Monday, 29 September 2008

Food Hubs and Local Histories

I re-visited Mount Road recently. To check out Bombay Halwa House, once our favourite destination.As the name suggests, this place is known for its halwa. But there are a few other things on its menu which has drawn people for over 50 years.Bread and peas masala is one...

A picture of health

A widely prevalent myth is that health food is bland and tasteless. This is blown in the article ‘Recipes The Bottom Line’. It starts with the statement ‘Healthy eating can be as delicious as it is nutritious—a feast for the senses as well as good for the body’.....

Slugfest!


Don’t we trust the system?

There is another classic example. Whenever we have to go to new place, or to an office to get something done, many of us — almost by habit — check out if we know someone out there. Ideally there is no need for it. There should be system or a process that should take care of an individual’s requirements...

Daalara Daalara

So, the common perception among the folks is, Oh, don't keep anything in the bank. Send everything back to India. This is the best period for you to take advantage of the dollar exchange. After all, you never know how long it is going to last. The dollar might go down any day. With the American banks falling in line everyday, you might not get your money back....

October 2 in New York

My investment banker friend Mr B R Ramaprasad and his wife Shyamala take time off every oct.2 to be at New York’s Union Square Park to pay homage to the Mahathma. Son of a Mysore school headmaster, Mr Ramaprasad has been in the US since 1970; and a regular at the Oct.2 prayer meetings since 1986 when the Gandhi statue came up in the park....

On the Tip of his Tongue! (9/25)

Bill and Joe and Marmaduke were cursed with dreadful stuttering.
And every word they tried to say ended with grunts and spluttering.
They visited a therapist who worked with might and main
To make their speech intelligible, crystal clear and plain.

A worrying issue and a disturbing trend

These are vermin’s of blogosphere and are a danger to a community that has coexisted peacefully even though they express very personal views in their blogs. The very nature of blogs requires complete respect for a bloggers blog and his right to expressing his/her views or the purpose of blogging is defeated. If you do not like a post, ignore it. If you want to disagree, do it in an agreeable way.....

Friday, 26 September 2008

Highway to Heaven

Young Bala, who's in his early twenties, drives me around to the points on the road where I can get the best views and the best shots of sunsets, clouds and trees...

International Day of the Girl Child

Yesterday, September 24th was celeberated as the International Day of the Girl Child without much fanfare..Unlike other “International days”, there is nothing much in this day for creating any fanfare.No cards nor gifts to gift anyone and hence none to sell them.Many of those girl children who survived in this world still live a life with not much recognition.....

At a handicraft fair


And here, on a visit to one of the many handicrafts fairs that pop up every now and then in the neighbourhood, was one just asking to be photographed....

Virtually An Orphan, 5 Years Old Rimi Is Fighting Thalassemia Singlehandedly

The sweet girl hails from a small village called Talda in eastern India, in the South 24 Parganas district of the state of West Bengal. The village has witnessed some bitter political struggles between two local political parties, and these struggles often turn violent with the indiscriminate use of fire arms and other lethal weapons....

Dear Iraqi Friends - NYTimes Op Ed.

In the wake of current economic downturns in the American economy, the US government really needs to introspect on its World Policing policies. The op ed becomes even more detailed and scathing as it proceeds criticizing the Bush govt. The beauty of this piece is in the writing...

Zigbee

Amongst the most famous recent researchers is German Karl Von Frisch who observed and studied the waggle dance for over a decade and was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discoveries in 1973. Contesting this theory is AM Wenner from University of California who came up with an odor plume theory. It appears that the real answer could lie between the two theories or a combination of both....

Dreaming Rose Buds

Blooming rose buds are always a joy to watch and when I saw this bud, I wanted to watch it bloom, to watch the deep red petals peeking out of the green....

1 Engine, 2 Auto-Rickshaws


Biking

There is nothing like cycling away aimlessly, letting the hours slip by irresponsibly. Having a friend tagging along in your worthless pursuit adds a little more spice. My favorite times to bike are in the evenings, when the heat of the morning fades away like it never existed and the sparrows throng the fences, chirping away madly....

Change of school

He has said 'goodbye' to the Fountain Head school, though he still sings their song. We don't know how children sign off their day at Siddarth's new school - Danville Montessori...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

I hate SMS language - S Sir !

I understand how these things work — call centers do not have the ultimate experts — so I did not get perturbed. I collated that information, and reformated it, and mailed back, stating my understanding, and asking them to confirm if my understanding was correct.....

