Friday, 31 July 2009

Kerala Food: Jackfruit chips curry, something rarely made

The other day my wife, Annie, made jackfruit chips curry at our Chennai residence after a long time, and everyone liked it. This is something that goes well with rice, chapathis, pooris, appams, puttu and so on. It is quite simple to make. You can serve ‘chakka’ curry anywhere in the world if you have the jackfruit chips with you.

Understanding the ongoing gas-pricing dispute between Ambani brothers

Excerpts from an interview of Dr.Bhamy Shenoy with D.Murali of Business Line

In the ongoing gas-pricing dispute, is the Government partial to either of the Ambani brothers, as claimed? No, it is not, avers Bhamy Shenoy, a senior advisor to the Center for Energy Economics at University of Texas, Austin.

“It is the bounden duty of the Government to safeguard the interests of the taxpayers. Billions of dollars are involved in this deal and the Government cannot be a mute spectator,” he adds, during a quick email interaction with Business Line.... More

Monsoon Magic has to wait a bit

My Monsoon Magic Part 2 is ready but like many other people, I am having a tough time with Blogger and unable to post pictures and videos. Without being able to do this, I don't want to post the article. So, let's wait and see. In the meantime, I have an anecdote that I remember from my time spent with friends from Thiruvananthapuram. Read on..

Thursday, 30 July 2009

History: Gingee, a fort of love and valour

Shivaji had called it the most impregnable fort in India. But it had changed hands several times since the Cholas originally built it in 9c CE. The control passed on to Vijayanagar, Nayaks, Marathas, Bijapur, Moghuls, Carnatic Nawabs, Mysore, French and the British...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Lalit Mahal Road Tree Felling: DEVELOPMNET vs. ENVIRONMENT?

It is unfortunate that there has been an unnecessary controversy on the felling of 134 trees to widen Lalit Mahal road between ATI and Arch Gate. Instead of striving for a win win situation, this has turned into a fierce zero sum game between environmentalists and development oriented enthusiasts. Sustainable development is impossible without taking care of environment.Mysoreans are divided into groups based on.... More

Monday, 27 July 2009

Babies And Gold Rings

I had read in the papers the announcement made by him much earlier that babies (born in Corporation hospitals only) who were given pure Thamizh names would be rewarded with gold rings. We had all laughed then. More . . .


Just before totality, the sun came out of the clouds and we saw our shadows on the grass in that weird light. The wind dropped and it was very still. More. . .

Railway Profits - Who is Right?

Mamata Bannerjee has promised to come out with a white paper on the total operation for the last 5 years, much to the discomfiture of Lalu. The Prime Minister welcomed her decision to bring a white Paper...More

What was my English teacher doing in a hospital?

Today afternoon, I happened to accompany my friend, who is a doctor, to his hospital and there I saw one of my English teachers. It was nothing short of a surprise to me as to what he was doing in a hospital. I asked my friend about that. He didn't answer and just drifted out of the scene. I was puzzled. My teacher was not his usual self..... More

Road Widening - Is The Solution Worse Than The Problem?

Work is going on full steam to widen Vinaya Marga in Siddharthanagar. It is is the second time in the last few years tha the road has been widened. After the present widening, the footpath will be reduced to almost nothing. Mindless widening of roads to ease vehicle congestion is counterproductive. It will reduce footpaths and hence force people to walk on streets. Pedestrians and.... More

Why Are Underbridges So Narrow?

There are many underbridges in Mysore which allow roads to cross under railway lines or other roads. A common feature of these underbridges is that they shrink the road, affecting the smooth flow of traffic. When they do not even permit the full width of the road, where will they find space for footpaths? As a result, pedestrians find it extremely dangerous to walk on these underbridges. It is almost impossible for the elderly and the .... More

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Cuisine: How hot is hot chilli pepper?

I didn’t know what a Scoville Scale is. Even my ten-years old know-all granddaughter Nonee didn’t know. So I looked it up on the Internet. It is a measure of the hotness of chilli pepper...

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The good life!

The employees of this PSU do not have much work and they use the free time doing small businesses of their own. They sign in the morning and leave for their respective homes or private businesses and come back in the evening to sign out. Many of them are small scale entrepreneurs in their own right. The ladies do knitting and other miscellaneous work if they are free…which is most of the time. To keep this elaborate machinery ticking, I am told a lot of the so called “profit” of the PSU is used up. This is a very cleverly camouflaged operation and has been going on for a long time...more.

