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  • Dal Divas Potluck - There was rice, bread, papad, achaar and then there were dhals..a great variety of dhal from different parts of India. All dhals were carefully cooked with...

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Sugarless Cheeni Kum

During my visit to Pune this week-end, I went with my cousins for this movie ‘Cheeni Kum’ why this movie is called ‘cheeni kum’, I fail to understand, (some recipe for odd couples) but the film was sugar-coated and entertaining during the first half of the film because of the arrogance and humor of Amitabh and fine acting of Tabu. But it gets boring after the interval, a sip of coffee and munching of popcorn was the only reason why I decided to sit and watch it till the end of the show. During the first half of the movie, umbrella plays an important role in the film, in building up the romance between 34 year old Tabu (nicknamed as ‘Ghas phoos), and 64 year old Amitabh (nicknamed and ‘Tangri kabab’). The borrowing, returning and borrowing back are the escuses for meeting and building up of affection between the egoist chef and a London tourist. The context of mismatched-bigger-than-father-age is the hinge where the story hangs and when the couple fall in love, it is as entertaining to the couple as it is to the audience. Post interval, Paresh Rawal as Tabu’s father is wasted. His humor and his acting skills are wasted by his stubborn satyagraha style fast and his refusal to co-operate to his daughter’s wishes of marrying an elderly man. Amitabh bears a buddy bond with his impish mother Zohra who is constantly nagging him about joining a gym and he shares a unique relationship with a nine-year-old-cancer-patient neighbor who acts as love counselor offering him advice in exchange for adult CD’s. No fighting scenes, but few lyrical songs to entertain yourself and a tangy romance could be the good reason for you to escape from this scorching heat and enjoy this sugarless film in an air-conditioned auditorium.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Ever wondered what games do kids play nowadays?

Gone are the days when children played games like ‘seven tiles’, ‘hide n seek’ sakli, pakra-pakri, statue-stop, langdi, dum-shera, etc. There used to be so many games to play in those days. Summer holidays meant that we would be playing all day in the building compound, playing indoor games like carom, ludo, chess, scrabble or out door games like badminton, football, basket ball, Oh! There were so many games, that our neighbors would get tired of the noise that we made and would breathe a sigh of relief when the school re-opened. This summer, too, there are many children, in the compound and the same noise is there, but the games that they play are very much different. First of all, every child wants to be the boss and nobody is interested in taking orders. So there is too much chaos. (I tried teaching them some organized games but they got bored) Either you see children running from one end to the other end of the compound, or they are just skating (Oh yes, this is the new craze now-a days, most of these kids are roller-skating.) but, then there are many children who just sit around, staring or making a small chat. I saw two kids who were busy doing something. I went over to them and asked them what game were they playing? And guess what? ..they were repairing a gun! Repairing gun at this age! I think parents should not buy such toys for their kids. It creates violence in their fragile minds. Imagine, them running from one corner of the building and hiding at the other corner and shooting, Bang! Bang!(of course, the games are innocently played but the violent feeling is there (have you seen their expressions)And so here, they are repairing the gun that has been overloaded with bullets. One child bring a knife from his house to help his friend remove the bullets that are stuck inside the gun! And they spend at least half an hour trying to figure out how to remove those bullets! And thus the kids are learning to hold guns and knives at such tender age! Unsupervised by their elders, who may be busy shedding off extra weight off their limbs at some fancy gym.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

vegetable seller at corner stall

The lane in Bandra, off linking road, is to be converted into line of six malls. The road is broadened and construction is still going on. Once upon a time, this lane was the busiest street with hawkers occupying the foot paths on either side. There used be so much crowd that traffic and people, dodged each other for an easy movement. Now this street is free of hawkers, except for few vegetable stalls at the far end of the street. Although there is a big heap of fresh vegetables in these stalls (like always) unfortunately, there are very few shoppers. The vegetable sellers have stubbornly occupied the footpath, but only few passing people are patronizing these stalls. Only those, who do not wish to walk few extra steps for just buying few sprigs of coriander leaves. This is because, few meters away from these stalls, is a giant supermarket with competitive rates. The vegetables and fruits are fresh and cheaper. There is a huge variety of grocery and fruits and everything is available under one roof. I am wondering how long can these vegetable sellers at corner street survive? Gradually, their vegetables will decay and they might not have enough money to roll. They cannot compete with giant malls and they are not educated to enter IT world. What is the alternate business that they can be qualified with? I think that the malls that have sprout up at these places, must have offered their first job preference to these people who have lost their business because of them. But one wonders how many of them have compromised and taken up the jobs instead of stubbornly hanging on to their street corner hoping that things will improve.