Walking Classes Unite

Karen Coelho and her supporters are the prime movers behind this simple campaign. A campaign to get back our sidewalks, our pavements. Karen who researches and teaches at the MIDS in Adyar has done extensive work on the basic amenities provided to people in north Madras. She has now focused on the walking classes...

Movies

Saroja- Fun, light movie. Its not a movie you go home and think about. But neither is it boring. The young director, Venkat Prabhu has taken pains to present a thriller but with elements of comedy that prevent it from getting bogged down by darkness....

Butterflies of Olavipe


Some "Sell-buy" Dates

Starting today, the weekly ‘Sunday Haat’ at every little town will be transformed into a ‘Bonus Bazaar’. Every worker in tea waits for the Bonus to make the year’s big purchase....

Rural Solar lighting--Market Survey

In our quest to know more about the rural market for solar power, we headed towards villages around HD-Kote which is about 45kms from Mysore. We understood that rural market in India cannot be generalized using the statistics that big time marketers use.....

Good Morning

And Saturday night while having a late dinner, one of my friends called me and asked if I could join him for a visit to the Hebbal Lake early morning on Sunday to take some pictures....


Kolkata Guy Marries Two Sisters

Something interesting has happened in Kolkata (or Calcutta) in eastern India, the city where I grew up. I just felt I should share the incident with my friends who are unaware of it.A Kolkata guy, named Kaushik Dutta has married two sisters – Jhuma and Shoma. And now these three (one husband and his two wives) are staying together in a single house...

The man who lived in interesting times

Who was he, I wondered, this man whose tomb lay next to some of the grandest structures in Delhi? Why was he such a big deal? A Sultan perhaps, or some great nobleman? I looked at the inscription - this was the tomb of a priest, a man named Imam Zamin. It took quite some reading before I found out who he was.....
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Nikhil at 10 months

Now that he has learned to be up on his feet, Nikhil is always on the look out for any place to lean on...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Humble Ambazhanga

This small tropical fruit grows on trees that may grow up to 25m height. In Kerala it symbolizes insignificance, as the saying goes ‘aana vayil ambazhanga’. The translation is ‘an ambazhanga in an elephant’s mouth’.....

Tirupparankundram and Marriages

Tirupparankundram is built in a cave in a hill and no one seems to be quite sure of its age. The idols are cut into the rock face. The tank outside is surrounded by a grand rock on two sides making a nice view. Muruga married his Northern wife, Devyani, daughter of Indra here and so this temple is considered very auspicious for weddings....

Moraghat: Sunrise, Sunset

The real hero of this piece is the sun. But the splendid creature who dominates our front garden year round is this towering specimen of Albizia Chinensis...

Who was wrong — cops or motorist?

Not only they come in the way, just as the motorist is forced to slow down, one of the policemen catches hold of the handle of motorbike and, just as the vehicle stops, pulls the key out and confiscates it. Here too something similar happened. Unfortunately, the motorist lost balance and fell on the ground. And, to his utter misfortune, a truck overran him, and he died....

Religion, thy name is strife

Violence is never the answer for anything. No one has the right to hurt anyone for any cause, especially since we claim to live in a democratic country. Sadly the police and the governments that order them fail to bring justice. Those lives are lost just because they chose to be at those spots and will never ever be an answer to any cause.I read what lallopolo has commented on Roop’s post and he has raised a valid point. This is not the time to isolate any community....

Another Olympics

Nearly 25 years ago, 1986, to be precise, a great escape took place from the Tihar Jail, and it was the scandal of the day! The man who made the headlines was prisoner Charles Sobhraj, a Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese origin......

Apologies to a friend

I am writing this diary to apologise to my colleague (read my friend) Shanti Kumar Khumukcham.We have been working in the same organization for more than 1 year, and Mr Shanti Khumukcham has been such a nice friend to me. He was always there for me, trying to cover my deficits and weak points.....

Sh(t)ock brouhahahaha!

As soon as entered the corporate world, I was lured into the world of stock market. This certainly has to be the way to make money. What can a software engineer fresh from college earn anyway? There has to be other alternate ways of making money. So, trusting my financial "intelligence" that was embedded in me right from birth, I put my feet in the stock market.....

Connolly’s Teak & Canal

How Connolly went about the task of setting up the plantation is very interesting and shows how meticulous a person he was. This strength of character was to put him in good stead for the arduous works that were to be entrusted to him in the future by the East India Company. He started his experiments at teak planting in the 1830’s around Beypore...

Lemon is the flavor of the day...


