Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Karela Seva...

Quick amazing recipe using stuff abhorred by kids . KARELAS. Introducing the KARCHI spread, or the Karela Chilly CHUTNEY spread.  Absolutely NO expertise required, and guaranteed to turn out perfect.  

My Doodle recipe is a part of Easy Doodle Recipe contest at BlogAdda.com in association with TastyKhana.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Her Razor's Edge......

As a little girl she just loved clothes at the two extremities of the spectrum.  Long ankle length parkar polkas, with traditional zari borders, and linen shorts with tees. Regardless of the style, she would always end up sensibly hiking up the parkar upto her knees, and running around chasing one of her tormentors , at get-togethers, while the shorts and tees were almost permanent favourites in her wardrobe.

Then she started learning to swim.  Once the obsession with buying bright red swimming suits with frills, and the fear of water was overcome, it was time to spend unnecessarily long periods of time, whispering with her friends in the changing room. Some of the older ones would talk about lotions, hair and stuff. Some proficiency at the sport, and high-cut speedos were the order of the day. With it came her elevation to the group that had all these deep discussions in the changing room. And a group pouring over the speedo catalogue, admiring the swimsuits and models......

First her father's razor disappeared. This, combined with inordinate amounts of time spent in baths brought things out into the open. She got her own simple razor. One of the hazards of using  that was that there would be occasional cuts, hisses of pain, band-aids of various shapes and so on.  Then came the very elementary style disposable razors using an ordinary blade, normally hurriedly found in her pencil box.  Not done.  After a lot of maternal outrage.

Teenage was more related to Fragrances. Depilatory creams were the order of the day, and the family wrung its hands in despair over the bathroom being locked for large periods of time, in the morning rush hour,  and then someone suddenly emerging emitting excessively strong lavender /rose/or-what-have-you fragrance. Things were intolerable for whoever went to have a bath next. Creams were discussed in the pool changing rooms, information exchanged, legs and arms compared, and there came a time when an older girl joined , and mentioned waxing.

For this you went to a beauty parlour.  Which meant your Mom accompanied you. Yikes . But anything for smooth legs.  Some kind of masochistic ritual, where hot sweet thick solutions were smeared over your legs armpits etc , and then someone spread a cloth over it, smoothened it out, and yanked. The trauma to the skin, as all the hairs gravitated to the cloth was visible on the girl's face, as she bravely kept tears in check

Of course, all this time, there were also experiments with rubbing pumice stone on the skin, bleaching the hair, and so on. But these were not definitive solutions.

Things have changed a bit these days. For one thing, they show a lot more ads. With all sorts of ethereal ladies sitting in poses slathering creams on their limbs to remove hair.  Print media too, doesn't lag behind. Today, no one feels ashamed to talk about hair removal, and its methods.

The aforementioned little girl is a young lady now, and these discussions now happen even outside the pool premises.  She and her friends even go shopping on their own, for stuff they think enhances their looks. They wear so many different types of outfits.

She recently bought this Gilette Satin Care Razor.  She also picked up some unscented Gillete Shave Gel. 

Her swimming continues.  Using the razor is a breeze, and is very safe. No cuts and bandaids.  It is very quick too.  The rest of the family has stopped cribbing about  alarming fragrances emanating after baths, and various whiffs of strange fragrances breezing past as the young woman rushes by.  

They still have discussions in the pool changing room. They are the big girls now. Maybe the new younger lot listens to their talk. And learns about stuff, like they did  early on.

I wish  she had opted for  her hair removal  by this method earlier.  So many experiments behind closed doors,  scratches and blemishes, that waxing trauma,  and the times the house smelt like a barrel of lavender had crashed.....

I guess all's well that ends well.  Till they announce Gilette Satin Care version 1.1...?

This post is a part of the Gillette Satin Care contest in association with BlogAdda.com

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

India's Got Talent !

Never has the phrase "India's got talent" been truer.