Monday, 21 May 2007

BEST Bus Conductor of Mumbai city,

Today, on my way to school to Belapur by BEST bus, I noticed there were three conductors, all of them having same leather bag that contains money, and other steel box of tickets. I was wondering whom to approach for buying a ticket as they, all three, stood side-by-side. The mystery was solved when I was approached from the real one on duty. The other two were hitching a ride to the next bus depot. But, on second thought, (I am wondering) are they prohibited from occupying the passenger’s seat when hitch-hiking? Although there was an empty seat, none of the other two made any attempt to rest their feet. So what happens to them at the end of the day? Remember they are standing all day. We, Mumbaites, cannot stand in bus, not even for fifteen minutes of travel. Whenever we travel, we keep eyeing at those sitting comfortably and are alert to run to an empty seat immediately. (As though we are playing musical chairs) Sometimes we occupy the seat when the person has only got up temporally to peep from other window for a better view when he sits back, he feels a soft lap to sit on. It must be tough life for bus conductors. They stand all day, in the moving bus, keeping their balance during sharp jerks and turns, snaking through the standees in a crowded bus, diligently issuing ticket to every traveler at his seat. Why doesn’t he have a proper seat, a special seat, in the bus? Everybody can go to him and buy a ticket while he sits all comfortably at his seat. System in western world is better. There is no conductor in the bus. People have either to buy a ticket card which can be used for several trips or the bus driver has the ticket to issue and each person buys his own ticket before boarding the bus. But will this system work in Mumbai? Bus driver in Mumbai drive off with a speed and sometimes do not even bother to wait at the bus stops! (Why do they rush off like that? Do they get extra perks for extra mileage?) Many times, we, here in Mumbai have to board or light from a running bus. If we miss our balance, we may meet the ground in an awful poise that can be the photographer’s delight. Also, there are many dishonest travelers who get cheap thrills by saving small change that they can cash it on booze. Hic! Nah! It won’t work! Bus conductors will continue to suffer! Tsk! Tsk!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

So much commotion over 'Dera Sacha Sauda'!

There has been so much commotion in the name of religion! Now take the case of 'Sacha Sauda'. This is not a name of any religion, caste, or any organization. The meaning of Sacha Sauda is to truly meditate on the names of Allah, Ram, God — all of which are different names given to the power of the soul by various religions, without interfering in anyone’s religion or caste. The aim of the Dera Sacha Sauda is to make people aware of the true presence of the Lord through the proper channel and guide humans towards the true love of the Lord. The Dera was originally set up in Sirsa in 1948 after it was displaced from Baluchistan in the wake of Partition They preach to meditate on the name of God all the time, abstain from consumption of alcohol, meat and eggs, observe truth in day-to-day life, shun evil social practices like dowry and extramarital relations and follow the path of truth. but now-a-days, it is in news for a different reason. Apparently,the Dera chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh offended the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. He was seen in an advertisement as appearing in public wearing robes akin to the ones that 'Guru Gobind Singh-ji' used to wear. The Sikh community is highly offended. they feel that he has hurt their religious sentiments by giving an advertisement attired in a dress similar to that of Guru Gobind Singh and also administering Amrit (nectar) to his followers in violation of Sikh traditions. This advertisement led to outbreak of sectarian violence in the state, claiming a life and causing much damage to government and private properties. (Whatever happened to peace and meditation!) Singh was charged by Punjab Police under pretext of deliberate malicious act intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or its religious belief, There has been uproar and the Dera has been asked to shut its doors.(I wonder if closing the Dera will solve their problems forever) The stand off between the Dera Sacha Sauda and the Sikhs show no signs of a resolution with the Akal Takht rejecting the Dera Head's regret, demanding the closure of all Deras in Punjab and calling for a state bandh.(More fuss) However, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh feels he has done nothing wrong. He feels that the entire thing has been misinterpreted. (I am sure it is) He says that whatever has triggered the controversy now has been a normal practice in the Dera ever since it came into existence. The serving of amrit that has become so controversial has been their practice since ages. They call it jaam-e-insaan, after partaking which a Dera follower becomes a true human being. where will this end? I wonder if they know it?

Friday, 18 May 2007

Whats wrong with old-age home? huh?