As the world is going lemon, I decided to do my own bit - tried and got hooked to lemon flavored black tea (now that's not black, or is it) and lemon flavored cookies.

Rosewood Inlay Handicraft


Wood inlay art pieces were in plenty there. A visit to the factory of a showroom there was the most captivating experience. The workers there willingly showed us their specific roles in creating the beautiful art pieces; inlay work on rosewood....

The murky depths of injured egos

The forced smile and condescending laughter and nervous movements were too tale telling. This was a vendetta program! And for a vendetta program, she played her cards all wrong. Right from the experts she picked, who turned out to be very mature and level headed and well informed, to her constant and persistent attempt to elicit some kind of damning comment on bloggers left her agenda exposed! What a come down for a reporter of her repute!!....

Milestone:Sept.2008

Nikhil is 10 months old Tuesday (Sept.16); elder brother Siddarth,three months short of three years.It also happens to be the day Siddarth starts going to a new pre-school....

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Leaves from Olavipe


Salman in High Places

He was restless all afternoon yesterday. It was a raining a flood and he didn't like being indoors. I know he would have hated the rain even more. I'm sure he didn’t arrange his thoughts logically or think sensibly about what was good for him and what was not. .....

Post-Delhi blasts - Q and A

Desperation, cynicism, hopelessness, frustration, anger. Not just among people but even within the security forces and the government. Have things been ever so bad? Will things get worse or better?....

Heliconia

The bud is tight and flat and looks like a cardboard cutout painted in gay colours. As it unfurls petal by petal, it opens in all its glory swinging like a streamer....

Terrorists

The only religion they believe in is 'Devastation'
Inflicting harm on others is their most favourite passion.
They love to destabilize the entire world
As hatred against the entire human race is their greatest obsession

Kesava Temple at Somnathpur

We drove 35km to Somnathpur from Mysore, part of the road was in bad condition. The temple here is not as well known as the temples of Belur and Halebid, probably that is why they are not damaged ....

Identification

'Where have you hurt yourself, my love?
Show me where it's sore!
Grandma will kiss it better
Then it wont hurt any more.'

This is not freedom

magine you had a beautiful ancestral farm which is the sole source of your income. You may not earn much over there but that is the place you were born, brought up and now live. I am not sure if the typical city-fellow can experience the kind of emotion associated with such a thing but the majority of rural India lives on such emotions....

The Rocking Horse and other toys


When we were children I don’t remember having any toys to play with. All we had were a few marappachis,(see picture) wooden dolls, and some wooden chattippanai ....

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Whose job is it anyway?

Is it my job to react when I see a vandalised avenue tree?I have and I am wondering how far I can go on this.My response follows what we have been doing at our community newspapers for some years now.Covering civic issues and community-elected leaders a bit closely.We have reported on the last two civic body elections......

A King who made the gods jealous

Once upon a time Kerala, it is believed, was ruled by King Mahabali, the grandson of Prahalada. (Maveli is a mutation of the name.) He was the embodiment of all the virtues that a monarch should have. His reign was the golden era of Kerala. A beautiful Malayalam song ‘Maveli nadu vaneedum kalam’ (When Maveli ruled the land) that is on the lips of every Malayalee (Keralite) during Onam.....

Bhutan and Dooars


As the monsoon clouds begin to gather up and withdraw before giving way to a new season, the evening sky becomes dramatic, while the weather turns milder....

What Singur stir means

The Singur controversy is a typical example of how politicians play with populism and realise belatedly that they have mounted a tiger from which they can’t get down. Why didn’t Mamata Bannerjee realise the rights of the farmers earlier? She was way too late, when the plant itself had come up, and even the car had been showcased to a global audience at an auto expo.....

Happy Onam

To think that a Sadhya used to have 64 mandatory dishes makes my head reel. In the present times they say one can be pardoned with just 11 items but it is still not a consolation for people like me.....

Real Life Bollywood

This may seem to have been taken straightway from a Bollywood clich̩, but in reality it is a real incident that took place at Siliguri, a small town in eastern India and incidentally my birth place.The accused couple РAnil Prakash Verma (a school teacher) and his wife Nilu Devi Рare the residents of Khagra, another small town in eastern India.....

Saturday, 13 September 2008

We’re doing New York, Heaven can wait

As it turned out, we paid the pedicab driver five dollars more ($20), for the experience of riding a rickshaw down Fifth Ave., and for the photo opportunity. Mrs Prasad said this was her first rickshaw ride through the Times Square. The three of us, squeezed into a space for two on the tri-cycle, must have been a sight, judging from the number of tourist cameras that were focused on us as we were pedalled through Broadway.......

