Saturday, November 28, 2009


I am quite irritated with blogger these days. But I am more irritated with google as a whole. Each time I try to go to the browser is directed to What's wrong with that, you ask? Really nothing. It is just that has a setting somewhere that displays everything in Hindi. And then I have to translate each page... every time.

Why do they assume that if you're accessing google from India, you must be an Indian? And why assume again that if you're an Indian in India, you'd love to see everything in Hindi?

Yet another aspect of life that is so beyond my comprehension.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In God We Trust

Visiting places of religious interest in India has got me wondering about many things.

  • Does God really have only a limited amount of blessings to give out? Why is everyone so keen on making it first? Even if it means pushing other people out of their way.
  • Is the quality of the blessing received directly proportional to the amount of time we spend in front of the idol?
  • Is God really present only inside the sanctum sanctorum? Is that why people think they can get away with anything as long as they're not "inside" the temple?
  • Are we so focused on getting a good "darshan" that we can really afford to forget our manners and bad mouth other pilgrims with the choicest of expletives when they say, "Excuse me"?
  • Do the "holiest of places" have to be mean the "filthiest of places"?

As I turn a year older, I add to my list more things that will remain beyond my comprehension. Older, not necessarily wiser.

Friday, August 07, 2009

She will melt your heart

I was so eagerly waiting for my dearly beloved. I read every news article that I came across. I even read the magazines, that I normally stay away from, cover to cover, when they reviewed her. Through all the controversies and the debates, I was proud of what she stood for.

And yet, despite all this and more, I must say that nothing prepared me for what I saw yesterday. As I was riding in the cab back home, I saw her in front of me. In a bright yellow avatar. The cutest little thing I have ever seen. And my heart melted.

Welcome to the world dear Tata Nano!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Love Letter

I once watched a movie on Hallmark. This was almost a decade ago. It touched me like no other movie did. It was a simple romantic movie called
The Love Letter.

Last week, in Chennai, my father showed me this "love letter" which he found in a ten rupee bundle. I must admit this letter cracked me up like no other. Juvenile love!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Indian Vegetarian's 100

I just read Nupur's post on the Indian Vegetarian's 100. After listing her Vegetarian's 100, she has now published the top 100 Indian vegetarian foods that one must try at least once in their lives.

Your challenge, should you take up this meme is to:

Copy the entire list, along with these instructions, into your blog post

Bold the foods that you have tried
Strike out the foods you would never try (I used a red font as I was unable to strike out)
Tell us your score in the comments :)

If you wish to, make your own list or add to this one (something I plan to do later)

Nupur's Vegetarian 100:
19. Paneer
24. Kokum
40. Papad
46. Bhakri
52. Amla
60. Jalebi
64. Misal
84. Thecha
85. Rasam
94. Pakoda
100. Chaas

I don't think I shall ever taste the Bhut Jolokia which is considered the King Cobra of chillies. I have yet to eat Sai Bhaji. It is one dish that I've seen make the rounds of so many popular blogs. I have yet to make it or taste it.

My score is 98%. I think it is brilliant that I've actually tasted 98% of the stuff that Nupur believes vegetarians must try in Indian food. Thanks Nupur, this was fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another year...

Another year has gone by. This year has taught me much. It has, among other things, taught me that this blog is as loved if not more than my food blog. While this is just my rant space, I've found that people are interested in what I have to say. It doesn't matter if I talk about the state of affairs in the country or share my personal achievement of driving to work and back.

This has renewed my enthusiasm. I have the energy I need to keep this blog going. Thanks to everyone who comes and leaves their comments. By letting me know that you're here, you've egged me on.

OnlineRaga completes three years on the blogosphere. Thanks to all of you! Happy Birthday OnlineRaga. May you give us all many more years of happiness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Of Media, Esteem, Fairness and Women

I happened to watch some TV this morning. S turned to a news channel. There it was: 26/11 and the Kasab trial. They gave out the entire plan about a bomb proof and bullet proof tunnel that would take the terrorist to his trial. They had computer graphics showing us the composition of that tunnel. And then the usual rubbish about, "Do you know what other arrangements have been made?" I don't need to know. Neither do the guys who might want to sabotage things. If I can watch this, so can they.