Imagine if you have an aging father, and you are unable to take care of him, For aged mother, it is not so difficult. Aged Mom can spent her time watching TV, attending various mandirs and tikaras, gossiping with friends in the park, she will be busy taking care of the house, searching for odds and ends to occupy her time, she will stitch the torn ends, cut the veggies, wash the plates and even make chappatis. or simply pass time taking panga with her daughter-in-law. She is never bored. But aging father? It is difficult. There are very few activities for him to do except to read newspaper, which he cannot read if he has poor eye-sight. We don’t expect him to help in the kitchen. At the most, he can go for walks or he can baby sit. But he needs/expects his tea/lunch/snack/dinner/attention/pampering, all at his convenience, and that is difficult nowadays, when there is so much of a work load. I don’t understand why old-age-home is a taboo in our Indian society. I was suggesting an old age home to my Indian friend who was worried about her aged father, and she looked shocked as if she had seen a ghost. Come on, be practical. If you look at these homes with open mind, they are no so bad, especially the ones where you can pay and stay comfortably. There are some good old age homes in India, where they take a deposit of five lakhs of rupees and you pay the rent of rupees ten thousand per month. They have an air conditioned private room plus they can have great number of professional to look to their mental/culinary/health needs. These homes ensure good health care, full services for a fee. These apartments which are equipped with 24 hour medical services, dining and recreational facilities, wheel chair facilities are available for a monthly maintenance charge plus the initial cost of the apartment. These independent living retirement arrangements enable the older people to enjoy life without being bothered about day-to-day maintenance. They can actively participate in the activities of the residents and also play games, swim, go out shopping and enjoy other cultural activities. Usually food is provided but the enterprising ones can cook their own meals. Such senior housing facilities are for those senior citizens who cannot take full responsibility but still want to be independent. Nothing however will take the place of staying at home with the family. Love and affection and the feeling of being wanted and needed can never be replaced by anything. Senior citizens staying in a family environment are the ideal scenario that they would want provided that is what the others want. But some times, certain things cannot be helped. Wise decision always helps.

A Joke sent to me by my friend...heheheehehee!

A woman comes home and tells her husband, "Remember those Headaches I've been having all these years? Well, they're gone." "No more headaches?" the husband asks, "What happened?" His wife replies, Margie referred me to a hypnotist. He told me To Stand in front of a mirror, stare at myself and repeat "I do not Have a Headache; I do not have a headache, I do not have a headache." It Worked! The headaches are all gone." The husband replies, "Well, that is wonderful." His wife then says, "You know, you haven't been exactly a ball Of Fire in the bedroom these last few years. Why don't you go see the Hypnotist and see if he can do anything for that?" The husband agrees to try it Following his appointment, the husband comes home, rips off his Clothes, picks up his wife and carries her into the bedroom. He Puts her on The bed and says, "Don't move, I'll be right back." He goes into The Bathroom and comes back. A few minutes later and jumps into bed And makes Passionate love to his wife like never before. His wife says, "Boy, that was wonderful!" The husband says, "Don't move! I will be right back." He goes Back Into the bathroom, comes back and round two was even better than The First time. The wife sits up and her head is spinning. Her husband again says, "Don't move, I'll be right back." With That, He goes back in the bathroom. This time, his wife quietly follows him and there, in the Bathroom, She sees him standing at the mirror and saying, "She's not my Wife. She's Not my wife. She's not my wife..." His funeral service will be held on Friday.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Funny kids nowadays! Studying on their mobile? How silly!

During our college days, the exam periods were the most interesting days. We would make plans to study at night. Some times we would have competitions on who studies the maximum hours. (some times, I would cheat by catching a small slumber with my light on, fooling my competitor that I was still studying) Then we would have friends stay over, to keep us awake so that we could chat/eat/make coffee in between our serious studies. Some times we would go out in the middle of the night to eat Paav Bhaji (Yes, pav bhaji and egg bhorji would be available during all night) and some times we would rush off during the early hours and eat the half-fry egg and drink Irani Chai. Our studying sessions were filled with laughter and thrill. But all that has changed! Nowadays, they spend too much time on internet or they are out all night, surfing discothèque of different suburbs and that leaves them with little time to actually prepare for their exams. And what should I say of this? In this new technological age, our future generation will just switch on their handset and answer the multiple choices available on it to prepare for their exams! And they are going to study material for competitive exams like the GRE, CET or CAT! This initiative will be called the ‘Prep Guide’ and this service will be available on phones through WAP/SMS/voice and multiple applications and would involve major operators to provide the service. All an aspiring student has to do is go to a particular study zone, type the code and avail of the services, just for Rs100. EnableM, a wireless application company, has come up with such a solution. It has tied-up with the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) to launch comprehensive MBA study material on phones within a month It is a comprehensive module catering to all the learning requirements for an MBA training program, which comprises of an English zone, Math zone, logic and reasoning and must-knows. Booo! How boring! Alas, the young kids of today may not understand nor enjoy our kind of pure fun. They can study in those crowded, smoky, ‘Kaffee’ zones.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Comics with bold messages like HIV/AIDS