SEEDYTV, and HMM-ICU , the two leading media folks on television, run by folks who have graduated from the same school of TV-thought, are on the verge of signing a deal with someone , for a program titled as above. This was what has emerged after a emergency midnight meeting after several reporters took pains to describe the after-hours activities in our capital.

We never knew we had so much talent.

I mean just think. The mind boggles, wiggles, an then just takes a deep breath...

Leaping babas. : when was the last time you were able to leap with alacrity from a height of 3 metres, into a sea of women ? And the women actually welcomed you ?

Quick change artist : Leap as a Swami, emerge as a woman . That too amidst lakhs of folks mingling around, dodging the Delhi Police. How did the swami find the clothes in his size after a random jump ? Should we reconsider the idea of introducing Yoga in Tihar Jail, with so many recent entrants ?

Senior Footwear Rap : Unknown talents of senior Parliamentarians. I mean, everyone can run and shout in the House. How many can do the BJP-KICK-STEP, on a real human target ? Watch King Diggy do his stuff amidst uncontrollable crowds and his own controlling security chaps, as they cleared the way for him to Stamp-kick-stamp, on someone on the floor, whose face was not seen , but whose color was suspected ? This is supposed to be the new Kinesiology Rap; an analysis of your top body movement, facial expressions, and support team, defines your steps. Ministry of HRD will fine anyone who tries to do a movement analysis of this in any institute of higher learning, which must be meant for low folks.

Midnight Opposition Moves : This isn't any Constitutional trick; its a dance move. First you appoint a lady as the Opposition leader . Then you do something to anger the Opposition . That's the easy part. The Police oblige. So they all run to the Father of the Nation, who must be simply shutting his eyes out of despair ,disgust, and sadness. Then they decide to hold a mass fast to protest the ruling party's actions. Most folks start nodding off, when the Opposition Leader Sahiba "gets an idea". She doesn't get a new service provider, but decides to wake up her somnolent party men by doing a dance. Maybe it was a childhood dream of hers. Maybe the TV folks are lurking. Maybe she wants to challenge the Ruling chairperson to a dance. Who knows. ?

The Conference Fling : These folks are really a threat to shot putters and javelin throwers, but perform only in press conferences, by suddenly getting up, and aiming a shoe (not their own) at the lectern. Although folks think this is a foreign sport, it is not. George Bush thought it was a freebie and he even announced the shoe size when he dodged such a throw in Egypt. We do things differently. We then practice wrestling on the ground.

This throwing art has been practiced for several years in smaller towns, by simple folks who feel the law cheats them and is deaf to them. A bit of the same feeling here. We have champion performers who do not fear the glare of the TV lights. Word is out that this a new way for some shoe companies who fund the ruling party to send free products to some folks there. They sponsor throws, encouraging people to "Just do it" . That's why you don't see any chappal throws . Its all about the aerodynamics of the shoe shape. Some shoes fit, others don't.

The Dance challenge : the old guard used to call it Jugalbandi. Now they only concentrate on the "bandi" of the opposition. Note how once the opposition leader had danced at midnight, someone sympathetic to the Ruling party simply entered his father's name in challenge, saying, that he danced much better. Of course , with a longish medical studies background (a decade ?), followed by a sojourn in the Queen's country, followed by a powerful life in the Switzerland of India as well as Lutyens Delhi, it would be truly interesting to see what kind of dance this candidate puts up. We suggest a duet with the opposition leader in the interests of peace.

Garble Garble, talk and Warble : Remember the time the teacher rapped you on the knuckles in school because you spoke out of turn ? Well, we have practitioners of this sport in reverse, and their numbers are growing daily. The whole idea is to get invited on TV channels for your valued comments. And then you continue to talk loudly while someone else is giving their terribly different point of view. Pitch, Amplitude, Vocabulary excess and ability to Fib and look disdainful is a required qualification, and this is one of the growing talents in the country. The fun part is the Teacher here doesn't hit you on the knuckles for talking like this. You just have a frustrated anchor switching your visual off.

