Friday, July 30, 2010

A Recipe For Success

Photo credit:eatingtheroad.wordpress.com

You first set your eyes on her in your neighbour’s apartment. You couldn’t help but get seduced by the aromas wafting out of the kitchen. You knew you wanted her for yourself and wooed her like you had never wooed before, she finally succumbed. There had been many before her, but she held out a rare promise.....

You were patient and waited for her for months and the day she joined was one of the happiest days of your life. Silently you had borne the heat, the sweaty back, the exhaustion all in the fond hope of a brighter future. Finally, the smile was back on your face. The evenings were yours at last; you could now snuggle up with that book you had purchased from the book fair last year, listen to Farida Khanum croon in that throaty voice of hers; watch your long forgotten DVD collection. You now felt like a free bird ready to spread her wings.

Unfortunately the honeymoon period was short lived. She was not what you expected, the subzis were mostly overcooked, the dal lumpy and the chappatis cardboard stiff. Even though you did wonder about the absence of her much anticipated culinary expertise, you were careful not to hurt her feelings. You would try and tell her in the gentlest possible way that the spices always smelt raw, the gravy too runny. She made you think longingly about K, his cool efficiency, his melt in mouth paneer koftas. You had him for two years, life was so rosy then, each meal was a celebration. You had to leave him behind, in life you have to move on.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Bloody State Of Affairs

Big B finally gets to be Big F. No, it’s not what you are thinking you pervs. The megastar’s long, lingering wish to get a farmer’s status was finally granted by the U.P government. He is now registered as a farmer member. Let’s just pray that an ash smeared Baby B doesn’t go prancing around the fields, giving a heart attack to the scarecrows and the neighbouring farmers.

Cops in UP are looking at alternative professions as well. Two Uttar Pradesh constables and their suspended colleague decided to make some easy pocket money and decamped with an entire ATM machine. Since nobody knows the mind of a criminal better than a policeman, you would expect them to get away, right? Well, they didn’t and were arrested soon after. They have now vowed that they will henceforth be making money like the rest of their colleagues, by taking bribes.

The Amit Shah (Gujarat’s home minister) controversy had kindled a grudging respect for criminals, who are at least honest about who they are and their motives. Sadly, honesty is not a word we associate with most of our wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing netas, who engineer elaborate conspiracies, shamelessly use state machinery to steal and get their adversaries knocked off. And when the law finally catches up with them, they go absconding, throw elaborate tantrums and indulge in a finger pointing spree, blaming everyone from the opposition, to the CBI or even their local dhobi. Shame on them and shame on us for electing such buffoons.

Source:IndiaToday.intoday.in
The Bihar legislative Assembly witnessed a free for all last Tuesday with its lawmakers throwing chairs, tossing tables and aiming slippers at the hapless Speaker. No, they were not practising for the Commonwealth games, but were simply registering their protest over a CAG report suggesting a 11,412 crore financial irregularity in the state’s development projects. When the 67 opposition MLC’s were suspended and marshaled out, it got even better. Congresswoman Dr Jyoti Kumari went on a gamla flinging spree. As she twirled and flung those heavy flower pots with practiced ease, appreciative gasps went up from an awe struck nation watching the show open mouthed on T.V. The loose cannon had to be literally dragged out of the premises. The physically exhausted MLC then proceeded on to faint and had to be hospitalized. When she finally came to her senses, Jyoti jee clarified that she was simply promoting eco friendly missiles. Her nascent fan club headed by me, has already gathered a mammoth following. As president of the club I have been feeling a little drained. You see, the last few days, I have been busy composing fan letters written in blood to her.
Source:IndiaToday.intoday.in

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Long And Short Of It

A few days back, I came across this article in a newspaper “Can being small in stature drive ambition?” According to it, vertically challenged celebrities suffer from the Tinker Bell complex. Tinker Bell who? She of the Peter Pan fame, who needs you to believe in her for her to exist. Pretty much like Lady Gaga, who lies down after each performance with a “You know how Tinker Bell will die if you don’t clap for her? Do you want me to die? Scream for me! I can’t live without you, I need you to scream louder”. Scary!

