Thursday, November 19, 2009

'What's cooking?' with Mrs. Iyer!

Considering all the 'dance therapy', 'music therapy','laugh therapy', 'walk therapy', 'talk therapy', 'write therapy', 'paint therapy' workshops all around, each with atleast a dozen suckers [what else do you call someone who thinks someone else can make him/her get in touch with him/her-self?]attending, maybe I'll begin a 'cook therapy' group too and charge a 1000 bucks for a 2 hour session. Ofcourse, I already know some people do find cooking ..

Here's the plan.

When you enter the class, you are led blindfolded to the kitchen where everything you need to cook up a good, fresh meal is laid out in eye-pleasing formation. This is so that you gasp when we remove the blindfold.

Lesson 1- It was all beautiful in the beginning!!

...we then get started with the 'THERAPY'

Positive venting = chopping veggies, grating cheese - also kneading dough.
Blending in = Chutney making, Dosa/Idli batter making.
Relaxation = watching tea leaves in boiling water making wonderful patterns in a deep golden brown.
Aroma therapy ( Optional - chargable) = Ginger and Holy Basil in the tea
Negative Energy release = Exhaling loudly with the whistle of a pressure cooker.
The colors of life= The spices you add to the food
You need a good cry= Chop some onions.
Coping with grief= Realising good food, like life, can be spicy, sugary, salty, sour or bitter. If you have the right proportion of everything, you have it made.
Doing away with excess baggage = Straining cooked rice, keeping only what one needs. [Oh my..I'm getting good at this - should I write and sell a book? I wonder]
Achievement bonus=Sputtering mustard / Cumin seeds and seasoning.

Life is beautiful again = Fresh coriander/Basil/Mint for garnishing.

Now say OM three times with your eyes closed, breathe in very slowly the wonderful aromas rising from the food you just prepared, open your eyes and my main door very slowly and go home. I get to keep the food. Thank you very much.

[Haven't found a replacement for my old cook...sshh]

With all due respect to the genuine therapists...those therapists who are angered and stressed out by my sorry sense of humor will be allowed to attend a session of 'What's cooking' for free.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Living a li[f]e

There are so many hammocks to catch you if you fall, so many laws to keep you from experience. All these cities I have been in the last few weeks make me fully understand the cozy, stifling state in which most people pass through life. I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.”...... Henry Rollins quotes

I watched a man yesterday, smartly turned out, having coffee at the Chembur Barrista ( on our way out from Mumbai to Pune) talking animatedly and laughing intermittently. He looked happy...seemed to be enjoying the conversation. [I was in my car..waiting for hubby to get his cuppa.]
I assumed this was a dialogue...I turned fully to look at this man...saw nobody talking back to him or listening. I then thought he had one of those silly ear fittings that come with the cellphones that make most sane folks look demented...but he turned around twice...smiling and talking...nothing. He finished his coffee, took out his wallet, settled the bill and left...still talking to himself. He was the kind of guy you look at and think 'smart looking chap'. And this.

What drives people mad, I wonder. How does one remain sane in this crazy world, I wonder. But again, maybe like a very young friend of mine who battles bouts of Schizophrenia says..."everybody is is just that some of us know it"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Face Value

Why does Shahrukh notice Kajol in KKHH only after she begins to wear sarees and jewelry - like the typical Indian beauty?
Why does Amrita Rao have to dress like Sushmita Sen to get her boyfriend's attention in Main Hoon Na?
Why does the frog turn into a prince when the princess kisses him? Can't she fall in love with a frog?
Why does the beast also turn into a handsome prince when belle falls in love with him?
Symbolism be damned!
How many advertisements do we have for beauty products that promise us instant fame and love?

Yet, my favourite love story will remain that of Prince Charles and Camilla.

Dilli Blues

I write this to assuage my conscience and as an apology to all the Dilliwalas I've offended deliberately and inadvertently [Most deserved it but hey!]. Born, bred and having sworn only to breed in Mumbai, I moved to Delhi and later to Gurgaon when I got married 15 years ago. I was already biased against the hugeeeeeee city having heard stories of its 'auntiyaan', 'behenjees' and 'showbaazee'.

None of these stories were false and I had enough reason to be opinionated and very superior with the Dilli Walas for the first few years not realising how warm and welcoming our new neighbors had been to this nayee naveli, totally lost in Delhi, dulhan and her husband.

Dilliwalas have a 'chip on the shoulder' too. They KNOW that they're not as 'kewl' as the Mumbaikars or as 'elite' as the Kolkattans. They all deny that they're 'basically' Dilliwalas although their families might have lived there for generations. Even advertisements for rented apartments are very clear in saying 'company lease' or 'south Indian family' preferred.

The shopping in Delhi is incredible. Karol Bagh, Sarojini Market and Lajpat Nagar for the casual shoppers, Greater Kailash, Khan Market, Hauz Khas and all the new ritzy malls for the more 'discerning" (??!!)...CP, Saket, etc for the youngsters to hang out...and for the khadi crowd we have Santushti and Dilli haath.

I'm now in Pune...yes...of all places. Tiny city in comparison. Cold, unwelcoming people...academically sound yet tunnel visioned in culture. A genuine, warm invite for a casual cup of tea in this city would give me a heart attack!

I long for the warmth of Delhi...the freedom to say 'Come over' knowing that the invitation will be echoed sincerely....the impromptu singing sessions with total strangers in some resort somewhere...the India Gate and the annual music shows held there...the 'showbaazi' even..where we all dressed up once in a while and showed off...the lovely places to visit with friends and kids for overnighters an hour or two away from the city...just the whole feeling of belonging.

This warmth is lacking in Pune. Everyone is an outsider...Bombay was never warm...I realise and remember that now when I revisit it after 12 years of being away. It is a city built with an didn't was planned. The people reflect this culture. I love it still, only because I can't suddenly is a huge part of me and that will never change...but nostalgia is a big liar and I just don't feel the same way about the city today. There's too much apathy...too much attitude...too little depth. It ... just isn't the same for me anymore.

Delhi is evolving....the people know they have to change and progress..they're trying. And I like those who falter and make mistakes and try to improve better than those who pretend they were born perfect. Somehow, I've gone from the latter to the former...and I miss Delhi!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Samaantar - The Marathi movie I watched with Mom today. Taking inspiration from my new Gujrati Pal in Kerala who watches and reviews Malayalam movies, I shall attempt to tell you what I thought of this one in a few words.

Sharmila's 'stoic'( newspaper review) silences - Marathi bolta yete hila?...pann neet bollee..towards the end.

Amol Palekar...passes (out twice) with distinction ( goatee and all)

Story line theek hota...

Aani ho! Even a Marathi SD [arre Burman re!] take-off, near Howrah bridge...O re maajhi..(Sharmila stands there wondering.."sigh, kitnee baar mujhe yahan aakar gaana padega")

Mhanje...aavadla..pann..the director doth try too hard, asa vaatla.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Art 'a' Tack

A conversation with my niece, who's doing her masters in art [and living my dream] in London, led to some interesting reflections. Am sure she [in her glorious twenties] was secretly smirking at my 'unqualified' opinions.