Sphinx & Sphinx : This is a new age talent. It doesn't require you to do anything anywhere. I mean you can eat, drink, greet people. Maybe smile sometimes. But regardless of what is happening, regardless of how badly everyone else is behaving, you keep your cool. What you don't say doesn't hurt you, keeps you exclusive , and people say you are excellent at keeping "distance", from all the rowdy games described above.

And finally , in these e-days, the latest talent !

Actually, the KGB, CIA,FBI, etc, everyone is after this talent. The ability to look at a person, and gauge his political leanings. Most of the time, folks can tell this, in a normal world, when the leaning has gone too far. Sometimes, people simply fall over the railing and defect elsewhere to another party , where they again start the leaning.

But we now have a secret wild card entry in the talent contest. This guy belonging to the ruling party, who can tell by simply looking at a person's arm, and the object in his hand, what political party he belongs to. Amazing ! Needs to be checked out !

Now that the organizers of the CWG games are in Jail, sorry , at the Tihar Residences, enjoying a well deserved rest, it isn't surprising to see the hectic preparations going on in the nation, for "India's got Talent"....!

Stay tuned for the greatest show this side of the Earth. "India's got talent ".

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Constructions : State of the Art; a survey.

This post selected by Blogadda as

For those interested in Simple thinking and High living !

Announcing our new project in the vicinity of those that count.

Introducing a new way of living ! Those interested may click on the graphic below to see the details.

Announcing our latest Gated Community Township project, dedicated to the nation !

The Tihar Residences.

Situated in the Lap of Stature, we introduce the Tihar Residences, as a one-of-a-kind home, for those , for whom, Money is Time.

Well paved infrastructure, landscaped in a thoughtful way, with assorted hedges and thorny trees, designed to save the residents from pesky security.

All houses come with Gyms equipped with the latest machines. Bench presses that move you, Treadmills with stationary transparent floors, below which the belt moves (keeping you unmoved), a special sweat spray attachment, imported from Switzerland, which can be programmed to spray artificial sweat on your face every 30.67 seconds, keeping time with special music like ,"My name is Sheila !" etc .

This machine has been spirited away from the left overs of the CWG Games in New Delhi, while the Chairman of the Organizing Committee turned his head away during the taking of the Salute at the Opening ceremony.

Furniture is made of hollowed out wood, and the space inside is available for an extra price, depending on what you wish to hide inside. Walk in closets are provided, and the occupants are invited to test out the facility of actually being able to walk-through the closet from one room to another. Ideally designed for quick getaways.

Special drainage system, segregated into organic and inorganic trash. The inorganic trash is mostly paper based high value trash, and the graphic shows the results of our test, when we tested whether the stuff is able to flow out on to the road, , unaltered .

On special demand, from so many office bearers of sports bodies, who are competing for residences in the Tihar project, we offer all roads as jogging tracks. As per the higher court requirement , all joggers to wear RFID tags on their ankles. Earlier there was a requirement to wear these tags on shoes, but some shoes got miraculously interchanged outside the Laxmi temple, and some replaced these with some shoes thrown at them by some admirers outside Tihar.

Cleaning of drains specially carried out on request. The graphic shows the result of one such drain cleaning operation, when some stuff flowed out onto the jogging tracks.

Documents required for applications for allotment of Tihar Residences.:

1. Corruption level of a minimum of one thousand crores. CBI chargesheet notarized copy will be accepted.

2. Passport must show trips to England, Singapore, France, China, Switzerland.

3. Those who can show proof of a shoe thrown at them will get preference

4. Those being investigated by a special retired supreme court judge, will not have to show the Delhi domicile certificate.

5. The accommodation committee has decided to give special privileges, to those who appear in phone taps of a powerful lady called Radia (name rhymes with "yeh kya kiya ?").....

6. Lady applicants for residences will be allotted one extra room in their residences, for elder family members, should they decide to come and visit.

