Sunday, 31 May 2009

Case for 24x7 water supply

When water is supplied merely for 2-3 hours in a day, and not regularly, we all tend to store more water than we actually require. . .More. . .

Shroff Saab of Carmelite St.

Shroff Saab was a man of few words. He opened his mouth only when he was with the boss, Dr Tarapada Basu, usually to complain about something or someone. And his words carried weight with Dr Basu.. . .More. . .

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Vanilla, the flavouring the world loves

Vanilla ice cream? Cool! Cakes, chocolates, biscuits, drinks using vanilla? Yummy! Perfume with vanilla fragrance? Wow!

Well, vanilla is the world’s most preferred flavouring. It accounts for a whopping 29% among all food flavourings, according to a 2006 study by the International Ice Cream Association.

Vanilla is an orchid, a climbing terrestrial one…

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Photos: More of pastoral Olavipe

Thinking Big with honesty?

I came across an article quoting Former president APJ Abdul Kalam saying ’small goal is a crime’.

“I will have a goal and work hard to achieve the goal. I realise small goal is a crime. This should be the motto to achieve success,” Kalam told students after inaugurating a ‘Arts and Science Centre’ at Balbhavan... more

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Chakram: The wheel that turned agricultural fortunes

This photo from Olavipe brings a rush of memories to my mind. In the good old days when paddy cultivation was a way of life...

Puppies of a lesser god

Over the years things have changed though at the races. A lady can be seen seated near the racing track with a binocular and every now and then she gesticulates and makes a noise. Since we were ‘insiders’ we got to know that she was from Mrs. Kenaka Handhi’s stables. A highly excitable creature that watches every race like a hawk and reports any “harsh treatment” of the horse to her Madam. Madam would then make life hell for you in the Press. I have seen several such ladies at the races. Each one more holier than thou who think nothing of the malnourished and over burdened Ponies in Ooty because it gives them no mileage in the Press...more


A few years ago in one of its environment conscious moods, the city corporation had planted a seedling on the pavement outside our compound wall...More...

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Pastoral Kerala: Photos from Olavipe

Friday, 22 May 2009

Indian Elections 2009: Tid-bits

A joke heard in Kerala during the elections:

Son: Father, what is the Indian-American nuclear pact?

Father: I don’t know much about it, son. But it must be a good thing because the Communists are opposing it.

The Communists were opposing the Congress in the elections as well. Is that why the electorate thought the Congress-led UPA is good for the country and voted overwhelmingly for the alliance?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dining in Hell

So here we were three freinds on our monthly pilgrimage to M.T.R sitting at this table next to a large joint family. The joint family consisted of a grandpa, grandma, their siblings and the grandpa, grandma and their sibling’s older kids and the older kid’s younger kids most of whom were newly married with babies and toddlers. The entire Khandaan sat on half a dozen tables. The women wore ghoonghat (covered their head with saree pallu) and were perpetually busy keeping it in place. The men talked loudly amongst themselves and kids were like brats raised by a she wolf a la Jungle King for they crawled all over the table and under and generally behaved like a pack of baby animals escaped from a hospital for mentally retarded baby animals...more

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Kerala fruits: More photos

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

It’s time…

Took the first step today – opened my CV, to update it I just realised that it has been so long since I saw a CV – 2 years does feel like a long time.. And all my apprehension came flooding back.. Will I even get an interview, leave alone a job? . . .More. . .

Monday, 18 May 2009

Car crash on our way to airport

Viewing this image you would not hold out much hope for its passengers. I wouldn’t, either, had I not survived the crash. This was the vehicle in which my wife and I were going to the Bangalore airport to catch an early morning Dubai-bound flight... .More. . .

Gardening photos: Flowers from Olavipe

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Weddings - Part Two - Getting Ready

Once the 'kaal naattal' was done, the preparation for the wedding also started. Relations came one by one. They along with the neighbours took charge of the preparations, without being told or asked. Someone getting groceries and vegetables from the market, another arranging for fresh milk to be delivered...More...