We were discussing contemporary art. She's a fan and says art must not be restricted to beautiful depictions of even morose and morbid things on canvas...that art must leave the canvas and the four walls and be taken outside...that art has evolved to embrace the now and is not regressive or contained in a box. That video is the new canvas. That everything is art.

My take is that art has always been seen as therapeutic and a release from the regressive and contained. Also like all things real and invaluble , it was supposed to be timeless. If art today reflects the times, would it not be instantly redundant unlike what has survived and indeed enhanced generations? She doesn't agree. She says change = evolution and not necessarily a rejection of what is old. Adaption would probably be another word here. What is free, again, wont adapt.

So, I disagree. Take glass and plastic for example. Even today glass is fascinating and offers endless possibilities...plastic, well...!

What is Art? And what is its purpose?

Science for science's sake? No..there are applications
History? Again applications...well, of a kind.
Math? Applications
Geography? Applications
Art? It has always primarily been for art's sake.

I remember, we were never assessed for our aptitude for art in any great detail in school. It was, at best, an indulgance, a hobby [thank God that has changed]. At best there'd be little windows on our marksheets for DRAWING and CRAFT and we'd get graded poor/good/excellent. No marks.

Can there be theories on art? Maybe classical forms of dance and music where there can be discipline...but how does one teach another how to create a piece of art? How does one FREE art? How does it evolve? I have always found this whole 'analysis/appreciation of art' idea very pseudo...but then maybe that is because I haven't 'studied' art? 'Studied art' - an oxymoron? And 'study of free art'..again intrinsically contradictary because anything 'studied' isn't 'free'. Basic technique can be taught, perhaps...but art itself is like breathing. It has to come naturally.

Art has also always reflected current culture...and I dread to think that contemporary art will depict the lack of anything closely resembling culture today...again culture, like art, is being redefined.

Yes, the world is more eclectic and I love those buses with 3D pictures on them...and the street paintings that are surreal yet engaging...but this isn't my idea of art....this either!!!Maybe I need to take a serious look at contemporary art before I comment any further...maybe I'll change my mind...and again maybe not!

How do YOU define art?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Of balance.

Some things go as planned.

Some things go differently.

Some things happen without warning.

Some things just never happen.

The secret to peace I'm told is in finding the path of least resistance and in realising that we can control and be answerable for only our own thoughts and actions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Parde mein rehne do...

If I wont let GOD ( Yeah right!) tell me what to wear, am I going to let this french tart tell me what not to?
Btw...everyone has the freedom to be delusional. Even those who think God prescribed a dresscode. If this guy can do it, why not God? No?

Sunday, June 14, 2009


And they spin...eternally.

Will we ever return
To find traces of us
In flickering spaces
Between paddles of time
Spinning eternally?
Can we catch moments
of flapping black wings
Vagrant verse
Against white skies
Of flimsy parchment
Caught and tearing
Between paddles of time
Spinning eternally?

Anita Iyer

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another time, another place

What If - by Swati Chandran

I took the road less traveled by
The one that Frost had written about
Though they warned me with a sigh
Of lurking danger and surprise
I ventured on without a doubt

Of course, it made a difference
Just the way I lived my life
On my own terms, with confidence
And some not-so-common sense
Yes, it has been worth the strife

What if I had tread the beaten path?
And by every rule been bound?
Would I not be looking back in wrath,
For having feared the aftermath,
Of each new wonder that I found?

Copyright @ Swati Chandran

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sense, sensibility, sensitivity. Sad how one is rarely inclusive of the other in most of us.

Sense is about knowing what is worth a reaction and what isn't.

Sensibility is about being aware you don't own the space beyond your nose/knows.

Sensitivity is about being aware of the little sand grain in your shoe and completely oblivious to the elbow you stick in someone's side while you lean on him/her trying to get it out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I do...

DON'T WE ALL ( email forward )

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come
from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work.
Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would
consider a bum.
From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no
money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times
that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't
want to be bothered times."
"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.
He didn't.
He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look
like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
After a few minutes he spoke.
"That's a very pretty car," he said.
He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly
blond beard keep more than his face warm.
I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never
As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if
he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true
to the inner voice.
"Do you need any help?" I asked.
He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget.
We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from
those of higher learning and accomplishments.

I expected nothing but an
outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.
"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum
in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge
Don't we all?
I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I
needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus
fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those
three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter
how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you
have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or
a place to sleep, you can give help.

Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.
You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.
They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different
perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from
daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.
Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe
he was more than that.

Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and
wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."
Don't we all?

Zen? Arabic for Good?

What Are You Doing! What Are You Saying!

In modern times a great deal of nonsense is talked about masters and disciples, and about the inheritance of a master's teaching by favorite pupils, entitling them to pass the truth on to their adherents. Of course Zen should be imparted in this way, from heart to heart, and in the past it was really accomplished. Silence and humility reigned rather than profession and assertion. The one who received such a teaching kept the matter hidden even after twenty years. Not until another discovered through his own need that a real master was at hand was it learned that the teching had been imparted, and even then the occasion arose quite naturally and the teaching made its way in its own right. Under no circumstance did the teacher even claim "I am the successor of So-and-so." Such a claim would prove quite the contrary.

The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. "I am getting old," he said, "and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I have also added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorhip."

"If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it," Shoju replied. "I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is."

"I know that," said Mu-nan. "Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here."

They happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions.

Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: "What are you doing!"

Shoju shouted back: "What are you saying!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

RIP, Amma

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Rising.

"If we would only testify to the truth as we see it, it would turn out that there are hundreds, thousands, even millions of other people just as we are, who see the truth as we do...and are only waiting, again as we are, for someone to proclaim it. The Kingdom of God is within you."
- Leo Tolstoy

My Grandmother is waiting to stop breathing. She slipped into a coma yesterday. The pain is finally over, now it is a matter of time before she becomes a lingering memory. She will always be a part of me...because I am a part of her. And nobody will replace her as our family 'Don'!

Topmost on my mother's mind and that of her sister's, even as they're trying to come to terms with the impending loss, are the last rites and who will conduct them and how. They want what is best for her, want her soul to rest in peace. Isn't it sad that rudiculous rules control our thoughts to an extent that what is obvious becomes obscure? How do I argue with this kind of thinking at this time? Must I argue at all? Who made the rule that relatives, who care less for the person who is gone or going, have better connections in the afterworld just because they are male, to set the soul free? It is frustrating...but then...a lot of things are! I guess I'll toe the line, bury my brains...yet again and go with the flow because that is less uncomfortable - for everyone. The next few days will test my patience ( not my best virtue). I must remember to stock up on tranquilisers and try not burst a blood vessel.

