straight, people!), few smashing fours and a thundering six...few and far between.. perhaps it has it all.

On a serious note, I finally discovered how much I love writing - just for the sheer joy and pleasure of it.

Ridiculous, absurd and more...

In an excerpt of an interview of Sir Salman Rushdie reported in the Hindustan Times :
On marriage...
"Girls like it, especially if they've never been married before -- it's the dress. Girls, want a wedding, they don't want a marriage. If only you could have weddings without marriages."

So, according to Mr. Rushdie, women rushed to the altar only because they wanted to wear a "wedding dress".

What on earth does he mean to say ? If he wants to take potshots at one particular woman, let him do that. Why make such a sweeping generalisation on womankind?

This stinks of an outright sexist, biased and chauvinistic attitude and at so many levels...

Its as ridiculous as saying men just want to drink beer, watch TV and have sex.

Absolutely disgusting and repulsive.....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

'Frisky' seal!

The Sunday Times of India had an interesting news item covered today and its headline ran : 'Frisky' seal tries to rape a penguin".

Some interesting parts thereof are reproduced herein :

"The incident, which was caught on tape, is the first reported case of a mammal trying to have sex with a member of another class of vertebrate, such as a bird, fish, reptile or amphibian. "

And the seal's modus operandi, though not a m0del of success to follow (other amorous seals to particularly note!):

"First, the 15-and-a-half stone seal subdued the 2-and-a-half stone penguin by lying on it, which made the penguin flap its flippers while it tried in vain to stand and escape. The seal alternated between resting on the penguin and thrusting its pelvis, trying to insert itself, but the bird played hard to get and the seal gave up. "At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin. Marion Island is the only place where Antarctic fur seals are known to hunt king penguins on land, so the idea that the seal was trying to eat the object of its attention made sense. But then we realised that the seal's intentions were rather more amorous," The Sun quoted. Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, as saying. According to the team who recorded the event, the seal was young, frustrated and sexually inexperienced and thus was unable to find another seal for sex."

"Young, frustrated and sexually inexperienced" - I almost feel sorry for the poor seal!
When it comes to animal instincts, well, what can one say! :)

ramblings on may day

Today, May 1st - Labour day/May Day/International Worker’s Day , is not a holiday for our office ( a law firm).
So whats the big deal?
Personally speaking, it does not make a difference to me.

From another angle, my boss says we (lawyers) are not labourers but professionals! Hence even the concept and the holiday is not applicable to us.

How are labourers different from professionals? At the end of the day, individuals work – whether for a living or for a pastime or whatever other reason- and they invariably end up doing what gives them the immediate opportunity to work and make a decent amount of money to take care of themselves and their family and extended needs.
The ‘being good at one’s job” is again due to lot of factors like attitude, adequate training, supervision, continuous learning and improvement. So, to me, there is no big difference between say, a house maid, road sweeper, a construction worker, tailor, lawyer, banker, doctor et al. (I am overlooking the skill vs. unskilled part but that would mean entering another domain altogether). Why then can’t we view labourers also as professionals ?

Its like the difference between socialism and capitalism. I dont recollect who said it but I have heard it from my dad :
In capitalism, man exploits man. And in Socialism, its the other way round!
The quote has a Shaw-esque sound to it and could be G.B.Shaw, for all you know. But a google search mentioned JK Galbraith and also that it is a Polish proverb!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Tequila Sunrise ... but who saw the sun rise ?


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dead Souls

1) One fine morning, a lady goes to her supervisor at a workplace and says, “I need 3 days leave. My grandfather passed away.” The Supervisor lifts her head, “Oh no! You are not going to fool me with these stories and get some days’ leave! I would like to speak to your mother. Right now.”
The lady pulls out her cell phone and dials the number and is about to mouth a hello into the phone when the supervisor snatches the cell phone from her hand uttering, “I know all the tricks you and your mother may play. All for some leave! Let me talk to her directly.”
The supervisor gets on the call and barks something like “So I heard your father passed away?” Which is presumably confirmed by the mother.
The call ends. And the supervisor tells the lady as to why she requires 3 days leave? what is she going to do in three days anyway ? The grandfather has anyway died!