Neem ka Thana memories

The Taregna eclipse was not a patch on the fun we had during the 1995 October eclipse. It was Doordarshan's first live coverage of a total solar eclipse, and the centre of action was the little Rajasthani town of Neem ka Thana.

The moon's shadow bypassed Madras, so we decided to follow it on the telly. Prof Yash Pal of the UGC was anchoring the show from the studios in Delhi, and they had a remote unit at Neem ka thana. We were very impressed with the set up and excited as well.

Little did we know, what unintended entertainment was to follow.... More


Jog falls is best seen when the monsoon fury is tapering and the Linganamakki dam over the Sharavathi River is full. Jog Falls is also the highest plunge waterfall in India, falling from a height of about 829 feet.

The Main Ceremonies

While the priests chanted mantrams, the bridegroom placed a small yoke on her head, symbolizing that they would have to work together for the success of the marriage. And after this the bridegroom tied the mangalasutra, or thirumangalyam threaded on yellow thread, round her neck. More. . .

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Controversy: The frisking of Dr. Kalam at New Delhi airport

The incident took place not in Delhi, Iowa, USA, but at Delhi, India. The Continental staff was told who the personage was and that according to the rules he was not to be subjected to a security check. Still they went ahead with the body search, brazenly flouting the applicable law of the country. Is the belated apology by the carrier the end of the matter?....

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Mysore Airport 2009

So after much waiting, decades of it in fact, maybe we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Naysayers are still at work saying that the Airport is inadequate, large Aircraft cannot operate from them and that additional land needs to be acquired, this is not the end of the story..blah..blah...blah.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

D.K. Pattammal: The Meeting that Never Was

And DKP – to listen to her singing was to be caressed by charm and grace, to float on an ocean of mellow sound, to be cocooned in a warm blanket of serenity and repose, to be in a place where all the elements of music blended together into something utterly precious and unique. To experience a DKP concert was to feel the warm love of a grandmother’s lap, where all was beautiful and right with the world. But behind that sweet smile lay a steely resolve – to aim for the sky, to cut no corners, to meet and conquer any musical challenge. ...More

Monsoon gifts

It's been raining in Mumbai, and look...! Caladiums! Popping up all over the place and letting the raindrops roll off it in big, fat, silvery blobs. These were growing wild and I got a few of them for my garden. It really livens up the shaded spots under my big cashew trees where nothing else seems ready to grow.

DK Pattammal: A tribute

‘Aduvome pallu paduvme, Ananda sutantiram adaindu vittom enru…’

The song from many, many moons ago came rushing to my mind...

Friday, 17 July 2009

Encounters with Voldemort

Its Harry Potter season again. The Half Blood Prince is in the theatres, and I'm sure that I shall see it sooner than later.

Brought back memories of my coming face-to-face with Voldemort and his death eaters, last summer.

Juna Mahal - a hidden gem

High up on the hill behind the Udai Bilas Palace is the original Dungarpur palace, Juna Mahal, which dates to the 13th century, and was occupied until probably the late 19th century when the new lake-side palace was built.

It was a strange and interesting visit to the Juna Mahal.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

MGP Writes To KERC Against Proposed Rate Hikes

According to the Karnataka Electricity Reform (KER) Act, Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs) have to file applications before the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) and get its approval for any increase in tariffs. It has been reported that ESCOMs are about to approach KERC once again for an upward revision of tariff. MGP has written to KERC against... More

Consumer Club Inagurated

The Consumer Club of K. Puttaswamy P.U.College in Vijayanagar was inaugurated on 7-7-09. Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy of Mysore Grahakara Parishat spoke on consumer rights and responsibilities and conducted an interactive session with the students. More

France: The sound of Indian military boots again

I felt so proud watching on TV the Indian contingent leading the Bastille Day parade in Paris yesterday. The boys marched perfectly as the strains of ‘Kadam kadam badaye ja..’ and ‘Sare jahan se acha…’ reverberated along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.

I wonder how many of the millions who watched the parade on July 14 knew the historic significance of the Indian soldiers’ presence in France for the ceremony. The Indian Army had sacrificed much to save France and Western Europe from the Germans...

A Luna-tic Rivalry

......At the same time, on a much more modest scale, on a far more humble stage – within the walls of our home in Madras – raged another Cold War, complete with a Space Race and Big Brother casting his shadow. It was the rivalry between my older brother and me – an overawed, terrified younger sister – and it permeated every pore of my being......More

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Kerala politics: Confused Comrades

Can you think of an Indian being punished in India for donating blood to Indian soldiers? Sometimes the Communists do such things. They have their own logic, though people outside the organization may not comprehend it...