Scarier for me because at 5’1”, I am far from tall and then a random research goes on to suggest I most likely suffer from a complex with a fancy name. It makes me feel slightly better to know that I have illustrious company – Dolly Parton, Kylie Minogue, Shakira, Cheryl Cole to name a few and our home grown Rani Mukherjee (if only she hadn’t acted like a lunatic on steroids in “Black”, I would have liked her more). The correspondent further goes on to write that “petite women have been petted and patronised since childhood and emerge as undersized adults with an overwhelming need to prove themselves in a grown up world”.

I felt rather offended thinking that my drive, the fire I have within me to achieve, has very little to do with me and everything to do with my lack of inches. Of course, the term petted-with is something I am quite familiar with. As a girl growing up, I had to constantly put up with “so cute” more often than I would have liked. I would seethe inwardly while heroically attempting a plastic smile.

My Mom was driven too and she is far from petite. To make me add inches, she would wake me up early in the morning and expect me to hang by my arms from the collapsible gate frame. Do you honestly expect a groggy eyed teen to resort to simian tactics for the sake of a few measly extra inches! Well my Mom did and I didn’t comply. I would promptly go back to sleep, the moment she disappeared from sight. Not the type to give up too easily, she then enrolled me for swimming classes. I managed to nearly drown and spent the rest of the session dawdling in the pool, listening in fascination to the “hot Didis” lamenting about their voluptuous frames.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The News Just Got Spicier

In an amusing take on the Indian dream, a 60 year old school dropout from Andhra Pradesh has demonstrated that you do not need prestigious degrees to bag big deals. Devadass Reddy has effortlessly duped giant corporations and well-heeled professionals into buying the Bay of Bengal and its shoreline. Apart from the Sea, he has also managed to sell river beds and canals. Reddy even duped Indian Oil Corporation into buying 166 acres of sea water from him. Yet another example of recklessness with which Public Sector companies gamble with the tax payer’s money.

Pakistan on the other hand is not so amused. Our unfriendly neighbor has notched up an unenviable first place for porn searches per person across the world. According to a Fox news report, Pakistan – the land of pure, tops in searches for “horse sex”, “donkey sex”, “dog sex”, “camel sex”. Actually the list is quite gory but I couldn’t make myself type the entire list. Are men in Pakistan misconstruing the term “wild-sex”? Someone needs to enlighten them ASAP before they end up featuring in some more embarrassing lists.

But someone is wasting all his energy on the right places. Omar Bin Laden, progeny of the infamous Al Qaeda chief is managing to grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons, much like his illustrious Dad. At 29, he already has two wives behind him and has revealed that he now wants to date Drew Barrymore, the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. Just last month, while he was still married to his current flame, a 54 year old psychoanalyst, he had announced that if he has a daughter he will name her Elizabeth, after the Queen of England. The queen received this news with much jubilation and a few hours later, was caught speeding her Jaguar without her seat belt on.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Oily Mess

We Indians love our oil –a lot of it in our food, on our body and in our hair. If the entire Indian populace were to dip their hair  in the Arabian Sea(especially on a weekend), we will put the BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico to shame.

For most of us it’s not just oil but the elixir of youth. A heaven sent potion that promises to transform our stringy mess to a cascading lush mane, send our stubborn dandruff packing off, turn our gray to black so that we can live happily ever after, clutching our bottle of oil. We may have moved on from Sunsilk to Loreal, from Lux to Lush, from synthetic to organic but the hair oil remains a constant. Of course our preferences have changed and the variety is mind boggling.

My Ma has had a life-long bond with her bottle of hibiscus oil -Jabakusum Tel (not the same one thought, she buys a new one every few months). She swears by this very red, very thick oil with a heavy cloying “fragrance” that you can sniff from miles. As a young girl, even though I hated that oil, I had no choice but to use it. So every weekend when I oiled my hair, I tried to breathe as little as possible. It was only after 22 years and a marriage later that I started to breathe properly.

For years I was convinced that this company had managed to survive only due to my Mom’s loyal patronage. I mean who in their right mind would want to use an oil that is not only an assault on your olfactory sensibilities but also an effective repellent? Many years later, I discovered much to my horror that this was preferred by many a Bengali along with Keo Karpin. But what the hell, don’t people use mustard oil and coconut oil which smell as badly?