On a different note, but related to television nonetheless, do you remember the Maruti Esteem ad that came a few years ago. The "Esteem means what?" advertisement. It was very touching and really cute. Esteem was withdrawn and Swift Dzire has come in its place. I don't like the car at all. But I watched the ad for this car and thought it was appalling. This little girl feels that no one looks at her and the father buys this car. Suddenly everyone looks at them. How shallow! The already low self esteem of that child should have gone two notches lower in that case.

I found the Tata Indicom Samsung Mobile tracker advertisement rather original and very nice. Like the Happy Dent White ad that came on TV a few years ago (and is still aired from time to time). Things are not all bad, I guess.

Though, have you noticed that everyone seems so overly obsessed with fairness. Every cream that is sold for men and women "has" to have a fairness meter attached to it. Someone told these guys we won't buy face or body creams if they won't make us fairer. There was just one Fair and Lovely to contend with earlier. Now even Vaseline (come on!) is forced to add a fairness meter and guarantee fairer skin. I guess very soon we shall see Johnson's Baby Soap and Pears come with new ad campaigns: "Do you think your baby's skin is dark? Use new Johnson's Baby Soap and see your baby's complexion turn two shades fairer in just two weeks."

To sell anything to mothers (not parents, only mothers), all you have to do is tell them how their children will come first in class or grow taller. All they have to do is drink some malted chocolate drink and they're the confirmed superstars of tomorrow. And Bournvita Li'l Champs is all set to start them off early. I am shocked that they're selling a drink so 2 year olds can stay ahead of the competition. Two year olds. Last heard, they were still running around in diapers.

Advertisers also seem to think that in order to sell anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to a guy, all they have to do is tell him that it will get him a girl. It doesn't matter whether they're selling motorbikes (that XCD 135 ad takes the cake) or deodorants or chewing gum. In the end, it is always the girl. Someone ought to tell them that it really isn't that simple. Because we're simply not THAT dumb.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small Wonder

The Tata Nano is out. I haven't booked it yet. A lot of people seem surprised that I haven't booked it. I know it is just a matter of time. I've been reading reviews of the car and I think the word that would best describe this little beauty is: CUTE.

Somehow I still find a lot of people who haven't warmed up to the idea. I am still the object of ridicule at get togethers because I am the one with the lowly ambition of wanting to own a Nano. Because, you see, the one little Nano that I buy will clog the roads. Believe me, if I told people I wanted to buy a Merc or a BMW, I am sure they wouldn't think of it as something that would clog the roads.

I've now confirmed (to myself) that it is the fact that "everyone could own a car" that's driving the anti - Nano sentiment. It didn't happen when everyone got cell phones (or phones for that matter). We like it that our milkman, maid and newspaper vendor have phones. Yet, we grudge them the luxury of a comfortable commute, should they be able to afford it.

I put off buying a car until I absolutely needed one. I continued to use public transport or a car pool long after we had our car and long after I started driving. (I still do.) I might not buy another car until I absolutely feel the need to. I have nothing against people who own more cars than they need to. I have a problem when these very people start their Nano-bashing. Is it that we want to maintain the difference between the haves and the have nots?

I am sure that everyone will have their two bits to say when I do get my Nano. Yes, it will be an inexpensive (not cheap) car and maybe my milkman will have one too. But I doubt this will make any difference to someone who's been ridiculed for 2 years now for owning a "taxi". People forget... or they simply don't know... that Mercs are also used as taxis.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Water, water everywhere

I grew up in Madras. It is common knowledge that we had very severe water problems. I learnt at a very young age that we needed to conserve water. Maybe not as much from an environmental perspective, but definitely from a "use as little water as necessary" perspective. It used to amaze many of my north indian classmates that I used about half a bucket of water to have a bath everyday. They, then, seemed very proud of the fact that they used two buckets.

Old habits die hard. Even now I find myself shouting at the household help when she leaves the tap open while washing dishes or while washing the bathroom. It doesn't seem to make any difference that I say the same thing over and over again.
At work, I find that people don't bother to close the tap when they're done using the wash basin. Is it indifference? But it's the same group of people send out mails to everyone asking them to join Earth Hour because it is good for the environment. What hypocrites!

