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Archive for October, 2008

THE FALL BACK OPTION!


When your skin has lost its sheen,

When your thighs have become dimpled,

When your elbow has callused,

When the tautness of what

I’d spent my days dreamin

And nights splitting

Has become patulous,- lose not your hope.

Refresh your memory of how they were

The milestones of my manhood.

History is not writing journals,

It is the inscriptions of the feelings of a winner.

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DEEPAVALI/DIWALI-THE SECULAR MULTICULTURALISM OF INDIA


Deepavali/Diwali is the MOST CELEBRATED of all the Indian festivals. The reasons are manifold. But to narrate the happenings on the Deepavali/Diwali days in Bangalore reflects the concept of multi-culturalism gaining momentum in INDIA at the most grassroots level.

Deepavali is celebrated in the SOUTHERN PART of India (I personally hate the expression SOUTH INDIA, as it is redolent of a great political schism like in South Korea/North Korea, West Pakistan/East Pakistan etc.) on the 14th day of the month of Karthikai, and consequently falls a day before the day Diwali celebrated in the NORTHERN INDIA, which happens to be on the no-moon day, of the same month Kritika. The reasons for the celebrations of the same festival on two different days calls for serious research, and this blog is no place for it, i reckon.

The Hindus, as i understand it celebrate it as the day for welcoming the return of Lord Rama after the rescue of Sita. Another for welcoming the Goddess Lakshmi into the believers’ homes for prosperity- the business community’s celebrations are in consonance with this. There are many more beliefs and traditions/practices for Deepavali/Diwali celebrations by the Hindus.

The Sikhs are stated to be celebrating Diwali as the day of return of their sixth Guru after, his incarceration by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.

The Jains celebrate it the day on which Lord Mahavira had attained NIRVANA.

This congruence of the day of celebrations of DEEPAVALI/DIWALI by 3 different Religions on the same day, and also celebrations on different days- by persons of different regions of the same country, have led to the secular colour of this festival.

At Koramangala in BANGALORE is a Township by name NATIONAL GAMES VILLAGE. It is mostly home to a drifting population of Yuppies, Government officers, Judicial Officers of the state of Karnataka and other persons who desire a peaceful, non-commercial neighborhood. There are many flats which have been converted into Private Guest Houses and houses for Paying Guest accommodation. Consequently, the residents are without roots and without the baggage of the sons of the soil concept.

It is in this Games Village at Bangalore that i celebrated this Deepavali/Diwali. It was truly multi-cultural. The business communities from Gujarat, Rajasthan and parts of Maharashtra celebrated it on the 28th oct, 2008 along with the Indians from other Northern parts. The southerners (well sounds like the ones who went under the banner of Thomas Jefferson’s confederates!) celebrated it on the 27th oct..

The CELEBRATIONS WERE OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE IN THE NATIONAL GAMES VILLAGE AS THE BURSTING OF THE CRACKERS AND LIGHT-WORKS WENT OFF ON THE INTERVENING NIGHT OF 27TH-28TH AND 27TH-29TH. I MUST SAY THAT THE NORTHERNERS’ BURSTING WAS HEAVIER, BUT THE SOUTHERNERS’ LIGHTS WERE MORE BRILLIANT.

I also had the privilege of attending the church service on the 26th Oct., 2008 at ST.MARK’S CATHEDRAL, no.1 M G Road, Bangalore. The service was at 10.30AM. In the prayers, the priest prayed for the HINDU brothers celebrating Deepavali/Diwali that week. I have been attending many church services both in the Northern and Southern parts of India, but it was the FIRST TIME that i’d seen such prayers being made in a church.

All in all, what is HEARTENING and ELEVATING is that a brotherhood among INDIANS is gaining momentum, by not being merely TOLERANT but participating in CELEBRATIONS of other communities and it is what i’d like to call the DYNAMIC TOLERANCE OF INDIAN ATTITUDE (tolerant had a negative connotation of putting up with, but this collective positive expression has given a positive inflexion to TOLERANCE). I hope that this gains momentum and makes us, Indians, dynamic in our endeavours and does not hold us up within the NARROW DOMESTIC WALLS.


NATIONALIZE METROS IN INDIA.


Metro in India could mean the tube or also the METROPOLITAN cities. I’m here wanting to blog on METROPOLITAN CITIES.

In the wake of the parochialism that is being spread thru SONS OF THE SOIL concept, it is time for the parliament to step in and decide the issue based on debate and making locals realize that neither them nor their forebears are responsible for the growth of the cities which are called METROS.