How is a daughter inferior to a son? I want my daughter to carry out my last rites if my husband isn't able to for some reason. As a matter of fact, I want no last 'rites'...just a hygenic disposal of my body after all reusable parts have been taken out for transplantation and a small party with Pav Bhaji ( lots of Amul butter), some Kaala Khatta (not out of a labelled bottle) , some really good hot Samosas ( yeah I know..I have really really cheap taste in food :P ) and pasta - a la hubby. Actually, I wouldn't mind a full fledged Palakkad Iyer Kele-ka-patta treat either. And this party I'd like to have Pre-mortem if we are in the know beforehand.

Can this be treated as my official last wish?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

तदबीर से बिगड़ी हुए तकदीर बना ले
अपने पे भरोसा है तोह यह डाव लगा ले...लगा ले, डाव लगा ले

Friday, March 20, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Same same but different

The same people? Surely not
By Vir Sanghvi

Few things annoy me as much as the claim often advanced by well-meaning but woolly- headed (and usually Punjabi) liberals to the effect that when it comes to India and Pakistan , "We’re all the same people, yaar."
This may have been true once upon a time. Before 1947, Pakistan was part of undivided India and you could claim that Punjabis from West Punjab (what is now Pakistan ) were as Indian as, say, Tamils from Madras .
But time has a way of moving on. And while the gap between our Punjabis (from east Punjab which is now the only Punjab left in India) and our Tamils may actually have narrowed, thanks to improved communications, shared popular culture and greater physical mobility, the gap between Indians and Pakistanis has now widened to the extent that we are no longer the same people in any significant sense.
This was brought home to me most clearly by two major events over the last few weeks.
The first of these was the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team on the streets of Lahore . In their defence, Pakistanis said that they were powerless to act against the terrorists because religious fanaticism was growing. Each day more misguided youngsters joined jihadi outfits and the law and order situation worsened.
Further, they added, things had got so bad that in the tribal areas the government of Pakistan had agreed to suspend the rule of law under pressure from the Taliban and had conceded that sharia law would reign instead. Interestingly, while most civilised liberals should have been appalled by this surrender to the forces of extremism, many Pakistanis defended this concession.
Imran Khan (Keble College, Oxford, 1973-76) even declared that sharia law would be better because justice would be dispensed more swiftly! (I know this is politically incorrect but the Loin of the Punjab ’s defence of sharia law reminded me of the famous Private Eye cover when his marriage to Jemima Goldsmith was announced. The Eye carried a picture of Khan speaking to Jemima’s father. “Can I have your daughter’s hand?” Imran was supposedly asking James Goldsmith. “Why? Has she been caught shoplifting?” Goldsmith replied. So much for sharia law.)
The second contrasting event was one that took place in Los Angeles but which was perhaps celebrated more in India than in any other country in the world. Three Indians won Oscars: A.R. Rahman, Resul Pookutty and Gulzar.
Their victory set off a frenzy of rejoicing. We were proud of our countrymen. We were pleased that India ’s entertainment industry and its veterans had been recognised at an international platform. And all three men became even bigger heroes than they already were.
But here’s the thing: Not one of them is a Hindu.
Can you imagine such a thing happening in Pakistan ? Can you even conceive of a situation where the whole country would celebrate the victory of three members of two religious minorities? For that matter, can you even imagine a situation where people from religious minorities would have got to the top of their fields and were, therefore, in the running for international awards?
On the one hand, you have Pakistan imposing sharia law, doing deals with the Taliban, teaching hatred in madrasas, declaring jihad on the world and trying to kill innocent Sri Lankan cricketers. On the other, you have the triumph of Indian secularism.
The same people?
Surely not.
We are defined by our nationality. They choose to define themselves by their religion.
But it gets even more complicated. As you probably know, Rahman was born Dilip Kumar. He converted to Islam when he was 21. His religious preferences made no difference to his prospects. Even now, his music cuts across all religious boundaries. He’s as much at home with Sufi music as he is with bhajans. Nor does he have any problem with saying ‘Vande Mataram’.
Now, think of a similar situation in Pakistan . Can you conceive of a Pakistani composer who converted to Hinduism at the age of 21 and still went on to become a national hero? Under sharia law, they’d probably have to execute him.
Resul Pookutty’s is an even more interesting case. Until you realise that Malayalis tend to put an ‘e’ where the rest of us would put an ‘a,’ ( Ravi becomes Revi and sometimes the Gulf becomes the Gelf), you cannot work out that his name derives from Rasool, a fairly obviously Islamic name.
But here’s the point: even when you point out to people that Pookutty is in fact a Muslim, they don’t really care. It makes no difference to them. He’s an authentic Indian hero, his religion is irrelevant.
Can you imagine Pakistan being indifferent to a man’s religion? Can you believe that Pakistanis would not know that one of their Oscar winners came from a religious minority? And would any Pakistani have dared bridge the religious divide in the manner Resul did by referring to the primeval power of Om in his acceptance speech?
The same people?
Surely not.
Most interesting of all is the case of Gulzar who many Indians believe is a Muslim. He is not. He is a Sikh. And his real name is Sampooran Singh Kalra.
So why does he have a Muslim name?
It’s a good story and he told it on my TV show some years ago. He was born in West Pakistan and came over the border during the bloody days of Partition. He had seen so much hatred and religious violence on both sides, he said, that he was determined never to lose himself to that kind of blind religious prejudice and fanaticism.
Rather than blame Muslims for the violence inflicted on his community — after all, Hindus and Sikhs behaved with equal ferocity — he adopted a Muslim pen name to remind himself that his identity was beyond religion. He still writes in Urdu and considers it irrelevant whether a person is a Sikh, a Muslim or a Hindu.
Let’s forget about political correctness and come clean: can you see such a thing happening in Pakistan ? Can you actually conceive of a famous Pakistani Muslim who adopts a Hindu or Sikh name out of choice to demonstrate the irrelevance of religion?
My point, exactly.
What all those misguided liberals who keep blathering on about us being the same people forget is that in the 60-odd years since Independence, our two nations have traversed very different paths.
Pakistan was founded on the basis of Islam. It still defines itself in terms of Islam. And over the next decade as it destroys itself, it will be because of Islamic extremism.
India was founded on the basis that religion had no role in determining citizenship or nationhood. An Indian can belong to any religion in the world and face no discrimination in his rights as a citizen.
It is nobody’s case that India is a perfect society or that Muslims face no discrimination. But only a fool would deny that in the last six decades, we have travelled a long way towards religious equality. In the early days of independent India , a Yusuf Khan had to call himself Dilip Kumar for fear of attracting religious prejudice.
In today’s India , a Dilip Kumar can change his name to A.R. Rahman and nobody really gives a damn either way.
So think back to the events of the last few weeks. To the murderous attack on innocent Sri Lankan cricketers by jihadi fanatics in a society that is being buried by Islamic extremism. And to the triumphs of Indian secularism.
Same people?
Don’t make me laugh.

Add your comments:
Btw, it is actually the triumph of the traditional Indian pluralism !

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gift of the jab

Forwarded via e-mail by a friend

When Insults Had Class :

When Insults Had Class (no 4-letter words!!) These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language was taken over by American slang and curse words and got boiled down to 4-letter words, not to mention waving middle fingers.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, 'If you were my husband I'd give you poison,' and he said, 'If you were my wife, I'd drink it.'