Lord McCaulay’s address to the British Parliament

I had read a bit about how tactical the British were, about the process of colonization of India. But this just blew me away. My personal opinion — I think he got what he wanted. A majority of the self-esteem is now gone. Anything western is good in this culture of today.....

Earrings made from Old Newspapers

At a recent exhibition, a group of eco-friendly people from Karm Marg had showcased their hand crafted mastiful things. One of these products was the hand made earrings from old newspapers. It made me curious. Old newspaper pieces rolled tightly and then twisted to a circular form, with a final coat of varnish. Don’t they look beautiful?......

Thursday, 11 September 2008

At 22, can Sanya Mirza make a comeback?

In August 2007 she reached her best ever rating, 27th in the world. That was incredible. Many expected her to break into the top 20 this year. But instead it was a downward slide from then on. What went wrong? A lack of focus and commitment?.....

Pictures


The Right to get pregnant

Is pregnancy an unquestionable right of a woman? If a woman thinks she is ready to conceive a child, does someone have a right to stop her? Is there a minimum age for a woman to get pregnant? Does she need to be married to get pregnant?

At Eravikulam National Park - Munnar


The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Hamid, who himself attended Princeton and worked in corporate America, aptly captures the ups and downs, the triumphs and the traumas of Manhattan life through the lenses of Changez. I would consider this as a failed love story between a Pakistani and the American Dream, though many of the readers would have expected a tone of religion and faith...

The "Weightess" Proposition

Immediately, I enrolled myself to the nearest gym. I had to do it at the moment, because such moments of realization are very less, and importantly, they never last long enough. As they always say, when you are in the zone, just go for it! So, as a part of the joining benefit, I was entrusted with a trainer .....

St. Philomena's Church, Mysore

There is an interesting story of how Philomena the daughter of the monarch of a small state in Greece was given sainthood. “The story of St. Philomena dates back to the 3rd century A.D. Philomena was the daughter of the monarch of a small state in Greece...

Dramatized Readings as Audio Books

The dramatised reading gave me an idea. What if more Thamizh works were dramatized and recorded on audio cassettes, with the actors reading out the parts - in today’s culture of ‘No time to read’, they might go down well with booklovers....

Community Planting

Kids planted over 70 trees at our colony. They have formed a group called ecoLife. Target is to plant 2000 trees with 200 different varieties. Tree Diversity they call.......

Essence

The Maritime Alps! Bliss in a name!
Life would never be the same.
We smelt herbs and precious spices
Due to be mixed in strange devices.

The perfect Pink Floyd wallpaper


Student Psycology

When Second PU finally concludes, the student views this as an appropriate time to dispose of these unwanted things and he now rushes to the paper waalla to exchange them for worthier rewards like money (which will be spent on the in the noble past-time of eating pani-puri from the roadside stand.)

Monday, 8 September 2008

Monsoon Clouds


Vegetables for Onam


A River Called Daina

That Sunday, in 1986, we were four young and happy people on the river bank. My newly married husband held my hand and helped me descend to the river while his bachelor friends looked away discreetly....

Reply to previous post: "tree plantation"

Ravishankar's post raised a very important question regarding where the members meet. And what is currently on the agenda. Although we have done a lot of activities in the past few months, all were done separately as individual activities.....

A Green Delhi


We were stuck in traffic near Kashmere Gate in Old Delhi. But I was surrounded by green. Green buses, that is, running on Compressed Natural Gas. .....

Freddy and Fanny

And day by day,
In every way,
They taught us how to spend.
They've brought us pain

Sunday cycling

Another Sunday. Another trip.This time, we rode towards the kaveri valley. This part of the Earth is now painted green by the monsoons. Water is everywhere. The clouds act as our sun-screen. And we, the best source of renewable energy to pedal our cycles.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Raja Seetharaman: R. I. P

The Gods did love him. And they have called him to be with them.Raja Seetharaman died on Wednesday night.And we have lost a young man who worked tirelessly for this city.He died in an accident on the premises of the Mambalam railway station.....

Ponniyin Selvan

The story is racy having appeared in a weekly and having to enthrall readers each week. Its innocent and descriptive and great fiction. Well researched too. A very imaginative and prolific writer. Love at first sight with accompanying flowers and butterflies...

The 123 Agreement

What does the note say? The main point of objection in India appears to be the mention that the US would stop nuclear supplies if India conducts an atomic test. Now, how could such an eventuality come about?....