Friday, 15 May 2009

Web site for Chennai South

Two weeks ago, a group of us launched a Web initiative.
A project linked to the General Elections this year.
Employing free-to-use Web tools and services, we created a web site whose address is -
The focus was Chennai South parliamentary constituency...More

Option E: None of the Above

If you are dissatisfied with the candidates on offer in your constituency and think they don’t deserve your vote; then by provision 49- O, you can go to the polling booth, confirm your identity, get your finger marked and tell the electoral officer that you don’t wish to vote...More

An exercise in dis-organisation

A couple of weeks ago, I crossed the Singapore border to go to Malaysia by train. When the initial documentation checks were done at the Singapore railway station, we were handed a health form to fill in along with our immigration form...More

Anthurium Anthem

For sheer flamboyance and in-your-face attention grabbing, few flowers can beat Anthuriums (Anthurium andreanum). I think I'm a little prone to drama myself because I love growing these very sophisticated-looking beauties...More

J.J. Murphy: An Irish Jewel on the South Indian High Ranges

The first half of the last century. A rainy day at Ooty, South India’s famous hill station. Some nuns were walking along a road in the cold. Suddenly a car stopped by and the gentleman driver offered them a lift. He asked why they did not use a vehicle in such inclement weather...More

Slightly inebriated post

Howdy, folks. This is Monsieur Shenoy reporting from the flight deck at 36,000 feet over Mysore. The corpore sano is at sea-level of course, but the mens sana is flying, owing to a liberal dosage of fine single malt whisky...MOre

Shift to Bangalore or loose your job, Frech workers told

For some reason, it’s felt that Democrats are against outsourcing. John Kerry during his presidential run in 2004 made a few remarks to give such an impression. More recently, on May 4, President Obama said he would end tax concessions for companies that create jobs in Bangalore than in Buffalo...More


One of the hottest days of summer today. I am glad we opted to go early to cast our votes for the Lok Sabha (General Parliamentary) election - before the sun got too strong, and the booths too crowded...More

It Is Time We Thought About “Automobile Explosion”

What I strongly feel is that there should be immediately some restrictions on the number of cars on the roads. Till 10-15 years back only a certain section of people could afford to buy cars, thus automatically keeping a control on the number of cars on the roads. But now the situation has changed. The purchasing power of common people has increased a lot...More

The Bearded Conudrum

As a teenager, one of the most exciting things to do is to get hold of the razor, and whether you have facial hair or not, you just want to feel the blade going up and down your cheek. My father would look upon me quizzically and wonder, "What are you doing standing in front of that mirror? ...More

Paolino Bartolomeo and Karthika Tirunal Rama Varma Rajah (Dharma Rajah) of Travancore.

His remarkable book, A Voyage to the East Indies containing an Account of the Manners and Customs of the Natives with a geographical description of the Country collected from observations made during a Residence of thirteen years, between 1776 and 1789, in districts little frequented by the Europeans was originally published in Rome in 1796...More

Auto logic – II

Welcome tomy latest edition of Auto Logic. Some nuggets of conversation with autorikshaw drivers in Bangalore.
Me: Where are you from (in Tamil)?
Auto driver: (Instant smile) Senji Sir...More

Hyper or Just being a kid?

I asked the person I was talking to, what they are going to do about it. He said ‘We took a stand and is going to stick on to that. We are not going to give drugs to our kid. Period. ‘His kid is a very good student. I saw only a normal kid running around the restaurant...More

The Supreme Speed Braker of Mylapore Contest

There are a few roads in Mylapore/ Mandavelli that bear testimony to this new finding. One is the Thiruvengadam Street that has more speed breakers than the number of sixers in a T20 match...MOre

The Goddess at Pompeii

Many more years of painstaking archeological digging followed. In 1939, Italian archeologist Prof Maiuri, discovered an artifact in the ruins, that had a very Indian origin. This ivory statuette which survived the disaster and lasted all these 2000 years was identified by Prof Maiuri as that of the Goddess Lakshmi...More

Doors of Silver

I took these shots at Bhagamandala Temple in Coorg around 220 km from Bangalore. This huge temple complex has shrines dedicated to various Gods. The idols are housed inside these small shrines...More

The Black Winged Stilts at Pallikaranai

They take off as a flock, frightened by a marauding marsh harrier, and then land at a safe distance, their long red legs and black wings making them look better in flight than when they are wading in the waters...more

Ten things that define Delhi (5)

The Metro is more than just a Mass Rapid Transit System. It is proof that change can happen, that things can work, that a few good bureaucrats can make a giant difference. Take a Metro ride today!...More

Oh, What Folly!