Even though we swear by our hair-oiling ritual and stick religiously to it come rain or shine, yet most of us wouldn’t be caught dead in all our oily glory. Hair plastered to the scalp, oil streaking down on the forehead is not exactly a pleasant sight. Me, I steer clear of the mirror and avoid looking at my reflection at all costs. I definitely wouldn’t want to scare moi.

Biotique Bhringraj Therapeutic Oil for Hair Growth 120 mlTo make things easier for busy professionals, hair care companies have hit upon some ingenious ideas. A particular shampoo now comes enriched with oil. In the ad, a model with her gorgeously long mane bemoans her lack of time with a “magar time kahan” and starts taking a shower fully clothed in the middle of a field. It does leave me a little perplexed though, are we meant to carry this shampoo bottle around and start washing our hair under the first tube well we spot? Hair oil companies are constantly tapping for new sources of oil. As if amla, almond, mustard, coconut, olive, hibiscus was not enough, we now have walnut, jojoba, wheat germ and exotic herbs fresh off the Himalayas joining the exalted rank.

I am very unlike my mom and prefer variety to loyalty. I change my oil and shampoo every few months. Any new fancy variety that hits the market; I am the first one to try it. My newest bottle of oil is a mixture of 35 mean sounding herbs, most of them unpronounceable and it stinks. This weekend when I give oily nourishment to my roots, I will try to breathe as little as possible. It shouldn’t be that difficult, I’ve had 22 years of practice after all.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jhalmuri Times – Definitely Not Breaking News

Delhi with its dug up roads, constant power outages and rising crime rates coupled with an apathetic administration offers very little to cheer about to its grumbling citizens. Yet Delhizens find bizarre ways to indulge themselves. The last few weeks, the capital was enthralled by the Vuvuzela buzz – yes, the one that sounds like supersonic bees in a blender and makes you wish you were deaf. And now it’s the humble Octopus that has caught their fancy. No, not to eat it (Dilliwalas love their butter chicken far too much) but to keep one as a pet! The eight legged wonder has outlived its world cup euphoria and pet shops in Delhi are now flooded with enquiries about the mollusc as a pet. The octopus is apparently a highly intelligent creature and has a complex nervous system. Does it now mean Babas will soon be going out of business? After all who needs a baba when you have your personal octo-baba!

Delhi’s police on the other hand are taking a breather from tackling crime and addressing the issue of water conservation rather seriously. No, they have not stopped taking their bath in a bid to save water but are spending sleepless nights over a missing tap. And this is no ordinary tap but a VIP tap belonging Bhakta Charan Das, a Lok Sabha MP. Two persons have already been taken into custody and booked under an array of befuddling sections (380, 422 and 34 to be precise). Tapping into crime has never been easy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Guest post by Menon: Where Is The Money?

Introducing Madhusudhan Menon, he of many loves and many interests..any thinking which is new on any subject is of keen interest to him...

Where is the money I ask? Every day I pick up the pink papers, the Government has raised more money by selling spectrum, increasing oil prices, increasing taxes, GST, Vat, Service tax etc etc and more. Plus they are selling stakes in PSU s to all and sundry at prices at which even seasoned Investment Banks are balking to take the mandate.

I would have thought that with all these resources that are being raised we can see better infrastructure, better security, better standard of living for everybody, education, health care, unemployment insurance. There are so many wise and pressing ways to spend the money. But wherever I look, any new investment or infrastructure is all private..So you have swanking new airports being built with private money, roads being privatized and tolled to death, new private and expensive schools ( when is the last time the Government built a school, or hospital for that matter?)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Musings of an Octopus Vulgaris

It is possible, all these years you have seen me only on National Geographic, observed my meeting and mating antics over a bowl of freshly popped corn or pushed a dead meat me around with a fork in your seafood salad. A few decades back, James tried to Bond with me over a reel of Octopussy. I was quite unfairly made the villain of the piece. Now, in the first decade of the 21st century, I am back with a crash and bang sending the world into paroxysms with my soothsaying capabilities. Hi, I am Paul the world’s most famous Octopus Vulgaris. I don’t suffer from two left feet, I have eight. I am big headed but not pig headed. I have never kicked a football in my life, yet my psychic powers have squished the air out of many a ball.