Usually reliable sources confirm, that 3 members already occupying these residences have been purchasing I-phones, recently available in Delhi. It is feared that with so many telecom types in Tihar's Gated mansions, there may soon be an announcement of the formation of a new telecom company called N-G Services, headquartered in Lutyens Market. An occupant of Tihar , with Royal connections, was heard saying, " What is 2-g, 3-G ? What is spectrum ? You name the Ji, I'll give you the numbers ....".

Rush your applications, with an initial deposit (non refundable, but transferable) of 100 crores only . Cheques accepted. Kindly make the cheques payable to "Tihar Bathroom Construction Fund".

Remember, the land has a clear title. There is no possibility of an investigation a la Adarsh.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flinging the stones of freedom....

Submitted for the contest , "Is the Indian Media Misusing its Freedom" by Blogadda.

You know that thing about living in glass houses and learning not to throw stones. ? And you suddenly realize that these days , the stone throwing goes on as before, but that glass is getting tougher....

The growth of media (print, television,Internet etc) in India has parallels with the growth of various aspects of society in India.

The first newspaper (the Bengal Gazette) happened in 1780, the first moving picture show (cinema) in 1895 and radio broadcasting began in 1927, essentially reporting stuff from a British perspective. Along with the stirrings and support for the independence movement, there was a quiet rise of some landmark local language newspapers and media across the country , guided by some great figures in the Independence movement such as Lokmanya Tilak.

For a society that gobbles up 99 million newspaper copies (in various languages) as a country, has 81 million Internet users, and nearly 1400 television broadcast stations, that is an amazing increase to have happened, and that too mostly in final 10-15 years of the last century. An abnormally skewed rate of progress.

, we have a free press and media; true, we faced times of trial during the notorious emergency days; true , that we solved that in flying colors in 1977; but we need to remember that developing too fast has a downside, and sometimes affects individual judgement , as well as the perception of the magnitude of profits.

For a country with a 60% literacy rate , countless languages and dialects to cater to, an opening up of the economy and markets field to private players, and a growing population in the ages 25-30 age bracket, the situation resembles a hungry person faced with a massively attractive food buffet.

The media and society food habits in India have some amazing parallels.

In my childhood in the 50's, food was a need , not a hobby. Meals were traditional, cooking methods had remained essentially unchanged, and willful transgressions in the imbibing of food were frowned upon. The rice-dal-chapati-sabji-raita thing was supreme. Tongue tickling elements like pickles, chutneys, fried savouries, had their place in the scheme of things, but never took the place of the main items.

In an astounding parallel, the media in those days, which was primarily Print, was, mostly (barring a few sensationalist papers always involved in personal vendetta politics) sedate, polite, quietly informative, and respected. Very often local news was given priority. There were things you printed and things you didn't. And you had copious amounts of proofs to support any sensational disclosures. News paper owners were there, and were rich, but had , by and large, what we call, scruples.

Over the last 50 years, this state of affairs has been massively disturbed, in food systems as well as media habits. Today tongue tickling and mind tickling things rule the roost. People make meals out of what is called "chatak-matak" stuff; reams of research is done of vada-paos, pao-bhaji's , chaats, tikkis and stuff, because there is a demand. And similar is the case with media; people demand to know sensational stuff, conventional news is considered boring, and the media obliges, one way or the other, with blatant disregard for privacy, assorted types of sting operations, the path being often prescribed by the various sponsors and advertisers in the media.

Old methods of healthy earthy cooking have given way to stuff slathered in exciting textures and colors. Identical things happen in the media world. Accuracy is often sacrificed at the alter of TRP's , just like healthy caloric values are sacrificed at the alter of taste and tingling tongues.

When you have a presumably stable system over a century suddenly mindlessly accelerating in , say 30 years, you get what we call today's media and today's health problems due to indiscriminate utilisation of low value but high sensation value knowledge and food.

