Life etc.

Courtesy :

Compassion and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember.  I was all of four when I tried to save half a dozen fish from drowning.  As I was engaged in the earnest endeavour, dragging them out of the school water tank with a stick, I fell in the pool of freezing water.  I was trying my best to drown when an insensitive lout of a school peon pulled me out.  Instead of being nominated for bravery awards and made to sit atop an elephant on Republic Day, I was taken to the Principal’s office.

Let me announce at the onset that this is a pointless post.  In fact I don’t even know what I am going to write about.  Aren’t there times when you venture out for a walk and have no idea where you are heading?  You just know you want to be outside, so you inhale the scent of the Hasnuhana trees, admire the striking couple that passes you by, pat the Labrador as it looks at you with those lugubrious eyes.  You don’t have to keep a tab on the kilometres you walk, no calories to burn, no destination to reach.  Aimlessness can be liberating - it frees you from expectations and you have no disappointments to fear.  I wish life could be like that.

Today I will let my thoughts meander.  I have no news to share, no point to make, I may not make you laugh, but I still invite you to join me on this journey.  It’s no fun being on your own. 

Nostalgia is a seductive mistress.  How often have we huddled together with friends and family and dipped into the vat of collective memories for some succour.  We laugh ourselves silly, sometimes blame each other for unspoken torment and invariably end up confessing our so called misdemeanours.  Like the time when my Dadu banned me from reading the Godfather and I still went ahead and read it. At thirteen when I tried shaping my eyebrows, I ended up snipping away half of it. For weeks I faced the world looking like Spock from Star Trek.  Every time Ma said No to me, I went ahead and did it.  They were my small victories and I cherished each one of them. 

I was always restless, I still am.  My daughter tells me she gets tired just looking at me.  I can’t sit still, I can rarely relax and always need something to keep me occupied.  I work myself to exhaustion and crib about it.  Is it because I am scared to face the eternal ‘what next’?  Is it because I have no clue what it’s going to be?  Of course I know what I will be eating for lunch and dinner for the next seven days – that’s how organized I am.  But I do wish that I could let go.  Surrender myself and let time take me wherever it wants to. Not be consumed with a sense of guilt about wasting it.

Singapore on your plate

It’s not every day that you get a call from a blogger friend asking if you’d like to accompany him to a Singapore themed culinary fest at ITC Maurya,New Delhi.  And when he does, you drop all your plans (even that lunch date with your school buddies), like a hot potato and say yes-yes-yes. 

The Travelling Pop-out Kitchen
Singapore-Takeout, a one of a kind concept is a travelling pop out kitchen with more visa stamps on its passport that you and I can manage in a lifetime.  This multi-city, international culinary show organized by Singapore Tourism brings the country’s famed diverse cuisine to your doorstep.   Even though it’s been over three years since my last visit to the island country, my taste buds still tingle with the memory of Chilli crabs at Jumbo, the pungent Nyonya curries, spicy Laksa, Hainanese chicken rice and baskets of dimsums we sampled at the many restaurants and Hawker centres.  The lion city is a cornucopia of flavours with Malay, Chinese, Indian and Perankan influences and leaves you spoilt for choice. 
Hun Kwee Jagong- coconut corn jelly. 

Secret Cow Facts

All that you wanted to know but didn't know who to ask.

India can save the world or so the scientists at Bee Jay Pee Research laboratories would have us believe.  They have stumbled upon a breakthrough that will fetch them a tsunami of accolades.  China will feel like a cretin, CERN will turn a beetroot red and Pakistan will sulk and go green.  Finally India will be every neighbour’s envy.  Speculations are rife that the research team is now a strong contender for the Nobel Prize.  Not just one, but all categories.  Like a true blockbuster it is strongly backed by fiction, has sizzling chemistry and can usher in world peace.   This hitherto unknown headquarter of the geniuses which is on a headline grabbing spree, is located in Tikamgarh, an unsung hamlet of a Middling State.  The scientist community is abuzz with excitement.  It’s not every day that a third class research centre manages to produce such first class results.  

Imagine coming up with a mother of magic potions that is an answer to all your miseries! And what’s commendable is that they did not even have to seek out Harry Potter’s help!   Liberal quantities of it can insulate you from nuclear radiations.  All you have to do is coat the walls of your house with this brown goo and voila you can say bye-bye to all your fears of apocalypse.  Its application can prevent C- section and ensure normal deliveries for women.  It is still not clear how and where it should be applied.  This magic potion found in abundance in India, can be picked straight off the roads and fresh samples can be procured from bovine behinds.  Yep...I am talking about the humble cow dung. 

Hold your Bullshit please, there’s more to come!

For all of you who find cow dung too icky, you can always turn to the cow next door for bovine comfort.

My Crystal Ball Predicts...


The road to Baga beach is almost empty. The taxi union after taking the pledge to go green has sold off their taxis and are now giving free piggy back rides. The shops selling genuine fakes have now turned into physiotherapy centres.  The shopkeepers spent a fortune buying their degrees from the neighbouring state.  As I walk towards Tito’s, I notice a huge crowd on the beach.  They have all assembled to hear Anu Jalota sing bhajans.  Jalota looked quite fetching in a bandhni lungi and Doc Martins, his six packs gleaming under the moonlight.  Nearby at Zanzibar, the world- famous- in- Goa shack, they are serving lauki juice.  Since it’s happy hour, one can get two glasses for the price of one.  Hey isn’t that Vijay Mallya glugging a tall one! 