The metros that i am talking of are DELHI, MUMBAI, CHENNAI and KOLKATA. Delhi is the capital of the country and every Indian has the right to access and seek jobs there, buy property and make it his place of domicile.

Prior to India’s independence Bombay, Madras and Calcutta had found a place in the International map as CITIES of repute. One shud also include Lahore, Karachi and Dacca in that list. Therefore the three  cities, which are in today’s India, were not built into these huge METROPOLISES after the advent of the DIVISION OF STATES ON LINGUISTIC basis from the mid 50’s onwards.

MADRAS was appropriated by the then Madras state and Bombay by Maharashtra, but Calcutta was always with West Bengal. The composite culture that pervaded those two cities ie. Bombay and Madras have slowly been taken over by the local politicians and have infused a belief that merely because the respective cities are their state capitals, they shud be made the fief of the majority linguistic community of that state.

The malaise that we see today-in the form of violence- is nothing but a symptom of that belief, that had been allowed to creep into the consciousness of the locals and bandied about as a RIGHT. BOMBAY’s wealth is not merely the product of the labour of the locals. Even assuming that it is entirely their labour, if INDIA did not provide inter-state trade and the  CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT that no discriminatory taxes could be imposed by another state, where could  the BOMBAY FILM INDUSTRY have found  paying viewers? If such a right had not been constitutionally granted, where could the LUCAS-TVS sold all its automotive electrical parts manufactured around Madras?

IN EFFECT WHAT APPEARS IS THAT, EACH STATE IN INDIA WANTS ITS MANUFACTURED GOODS TO HAVE A GOOD MARKET IN THE FORM OF POPULOUS STATES, BUT IT DOES NOT WANT THOSE MARKET PROVIDING STATES’ LABOUR!!

How are we gonna create a NATION if we launch such parochial issues which assault the constitution of INDIA?

The only solution lies in the MODEL OF CHANDIGARH. Which is a UNION TERRITORY but the capital of Two states (Haryana & Punjab). After all, as already pointed out, let us nationalize MUMBAI and CHENNAI and make it the second and third cities which vest every INDIAN WITH THE RIGHT to work or stay without any over-riding rights by the locals.

I know it is too idealistic, but let each INDIAN start a soul-searching on these lines.

PROPHECY- BARACK!


IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN FOLLOWING WHAT I’VE GOTTA SAY PLEASE READ FROM THE

BIBLE , THE BOOK OF JUDGES CHAPTER:4&5

Many of you have been fascinated with the predictions of Nostradamus and have wondered how a person in human form could have predicted so accurately about things yet to happen. Even though , i consider the interpretations CONTRIVED, NOSTRADAMUS sells. Lo and behold! we have a prophet.

After reading Judges ch:4 & 5, u must be familiar with the dramatis personae. Yet knowing the indolence of human nature , let me make a brief of the chapters recommended.

There is a Judge in Israel named DEBORAH. During her regime (Kings had not yet been anointed in Israel, by then,and only Judges were dispensing Justice and organizing the society), Canaanites had been suppressing God’s chosen ones! She prophesies that BARAK, has to lead a posse of 10,000 persons from two of the weakest tribes viz. Zebulun and Naphtali and defeat the Canaanite king and his army leader SISERA. Deborah importunes BARAK to go it alone, but BARAK insists on her going with him. Deborah warns him that if she were to go with him for the war, he would have to share the glory of the victory with her. Yet , being a chivalrous man, he took her along for the battle. They fight Sisera’s forces, destroy the iron chariots of Sisera and Sisera takes refuge in the house of a neutral person’s(Heber) home and there, Heber’s wife Jael puts the tired Sisera to sleep and NAILS A TENT PEG INTO THE TEMPLE OF SISERA. Barak wins.

The above incident must have happened, if taken in a historical perspective, around 3400-3500 years back.

HISTORY IS GONNA REPEAT ITSELF AGAIN!!!

This US election 2008 is gonna replicate what happened then (3000 odd- centuries are odd vis-a-vis millennia- years ago).

Firstly notice the coincidence of names:

BARACK the BARAK

McCain the Canaanite!

Barack comes from the afro-american community that is in terms of the status of the tribes of Israel, equivalent to be from the tribe of NAPHTALI.

Secondly, coming to the structure of the elections. There was a debate as to whether Barack shud be given the Democratic ticket or Mrs. Clinton. BARACK OBAMA is to lead the Democrats. Even Clinton endorses after losing out. I don’t think she was keen on going with him as the VP nominee, yet in a strategic positioning for the 2012 or 2016 elections she is with BARACK OBAMA. She is one of the ex first ladies of the US for 2 terms. Thereby she hails from a superior tribe of Ephraim- just like Deborah was. She is joining Obama in the battle, like Deborah. Obama needs her, to counter the white Palin effect!!