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Queen of Indian Cabaret

I first saw Helen in a Hindi movie video when I was in the sixth standard. I remember being absolutely blown away by her, her costumes, instant costume changes and the way she peeled clothes away from her body leaving a really teeny tiny garment beneath. I was hooked and with it began a long fascination and fan ship of a person that I think was a really gifted artist and dancer. I saw every single of Helen's dance from the huge collection of movies my Dad has and I can safely say that I am amongst her greatest fans...more.

In My Element

It is quite hard to be in your element when life turns routine. Daily chores make your days normal, and everything chugs on in the usual way. And sometimes, that is all it takes to rob your mind of its creative instinct. It is quite easy to fall prey to life’s monotony...More

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Day Of The Wedding

I remember enjoying this at my sister Sarada’s wedding. We were then living in Trivandrum city, away from the river. So we just bathed at home, went to the nearby temple and offered prayers, and walked back home. On the way we were stopped at a few houses, and my sister was welcomed with aarathi and thamboolam. More. . .

Saplings as thamboolam

Mayor of Chennai M. Subramaniam introduced an innovative concept at the wedding of his son recently, one that can be emulated by all. He gave as thamboolam 3000 saplings to his guests to take away and plant. More. . . .

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Incha Aanda Yencha?

Deccan herald reports that five languages in Karnataka, including Tulu and Kodava, may vanish due to fast dwindling of number of its users, a Unesco study has warned.

Being a Tulu speaking person, this news is really very saddening. Though the report does say that it might take another 80 to 90 years for the language to ease out from the Indian languages, which is definitely after my lifetime, news of death of a language is painful for its users.

The decline of a language, like its birth, is not so easy and..... more

Did you wish me on my birthday.....

.... is not a question which I will ever ask!

Incident 1- This year, one of my very close friends asked me when was my birthday, just when it was round the corner!? I promptly told him that it got over two days back, when in fact, it was two days later. I told him the real fact only few months later!

Incident 2- Once again, this year,..... more

Auction Site Buyers Are Not Consumers!

Court has held that buyers of auction sites from Urban Development Authorities are not consumers. In its order, the Supreme Court said that only allottees of sites are consumers but not buyers of sites (whether by auction or not) from the UDAs. It also said that when people buy sites from UDAs, if amenities such as roads, water connections and sewage lines are not specifically promised, the UDAs are under no obligation to... more

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

What's in a Brand Name!

What is the height of branding I wonder! Is it Xerox? Even today in India we say “Xerox” instead of ‘copy”. And though most of us here were born in the era of Canon Copiers, we still use the term “xerox’ when we want to convey ‘copy’. This is because our parents use the word and have unwittingly passed it down to us. Now you might argue that “Xerox’ was a monopoly back in the good ol days when our folks were cutting classes and going to the movies. But I still feel that it has set a precedent in branding in India...more.

Pan leaves

The Sanskrit name for the climber is nagavalli. The word means snake-like vine. It is cultivated in many parts of India, and traditionally had great economic significance. It was a state monopoly under Prince Azim-us-Shan

(1697-1703) of Bengal (the grandson of Aurangzeb). Robert Clive continued the system after the East India Company took over...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Growing up with granddaughter

That was it. A child’s imagination! Absolutely fascinating. When my kids were small I didn’t have so much time to spend with them. Now it is different. And I am learning many things from the grandchildren. Their range of knowledge is so much higher than mine at their age...

Friday, 3 July 2009

Crushed Dreams

As a little child, all she wanted was to go to school with her older brother, but she was sent to another school. Later she realised that it was the cheaper one.

As a ten yr old, she was told to come straight home from school and help out her mother.. while her brother got to play with his friends.

As a teenager, she was told to dream within ‘limits’. To just hope that she gets married quickly and does not remain a burden on her parents.

As a college going student, all she remembers is lots of people coming to ’see’ her… more

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Tessy Thomas: A star of space science

In a country where women have adorned eminent positions including that of President and Prime Minister, and brilliantly proved their mettle, the elevation of Tessy Thomas as the AGNI V chief may not cause much surprise. But it is significant in several ways...


People with varied interests, background and different strata of society come to my newspaper office daily. Some of them walk into my room and if I am free engage myself in conversation with them for a few minutes. Recently, a person, known to me for a long time, well placed in society, who retired after serving as a senior officer in the Central Government ,had come to meet me. He is fond of cars and changes his automobile whenever a new brand comes into the market...More