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: 'Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.' 'That depends, Sir,' said Disraeli, 'whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.'

'He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.' - Winston Churchill

'A modest little person, with much to be modest about.' - Winston Churchill

'I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. 'Clarence Darrow '

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.' - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

'Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?' - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

'Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it.' - Moses Hadas

'I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.' - Mark Twain

'He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.' - Oscar Wilde

'I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one.' - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

'Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one.' - Winston Churchill, in response.

'I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here.' - Stephen Bishop

'He is a self-made man and worships his creator.' - John Bright

'I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial.' - Irvin S. Cobb

'He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.' - Samuel Johnson

'He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.' - Paul Keating

'There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure.' Jack E. Leonard

'They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.' - Thomas Brackett Reed

'In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.' - Charles, Count Talleyrand

Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?' - Mark Twain

'His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.' - Mae West

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.' - Oscar Wilde

'He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts.. . for support rather than illumination. ' - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I wish I were in Dubai right now

"When You and I behind the Veil are past, Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last, Which of our Coming and Departure heeds As the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast"....Omar Khayyam

"Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye.. Jo Munn Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye "...Kabir

"Punarapi Jananam, punarapi maranam, punarapi janani, jathare shayanam..Iha samsaare, bahu dustare, kripaya paare paahi Muraare"...Bhaja Govindam, Adi Shankaracharya

" Soul receives from soul that knowledge, therefore not by book
nor from tongue.
If knowledge of mysteries come after emptiness of mind, that is
illumination of heart."....Rumi

"Chal Way Bullehya Chal O'thay Chaliyay
Jithay Saaray Annay
Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay
Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay"

...Bulleh Shah

And I wish they were still around...


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar, kaanta lagay na kankar...

I am no Shiv Sena fan. Their antics don't amuse me, never have. And this is not a sad disclaimer. Just the plain truth.

But I do wonder. The Shiv Sena has had an anti Pak stance forever. It has been against the Pakistani artists entering any Indian arena, the Pakistani Cricket team playing here, etc. We have all condemned them for this. Now Lahore happens...with SL.

MNS has something against Non Maharashtrians coming into the state and taking up jobs which might otherwise be available to locals. I don't accept that Maharashtra is not a part of India although this whole United India is a Mughal and British concept and never was an "Indian" one to begin with. Still, we ARE one country and we must respect our own rights and those of others everywhere. Right. But if that is true, development must happen all over India too and not only in certain 'flogged to near death' pockets. Thankfully, that change is happening now...beginning with Gujrat. But they have Modi...oops!

Bal-T wanted South Indians ( I am one myself) out...he didn't like Dharavi and its predominantly South Indian population...coming into Mumbai following impossible dreams and living in squalor in an attempt to realise them. Dharavi is still there and it has grown and grown. And now it is full of locals and people from other parts of the country ...impoverished and probably without any means to get out of that trap.

Boyle makes a movie about it. Suddenly some like me are shamed, some are over the moon, some are staring at us like we're fools to even react.

And the Thackrays are wrong. I have always said that too. They are wrong... like they have always been because they are too arrogant to know how to package and market their obvious intelligence and intelligent concerns the way the pacifists and apologists and bootlicking politicians from 'SECULAR' parties package and market their spineless stupidity to us, the Indians.


Post traumatic stress disorder of another kind.

While the civilised world is up in arms against child abuse and slavery, Slumdog Millionaire continues to make news. Meanwhile the children from Dharavi are back where they belong (??) and are unable to cope with the sharp U turn their lives have taken. Read more here. The trauma has just begun to unfold.

Monday, March 2, 2009

TAZ and all that jazz

Tazeen old pal from Orkut and Pakistan. Her blog is written about in today's Pune Mirror on page 12.
Here is where you can find her blogging away 1900 to the dozen!


Saturday, February 28, 2009


It's called Mindset!!

As my friend was passing by the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not.

My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away."Well," he said, "when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. Theybelieve the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free." Myf riend was amazed.

These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were stuck right where they were.Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

So make an attempt to grow further.... Why shouldn't we try it again?

(email forward)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


My daughter asked me this morning....why can't "Rita" (name changed), our maid, sit at our dining table and have her breakfast instead of on her chair in the kitchen? I explained that she came from a small 'Jhopadpatti' [slum] ...and may not be as clean as us because she doesn't have access to as much water and other facilities as us. "How come she can wash the dishes we cook and eat in and clean our home then but not sit with us to eat?"

Do I have the conviction to let her find the right answers and follow her heart or will I teach her what I know to be wrong because it is easier? Today, I changed the topic. Tommorrow is another day!

On the flip side, I've forgotten how to sit crosslegged on the floor and eat like a proper Iyer Mami though I encourage my daughter to try. Even the help at home have chairs so I don't have to check if they mop the floor after they've eaten. I suppose the traditional Indian style of eating has its positives. You have to bend a little when you're seated on the floor to put your food in your mouth. And a stomach crunch per morsel might be a good deterrent for foodies like me! Hmm. Maybe it is time to get rid of the dining table altogether. Na rahega baans, na phoolegi saans!

Daily dose

Waving the hand.
The comments rock!
(found link on Quirky Indian's last blogpost)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Karma Coated

Quotes off today's Pune Mirror

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it will turn out ( Vaclav Havel)

If you understand, things are just as they are; If you don't understand, things are just as they are. (Zen proverb)

and others:

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
~ Etienne De Grellet

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you - not because they are nice, but because you are. ~Author Unknown

It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. ~Baha'u'llah

If every man's internal care

Were written on his brow,

How many would our pity share

Who raise our envy now?

~Peitro Metastasio

And my favourite:

If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dharavi shining and Pinki smiling

We've managed to turn shame to glory..haven't we? What we swept under the carpet is now ON the red carpet. Kudos to Boyle and shame on us. The first half of the movie was unbearably stark. How many children live like that in our country? And why? The scene at the Taj where the urchins rip a tourist taxi and the American woman tells a beaten up Jamal..."Here's a piece of the real America, son" while urging her husband to tip him...I honestly didn't know how to react. Doesn't this happen there? And if it does, does it take away from the fact that it happens here? My child doesn't know that car tyres can be stolen and sold, how do these urchins know..and why? What registered also, was that nobody really really brought up 'Dharavi' at the Oscars. It was 'cheeeeeeezeeeee' time. I agree it was a sensitive movie, well made...but I am hoping it was more than a fairy tale. Sean Penn, ..the Hollywood brat who won the best actor award for MILK chose to make a statement about homophobia but Dharavi?? Wassat again?

Meanwhile, Pinki is smiling in UP. Ugliness was never acceptable...and plastic surgery rocks! So will the next child that is born there with a cleft lip be spared the ragging? I don't think so and I don't know where to begin changing the way we treat other human beings.

But for now, pop the cork and let the bubbly flow! Cheers!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


My blood Boyles.