2) A colleague of mine lost his father all of a sudden few weeks back and had to fly urgently out of town. He reportedly requested for 20 days leave and was granted the leave. 10 days or so pass by when his manager/supervisor walks up to me one evening and starts off about how this colleague has not yet turned up at work, has gone on leave for a long time, so much work pending, blah blah blah....... I keep quiet and stare at him not knowing what to respond. When he goes on and on, it gets me all charged up and I retort "Well, he has not gone for a vacation. His dad died all of a sudden!” Our conversation ended then and there but it left a disgusting taste in me...

Both these unrelated incidents totally cheesed me off by this insensitive attitude of the Supervisor and the manager - at the workplace, which is in most cases like our second home given the amount of time we spend there. It definitely does not need extra intelligence to figure the sorrow, anguish, anger and frustration caused by the loss of a near and dear one. The least one can do is to be a good support for the person going through such a phase and ensure to be sensitive, kind and patient with him.
Does that call for much effort ?
The answer is quite simple: Yes. And we will go that extra yard if we care for the person from a humanitarian level.


While I was in graduation college, a friend of mine lost her father to a heart attack in the morning. It jolted all of us who knew her and her family due to the suddenness with which it happened. We must have been around 18-19 years that time. I used to go to her place every day to be there with her, though honestly I was at a loss for words whenever I met her that time. Words are such poor comforters in times of death. I mean, what can you say to make the other person feel better, happy and cheerful ? Absolutely nothing.

So we would spend afternoons together at her place in a very quiet way, trying to read the newspapers, staring at the walls, listening to the visitors and guests go on about her 'plight', taking her dog for walks etc.

On one such afternoon, she was in a particularly emotional mood when by way of consolation and for want of not knowing anything else to say, I said something like "I understand". She immediately replied, "No, you don't. You just do not realise what it is to lose a parent. So dont say that".

Does one always understand the depth of emotions only when he/she has been through a similar experience ?
What about the quality of empathy ? Which comes if we open up our minds and listen ? Does n’t all this constitute the emotional quotient of a person ?

***** describes 'empathy' as follows :

–noun 1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

2. the imaginative ascribing to an object, as a natural object or work of art, feelings or attitudes present in oneself: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self.


“We may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all—the apathy of human beings.” - Helen Keller


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

After 2 years on the hunt (of course, in my laidback lethargic style, which again is quite a sophisticated way of describing laziness), I have finally taken the plunge.... :)
So what's with the staller, excusez-moi!!! This was a swift move!!
Checkmate, Saucy Sardonix?!!

Monday, April 21, 2008


My calendar's finally out! Yippee!

All thanks to a 'general frustration' of not liking any of the new year calendars, I thought why not make my own calendar with my favourite pictures ? I was doubtful as to how I would go about it given my lack of graphic designing skills. Shared this during a phone conversation with A who immediately volunteered to help me and encouraged me to plunge head-on into the assignment.
Started this in January like a miserable late-latif and by february it was put on the back burner due to a big project I was working on. March - I told myself I should not let this fade away.. and decided to re-arrange and print from April 2008 to March 2009 (the financial year).
All the photographs were taken by me in the course of the year gone by with a couple or so taken in 2006. The prints of some snaps like the papaya leaves, paintings, the leaves behind the glass (already posted in this blog) came out beautifully but a favourite sunset and the yawning lioness, got fairly botched in the print versions! :(

Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

This is a series of paintings hung around the stairs in a hotel in Pondicherry. "Faithful as a slot machine"!!! Touche!

Below the papaya tree at home. One of my favourite sunday spots!

A says this sunset at Sravanabelagola has a water-colour effect!
I keep clicking this kind of pictures all the time - looking up at the trees in the background of the blue sky. And yes, there is a lot of 'sky' in most of my pictures.
The beautiful Jog Falls!
Refer my earlier comment. My favourite tree also would n't be spared of the ordeal!

The yawning lioness, totally unruffled by its onlookers at the Lion/Tiger Safari in Bannerghatta - I love this snap!
The mushroom in the midst of withered leaves ....

I printed 4 sets thinking atleast 2 will end up at my home and to my surprise, I don't have even a single one to keep with me, for memory sake. And got 5 more orders! Plus financial advice from K who says I should treat this as Business Development expenses! Uff, too much!

A is my 50 % partner in this venture, if I could call her that. I can't thank her enough for her patience and perseverance (to see my photo collection and help in shortlisting 12) and for explaining at length how to go about executing the creative part of it. Last but not the least, for giving her artistic inputs and doing a very elegant layout design!