Yes, the media today appears to be irresponsible, but so are we. They are the way they are because we allow them to be so. Abnormally simplistic news items are blown up, shouted from the OB vans, printed across 8 columns in newspapers, and you sell so many thousand copies more than your nearest competitor. You can always print a retraction in fine print on page 4, but the damage is done. Just like we are ready to pay sums equivalent of someones monthly house payment, to have a meal of questionable nutritional value at some famous society place, because it tickles our taste buds, and sense of self-importance no end, and what the heck, anyway , there are fancy doctors to recommend meds if things do not agree, and gyms with astronomical fees to slim you down.

And so we are back to the stone throwing from glass houses. We ourselves pretend to live aseptically in antiseptic glass houses. Surreptitiously enjoying every bit of throwing that's going on. We even throw stones ourselves, but like those in the construction business will tell you, and observers of societal mores will tell you, the glass walls have gotten stronger, and shameless. They don't break.

And so we think nothing of intruding into a widow's privacy, sticking microphones in hospital wards to grab dying declarations , grovelling in front of pseudocelebrities and arranging for them to become stars. As far as TV was concerned 26/11 was all about the Taj, Trident, and the Chabad house. Cama and Albless hospital , those that delivered babies that night with mouths clamped, to avoid the marauding terrorists, the several Cesarean surgery patients who quietly left the hospital the next morning, with their day-week old babies to take the trains home, were not considered newsworthy.

Inaccuracy is ignored and defeated by wishful thinking, as happened when , during the Vajpayee-Msharraf Agra meeting, Hindi Star news reported , at variance with other channels, that the agreement was on the verge of being signed/just signed, and this was soon followed by visuals of a grumpy Musharraf walking out on his way back from Agra to Pakistan.

And so, until we realize we are sliding as a society, we are as much to blame as the media. We do it under the guise of individual freedom and independence, they do it for business reasons. Every business house is known to patronize certain sections of media. Some business houses even own newspapers and television stations.

We are responsible for the media we have. And so if you ask me if the Indian media is using its freedom in an irresponsible manner. the answer would be , that it has grabbed whatever freedom we have given it.

It cannot be viewed in isolation. It reflects the undisciplined society we have evolved into.

We have got the media we deserved.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A mad Soliloquy

Submitted for the Blogadda "Moments of Madness" contest.

Half a century
and more,
of a life
deep troughs
mad peaks...

An 8 year old
only sister
by water depths,
learning swimming
dared by some
to jump
the first floor
diving place....
And I jumped,
eyes shut tight,
but on the side,
lacerating my thighs
against the pool walls,
all the way
the terrible 15 feet....
and back up again --
a mad moment
of victory
shut up
the fellows for good....
but alarmed a mother
who wondered.....

As a grad student
in the US,
for an evening meeting
of women professionals ***
wishing to award a schol....
there wasn't a place
to sit
and play my sitar
(which I played well)....
and then
in a completely mad moment,
I climbed onto the
dining table,
took my position
played the piece;
a few days later
the mad moment didnt look so mad
when I got the schol....:-)

And then
there have been
moments of madness
which have decreed me a fool,
but probably
not in the eyes
of Someone Up There....

Leaning out of
a Mumbai bus
stuck in a jam
just after
a torrential
of rain;
brilliant fresh
methi bunches
on a vendor 's cart,
in an
moment of madness
I bargained with him
through the bus window
and bought
four wonderful bunches
which were passed to me
via various passengers,
as the vendor
behind the suddenly starting bus
to collect the money I held out....
To the intense
of a daughter
intensely envied
by the other women in the bus....
the methi parathas
were extra special that night!

There have been other
Mad moments,
that have remained
in my mind

wanting to stamp
in a rain water puddle
the lady who thought
Black was Bad
and White was Fair
walked next to me
in her

Like wanting
to blow
my famous whistle,
to confuse the cops,
corrupt chaps
in tinted cars
passed by
holding up traffic
with their z-plus security...

But some folks think
writing this
has been an

And it continues .

Wading through the
forest of mad words
and madder artists,
I am at my maddest best
when I blog....