Would Shilpa Shetty be where she is today if it wasn't for Jane Goody's 'politically wrong' remarks ? What if Jane had been 'nice' to her in the reality show? Goody is dying in a few weeks, leaving behind two little children that she's providing for financially by selling her story. She said what she did in the show because she didn't know better. What was Jane's role in our world in this lifetime?

That aside, why were Goody's remarks racist and why is SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE different? She asked Shilpa Shetty if she lived in a slum...and commented on her bleaching her skin. How many Indian women use bleach and 'whitening' creams? I know I do. Why did we all react like we did? Does the truth hurt that bad? If it does why is SM a rage? BOYLE is the toast of Bollywood and Hollywood and bootlicking Indians that are and aren't part of the movie are going ballistic with joy at all the adulation the movie is recieving.

I don't get it. Do you?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Washed out

Like most mothers I know, I keep chasing my child all around the house trying to get her to wash up before and after she eats/sleeps/goes down to play/snacks/etc 24/7! ( Yeah I know, poor darling)

But I wonder often, I go to a grade-I restaurant and have no idea if the nice waiter in his nice uniform has washed his hands before touching the crockery or cutlery and more importantly what he's touched before that! I have no idea where those napkins I wipe the side of my mouth with daintily are kept before they appear on the table. At a swanky bakery the other day, the guy at the counter wore plast-icky gloves while packing the lady ahead of me some croissants and pastries...he'd been switching on the microwave and patting his hair with the same glove on 2 minutes ago. But nobody else seemed to have noticed and it would have been futile for me to I simply turned around and left.

In many matters and like most people ( who may or may not admit it) I'm a hypocrite. I love Joshi's Vada Pao from Vishrantwadi wrapped in last year's newspaper and have never fallen ill from eating it. Hehe! I grew up in Bombay and no Bombayite worth his / her salt can deny that the best tasting eats in Bombay, even today, are what you get from the roadside vendors. The usual joke is that the paani in the paani puri tastes good because of the added flavours from the thelewala's hand... [eww, I know ;) ] . But somehow, in my 13 odd years in Delhi/Gurgaon and my many journeys through North India, I never got used to eating in Dhaabas. Nothing to do with cleanliness, but charpoys and truck drivers, loud bad music and a good appetite don't go together for me. There are many new Dhaabas, all 'clean' and shiny cropping up though. They call themselves highway restaurants but at heart...they're still Dhaabas and yeah...much to the frustration of my husband ( and some friends who drove around with us that loveeee dhaaba food ) I could always tell the difference.

I especially expect cleanliness from those places that charge me an exorbitant sum of money for a little something on a fancy looking plate. Silly, because when you walk into any restaurant's kitchen, you see the dudes there sweating it out and touching just about everything with their hands before they serve up your food. But if I go down that road, I'll end up having all my meals at home! So :-X!

So now... am I going to stop asking my daughter to wash her hands? No way!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Silk root

The only silk that appeals to me (inspite of my genuine (?) pity for the poor worms that die in order that I may wear the utterly beautiful fabric)- Kanjivaram.

As the Mother Goddess Kamakshi smiles benignly at her devotees from her sanctum sanctorum, there is injustice rampant under her own nose. There is a lot being done...and a lot left to do to set things right. Take a look.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meesta Bombastic...

Stop Using Big Words You (we?) Don't Understand

Sesquipedalian predilections warrant interminable vigilance.Verily, vivacious nomenclature decries salient considerations of distinguishability. Abandon waterlogged lexicons for perspicuous verbiage.Discontinue inclinations toward Brobdingnagian libretto. Procure alternative bureaucratese.Stop Blogging.


Don't I want everyone that reads my blog to know what I'm saying? Or am I targetting the OXFORD RETURNED ENGLISH LANGUAGE POST GRADUATE who has a thesaurus chip in his brain? This, obviously, is the weakness of many who fancy themselves good writers ( not to say that those of us who aren't bombastic are good necessarily). Interesting and pertinent writing IMVHO ( V=very) is not about big pretentious words, it is about words that make sense the first time someone reads them. An extensive vocabulary is a definite plus but if it doesn't convey what it seeks to at first go, it is wasted. More here and here. Also here.

Someone's actually done this! There's even a song!!! Oh, and for those who insist on trying too hard, there's this and this !!

Enjoy the links and for more laughs, google 'using big words'.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dune bashing

I've always loved going to Dubai. It has something to offer for everyone. But I've also always come away wondering at how unreal the place is. If it will stand the test of time...this whole beautiful expensive bubble. I was especially disturbed when I returned from Germany via Dubai last year by the new extention of the airport that has been built recently when there is already another airport under construction. The colossal WASTE of money bothered me. It really did.

I am told by friends and family working in Dubai that the global recession has hit them like a ton of bricks. There are beautiful state of the art cars abandoned at airports with keys still stuck in them and credit cards used to the last limits. People have left / are leaving Dubai in droves, disillusioned and defeated. In the meanwhile the media is taken to task for telling it like it is.

Why did we think the bubble would last and why do Indians allow themselves to be exploited? I am told anyone without a degree/passport from the 'West' gets a lower salary compared to a 'Westerner' for a similar job profile/portfolio no matter if he/she is better at what he/she does. I don't think I need to elaborate. See how the ARABS feel. .

There was always that niggling "first uneasy impression" about Dubai everytime I visited although I've had great times there! Now as I learn more about it, I know why.

And I wonder what Mr. Obama might have to say about this.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mirakle workers!

Congrats Dhruv Lakra! I request those who're in Mumbai and reading my blog ( out of the few of you who do!) to try them out. It is time they got their rightful place in society and a chance to be counted. Cheers!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hakuna Matata

Two Things To Worry About :
There are only two things to worry about: Either you are well or you are sick. If you are well, there is nothing to worry about; but if you are sick, there are two things to worry about: either you will get well, or you will die. If you get well, there is nothing to worry about; if you die, there are only two things to worry about: either you will go to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about. But, if you go to hell you'll be so darned busy shaking hands with friends you won't have time to worry...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shocking pink


Beyond comment.

but V

Add: Sisters of mine, did you stop to think about what might happen if he ( Oh dear GODDDD NO!) decides to get even instead of mad...and actually 'dons' and poses in one of these?

Writer's block

Nice things people say when they don't like your writing : by Will Wright punny pseudonym?

Every writer I know has done this. You've just finished the best thing you have ever written. So you bounce it off friends and family. You convince them to read your latest opus, waiting for them to catch the magic of your words, the subtlety of your approach, the wit, the humor, the brilliance that you poured onto the page.

And when they're done reading you get, "That was ... good." Good? ........That's it? That. Was. Good? Nothing else?

Well, having received my share of noncommittal feedback has led me to a number of conclusions. But the most important one is this: people who like you and don't like your writing aren't going to say anything that will hurt your feelings. Instead, they'll hide how they really feel. What this means is that you need a translator to convert what they say into what they really mean. Most of these responses are to the question - "So, what did you think?"

What they say: That was an interesting story.
What they really mean: This story piqued my interest. It's too bad that you wrote it. Maybe you should try submitting the story idea to a real writer.