It seems to me the films of yore
Have a great deal to answer for.
They led us to expect Great Expectations.
I grew up thinking life would be...More

Cultures of India

Another performing art from Karnataka, captured at the government sponsored folk festival in Bangalore...More

Not enough skills?

This question typically arises when starting a business. You don’t have much idea about selling that gadget you have made. You also don’t have the confidence whether the gadget is of top quality or not. So, do you start selling now? Or do you attain more perfection and then start selling?...More

Poll Games

I have been watching with amused horror tinged with extreme sadness the poll games being played with alacrity over the past few days. These are being reported by all media channels for all to see...More

Mother's Day and Restaurants in Zurich

But later on I realised that parents love all their children equally, its only that the well behaved ones get more praise and thats sometime misconstrued...More

Down the long and winding memory lanes and by-lanes

Pudgy and me met in kindergarten. The first meeting was not so nice. Pudgy was clinging onto her Dad’s arms bawling her lungs out. She kept bawling the whole day and I was pretty fed of the irritating noise. Next day the bawling continued and I remember going to her and doing the decent thing...More

Given up Yet?

Many teenage blogs start out with so much optimism and confidence. Some of them gain popularity, and others melt into oblivion. Either way, it’s unfortunate that most teenage blogs die out pretty soon. They are discarded, dormant or neglected. But they all have something in common...More

Hallmark Holidays

It starts the day after Christmas with valentines day, probably the most contrived con game run on men (and some women), to make them spend unseen amounts of money because someone told the to....More

Thursday, 14 May 2009

R.K.Laxman's autograph... my cartoons.....

One small corner of me reserves my interest in cartoons. My cartooning hero is R.K.Laxman. I 'read' his lines drawn in his cartoons. They are so life-like and natural. So much like a picture!

Sometime in 1986 I almost met him in his Times of India [Bombay] chamber.......... I drew a few cartoons of my own though not worthy of comparison to my hero's.



The whole procedure, smooth and quick, took less than twenty minutes, out of which it took me ten minutes just to look at all the candidates’ names to find my chosen one from the three Electronic Voting Machines - we had 44 candidates to choose from....More

Option E: None of the Above

when I went through the list of candidates for our constituency, I was stumped to come up with the right or best candidate. Of the candidates from the three major parties, one is corrupt, one is terribly terribly corrupt and the third.....
If you are dissatisfied with the candidates on offer in your constituency and think they don’t deserve your vote; then by provision 49- O,

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Down the long and winding memory lanes and by-lanes

We met in kindergarten. The first meeting was not so nice. Pudgy was clinging onto her Dad’s arms bawling her lungs out. She kept bawling the whole day and I was pretty fed of the irritating noise. Next day the bawling continued and I remember going to her and doing the decent thing. I pinched her hard...more.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A Day in the Life of Ejamanar

Undeterred by this 21st century attitude to his 19th century ideals, Ejamanar never falters in his determination to keep his family, particularly his two children, firmly under his thumb and watchful eye. The children, however, under the strong influence of the Ejamanar genes (Ejamanar was notoriously rebellious and independent-thinking as an adolescent) pay scant heed to his remonstrations about the abundance of evil lurking in innocent corners. Ejamanar is an ardent exercise freak, profoundly scornful of “leftists” and a nightmarish driver who believes that any other vehicle on the street is superfluous and needs to come within an inch of being eliminated. More....

Monday, 11 May 2009

Identification Parade

It is not really necessary to know the name of the bird to enjoy watching it. Even without the knowledge of the species it is interesting to observe how busily they go about their activities. I do observe then I try to take shots of it too taking care not to disturb it. But soon I find asking myself ‘what kind of bird is it?’