McCain-Sarah ticket comes alive

But it became all too clear that Palin was conscious of her underdog status, and her small-town moorings. How much of value she will be able to add to the McCain campaign remains to be seen....

The Show Continues

Yesterday’s revelation did not come as a surprise since throughout the entire drama, even the Congress at one did admit that it was a commercial deal and not a deal which will miraculously do away with our current energy crisis.....

Black Swan

“Ma, is that white swan painted black?” was what my eight year old asked me when she saw the Black Swan. She was staring at it with disbelief...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Bata thoughts

The passing away of Thomas Bata in Toronto day before yesterday brings to mind some thoughts about the brand that was synonymous with footwear till some time back. Even though there are a number of other makes available and I have also bought them, I must confess, I am most comfortable with Bata...

Merry Weather

Merewether Morning

And the temperature is rising.

The surfers top the surging waves

With movements quite surprising.

Dooars Sunset


Year 2012

I found that I was in the midst of a documentary on Year 2012 (December 21st to be precise), the Mayan Calender, I Ching, The book of Revelation etc etc. and was stuck.For some, this year predicts the end of civilization and for others the occurrence of some extraordinary events that will change the lives of the entire human civilization....

Illuminations for Vinayaka Chathurthi


'Response Net' for helping flood victims

One of the names that I have gathered so far is that of Response Net. It is an organization that is really working hard for the flood victims.....

Library fund-raisers

Every county library in the US has a volunteer group involved in fund-raising through donated book sales. At each library the group runs a used books counter from where you can pick up a book for 50 cents or a dollar....

The Google Chrome

Reflecting google's style of minimalistic design and simplicity, the chrome occupies very less space for its own buttons and looks empty empty indeed. Websites now look larger and much better. When you are working on something like google docs, it takes less than a minute to forget that you are actually within a browser....

Kerala Talkies

The songs remind me of my village in Kerala. My childhood holidays in Kerala are memories with the background score of songs coming over loudspeakers through the dense rubber and coconut tree growth to our house. The songs signaled a “Talkie” or a village movie theater....

The 17 mile drive


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Wattle Day

The Winter has a paintbrush

That's filled with faded paint.

The greys and greens are languid

And all is pale and faint.

World Coconut Day


Bharathanatyam

I've just come back from a Bharathanatyam performance . Nothing remarkable really about that - except that it was by two youngish girls who are married and mothers to school going children and belong to an extremely conservative community.....

On the Road, again?

These pictures were taken on NH 31C, between Banarhat and Mal Bazar (a distance of around 45 kms). I have yet to recover from this ride to go on to NH 31, where greater horrors await...

Google Maps

Finally, Google Maps has Mysore in high resolution. This should be useful in a lot of different ways. The satellite images however are at least an year old.This I can tell from construction activities captured by the satellite images....

World Clock

I haven’t found a better website than “timeanddate.com”. Key in the name of any city in the world and you get immediately the local time of that city. The most interesting thing is that the local clock keeps ticking....

Meeting the Elephants

Just like how we still look up in the sky in all wonder and eagerness like a child, just to catch a glimpse of the mighty machines flying nimbly, so is watching the mighty elephants at close quarters. ...

The Cream of the Crap

Any creative end product requires oodles of enthusiasm, imagination and talent; there is no doubt about that. Cartooning falls in that bracket, but is the road that easy as it seems. I mean it's as challenging an occupation like any other, with greater probabilities for rejection and failure.....

Ganesha Idols


Traditional families go for the handmade clay idols with a touch of gold paint to highlight the features. We saw Lakshmi at work in a dingy room, with her deft fingers over the wet clay still making the idols to meet the orders placed by her customers....

Making zoo a more child-friendly place

And then there is an interactive enclosure in which children can touch, feel, pat and fondle the animals - goats and cows....

A glimpse of something new on the Delhi-Agra highway

As you near Mathura on the Delhi-Agra highway, you'll see this impressive looking building on your right. We were there on a rainy day, and the white marble looked beautiful against a somewhat stormy sky....

Mysore - A treasure mine.

Mysore is a beautiful place. For the casual tourist, we have a palace, a hill, a water reservoir, a zoo and a bird sanctuary. For the artistically inclined, we have some more palaces (Jaganmohan palace, Jayalaksmi Vilas, Lalith Mahal).A few well maintained lakes (Kukkarahalli and Karanji), a church (St. Philomena's Church) and a few museums...

The subtle art of time management

There is a small group of people found in every office that I admire. These are not your super achievers or diligent workers but people who have nothing to do but know how to look busy without anyone suspecting a thing....

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