Next up : A has an array of ideas and creativity to unleash. Watch this space!! ;)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

'If' and the process of writing

Shashi Tharoor wrote a scathing article on Rudyard Kipling's poem ‘If’ in last week’s Sunday Magazine edition of ‘The Hindu’. As he himself confesses, this is not the first time he has had “a few unkind things” to say on Rudyard Kipling.

Tharoor candidly acknowledges the poem as a favourite in his younger days. “…..he certainly had a way with words, and the words in this poem were not only inspirational, they were rhythmically recitable — and they rhymed pretty well too.”

Tharoor further goes on to introduce the historical context when the poem was written by Kipling. And concludes “So what many see as an inspirational poem full of stirring aphorisms for young people to live by is in fact little more than an apologia for an imperialist misdeed.” “It is time to retire this poem from our curriculums. It is time to relegate Kipling to the darkest recesses of our history, where he and his ilk belong.”

But it makes me wonder whether such a step is warranted in the first place…..

Yes, despite having won the Nobel Prize for Literature way back in early 1900s, Kipling is now widely regarded as an imperialist and racist. The ‘white man’s burden’ will haunt him forever, I suppose! No doubts about that. But how about appreciating literature for literature’s sake?

The poem by itself does not talk about the historical context to an average reader and is quite an inspiring read by itself. It is merely a beautifully written poem consisting of words intricately woven together, taking a moral high ground. I suppose it is for this very reason it still finds a place in English textbooks and students recite it in poetry competitions. Lines of the poem are quoted to this day especially the (evergreen!) famous lines put up at the entrance of the Centre Court at Wimbledon :
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”

Each writer writes on various topics of his/her interests – on a general as well as at a specific level. There is almost always a background which spurs the creative instincts of a writer and in my view, this holds true for most works of art- perhaps it can be extended to the process of creativity? Would n’t there be a tipping point when one starts doing something ? Or an incident which provides the initial spark (and/or general context) to write about a particular feeling in relation to that incident? Is n’t that how the process of writing flows ? And is n't this process of putting words on a piece of paper – be it a poem, novel, short story, play or any other form – quite internal to the writer who is, of course guided by his/her ideologies, beliefs, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, among others, which then serves as a background for that piece of writing ?

PS : The poem “If” happens to be one of my favourite poems (I had posted it on this blog as well) and I feel a surge of inspiration flowing through my veins everytime I read it. I cannot however deny that I did not know the historical context (vaguely) or about Kipling’s imperialist leanings. Not given to any of the views attributed to Kipling, I merely choose to separate the historical context from stopping my enjoyment of what I feel is a good piece of literature.

PPS : In a modern day context, I honestly wonder if if I would react in a similar way to a beautiful piece of writing by say –for example - Osama Bin Laden or Prabhakaran, Bal Thackeray or even George Bush. And therein ends the similarity!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Musings - a movie, a book and little bit more...

Watched a neat movie couple of weeks back- “Khuda kay Liye”.
Amidst all the publicity of it being the first Pakistani movie to be released in India in 4 decades, I liked the overriding theme and the many issues the director has tried to address in a pretty rational manner. Full marks to him for the end product.

And why Islamic fundamentalism ? Does n’t ‘extremism’ in any religion or ideology bring about a similar result ?

While on the movie, I was trying to remember the movie I watched on the big screen before that- ‘Casino Royale’ perhaps?! I can’t even recollect!

From watching a movie a week (and this is excluding the 1-2 movies I used to watch on Star movies, HBO, Zee and Sony TV on a daily basis) while in law college to watching a movie once in you-don’t-remember-when is quite a journey, if you may call it that, I suppose.

While the movie watching habit has definitely been on a gradual decline over the last 3 years or so, what I have ensured to not just keep afloat, but alive and kicking is my reading habit. In the last 2 months, I read “The Kite Runner” (breezy and enjoyable) and “A Thousand Splendid Sons (soulless!) by Khaled Husseini, “The Afghan” by Frederick Forsyth (interesting initially, but then the ‘neo-con Bush’ agenda took over), “Mistress” by Anita Nair (fascinating especially the interplay between Kathakali, art and Indian mythology set in the background of an adulterous relationship in Kerala), besides some writings of Tagore and poetry (off and on).

While these are all fiction/bestseller category (except Tagore and the poetry bit) and relatively easy on the mind to read after a hard day’s work, what had me gripped was the unexpected one! Till I saw that book, I never knew about it. Nor have I read about the author or his other books.