What they say: I really liked the characters.
What they really mean: Man, this story stunk. What's something positive I can say, without lying?

What they say: I liked it. Maybe you should do this [insert whatever suggestion they have].
What they really mean: Man, this story really stunk.

What they say: How did you come up with this story?
What they really mean: Why did you make me waste three hours of my life reading this?

What they say: There's some real intelligence behind your writing.
What they really mean: Yeah, just like the guy who wrote my chemistry text book.

What they say: There were some typos and spelling errors. But overall it was good.
What they really mean: I was so bored; I had to count errors just to keep myself occupied.

What they say: I liked the part where [insert whatever part they liked].
What they really mean: Out of the 200 pages you gave me to read, I liked one page.

What they say: I'm not really qualified to judge writing.
What they really mean: Please don't make me lie to you and tell you I like this.

This reminds me of my kavitanjali days when I'd torture a couple of good friends...insist they read what I passed off as poetry and be terribly upset with anything vaguely negative they said. :)). I commend their patience! Have things really changed? I've just gone to prose from worse...oops verse!

Mean joke of the day: What do you call a midget psychic that escaped from jail? Small medium at large!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi...

The mind is intelligent. And the soul is something you force yourself to listen to ...sitting crosslegged, eyes closed..scented candles around...picturing the Himalayas in your 'mind's eye' so you are at peace with the world.Right? ....Well, think again!

Doesn't it surprise you how some people appeal to you at the very first meeting.Why people..even nicknames on the internet. People you've never met...people you may never meet. You feel attached, an affinity that cannot be explained. You feel like you've known them forever.

And then there are those that you can't stand from the word get tell yourself you are wrong in judging and labelling...that those people are probably really nice...and/or only as bad as you are. And you know you can be rotten rotten as anyone else. And then you go out of your try and deal with them the way you try to deal with everyone else...honestly. Sooner or later, you are disappointed.

And it slowly dawns on you. Your soul is more intelligent than your mind. It recognises what the mind cannot. It has a history, like the soul of the person you form an impression of. The feeling is uncanny...and undeniable. There is something beyond human comprehension. There is that element of Karma. There are things we cannot explain. There are things we mustn't mess with. One such phenomenon is that of THE FIRST IMPRESSION.

And my new year ( late I know...but its just February yet) resolution is never to argue with my soul.

“First impressions are often the truest, as we find (not infrequently) to our cost, when we have been wheedled out of them by plausible professions or studied actions. A man's look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.”
William Hazlitt quote

Flash back - I

My man-friday, the guy who cooks and manages my house for me, has been on leave for a few days now and I'm back to running my home like I did 9 L O N G years ago with part time help. Hm, this morning as I made pavakkai pitla and beans poriyal to pack for my hubby's lunch with rice and dahi and pickle and banana chips from Coimbatore while juggling with the dosa tava and chutney grinder at breakfast time I thought of naani and my life with her.

I grew up with Naana and her (and my aunt who got married and left for her own home when I was in Class IX ). Naani was ( is) chronically asthmatic. Has always had severe wheezing bouts and had/has to resort to Asthalin and Betnasol and Deriphyllin overdoses to be able to breathe almost normally. Back then, she'd wake up at 6 in the morning, bathe...make us all breakfast, pack lunch for Naana who'd leave at 8 for work and also for my aunt who had to rush to college/work. She'd then get me ready for mean task. I was ( am?) naughty and had very long hair and she'd have to braid it carefully...and then ensure that I'd packed the books I'd need each day at school. Her coffee would be in her steel tumbler ( we all had different glasses and plates - no mixing) getting tepid and tasteless. But she'd finish her chores before she sat down for a sip. And then once Parvathi Baee ( our maid) had left at 10 30 or so after her morning beat, she'd sit down for a bit and read the newspaper. At 12 it would be time for her to heat up my lunch and pack it in a be put in the usual plastic lunch basket and send with Parvathi Baee to school for me. I always ate piping hot food..home sandwiches or junkfood. Never ordered out unless there was a very special occassion. Baee would be back at 1 30 to return the basket. Naani would lie down till 3.30 and wake up to make herself some tea or coffee...and wait for me to get home by 4 15 or so. Then she'd make sure I changed, drank my tea, ate a hot homemade snack and finished my homework by 5 30 to run down to play with my friends. My aunt returned at 6 30..and Naana at 7. She'd take care of their needs then. We had dinner at 8 because Parvathi Baee would come at 8 30 sharp to do the dishes at night and would grumble if we weren't done. :))). When I visited my friends, I'd look forward to the junk food I'd be served by their mothers..and when they came over, they asked for Naani's special snacks. My classmate from college still hasn't gotten over her adai and avial.

When I'd visit my folks in Dammam and miss school I had a residence visa that HAD to be renewed every 6 months, so sometimes I'd go mid-term, she'd borrow notebooks from my classmates and write down everything I'd missed and make sure I made up when I returned. She'd yell at me when I'd hurt myself or stay out longer than I was allowed to. Through all this she struggled with her breathing. Her Asthma. After my aunt got married, it was Naana and Naani and me. Naana died of cancer when I was in my class XII. She looked after him like he was a baby in his last days...she had married him when she was barely 13 and was 55 when we lost him. Naani was/is the strongest woman I've known. She refused to go stay with her daughters and insisted on continuing in her own house. I was more than happy to stay with her because it meant that I'd not have to move from Bombay. I remember having to rush her to the hospital at all hours when she'd get breathless and nothing would work on her. She'd be put on oxygen and given drugs IV to settle her breathing. She'd even tell me what to do if she died on me. Where the keys were kept, where all the kitchen stuff was, whom to call and what to say. When she'd be hospitalised, I'd make very frugal lunches to take to the hospital for her...frugal because all I knew back then to make was Rasam, Rice and some sort of Potato curry...and yes..Phulkas. She was kind..and always ate and appreciated what I took for her. The year after Naana passed on, my folks returned to India and settled in Madras. I couldn't bring myself to leave Bombay, so I continued with naani till I got married. I remember her packing my lunch when I'd go to work too...and my colleagues would completely ravish my dabba before I could even get to it and I'd be stuck ordering out. Amazing woman.

Today she's 80 plus, suffers from a million health issues but is still a source of strength for us. I remember cracking all the filthy jokes that I'd hear in college and at work with her...and she'd blush and laugh in turns. My aunt always says that I've completely corrupted her mother who used to be such a prude! One of her newer problems is 'fundal varices'. It rears its head every couple of months and cannot be treated in her case because of her age and asthma. They just inject a sealant endoscopically and hope for the best. Last time she was in the ICU, I went to see her between dropping my daughter at school and picking her up...and she regaled me with stories of which nurse was eyeing which ward boy and which patient didn't like her daughter in law. Can't not love her! All I wish for, for her, is rest because I can see that she is truly tired. I hope it comes gently though.

Everything comes rushing back to me often when I'm doing my chores or combing my daughters hair or helping her read or write. I wonder what memories my daughter will have of me when she is 41.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

High 5!