Singapore Sling

Pour masses of tropical flowers all across a spotlessly clean city.
Fill it all around with beautiful waterscapes.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Weddings - A Hundred Years Ago

In my mother’s case she got married when she was eight in 1902. It was my paternal grandfather, an advocate who approached my mother’s father, a schoolmaster, for my mother’s horoscope. He was much impressed by my mother’s family, their general behaviour and my mother’s own conduct....More...

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Orchid welcomes and farewells

My vote for the best indoor display of orchids? The Orchid Garden and Koi Pond at Terminal 2 at Changi airport, Singapore . Just look at these photos ! Oh, and do click on them to enlarge. These orchids deserve your full-screen attention. I had to literally pick my jaw up from the floor where it was doing a great job of drooling all over the place.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Memorabilia from a golden era

Who does not know "Bangalore Press" in this area? Their calendars were in almost every home and office. This is one of their sheets of 1935. My great grandfather had used the blank back of it for some pencil-drafting. ....... ..... This is the way things cling on to the 'heart' and space makes itself available, somehow!! "Old is gold'. ....more.....

Winners’ plight, trophies’ fate

...not many people go up the showcases in houses they visit and inquire about a displayed item! So disheartening! Because the TV is a horrid distraction! Or is it the general commercial mindset that has set in? Trophies are not usually the priority for others besides the few interested. Often, showcases become a dumping place for.... ...more...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

An envoy’s barber story

I had Mr Prakash reminiscing about his Shimoga barber when I sent him the link to a fascinating piece by Mr M P V Shenoi on his Mysore barber, who played clarinet. Mohalla barbers in Shenoi’s younger days (1940s) doubled up as street musicians, hired to play musical instruments at weddings and other festivities.. ..More...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A Summer Play

For a few years now, Karthik Fine Arts has been doing a great service to theatre by promoting the staging of new plays and holding a contest for them, calling it the Summer Play Festival. Dramatists find it a good launching pad to present their latest, and also win a few prizes in the bargain. More....

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

An exercise in dis-organisation

A touch of concern : cases of swine flu have crossed borders and are showing up in India too. The papers this morning reported 2 cases but by evening now there seem to be 5 cases detected in India.
Scary? You bet! But you know what, if my experiences were anything to go by, I wouldn't be surprised if more cases show up with the virus being literally forced on the patients at our airports.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Elections in Chennai

Each constituency has its own character, colour and composition. Though all three make Chennai what it is. So are there Chennai-driven issues that are dominating the elections this time around? And is it important to put these issues on top of the agenda of the candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring last fortnight?...More

On Holiday

I finally did it! I'm in Singapore right now and drooling over the absolutely fantastic orchids blooming their heads off in every nook and corner . And I'm so envious of the very trim figures I see everywhere...More

Asthtalakshmi Temple, Chennai

I was fascinated by the structure which highlighted several features of the Dravidian temple architecture. It is a comparatively new temple, built in 1976. Within the short span of three decades this shrine has become a tourist attraction in Chennai...More

Law Against Internet Piracy

Downloading movies and music from the Internet is so rampant that no one really thinks it is an offence. Mainly teenagers and youth are so adept at these things.Not many of them care to ponder over the impact such piracy has on the very industry that gives them so much contentment and happiness...More

Biodegradable dish ware..

It is nothing else but the palm leaves (sheaths) that have been used since ages for various purposes in parts of India and I believe in most Asian countries. It is from the Areca Palm or the Betel tree as it is widely known in India whose nuts are used by betel/pan chewers...More

Blogger Friends

On Easter Sunday, Abraham visited us and we spent a nice one hour talking to one another. The surprising thing was, none of us felt we were talking to strangers whom we were meeting for the first time. Over some coffee...More

Post LTTE Sri Lanka – The Innocent Tamils Must Not Be Confused With The LTTE Cadres

Now, with the LTTE being on the verge of final crumbling, it is time to think over a crucial question - what will be the status of the ethnic Tamils in the post-LTTE Sri Lanka? While discussing this question, the very first thing that we all must understand is that the innocent Tamils of Sri Lanka have absolutely no connections with the dreaded LTTE...More