The title “The Swallows of Kabul” first caught my attention at the bookshop while I was searching for an old book of William Dalrymple. The photograph on the cover was haunting- A woman in a light blue burqa amidst the dry landscape of the mountains and some building in ruins (reminded me of that afghan girl’s photograph which appeared on National Geographic magazine ages ago).

“In the middle of nowhere, a whirlwind spins like a sorceress flinging out her skirts in a macabre dance; yet not even this hysteria serves to blow the dust off the calcified palm trees thrust against the sky like beseeching arms.” Thus began the first few lines.

And I bought the book to finish reading it the very next day. A hard-hitting book, written in a very poignant manner, on the despair and hopelessness faced by 2 couples under the Taliban and how the prevailing socio-economic situation plays havoc with their individual lives, which of course, has spun out of control from their hands. Very depressing, horror-ridden and thought-provoking.

What is the end purpose of all this – you wonder? And, more importantly, at what cost does one pursue that purpose? At any cost? So it seems.

It only made me realize (all the more) how we are so much better off living in a democracy – with all its hassles, corruption et al.

I am digressing here, but me thinks democracy, for all its flaws and imperfections, is definitely the best solution mankind has been able to come up when it comes to forms of government – at the end of the day, it does have some semblance of equity, fairness and continuity of process. The evolving role of the modern state vis-à-vis enriching quality of human life and facilitating the development of groups of people is a subject which has been on my mind and reading this book only crystallized those thoughts further. Perhaps will write about it soon.

PS: Reading another interesting book "Age of Kali" by William Dalrymple and excited about my first Kafka book, next on the list! Has the metamorphosis begun ?!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

sitting on my deadlines and watching them die.....

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Ode to a city!

On a 2 day trip to the city of Hyderabad some time back, I literally fell in love with the sights and sounds of the city, its old world charm - in the Charminar and its bylanes, Lad Bazaar, the ruins of the Golconda, the falooda, biryani (vegetarian!), the absolute chaos on the roads with pedestrians, hawkers, cyclists, autorickshaws, two-wheelers, cars and buses jostling for space in that narrow galli (every rule on the road is a rule meant to be broken - Bangalore, please take note), the Karachi Bakery biscuits, the Lasa Lamsa tea, the beautiful architecture of the erstwhile Nawabi State (now mostly government offices), the mosques and last but not the least, the kalamkari fabrics and the pearls!
Some reminicenses......

Never mind that I suffered a bad attack of flu which was attributed to the falooda. It may or may not have triggered it, but at the end of 2 days, I enjoyed what the city offered!

I am a Frost Girl!!!

My first poem of Robert Frost ended with the lines made popular by Nehru:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep."

From thereon, I have read some of his poems and each one has left an impression in some way or the other.

I recently re-read two poems after a while : "Fire and Ice" and "Reluctance" and got immersed in it, totally!

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Out through the fields and the woods

And over the walls I have wended;

I have climbed the hills of view

And looked at the world, and descended;

I have come by the highway home,

And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,

Save those that the oak is keeping

To ravel them one by one

And let them go scraping and creeping

Out over the crusted snow,

When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,

No longer blown hither and thither;

The last long aster is gone;

The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;

The heart is still aching to seek,

But the feet question 'Whither?'
Ah, when to the heart of man

Was it ever less than a treason

To go with the drift of things,

To yield with a grace to reason,

And bow and accept the end

Of a love or a season?

Lets your mind ponder over so many things and reflect on the lessons learnt and not learnt in hindsight! :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rule No. 1 : Thou shall get what thou shall not go in search of!
Rule No.2 : Rule No.1 wins over most resistance movements!

And the Technophobe gets, what else, but "god's own jewel", as described by a friend!
To cut the delusion of grandeur, well, the majority of mankind refers to it as a blackberry.
Someone once asked this Technophobe, "Why is it called a blackberry and not a blueberry?" leaving the Technophobe to her own ruminations.
huh! So much for championing the Resistance-to-Gadgets (RTG) movement. Perhaps, it was always a losing battle the Technophobe was fighting in the battlefield of her mind.