Every morning, on my way to work, I cross a certain Delhi Jal Board office. I never fail to read the message at the entrance:

Dadi banate samay paani ko behne na de.
(Do not keep the water running while shaving.)

This message is accompanied by a picture of a man shaving with the water running. And the entire picture is crossed out with a bold red "X".

Nothing wrong with any of this. It is a good message that I really think everyone needs to learn. A lesson that people in Madras learnt the hard way. I wonder if everyone must wait until it is too late. But the ironicaly, even the DJB guys don't seem to care about their own message. I guess it's all just nice to see on a poster or billboard, because I've noticed that whenever a water lorry goes from point A to point B, it does so in a very Hansel and Gretel sort of way. Dropping enough water on the way so it can find its way back home.

I suppose this is just one more thing that will remain beyond my comprehension!

Friday, February 13, 2009

If wishes were horses...

When I read about the NOIDA rape case, I was appalled. A little later, I read somewhere that the boys wanted to “celebrate” their victory and also that since they had seen the girl and the boy in an “intimate” position, they felt it was their calling to “protect” the girl from the boy. And the families of the boys didn’t think anything was amiss. After all, the boys were trying to “protect” the girl. It reminds me of the adage: With friends like these, I don’t need any enemies.

Close on the heels of this incident came the Mangalore pub incident. Shocking again. These men were “upholding Indian tradition”. Last heard, tradition was a perennially evolving entity. And even if drinking went against the grain of our Indian culture, I don’t see how beating those women becomes the “right thing to do”. Also, is that our true culture?

There is no way that either of these acts can be condoned. There is no sense in these acts. These guys had no business doing what they did. Shame on them.

I come from a family that didn’t differentiate between sons and daughters. An equal opportunity family you might say. And one that doesn’t believe in double standards. We’re happy to clink glasses together and say “Cheers”. Drinking is not something that is considered a “taboo”. My parents know when I visit a pub. I have no qualms about going there and having a good time. All the same, drinking and pubbing is not considered the be all and end all of our lives. After the Mangalore incident, I was shocked to read the headlines in the paper. Something to the effect of: Today pubs, will they stop us from going to school too? How on earth did they equate one with the other? One is a fundamental right. The other is a leisure activity.

And then, there’s this whole campaign. In my opinion, two wrongs do not make a right. If they do something stupid, we should do something that tells them as much. And then this entire Pub Bharo Andolan. Please, give me a break. We have truckloads of things to worry about. And we pick this. That this entire incident may have been orchestrated by some consortium of pub owners is a thought that crosses my mind very often. In these times of recession, pub owners and managers have told me how bad business has been. So, maybe they arranged this. How else were the cameras ready to film this entire episode? And the media! Are TRPs so important that they chose to film the entire drama rather than help those girls? The media has proven time and again that they are a big bunch of jokers. Now they make this a national issue and here we are. Saying that we should fill the pubs and send underwear to the guy who organized the event is bizarre. If a girl is raped, would you suggest that she rape the same or another guy in return? Would that make things OK? (If you ask me, castrate!)

I am not for one moment suggesting that what happened was justified. There is no denying that they had no business doing what they did. It is wrong and they must be punished. But sending underwear can’t be the punishment. To me, it feels like you’re saying, “I have a dirty mind too.” Which isn’t what I want to say to these idiots. Because that way, I set out do the exact opposite of what I intend to: spur them on. A wrong has been committed. Let’s focus on making sure it never happens again. And while we’re at it, let’s try to not forget our priorities. I’ve worked for 10 years (outside my job) to do my bit so girls can go to school. I will continue to do that. Somehow, I didn’t actively think about girls going to pubs. I hope I never will have to. But I hope never to make a hue and cry either. (How and why college going girls talk about being part of a “pub bharo andolan” in a city where you’re not permitted to drink until you’re 25 beats me.) I only wish Indians came together with such enthusiasm, in such numbers, to ensure the education of the girl child in this country.

While on the one hand, I always say: Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

In this case, this seems more appropriate: Don’t argue with an idiot. People watching may not be able to tell the difference.