One summer, when Bill was still president, Mrs. Clinton and he were vacationing in their home state of Arkansas. On a venture one day, they stopped at a service station to fill up the car with gas. It seemed that the owner of the station was once Hillary's high school love. They exchanged hellos, and went on their way. As they were driving on to their destination, Bill put his arm around Hillary and said, "Well, honey, if you had stayed with him, you would be the wife of a service station owner today." She smirked and replied, "No, if I had stayed with him, he would be President of the United States."

(off the net)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The weakest link

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abhi toh main....

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, surely I can't look that old. well.. you'll love this one.

My name is Alice Smith and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his dds diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then? Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School."Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a mustang," he gleamed with pride."When did you graduate?" I asked.He answered , "In 1959. why do you ask?""You were in my class!", I exclaimed.

The wrinkled, fat ass, gray-haired, decrepit @$#*&^%! asked,"Really? What did you teach?"


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snip Shots

I am told by friends and family not to concern myself with news bits like these. We have enough on our own plates without having to worry about some place far away. But when I find my usually normally dressed friendly neighborhood Muslim tailor wearing jeans cut 2 inches above his ankles ( not a pretty sight at all ) and suddenly sprouting an unruly beard, I wonder. Walking down MG road in Pune during the Moharram period, I heard rhythmic beats and chants coming from the first floor of a Muslim community center. Also pictures of Jamma Masjid in Delhi are awe-inspiring in that so many thousands offer their prayers to one God in unison. But it also makes me worry because if someone in Pune in 2009 can actually believe that God dictates the length of his jeans ...all of a sudden...then anything is possible.

And no, this blog post isn't about Hindus and therefore they haven't been mentioned. And no, there is going to be no apologetic pacifistic statement about the stupid things Hindus do either. You're free to blog about those if you want to...even about the Sri Rama Sena and its antics in Mangalore. :)))) I promise to visit and comment.In the meanwhile, you are invited to tell me what you think about what is in the links.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In poor taste....

Kya aap paanchwi pass se gaye guzre hain? Pata lagaane ke liye nimnalikhit prashnon ke uttar deejiye. Ya matt deejiye. Mennu kee?

Adoption...I really can't get what people have against it. My 'rebellious' take is that if an Indian naari can marry a man she doesn't know from Adam and do the most unmentionable things with him and produce babies...accept his entire family and moral and emotional baggage of more than quarter of a century not to mention his GENETIC BAGGAGE which is not the same as hers, why can't the Goddamn couple just adopt an innocent baby? [ It is not like the "arranged match" makers are going to mention the psychotic aunt who hacked the doodhwala to death because she was lactose intolerant or like the families are true blue descendants of Aryabhatta..What genes exactly are they keen on passing on? And who knows their family name beyond their mohalla and who really cares anyway? I asked a pal who desperately wants to get pregnant ( med help too) ALL this just a couple of days ago and she almost passed out from shock. But she says she'll continue to try. Tathastu! ]

Why would couples rather try nightmarish wierd medical possibilities when they fail naturally? Why is it legal to put up a huge signboard saying ‘INFERTILE? UNABLE TO CONCIEVE? COME AND DISCOVER THE JOY OF NATURAL PARENTHOOD AT OUR IVF CENTER’?? The wierdos never tell you how it can alter your life and morph you into a completely different human being…mentally and physically too. And why can’t you sue them for that?

Why won't widows who're otherwise modern remarry and find happiness again? Why do people (even their own children) get offended by this question? What is offensive? A woman's loneliness or the possibility that she can find the warmth of such a relationship again? Why do we think that the new husband might not accept the child of another man alongwith his widow...and most often..why are we right? But then again, why is marriage the ultimate solution to all problems?

Why is a woman's virginity of greater importance than a man's morals and ethics ( kya kya kya??)?

Why does a rape victim feel SHAME? I can understand anger, regret, depression, pain, etc. But SHAME? How many men do I know that would marry a rape victim? And if there are such men, how many will be allowed by their families to take this step? And why don’t these people feel SHAME?

Why is the CHILD illegitimate and not the parents who indulged in such an act? Who is the bastard here? What is the abusive word for the adults who produced an 'illegit' child? (Oh and there is another popular question. A girl that has that kind of fun is a s—t…what is the equivalent for a guy? )

Why do parents of disabled children look embarrassed?

Why do gay people remain closeted and even marry and produce children? Why do such marriages survive?

Why is marriage still legal? How many couples have you met that you REALLY think stay together just out of utter love for each other after the first few years of marriage? What is the TRUTH here without bringing in 'the kids'? So what does 'morality' mean? And is divorce the solution?

Uncomfortable, no? I can hear you clearing your throat. Sorry...

Do you see why some people would rather kill themselves than live lies? Suicide is the honest person’s cleanest exit option? Maybe this is why we have terrorists and criminals too. Array, if we're dishonest and unkind with ourselves, how can we be otherwise with others?

The only way to stay happy is to thumb your nose at the world and live your life on your own terms! But then...WE are the world?

[Disclaimer: This rant has been triggered by some conversations I had recently with some friends and by some blogs and articles I've been following. So don't blame me for the headache it leaves you with. It has been waiting on my fingertips for a very long time...though some of it had found expression in pseudo poetry I wrote years go. But now that I have the option to blog, I did. Cheers!!]

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jaagte Raho

Click and matter.

Raat gaee, baat gaee?

Hey India, where is the rage? The outrage? Where are the screaming headlines? Have we again shown our resilience like I'd predicted on facebook? Even blog topics [mine too] have gone from the urgently angry to boringly mundane or is there something bigger and better brewing behind the facade? I hope we haven't lost the will to stay safe in the fight to play safe.

Miles to go before we sleep...peacefully and fearlessly again...

Jaagte raho!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hai...garr yaad rahe

Lata Mangeshkar...the Goddess of Bollywood music. I absolutely love her classical, semi classical and other renditions in movies...and have tried to ape her voice forever...................and failed. Like all other female Hindi movie fans, I've tried singing in a voice shrill as hers whenever I've hummed a tune within another person's earshot.I am not shrill. I have a voice that is 'bhaari' the rest of me. I like my own voice too, very much. I sing fairly my own standards and can hold certain tunes with ease. But "yaara seeli seeli" is is "Aye ree pawan". I don't have much success with many of Asha Bhonsle's numbers either unless I try to sing them my way at my own pitch. One of my honest and not so polite friends once pointedly asked me why I tried to sound like Lata and that was like a wake up call. I can never thank him enough.

While the two sisters have entertained and inspired generations of movie and music crazy Indians, they had also, till recently, made it impossible for women like me to sing in public without negative remarks about the texture of our voices. I guess it wasn't deliberate and even not their fault, it was just that they sounded so good that we didn't want to entertain any other kind of voice. Just recently Alka Yagnik said on TV to a girl with a 'different' voice like Sunidhi Chauhan's that she could probably sing 'item numbers' or 'different' songs but there was no way she was going to be crooning for the main lead, Indian kind of heroine...meaning the long suffering, suppressed, pining, lost, 'abala Indian naari', I suppose. I mean, how can a Nutan be shown crooning "One two cha cha" in Usha Uthup (nee Iyer)'s voice?