Life with "god's own jewel" goes on!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forest and River

I had read "Forest and River" (english translation) long time back, during my graduation days - I dont even recollect the exact occasion. But I somehow lost track of it and could not lay my hands on this beautiful poem by Jalal-ad-Din Rumi, despite hours and hours spent googling it many late nights. So my joy knew no bounds, when by sheer chance, peering through the pages of an English textbook of a cousin, I came across this poem right in the midst of AK Ramanujam, Edgar Allan Poe and Nissim Ezekiel!

"I wish I were like you,"
Said the forest
to the roaring river,
"Always travelling,
always sightseeing;

Rushing towards the pure domain
of the sea,
The kingdom of water;
The passionate, vigorous spirit
of life,
The liquid turquoise of light
With eternal flow…

“But what am I?
Only a captive,
Chained to the earth.
In silence I grow old
In silence I wither and die,
And before long
nothing will remain of me
But a handful of ashes.”

“O forest, half-asleep, half-awake”,
Cried the river,
“I wish I were you,
Enjoying a seclusion
of living emerald,
And illuminated by moonlit nights;
Being a mirror
reflecting the beauties of Spring;

A shaded rendezvous for lovers.

“Your destiny, a new life
every year;
My life, running away from myself
all the time;
Running, running, running
in bewilderment;
And what is my gain
Of all this meaningless journey?
Ah…never having a moment of calm
and rest!”

No one can ever know
what the other feels;
Who does care to ask
about a passer-by
If he really existed
or was only a shadow?
Now a passer-by
Aimlessly walking in the shade
comes to ask himself,

“Who am I? a river? a forest?
Or both?
River and forest?
River and forest!”

- Translated by Zhaleh Esfahani

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

GOD, god, God, GAWD

I am muddled up infinitely with capitals & proper nouns :(
Maybe should take a crash course in proper nouns. That is all is needed to take care of whatever little sanity is still left within me.

And the mention to god (forgetting the caps for a moment) is only literal.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

one hundred percent ramblings

This has to be one of my worst days ever…..feeling like I am at the bottom of a ravine and its pitch dark…..
The feeling of emptiness - Its so abstract, so devoid of description yet something so relate-able deep within….
A thousand thoughts come hammering at me and yet sanity, logic and perspective are engaged in a duel to retain the upper hand.
Does mere hard work bring one success ? Of course with the old fashioned accompaniments of sincerity, and integrity ?
And then it would be sincerity to what ? Whose integrity ? And for what purpose ?
Besides these, would other things count ? The art of careful dodging, skillful manipulation, slimy wheeldealing, weaving elaborate webs of cunning schemes, twisting words et al….
In such an event, I don’t want that kind of success.
I would rather be unsuccessful in the eyes of the world. And continue being successful on my terms and honest with myself.
I cherish my integrity, beyond anything else
And frankly, I care a damn, at the end of it. I have closed the door and moved on, enriched by the experience.
And this elevating thought is exactly what will kick me out of the ravine I find myself in!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Hope(s) is really the thing with feathers that walks out in Brisbane ! ;)

Our very own Super Tuesday - beating Obama's Super Tuesday hands down!!!!

Watta match! Should have sat at home and watched it. :(

Alas, that is merely a hope, perching in a little corner of my soul, fluttering its wings once in a while.....

Friday, February 29, 2008

Whats the best thing about a leap year ?
Once in 4 years, you work an extra day for the same pay!
Very enlightening. Thank you!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life is so funny.
Just when I am at peace moving with the calm and placid waters, there comes a ripple.... unsettling the 'stillness' I have seemingly settled into;
I feel neither happiness nor any overwhelming joy.
Maybe, it's just being pulled by the currents ?
Once upon a time, this would have elicited a better, excited response. Now, its not meaningless but then its not my only source of joy or excitement.
Another stark reminder of how change is truly the one constant in life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Opposite of Love ?

In the midst of discussing about love and life with a friend, I wonder what is the opposite of love ? Not hate, though that’s what would be the preferred antonym listed in many dictionaries.

In reality, I suppose it would have to be indifference.

You can spot it if someone is indifferent to your presence, speech, action et al…. being unresponsive to the person, laced with apathy and a lackadaisical approach.

Are you indifferent ? Yes and no perhaps. In some ways. In many ways. Sometimes. At times. Always. Depends on how one perceives it.

And then you look back and feel… for what you were indifferent about? And why you were like that ?

Dig a little deeper and there you stumble on it - - you did not want to get hurt. This was your insulation. Your protection mechanism. You draw a line around yourself and that line shall not be crossed. You stick to it with all the adamancy innate in you.