During my growing up days, I found it easier to read comics because they had lot of pictures and it ended faster. I would enjoy comics like Tintin, Archies, Phantom, Batman and many more. Many of my friends discouraged me from reading those comics debating that it murdered the English grammar but since it was easier to understand, with everything left to imagination, and it worked for me. Comics are not merely for kids any more. There are new set of comics, in market nowadays, like - "Josh Mein Hosh" (Passion with Sense), "Khoon Ka Katra" (Just a drop of blood), "Savdhan Senior" (On your guard, senior) and "Pyar Ka Packet" (A packet of love) that are interwoven with messages on HIV/AIDS, and conveys the message that it is wrong to presume that "girlfriends must be meek and submissive and that a sexually aggressive woman is bad. The aim of these comics is to change social attitude and dispel the popular notion of masculinity that makes young men in urban slums indulge in violence against women and use condoms only when having a relationship with sex workers. There has been an urgency to bring out these educational comic books because in 2006, about 30 percent of HIV infections were reported in the 15 to 20 age group. Existing literature shows that young Indian men subscribe to norms of masculinity that lead to risky behavior and to change this, discussions were held with young men to understand their media habits, message retention from HIV campaigns, myths and misconceptions.. Participants were encouraged to relate real life incidents so that these comics echoed true stories. The draft stories were pre-tested in discussions with young men in urban slums and their feedback was incorporated in the final version The state and district AIDS control societies in Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have integrated elements of their campaign into the comic book series and have endorsed the products The Population Council and four other NGOS have brought out this set of comics, in four languages - Bengali, English, Hindi and Telugu. Several NGOs have been approached to integrate this package within existing outreach activities and to distribute these comics Will the illitrate population show any interest in such comics? Time will tell.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

How can we help these moral policemen in saffron forces?

Sex is the most controversial topic in our Indian society. Whenever there is an assault or freedom of expression in an open space it arouses a great interest in majority of population. Lately, two people who have been in news are Shilpa Shetty (a Bollywood filmstar) and Chandra Mohan (Lalit Kala Akademi awardee from Baroda). Shilpa, who was taken by surprise when Richard bend her over in a poise, like in ‘Shall We Dance” created quite an uproar. Although the kiss was only on cheeks, people responded as though they had witnessed a porno. A criminal case was registered against her in the judicial magistrate courts of Jodhpur, Ghaziabad and Mundawar (Alwar) which is now moved to Mumbai. Then, there was arrest of Chandramohan, an art student of the MS University in Baroda on charges of ‘objectionable’ display of art work. He was arrested by moral police in saffron forces and was charged with non-bail offences, including inciting communal disharmony and public obscenity, which violated his right to express himself. It is very obvious that political parties target sensitive subjects like these to fulfill personal motives or even gain some cheap publicity. If only they would target their anger on more important issues and try to bring change in the nation in a more constructive way. If only they could focus their attention on more important problems. For example, we have one suicide in every eight hours. More than half of those who committed suicide were between 20 and 45, their most productive years. More than two thousand farmers have committed suicide in last five years and most of them have done so due to their inability to cope with stress or poverty. If only they would help these poor farmers and create opportunities for them to live with dignity. If only we knew how we could shift the focus of these moral policemen to these more important issues. We would personally help them, if we could. What can we possibly do?

Monday, 14 May 2007

I Can Prove that I am a Mumbaite.