Bangalore Trip--A Personal Event

Bangalore has changed, and at the same time, there is not much of a change. The traffic is woeful, the sediments of dust settle from all angles, and as I was standing in the imaginary queue to pick up something for dinner, Chetan nudged me from behind and said "Maga, idhu Bostonalla, this is Bengaluru"...More

A Simple way of barring NSD

As age got up with my mother, she too started showing signs of her mother’s genes. One day when I visited her she was irritated as the phone was out of order for a couple of days and about the same time her cellular phone also had konged out...More

pizza box of the 21st century

It is completely recyclable. The pizza box top tears down into 4 plates. The bottom can find very neatly into another closable box - for storing leftovers in the refrigerator (if you are like me — this would really not be of much use - but it is a good idea none the less...More

Can I please just have 5 more minutes...

How many times we have heared this pleading. If you let them have extra five minutes and then forget to ask them to stop, 5 minutes will turn easily to an hour or even more...More



When Gandhiji met Chaplin

Eric L Flom provided more details the meeting in the book ‘Chaplin in the Sound era’. Following an excursion to Spain, Chaplin made his way back to London where he hoped to have a few months of rest before returning to California. There he received an unusual invitation to meet Gandhi at the house...More

Back to basics

There are loads of things we do not know, things and stuff we come across in our daily lives. I had my eye-opener in the form of a simple question from my cousin as to how an AC works; the question triggered few more questions...More

Peacock Feathers

I have focused my lens on them a number of times, trying to capture its colors from different angles, never have I got the same results. Particularly the eye of the feather; it is an intricate structure difficult not only to imitate in art but also through lens...More

A Real Good One

I am herewith enclosing a poem by an IT professional. Though it is in Tamil, I am sure you will be able to decipher it.Though the professional tries to justify I believe they are reaping what they sowed...More

Box Collection!

In olden days, most of the products came to the consumer from the manufacturer either in wooden containers or tin boxes or tin cans. Plastic was not an item in the dictionary before the 1950s...More

Ten things that define Delhi (3)

Whether it is hearty butter chicken, Moghlai cuisine or just roadside chaat, Delhi truly has some amazing food on offer. This photo is of a very 'standard' meal...More


Verse that rhymes is out of fashion,
Though I enjoy it with a passion.
Wordsworth and Keats are cast aside
Where once they were a nation's pride!...More

Of Kings and Empires

This map lies lost in a thatched hut which houses the museum as well. And the thatched hut is in a forgotten town called Gangaikondacholapuram,...More

279 days

Strange! I wrote the previous post about writing and since then, haven’t written. And then I read this manifesto by Chris Guillebeau: 279 days to overnight success. If you haven’t already read about Chris, I think you should read now...More

The Cry of the Vegetable Vendor

No matter how hot or cold it is, no matter if it is raining or scorching our vegetable vendor does not miss his rounds. His cry is like the comfortable chime of an old clock...More

My First Days at Zurich

I went to take some tea and asked what is that spiced tea or what type of spices you put..and a very pleasant voice told me in Hindi...le lo, bilkul indian jaisa ha..with sugar inide....and I was so happy to see a helping Indian on the counter...More

Turning 40

Today I benched pressed 300 LBS, I am very proud of myself. However, I often wonder why I continue exercising at this pace. My kids are young could be a reason...More

Fleet Street. in the 60s

Major London dailies may have moved to the Docklands, Canary Wharf or wherever, but they remain Fleet Street newspapers. To those in the media Fleet Street is a synonym for British journalism.. .More...

Oru Whisky Oru Masala Dosai

And the buffet did look good enough to hmmm eat !! But what caught my eye was a display card that said "Dosa Dhamaka" exhorting one to eat as much as one could and went on to describe an array of mouthwatering fillings for more than eight different kinds of dosas ........More dosas here


Friday, 1 May 2009

Tree slaughter

But who needs words when the trunks can speak. Road-widening is cited as an explanation. What is often not so obvious is a minor fortune some people could stand to make by lobbying for widening roads rich with old avenue trees. . . .More. . .