Does that make you cold and heartless, insensitive to your family and friends?

They care about you and love you.

But what about you ? Do you love them?

Do you even care about the effect your words and actions have on them? Or it is just something you take for granted ?

Its just the way you are and they better accept you for what you are. Its too much of an effort to change yourself.

Its better, is n’t it, to not think deeply about such things… How does it matter ?

Does it even matter ?

To you, to them, to anybody ?

Its too depressing to think.

PS : 'Generally' has lost its relevance ‘cos that’s the feeling generally!

Thursday, February 07, 2008


"He is close to us, but we are far from him. If you would be perfect, seek the whole, choose the whole, be the whole"

This sums up the Hoopoe's message to the entire avian fraternity which sought her guidance on the spiritual path.

- Birds of Rishi Valley and Renewal of their Habitats, S. Rangaswami and S. Sridhar.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

go for it, babe!

15 minutes

Speed 6.00

Incline of 3

And that brought the magic number of 100!!! :))

and now, yeh dil maange more! :(

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

to think about ....

Should there be an aim/ purpose in everything I do ?

Should the 'why' of doing an act assume importance ?

What about sheer aimlessness of doing of an act .... ?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Word of the day! 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, January 24, 2008

nolens volens \NO-lenz-VO-lenz\:

Whether unwilling or willing.

Beneath the surface, little-noticed but fundamental changes are taking place that must compel both sides, nolens volens, sooner or later to reconfigure their tortured but inseparable relationship.-- Bernard Wasserstein, Israelis and Palestinians

Events have put NATO in a position where it is the policeman of Europe and beyond, nolens volens.-- "NATO then Nato now", Daily Telegraph, April 23, 1999

After all, I'm not sure that I'm so angry with them, for it means that now you've got to remain here indefinitely -- nolens volens.-- Mina McDonald, "True Stories Of The Great War: Some Experiences In Hungary", History of the World, January 1, 1992

Nolens volens is from the Latin, from nolle, "to be unwilling" + velle, "to wish, to be willing."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Khoon (kaun?) in a democracy"

Ladees and juntelmen, bhaiyon aur behenon, aap ke liye haazir hai, ek skit of a different kind....."Khoon (kaun?) in a democracy"
[Er, how different, you be the judge!]

Claps and then….

A voice wails: "And there she lies, her blood soaked body…her life cut short by this dastardly act."
"Murder, murder, murder!"
[no, no, yeh Mallika nahi hai bhai, aise kamar ke close-ups nahi milnewala.]

Another voice joins in: "She gave her life for the country and its people! Her people!"
"Hail Martyr!"
[oops, sorry Hitler, but this line really sounded good here.]

A voice questions: "Is it a jinx or a curse? Father, sons and now the daughter? Aey Khuda, ab aur kaun bacha hai ?"

Somewhere not sure from where, a distant echo : "Abhi aur hai na! Sad 'Woh' (!), ladka and chokri abhi hai."

A voice whispers: "Khandaan ka naam tho abhi roshan karna hai!"

An agitated voice, counter-whispers: "Arey, arey, naam! Naam tho khandaan ka nahi hai, magar khoon hai na ? Jaldi naam badal dalo! Aakhir khoon khoon hi hai!"
[Bhaisaheb, khoon khoon ke sevaai, aur kya ho bhi saktha hai?]

Sad 'Woh': "Unki aakhri tamanna … unhone likhke rakhkha hai! Ab jo hoga, jaise mohtarma chahthi thi….. Mein unki ichcha ka paalan karoonga. Her wish is my command."
[AaaH!! How romanteeeq.]

A voice sternly announces: Sad 'Woh' ko tashreef karne ke liye bolo. Chori se bolo kuch naach gana na karen. Ladke ko bulao!

Mohtarma ke anthim vasiyat naama sunai ja rahi hai!

"Yeh party, meri party … iske liye maine kya nahi kiya hai…. Kitne baar jail gayee hoon, hazaaron case ladi hai maine,….. aur apna khoon bahaya hai. Aur mera khoon hi isse aage le jaayega. Aur kaun hai ?"

[Right, who else can take 10 % cuts, build mansions, open multiple bank accounts across Europe, jet-set between Dubai, New York and London. Oh, London, a bit more… New York too long, you see, gets a bit boring.]