Luckily for me, I discovered Farida Khanum and through her, the entire galaxy of female Pakistani Ghazal singers with voices to die for and luckily today, Sunidhi is on are other 'different' singers and I actually have a choice of songs I don't have to struggle with to sing. I do still go back to listen to Lataji and Ashaji...they were and will remain more than worthy of our respect and awe for their voices and abundant talent, but I don't try to sound like them anymore. And I hope all my friends who sound extremely FUNNY trying to ape the duo will come into their own too. Doesn't matter if we only sing for ourselves, we must sing LIKE ourselves. Trust me, it is such a release!

Der Depperte...

The life and faith and times of a man who could have done with a better hairstyle [ like the billboard of a popular unisex salon in Pune says]

Were we talking about perfection?

Friday, January 23, 2009

ICU or do I?

How to deal with sighted persons

People who use their eyes to receive information about the world are called sighted people or "people who are sighted." Sighted people enjoy rich, full lives working, playing, and raising families. They run businesses, hold public office, and even teach your children.

TRANSPORTING THE SIGHTED People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel by operating their own motor vehicles. They have gone through many hours of training, at great expense, to learn "the rules of the road" to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a "driver's license" which allows them to operate a private vehicle safely and independently.

THE TRAGEDY OF LIGHTING Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are generally completely helpless in total darkness. Their homes are usually very brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses which cater to the sighted.

BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION WITH THE SIGHTED Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. Thus, in many situations they will be unable to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person. Questions directed to sighted persons help them focus on verbal rather than visual and gestural communication.

HOW BEST TO ASSIST THE SIGHTED PERSON At times, sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns, and traffic lights, will assist the "driver" in finding the way quickly and easily.
Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle yet firm.

HOW DO SIGHTED PEOPLE READ? Sighted people read through a system called "Print." Print is a series of images drawn in a two-dimensional visual plane. Because the person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information while reading, his or her attention span tends to fade quickly when reading long texts. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by the dominance of his or her existing visual senses.

HOW DO SIGHTED PEOPLE USE COMPUTERS? Computer information is presented to sighted people in a "Graphical User Interface" or GUI.

Sighted people often suffer from hand-eye coordination problems and poor memories. To compensate, people who are sighted often use a "mouse," a handy device that slides along the desktop to save hard-to-remember keystrokes. With one click on the "mouse" button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily. People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and prepared to explain many times how your computer equipment works.

HOW CAN I HELP A SIGHTED PERSON? People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to life, work, and play alongside you. The best way to support sighted people in your community is to accept them for who they are. These citizens are vital, contributing members of society. Conduct outreach. Take a sighted person to lunch.

From a link in my previous blog. Do click and peek....maybe you'll come away a little more educated and more than a little ashamed...just like I have. Good luck!

And THIS isn't really that funny if you've watched them play cricket.

Perfect imperfection.

Autism isn't the end of the world, justthe beginning of a new one....Sally Meyer

Is this your child?

Is this your child?
someone asked me when I was shopping
in a crowded store.
Is this your child?
I stopped for a moment and looked at my son.
He hadn't let me comb his hair that day,
and he wore his favorite teeshirt
which was decorated in ketchup red and chocolate brown.
His face was smudged and dirty,
we had been to the park and he had fallen in a mud puddle.
He was singing
God Bless America over and over
in his offpitchvoice.

Is this your child?
She asked again
I looked into her unfriendly eyes
and cringed at her tone of voice.

Taking a deep breath
I ruffled that unruly hair kissed his smudgy cheek.
Turning to face her I answered
loudly and proudly
"Oh yes, this is my child
his name is Dhylan
Isn't he wonderful?"
c. 1999 Sally Meyer.
Autism is not the end of the World. . . . just the beginning of a new one.

I am learning to accept 'imperfection' because I haven't found anything more imperfect than nature. Perfection, I guess, is for fools. No one has achieved it yet, in anything anyone has tried. Nobody is perfect and everyone is flawed. I ask again, who is 'special' and who isn't?

I haven't met anyone with two identically shaped or sized eyes or nostrils or feet or toes or hands, have you? I haven't seen a flower with two petals exactly the same. Yet in our imagination, everything that is right has to be perfect.

Perfection is not natural. And what isn't natural isn't divine.

I salute all the mothers who struggle with our insensitive, unyielding world in bringing up children who're blessed differently and I wish them strength.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum

Army signpost in some "God-forsaken" place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sanjay Du(h)tt - Ek zor ka jhatka jo zor se hee lagay

This is one guy I had decided to like when all my classmates were drooling over Kumar Gaurav ( sic!). 'Rocky' and 'Love Story' were released around the same time. Now when I think of it, they were both equally underserving of any adulation. But hey...we were all 14-ish I think, in the throes of hormonal confusion. Anything cute and male was droolworthy. They all HATED Sanjay Dutt, the mountain goat with dopey eyes. They were all singing "Dekho maine dekha hai" while I hummed "Aa dekhein zara". I was the only girl in my school who bought SD postcards when all the KG ones were sold out. 25 paise per piece too and I had no-one to send them to because nobody wanted them! I guess I was a wannabe social activist even back then and stood alone in my support for the underdog. Suddenly things changed and Sanjay Dutt was a star and Kumar Gaurav was gobbled up by some black hole. (Small mercies)

But SD makes big mistakes and doesn't learn from them. And now, it is as if nobody expects him to. I can't even fool myself into imagining that the 'poor chap' is jinxed anymore. He just seems beyond caring. He knows he can go utterly wrong and still be loved by the masses. His joker is his ace and he knows it. Today he's proven that he's only another Punjabi MCP who can't get over his 'manhood'. Well, he's just lost his first fan completely and forever with THIS though I've been drifting that way for very long.

I think if Sunil Dutt and Nargis were to sit judgement on the surname issue, they'd be prouder of their daughters than their wayward son whom they obviously loved but also his own stupidity.

AND, he's entering Politics? DOWN DOWN!! Mahila Morcha...jaago re!!

Addendum: WTH????? WAKE UP INDIA...for God's sake! Who is this Amar Singh? Who is Manyata? What is Sanjay Dutt? WTH?????????????? Where are we headed? If people make up a country, what is patriotism? Must I feel a bond with these losers? Argh!

Add II: OMG!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Joke the net

In Jerusalem , a female CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out.She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was! She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview. "I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN.Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wall and praying?""For about 60 years.""60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?""I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims.I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship.""How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?""Like I'm talking to a f^%^*g wall."!
( taken verbatim off the net...not edited)

An ode to the shower

Where we hum in gay abandon
tunes that we can't hold
Where we wash away our secrets
untamed, unnamed, untold
Where we weep until the water
goes hot- warm -tepid- cold
What is it about the shower
that makes us so bold?

[Had written this ^ long ago..a few words here and there were different I think...but hey!]

Old memories returning
to haunt awoken days
I can hear them echo
down long forgotten ways

...Anita Iyer