Somewhere in Delhi, inside a well designed by Lutyens & Baker half a century back, Sushma Swaraj is giving an impassioned speech.  With his face resting on his palms, Kapil Sibal is listening to her with rapt attention and admiring her Patola sari.  Just as Ms Swaraj finishes her debate, Manu Singhvi starts applauding wildly shouting bravo-bravo.  Sushma blushes a beetroot red and does a silent adaab.

In Lucknow, Maya is giggling softly as she unwraps her Valentine’s gift from Rahul G.  It’s a cute jumbo with a heart sown on it.  She shyly puts a garland of currency notes around its neck. 

Mamata Di has finally learnt a new word – Yes.  It took 72 back-to-back episodes of Yes Minister to get it into her head.  

MMS – the silent sardar’s weekend soiree was a hit.  The ghazal renditions in his velvety baritone left the audience asking for more.  People afflicted with an acute case of hypermetropia could almost mistake him for Jagjit Singh(may his soul rest in peace).  The TV cameras were quick to capture a man swaying wildly at MMS’s feet.  Only when the gamchha came off, did the audience realize that it was none other than Kiran Bedi.  Kejriwal was thumping his tabla energetically, his shampooed hair bouncing with a life of its own.

Salman Rushdie was spotted cozying up to Tasleema Nasreen on the streets of Nice.  When the paparazzi started following them, Rushdie screamed #Shame at them before disappearing into the dark alleys. 

With Kiran and Kejriwal discovering their love for music and Manmohan, Anna now has to fend for himself with only the Bhushans for company.   The self-proclaimed Gandhian has now adopted a unique form of protest to bring the government to its knees.  He now eats non-stop till Pranab Da comes running to him, begging him to stop.  Shri Hazare will soon be enrolled for Jane Fonda’s aerobics for the elderly.

The National survey has thrown a few surprises with Mumbai emerging as the cleanest city, Delhi the safest and Bangalore with the least traffic.  And now that Chennai is the new fashion capital, all Fashion weeks will be held in Amma’s own country. 

Hollywood hotties, Ryan Gosling and Eve Mendes were spotted wearing monkey caps and Hermes lungis are a worldwide rage.

Lokpal No Pal Of Mine...

Were you pissed off too with the way our esteemed MP”s conducted themselves in the Parliament? The way they made a mockery of the Lokpal bill? Here’s what Cacofonix, my guest blogger has to say about this farce…

Give Anna some credit.  At least he got everyone in Parliament to attend Parliament, that too over the holiday week when most Parliamentarians have other pressing matters to attend to, like checking out Kiwi cultivation techniques in Phuket or how Santa’s kinky helpers dress up in Sin City.  So, here we were, proud citizens of India, glued to our television sets, fitfully watching our tax money spent in mind-numbing debate on the subject of the Lokpal Bill.  If you had high-definition TV, you could even count the number of ear hairs flailing in the wind as Lalu held his ground, hurling insult at retired cops and retired truck drivers who are holding the nation to ransom.  Or you could measure to the nearest millimeter the extent of venom-hardened tartar that dentists have to scrape out from Sushma Swaraj’s defiant dentifrice.  

Through several days of incessant coverage of the proceedings in the upper and lower houses, of the debates on TV and of the dwindling crowds at Team Anna’s venues, we got educated at great length on the finer points of the Lokpal Bill.   Is it introduced under Article 252 or 253?  What about section 24 of the Bill?  Maybe clauses 63 through 97 should be struck off.  I loved the drama and marveled at how such debates provide our lawmakers and party spokespersons the opportunity to take the attention of 1.2 billion people away from the basic premise that started it all – to have an effective law against corruption.

Winter’s Sonata

It was indeed a proud day for all us when the NCR recorded a minimum of 0.1 °Celsius.  With our chests puffed up in pride, we shivered even more vigorously.  We were even happier to note that the hills were warmer than the plains, courtesy an unusually dry spell.  Someone even dedicated a Rajni joke in honour of this unusually cold spell – Dear Rajnikanth please switch off your A/C.  Regards North Indians.

Rajni Anna, please don’t switch it off until April!  I am delighted that the refrigerator is warmer than my room and my fingers feel like kulfi sticks.  That I have not stood straight for weeks does not bother me at all.  Actually I quite fancy myself as the crouching tiger and am ready to growl at anyone who thinks otherwise.   I happily bound in and out of my building with the tip of nose matching the colour of my boots – a startling red.  And if you hear a hissing sound in the background, please don’t start screaming for help – it’s just me trying to keep warm. 

Long ago I had made up my mind that winter is going to be my favourite season and nothing can deter me from my resolution - not even my teeth which have become exhausted from all the chattering. 

I am given to understand that as a bonafide Bengali, I am expected to dive under a pile of blankets at the mere mention of cold.  A Bengali’s paranoia to anything below 20°C is well chronicled.  Come November and you will spot most of us covered in moth balled shawls ready to face a blizzard.   Strangely our race’s legendary aversion to cold doesn’t deter our adventurous spirit.   Think of a hill station and the first thing your mind will conjure is a Bong Meshomoshai in his monkey cap, with only his pinched face exposed to Maa Nature.  From Kasauli to Kausani, from Shimla to Shilliguri, from Dalhousie to Darjeeling you will you will find our brethren rubbing their hands vigorously and muttering “Kee sheet” (it’s so cold) under their breath!  

As a Delhi-born Bengali I find such behaviour disdainful and will drop dead with shame if I spot a relative taking refuge in a monkey cap.