Voices : "Ab usko yeh zimmedari leni padegi. Ladke ko. Magar padai katam karne ke baad. Abhi chota aur nadaan hai. …"

[Chota bachcha samaj ke humno na samjhana re!]

Beta ka durbar mein pravesh!

Voices : "Kitna smart dikhta hai na ? Kuch "higher studies" kar raha hai, bolte hai.
Maaloom nahi kya. "Abroad" mein!
Achchi baat hai! Aakhir uski maa ka beta hai.
Khoon ka rishta hai."

[Oh Mother! Lead us from darkness to light. Take us out of this drudgery. We shall all get our deliverance from this mire through and only through your bloodline. Yessssss!]

Beta : I shall follow my mother's wishes. This was her wish. I have no choice but to accept it. This is the only way democracy survives and democracy is the need of the hour, right now, right here. We believe in democracy. Lets all vote for my mother and the life given a(way) to democracy.

[Beta ho to aisa!!]

Sad 'Woh', in a discerning tone: "Ladka naadan hai. Aur tab tak…..main hoon na!"

[Of course, Sad saheb, hum aapke hain kaun jo 'nahi' kahne waale? Jo Zinda wohi Sikandar! Khoon bhari aag, aap mein ab bhi hai. 10 % se 50 % honewala hai!]

Curtain slowly falls. Claps galore. Some silent voices though.

[Legacy, dynasty, democracy, aah!
What legacy do I have to live to… except my own ? Shut up. You just don't have the bloodline, okay ? So forget it.]

[Ok Agreed. I shall start my own business. A political party. And shall bequeath it to my son. Nah, I'll name my daughter as my successor. Being the president for life of a political party is definitely better than being (un)married. Hee hee hee.]

(c) SG : All profits from this skit shall go to the sustainance and promotion of the bloodline of democracy.

DISCLAIMER : This is merely a satirical look at what is happening in young democracies having a feudal outlook (read : India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka... ) There is no intention to cause disrespect caused to any person (living or dead), event or situation.

on a HIGH!

The HIGH without The High continues......

I am on a high!

What could this be due to ? Life's as normal as it was... there 's something so endearing in routine :) Yet....

The dewdrops on the rose early in the morning ?
The early morning chill and the sun lazily coming out by late morning?
The sea, sea and more sea ?
the raging torrents dashing against the rocks,
the waters rushing to the shore and wetting my naked feet…

My mind draws blank.

I have no specific reason or logic or person to attribute it to. Except YT. Its just a high. And its just my state of mind.

Like the notes on a guitar stringing a lilting melody.
I am making it a high note one. :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

of brothers and employers

Pearl of wisdom from a friend on chat :

"There is not much difference in brothers and employers - they are both out there to prove how dumb you are!"

I better appeal to the Government of India to provide me with adequate security ('Z' Category) as I fear a possible threat to my life!

But then, me thinks, they do not need to try hard as such, right ?! No one is shouting from the rooftops about one's intelligence. ;)

PS : A : what are you going to do ?
Win, win win.... that's alright, but at what cost ?
And to what extent ?
Is that really the be-all and end-all in a sport ?
And to achieve that, anything and everything can be done and got away with ?

The total lack of respect to the spirit of the game, rules, fairplay, morals is appalling, to say the very least! And then, of course these guys have the temerity to lecture to the rest of the world about 'fair play' and 'spirit of the game', give press conferences on walking out before waiting for the umpire's decision, make a big hue and cry about "questioning their integrity"!

Fine, let Australia win. We should just give our wickets deliberately. First 10 balls of the Indian innings - the Indian batsmen get out. No defence, no protecting their wicket. Just getting out being the motto. And let the Aussies keep and sleep with their records.

Just leave us in peace.

Not linking it to the umpiring decision or the ban on our teammember, I strongly feel the Indian team should just leave for India and then have a "Boycott Australia" programme for the next 2 years. Never mind the monetary losses, penalties to be imposed,ad revenues et al.

If we pride ourselves in being professional cricketers, then why put up with such unprofessionalism ? Why tolerate it?

Just hit them where it would hurt.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tryst/s with technology

Let me start my dull, insipid love affair with technology and gizmos with an honest confession – I am quite a technophobe! It takes me a while to get functional with a gadget/gizmo and it stops with that.