Thirdly, the person who sealed the victory for Barak was Heber’s wife Jael, who drove the tent peg into Sisera’s head. In US08, we are gonna have the REPUBLICAN LADY SARAH PALIN- who is gonna drive the nail in on McCain, and thus get Barack the VICTORY.

Fourthly, women play an important role in real bad TIMES. In the case of Barak the Jew, it was Deborah and Jael; and in the case of BARACK OBAMA it’s gonna be Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Hillary who was the opponent, and Palin, who is in the opposite camp are gonna be INDIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VICTORY OF BARACK.

What was the punchline after Barak defeated the Canaanites(Judges ch.4&5)?? It was:

BARAK DEFEATS CANAANITES.

What is gonna be the punchline when Obama defeats McCain? It SHALL be:

BARACK DEFEATS McCAINITES!

Do u guys get the drift? So much for prophecies.

Get on with your life instead of figuring out things in advance.

METRO DRIVE-II


Well in my earlier blog i had written about traversing between two metros in India, the route, the charm that it holds, the uniqueness et al. I like to discuss in this blog about a problem that is becoming rampant and the remedial measures that one can take, and if one can’t take those measures -for want of power or the attitude of others- at least to make mental changes to get out of stereotype prejudices and build a multi cultural strong India.

One of the papers carried a news item that mentioned that a car bearing another state’s registration number was stopped on the Bangalore- Mysore state highway, damaged and the occupants threatened by the locals. When the occupants reported the matter to the police, they are reported to have said that THEY SHUD BE THANKFUL THAT THEIR LIVES ARE SAFE.

It may be politically right to accuse the police of callousness, but we shud be acutely aware of the fact that we as a nation had lost a PM who was protected by the best force, another ex-PM to the terrorist act of an overseas organization. WE HAVE TO TAKE MEASURES TO PROTECT OURSELVES. Structurally DISTINCTIONS that distinguish our statehood, language, affiliations shud be done away with.

Distinctions that incite anger, hatred and violence have to be controlled by adapting ourselves and merging with our surroundings. Seeing the registration of a number plate shud not become a red rag to the fanatic bulls, but their attitude shud be deflected by causing confusion in the minds of such fanatics.

We may consider having a FEDERAL VEHICLE REGISTERING AUTHORITY, which shud be bound to register those desirous of having a more SECULAR(!) number plate.

The safest as i see today is to have a DL registration as the state of Delhi is common to all INDIANS and is OUR capital. Therefore the attrition levels against Delhi registration numbers are the least. Further, everyone has something to identify himself with Delhi. The next best is to have Daman registration DN, as it is confused with Delhi number plates, even by the traffic cops of Delhi!!

As a reasonable alternative let us give options for Indians to have IN as the registration tag.

We as individuals have to protect our lives and property from hooligans, to effectively uphold the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT enshrined in ARTICLE 21 of OUR constitution. Post facto damages are meagre, and meaningless when it concerns loss of lives and limbs.

ASTROLOGER -THE FALLEN MAN


The Scythe sweeps, Fear creeps.

STAY BENT- says a voice within.

But when to RISE?- says another voice within.

I CAN SEE THE REAPER SCYTHING,

I’LL TELL WHEN TO RISE- said the Astrologer.

Are u not a part of it all?- said I.

Does not the scythe mow u down too?

Said he, THE SCYTHE MOWS THE STANDING ONES,

BUT I AM A FALLEN MAN-

WHO FAILED TO RISE, I SEE HIS FEET SWING,

AND WHEN IT’S STILL, I FLICKER WITH MY ADVICE!

I AM A FALLEN MAN,

INDEED A FALLEN MAN-said the ASTROLOGER.

BIRYANI


I am a great fan of this classic food, not for its taste alone but for its FLAVOUR. It is the flavour that lingers in one’s memory, long after the taste had left one’s tongue and beckons one to revisit the place from where one had had the flavour beckoning biryani.

Of all the five senses that a person is endowed with, the only sense- the loss or absence of which , is not known to other human beings, is the OLFACTORY sense. Loss or absence of Touch, Hearing and Sight are easily identifiable from the response of the disabled/ differently abled, but the sense of Taste and Smell are the more personalized of the five senses and here we have our own Indian delicacy BIRYANI which could be understood only through refinement of these two senses. Especially thru the sense of SMELL.