I will say "town" and I expect you to know that this means south of Churchgate. (In Bandra, it is a suburb) I speak in a dialect of Hindi called 'Mumbaiya Hindi', which only mumbaites can understand.(Samjhe kya?) My door has more than three locks (Two strong one and one latch). Rupees 500 worth of groceries can fit in one paper bag.(its quite expensive here) Train timings (9.27, 10.49 etc) are really important events of my close friend’s life.(and they won’t speak to me, not even on their mobile) I spend more time each month traveling than I spend at home. (it takes me more than four hours to pay a visit of two hours at my school) I call an 8' x 10' clustered room a Hall. (Can’t help it) My paying guests are paying Rupees 10,000 for a 1 room flat, the size of walk-in closet and they think it's a "steal." (and I let them believe it) I have the following sets of friend: school friends, college friends, neighborhood friends, office friends and yes, train friends, a species unique only in Bombay. Cabbies and bus conductors think I am from Mars if I call the roads by their Indian name, they are more familiar with Warden Road, Peddar Road, Altamount Road . Stock market quotes are the only other thing besides cricket which my nieghbours follow passionately. (and they are happy to share) The first thing that we read in the Times of India is the "Bombay Times" supplement.(or a midday) I take fashion seriously. (I update my knowledge on TV) I am suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to me. I cannot see Hookers, beggars and the homeless at traffic signals (I am always short of change) I always compare Mumbai to New York's Manhattan instead of any other cities of India. (NY’s Queens suburb is quite backward) The most frequently used part of my car is the horn. ( I wonder how they clear traffic in western world) I insist on calling CST as VT, and Sahar and Santacruz airports instead of Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport.(Why did they change it any way?) I consider eye contact an act of overt aggression. (what do they want, huh?) My idea of personal space is no one actually standing on my toes. (my friends can call me before every visit) Being truly alone makes me nervous.(I would rather go to a crowded mall) I love wading through knee deep mucky water in the monsoons, and actually call it ''romantic'.(specially if we fall in the open manhole) Only in Mumbai I can get Chinese Dosa and Jain Chicken. (and it is available at every cross road) Don’t get confused when in Mumbai, follow your instinct not the name...Because.... Churchgate has neither a church nor a gate. It is a railway station. There is no darkness in Andheri. Lalbaag is neither red nor a garden. No king ever stayed at Kings Circle. Nor did Queen Victoria stay at Victoria Terminus. Nor is there any princess at Princess Street. Lower Parel is at the same level as Parel There are no marines or sailors at Marine Lines. The Mahalaxmi temple is at Haji Ali not at Mahalaxmi. There are no pigs traded at Dukar bazaar. Teen bati is a junction of 3 roads, not three lamps. Trams used to terminate at Kings circle not Dadar Tram Terminus (Dadar T.T.). Breach Candy is not a sweetmeat market, but there is a Hospital. Safed Pool has the dirtiest and blackest water. You cannot buy coal at Kolsa street. There are no Iron smiths at Lohar chawl. There are no pot makers at Kumbhar wada. Lokhandwala complex is not an Iron and steel market. Null bazaar does not sell taps You will not find ladyfingers at Bheendi Bazaar. Kalachowki does not have a black Police station. Hanging Gardens are not suspended. Mirchi Gully does not sell chillies. Figs do not grow in Anjir Wadi, Sitafals do not grow in Sitafal Wadi, Jackfruits do not grow at Fanaswadi But it is true that you may get fleeced at Chor Bazaar!!! so Beware!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Life in Metro

Okay, Okay, I admit, I went for this movie, first day, first-show. Well, I was too tempted to see it after all those promos on TV. Normally, I am not a movie buff, but this movie had got me real curious, and when my friend asked me to accompany her, I went ahead. And I was not disappointed. Maybe, I was in a good mood. Escaping the summer heat and relaxing in a cool multiplex on a week-end, can be luxurious sometimes. But, I wonder if people in metro city are really living in sin (how come I don’t know any?) All the people were having extra-marital affairs, infidelity, live-in relationships, and the need to make it to the top quickly. The message the film sends out is to give relationships a chance. The fact that you’re never too old to give love a chance (Dharam and Nafisa in love croonings) and that love has to be nurtured in order to let it grow. The characters are easily recognizable—the homemaker (Shilpa Shetty), whose marriage to philandering (Kay Kay Menon) has lost all meaning. She briefly finds solace in the stranger she meets every Saturday (Shiney Ahuja), who has let life pass him by as he struggles to make it on stage, but feels terribly guilty when she is overcome with strong emotions.. Then there is her sister (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is searching for love at 30 and her room mate (Kangna Ranaut), who caught up in a loveless relationship, and (Sharman Joshi) intelligent, ambitious, (who encourages loves to use his apartment while he waits on the streets.) and unable to express his love for Neha. There is also (Irrfan Khan) searching for the perfect partner on shaadi.com.(and ogling the legs of women) All caught up in the relentless pace that comprises big city life. It is basically the story of emotions. They all try to find that special someone even as they go about living their mundane lives. The ones to watch for are Konkona and Irrfan (this is worth all the money you spent on movie and popcorn) as they go about their mismatched lives till reality dawns on one and then the other. Their getting together is accomplished in a hilarious sequence. It was interesting to watch Dharma and Nafisa in their old age romantic moods. Lyrics were good although my friend had a hearty laugh every time those same three singers kept appearing, shabbily dress, and filmed in the same way. Pritam, the music director, and two cronies lip-sync the songs like three fakirs while the film's characters battle their way through their crises.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Religious Path. Follow a right direction? Which side please?