I know some people who truly freak out with their gizmos and love them as they come, upgrading their gizmos with every product launch. Unfortunately/fortunately (I don’t know) I am still on the other side of the fence.

When I was applying for a job some years back, I had enlisted a friend’s help to spruce up my resume. When I reached his place, he was working on his laptop and opened my resume on the laptop. Asking me to take a look at what he had done, he left the room. My first reaction - I was instantly petrified, my mind went blank…..! I had never used a laptop without a mouse and slowly started scrolling the up and down keys on the keyboard very uncomfortably, wondering what to do.

I have come a long long way since then but the reaction is quite the same - at first sight. It continued with my digital camera and cell phone. My digital camera was picked up by a friend during one of his trips abroad – he kept asking me what kind of a specification I want and all I told him was something I can easily shoot pictures with. Goes without saying that I had to spend some time reading the User manual before I started using the already ‘user-friendly’ camera. Of course, necessity is also the driver to my getting to know ways of using it with its various features and modes.

A friend of mine in the US is such a great technophobe that she does not even upload her pictures from her digital camera to a computer but just keeps buying memory cards as and when they get over! She has quite a state of the art (so it seemed to me!) GPS installed in her new car (the GPS came with the car) but it was still new and unused when I caught up with her some months back. She confessed she still had n’t figured how to use it and on the day we set out for a weekend outing, we ended up getting lost - driving miles away from where we were supposed to go and at that crucial juncture, she finally figured how to use the GPS.

In both our cases, Necessity is truly the mother of learning how to use a gadget and then including it in our lifestyle. A ‘lifestyle choice’, as dear K calls it.

The thing about technology (like with most other things) is the more you use it, the more you get addicted to it; It is difficult to shake it off. Like my transition from a desktop to a laptop…

And then my laptop crashed – I am fudging it a bit here, twisting the facts…. My laptop fell down as I was talking with a colleague! Sheer carelessness and negligence on my part. For a month, I switched back to a desktop ruminating over my trysts with technology.

And I realized I missed the laptop so much that the result of it is what you are reading now.

ok, my Ipod gift is still lying as I received it over a month back- unopened and unattended to.


There’s also a different take on this – its all about getting used to something, is n’t it? We get used to stuff. That’s all. Hence it’s the comfort factor.

When it’s no longer there, you feel some sort of vacuum – for how long and how much- that depends on us.

But after a while, you get used to it.
Life goes on as if that ‘constant’ factor which suddenly disappeared from your life was a mere aberration, a blur… And you get cosy with newer attractions and interests.

I feel this is true with most aspects of life.


A 28 year old software engineer walks into a dental clinic with his arsenal of plug-in electronic devices, wondering why online health care never made it big.

After an assessment of his problem the dentist informs him to come after a week to finish the treatment. The irate techie asks the dentist why doctors can’t work 24/7 like the techies, if need be from home and always available online.

Pat comes the reply from the dentist, “Sure, just leave your mouth with me for a couple of days and take it back once I am done” leaving the techie flabbergasted.

And then it sinks into his ‘frog-in-an-online-well’ brain. Embarrassed and red faced he leaves with his appointment finally realizing that some things are best done OFFLINE!!!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Devaluation ... of another kind ?

Few sectors have benefited from globalization as much as the IT sector. You go to any country in the world, one definitely stands a fair chance of getting into a similar kind of job profile, if it is in the IT sector. Of course, for some, even that is getting out of one’s comfort zone – getting adapted to a whole new work culture, process and manner of going about things.

But what if one works in a sector which is quite country-specific ?

Lets take for example – law. A lawyer in India with a reasonably significant work experience in India in his area of specialisation. What would he do in a similar sector for a living, say, if he wishes to move out of India - to New York ? or Uzbekistan ? Or Peru? Or South Africa? Its definitely not as easy as the IT sector, though perhaps do-able.

A lot has been spoken about globalization ushering in free movement of labour and capital from one part of the globe to another. But besides the IT industry, has it really made a significant difference to many other sectors ?

So should that devalue the other professions ? Because they don’t get posted to 'glamorous' locations, stay in developed nations and travel to often read about places ?

In my opinion, both IT and this travel humbug are overrated and hyped… quite out of their proportion!

And all this from a self-confessed travel humbug working for (not 'in') the IT sector !

Friday, January 04, 2008

"I don't want to run away but I can't take it, I don't understand"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

As we begin the new year,

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it."

- Tagore