Of all the BIRYANI i have had, the BIRYANI which is consistently the BEST is the one available at KARIM’S near Jumma Masjid, Delhi. Even their other joints at Nizammuddin West, East of Kailash(now closed), Sector 18 NOIDA are not a patch on the BIRYANI served at KARIM’S , Jumma Masjid.

What is so special about KARIM’S?

Firstly, u just can’t stop by to have this biryani. U have to make it a mission to go there. One doesn’t want to get scratches on one’s car by risking in that crowded street, besides not finding a place to park one’s car in the vicinity of the restaurant. So despite such besetting prospects, one has to embark upon it. One goes to KARIM’S to have BIRYANI. One just cannot not stop by and have it like one wud in Chandni Chowk, at CHAINA RAM’s or GHANTEWALA’s. The best way to reach this place and have BIRYANI wud be to either have a driver drop u in your neighbour’s car or park your car in the parking lot a kilometre away -near the back gate of JUMMA MASJID- and take a cycle rickshaw.

Secondly, the BIRYANI is CONSISTENT. Consistency may be the virtue of fools, but when it is a food joint, it is of cardinal importance as when u take a guest after exciting his/her interest u wouldn’t want to apologize for that day’s fare, on behalf of the F&B manager!!

Thirdly, KARIM’S itself claims to have the heritage of the chefs of the great Mughals. The claims notwithstanding, the foodstuff has to excite one’s taste buds. The memory not merely lingers but BECKONS. And believe u me, KARIM’s does it. IT BECKONS.

Fourthly, the ingredients which are noticeable to a devotee of BIRYANI. They are served in white porcelain half plates. As the waiter fetches the plate one’s attention is drawn to the somewhat whitish basmati rice. Initially having got used to inferior BIRYANI, i expected them to serve colourful biryani and was rather disappointed by its looks. But after having had the BIRYANI, i just couldn’t stop, there was this craving which overtook me and i ended up having 3 halves- which surprised me as well. One wouldn’t be able to identify the condiments except for whole black pepper and cardamom. I suppose. the rest of the condiments are ground and added according to measure. But i’m sure that there must be traces of mace, saffron, nutmeg, clove, poppy seeds etc all  layered to produce the inexplicable aroma.

I suppose, it is the layering of these condiments which brings about the redolence in the flavour. One may order for Mutton Burra as a starter and link up the biryani with JAHANGIRI chicken (but it is advisable to have the biryani by itself- therein lies the TRUTH!).

If at Delhi, it is better to have BIRYANI at KARIM’s Jumma Masjid.

If one finds oneself at Bangalore, there are places where apology for BIRYANI is being served. Rahmm’s (erstwhile RICHIE’S) at Frazer Town opp. the Masjid or at NANDHINI’s at St. Mark’s Road, Bangalore-1. But the BIRYANI which is better but different(vegetable) than the above mentioned two places is at BHEEMA’S on Church Street off M G Road. BHEEMA’S vegetable birayni has the flavour and is much ordered. At times they run out of it sooner than the MEALS!!

In Bangalore, there is this HYDERABADI BIRYANI, which is popular- for what reason is still a mystery to me. Maybe, the persons who buy it love to discover those small nuggets of flesh hidden at the bottom of the heap of rice – they call BIRYANI. Moreover this Hyderabadi Biryani has no refinement in its flavour, however, i should say it is tastier than other soggy biryanis at Bangalore.

In Madras ( now CHENNAI), there are joints which serve BIRYANI which is heavy with masala and they invariably serve it with  gravy (side dish) which makes it even worse. I was raised in this tradition, but now that God had made me see and distinguish the difference, i can’t afford to be so condescending. The biryani which used to sate my palate earlier was the GREAT MUGHAL BIRYANI sold behind EGA theatre off Poonamalee High Road. Their mutton samosas are good.

Velu Military Hotel at Village Road, Nungambakkam serves decent biryani- but not comparable with the best, even in Chennai.

I’d like to tell what my father always tells about BIRYANI, “Never ever ask for the recipe of BIRYANI, it is like calling oneself a Chartered Accountant without ever having been an Apprentice- he can neither advise nor cook!” TRUE WORDS OF WISDOM.

 If u r serious about making BIRYANI, meet the chef,  WATCH him choose the raw materials, condiments; keep a record of the TIME taken after each act of the chef and make an attempt- and u fail. Because making biryani is a FEEL and not mere knowledge! But don’t give up, as, if u succeed in learning the art of making BIRYANI, u have got a boon and even gods who granted it can’t take it away!!

READERS, IF INCLINED, MAY SUGGEST THEIR EXPERIENCES IN BIRYANI, WHICH WOULD BE TRULY BE EDIFYING!

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