A mad life.

And you thought
that is
a mad moment ?

Are you mad ?

*** Altrusa International

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer of '57.....

The summer of 1957. I was eight.

Saturday evening at dusk. It was on one of Pune's then main thoroughfares. A very ordinary looking three storey structure, with a name written with a grand flourish across a background of cement flowers, cracking at the edges.

We were in a special area on the first floor, with nicer tables and chairs, than say the ground floor, where flinging a towel on your shoulder, and shouting out the order in convoluted complex English, was the style of the day. We had folks who sedately moved around asking what your order was, kind of whispered it to the next important functionary, and the four of us sat at one of the hexagonal tables, that seemed to have an imposing huge stone as a table top, terribly at variance with the folding metal chairs.

The two of us were so excited. In those days, such trips were rare. Going out, per se, was not the done thing. But this was special. A celebration. I forget the reason. It was enough that we were there.

We watched the folks at the other tables. Not too many mothers there. Every now and then we would watch waiters coming with full trays, hoping they would stop at our table. The elderly waiter would smile at us, seeing our desperation.

Finally, the waiting ended. It had arrived. My first crush . Alphonso Hapoos Mango pieces crushingly slathered in hand churned mango ice cream, presented in a boat shaped false silver plate, with two spoons; one flat and the other , normal.

There was a new light in my eyes. The waiting was all worth it. I could keep on looking at it, but the latitude and longitude of Pune ensured, that the crush would lose its solidity, if I followed that path.

I followed his eyes, now focused on the crush in front of him. Did he get more ice cream than I did ? Were his mango pieces larger ? Was I jealous ? Was he jealous ?

We started picking at the ice cream, enjoying the flavour as it tingled the tongue and built up a sensation of wanting more. There was a technique we followed , on such occasions, which were not frequent at all. The idea was to keep eating small amounts, so that after an unbearably long time, the other person's ice cream got over, and you still had a half plate of the crush in front of you.

The trouble was he had the same idea. And so you have the story of my first crush, redolent of Alphonso mango fruit, and completely blanketed by mango ice cream so to speak, now trying to lie at the side of the fruit pieces, in puddles, probably disgusted at the stubborn behaviour of the imbibers.

My father looked at his watch. he had promised to bring us home by 7 pm. It was getting late, and my brother and I, out on this special treat with him, were making things difficult trying to win, as to who came last.

"OK. You both have 5 minutes. I want everything lapped up, no wasting stuff. If you can't eat it, then slurp it or drink it. We need to leave......"... the referee had spoken.

This was the best part, and we dug in, ecstatically drizzling the melted ice cream over the orange pieces, and literally wolfing it down, and you could see the extra large servings sliding down our throats as the food pipe , in peristalsis, appeared to shiver delightedly from the cold, as it directed the now mushy crush down into the innards, amidst sensations, that cannot be described adequately in words. A cooling feeling at the bottom of the stomach, and before it got over, there would be another mouthful , the mango and the ice cream once again delighting all the senses. We'd sniff the cold spoonful before we ate it, and revel in the aroma of hapoos, cream and saffron.

There would be a sound of a chair scraping, and we knew we were running late. The last semi solid, nectarish mash of hapoos and cream would be drunk straight from the boat shaped plate, paying scant attention to the milk moustache that made its appearance.

My father would offer his handkerchief. We would use it only after licking up the moustache stuff first.

We would emerge, as the street lights came on. Not too much traffic on the road, and crossing was easy.

I have been around . Crossed the world . I have seen the advent of cones and sundaes, and ice cream available in packs in shops. I have seen the 32 flavours. I have seen what is called a softie. I have also see ice creams where the shape of the glass is more important than what is inside, as ice cream. I've seen it thrown into glasses of Coca Cola, and sold at ridiculous prices, and called ridiculous names.

But. What remains, etched , for eternity, in my heart, is the memory of this first crush.

Melting moments , of the icy Alphonso type....