They say, I am more famous than all the footballers put together. The global talking point, I am the most written about, the most hated and the most loved celebrity in the world. The other day a sensational Indian channel “Aaj Tak” featured me as “Baba Paul, Samundar ka chamatkar Jyotishi”. They say Baba Ramdev, an Indian Icon has now gone into deep melancholy and was last seen sipping “Lauki juice” at a local bar.

The Gender Bender Game


I have been tagged by Shilpa Garg, The Analyst, Indrajeet and am expected to spill out my transgressions – “My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes”. Before I proceed to spill out my darkest, deepest sins, I have to admit I revel in my femininity and enjoy the perks that come attached with it. Try going to the PPF (Public Provident Fund) office alone, forms appear magically, the sour faced officer smiles at you; people actually take a break from their tea-break to help you out. You feel like the magic wand that the fairy god mother lost long ago. At the airport if someone insists on lifting my mammoth bag from the luggage carousel, I happily let him. I do not bristle when someone opens the door for me, pulls out a chair or fetches my choice of poison.
But you wouldn’t catch me dead, fluttering my eyelashes or putting on the delicate darling act. Naaah…that’s not me.

This is me

1 .I dread going to the salon and keep stalling my visit till I start looking like King Kong. Each visit is more traumatic for the staff than it is for me; I wince, complain loudly and request a break every 2 minutes. All these years and I can’t still bear the pain.

2. Are women expected to love cooking? Well I don’t. The endless round of chopping, frying and stewing bores me. But that doesn’t stop me from being a foodie. Thankfully am never short of people willing to indulge me.

3. At a party, the woman laughing the loudest with her head thrown back is usually me. I love cracking jokes and keep my friends in splits with my mimicry. Is that unfeminine?

4. I have stuffed myself in a plastic ball and rolled down the gentle slopes of Khajiar. Have parasailed over the Gulf of Thailand even though I can barely swim to save my life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Can you trust your Doctor anymore?

Long, long ago we used have family Doctors. Whenever you fell sick you went running to your guardian angel expecting him to cure you of your misery. Mostly a bespectacled, benign looking old gentleman, his chamber was usually an annexe in his house. A few gulps of that ugly pink, bitter tasting oral suspension and you were up and running, back to your pranks. If your eyes hurt from too much of reading in the dark you went to the eye Doctor and to the Dentist to get your cavities filled. They were more like family members reprimanding you for your indulgences. In college our “Guardian- Angel” was a rather good looking fellow, far from old, but you usually don’t get attracted to men who smell of Dettol.

How life has changed. Your eye Doctor has a fancy new title “Ophthalmologist”. If your vision is getting hazy you go to the Optometrist. Tummy ache? Which part? If it’s the kidney you rush to the Nephrologist not to be confused with the Neurologists meant to calm your nerves. Your liver is taken care of by the Hepatologist and not the Haematologist meant for your bloody troubles. For your intestinal woes you need to rush to the Gastroenterologist. Does it mean that we can now fall sick without a care in the world and expect miraculous recovery? After all there is a specialist tending to each miniscule part of our achy-breaky body. Newer, spiffier five star hospitals are mushrooming all over the city. So is your Doctor, he/she with-a-tough- to -spell title still your guardian angel?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Your Underwear Is Now Smart

What do you do when you have invented everything worth inventing? Organs can now be harvested, crops genetically modified. Youth is just a scalpel away. Technology is your personal genie, everything material made available with just a flick of a button.

So does it mean that our Scientists and Researchers are sitting idle and vacationing in Honduras? Of course not! They are now fruitfully engaged in making cuddle sprays that make men feel like women. Conducting path breaking research on how cats react to various fragrances. Designing broadband connected bathtubs and mirrors that monitor your health. In future, you and your mirror will be engaged in meaningful conversations - Mirror, mirror on the dresser, is my cholesterol any lesser?

And now brace yourself for the latest breakthrough in the Scientific world. US scientists in response to growing need for wearable healthcare have designed smart briefs. These extra savvy briefs can measure your BP, heart rate and other vital signs via an electronic bio sensor in the waistband. Apart from life saving functions these underpants will have educational features too! Are Scientists conspiring to make Education a pants down affair? But hey look at the bright side. All along it was Superman flashing his red undies and now it is your turn to flash your super-undies.

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