On my recent trip to Madrid, I met a Sindhi woman. We got to talking religion and philosophy. And suddenly she asked me about my Guru. She asked me to tell her which path I had chosen. Was I a follower of Sai Baba, or Dhan Nirankari or Radha Soami. I told her that I have not chosen a Guru as yet because I am highly confused. My family is Radha Soami, my cousins are Dhan Nirankaris and my friends are SaiBaba devotees. Plus there are more than twenty thousand Gurus, and all highly qualified. I want to choose a path that can guarantee me a sure shot heaven. I cannot live long enough to try all of them. I don’t have that much time. For a time being I have chosen to live the life of being an honest human being.I will make a decision soon, in this life time. I hope. She told me there is no hope for me till I make a quick decision and take sides. But yes, I am confused. What do I have to do to become a better person? If eating non-vegetarian is a sin, then, I stand as a sinner, and no Guru shall accept me. But what of those who hurt the sentiments of their fellow companions, killing their souls mercilessly? What about those gossipers who spend endless hours slandering the character of innocent and naïve people? What of those who speak endless lies without even a fraction of a blink? Do the people who have taken ‘Naam’ (initiation) get a free ticket to heaven against all odds? I have attended many discourses (satsangs) and all preach the same thing, time and again, same things, over and over, but still, I see repeatedly that the devotees nod their head in astonishment, every time, pretending, as if they are hearing it for the first time. Repeatedly they ask the same questions (at questions/answers meetings) and get the same answers, but they are surprised every time, as if relevation of solution is disclosed for the first time. Some of them have been devotees for many,many years and they are still wondering the purpose of their life. Still complaining that they find it hard to concentrate on their meditation, still curious about what is lacto-vegetarian diet, still weighing and contemplating as to what medicines (in their veggie world) are safe to take, still finding it difficult to shed off their attachment with their materialistic world. Time and again, it is pointed out that to search truth, we must learn to go inside and find a new world. But still people are outward, running in different direction, from one religious building to another, from hardwar to Beas to Ganeshpuri to Badrinarayan, through valleys and mountains, across the continents, following the Guru in human form, destroying His privacy and His independent space. Guru in human form is a Guide who shows us the right path to follow. A duty of a devotee is follow the path as shown and not have so many (endless) doubts, which don’t seem to find any solutions! A path is shown to one disciple at a time by our Guru, ‘Naam’ is the treasure to be guarded and pampered, not some thing to be worn around the neck and flash it, every time, to every passerby. It is something to appreciate it in solitude, for having a secret communication with your soul, to savor it, to relish it and help yourself to see that bright light and hear that divine music. We are still lost. I stand at a crossroad! Confused!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Organic way of life......

After attending Vijaya Venkat’s nutrition program for 2 months, I have become more and more conscious of the food that I eat. And when ever I eat unhygienic food, I am aware that I am torturing my body. Some times I look around to see if anybody is watching me eat. (Remember I am not supposed to eat!) If I keep advising everybody to eat sensibly, I should be careful too. I am supposed to concentrate on organic food, which is grown like it used to in my grannies’ era. (In its pure form, without any pesticides or chemical, that are used to make them look beautiful, that means it should be without any make-up) In organic food, instead of pesticides, they grow brave trees like neem trees, eucalyptus trees that does ‘Shoo! Shoo!’ every time any pests comes near them. In a way, it is good to eat organic food. Our body is free from all toxic waste. We can conveniently be disease free. Organic food, (besides being free from pesticides and chemical), it is also more nutritious. We don’t have to buy everything organic. We can make a gradual change. I know many people who find organic food more expensive than conventionally produced product. But they should understand that the cost of returning farms to their chemical-free state is higher. And also without fertilizers and modified seeds, the yield is lower than usual. But I think it is still cheaper than the doctor’s bill, were we to eat cheap food, we might fall sick more often and then we will make all doctors happy. (Actually doctors want to survive too and make money, so they keep prescribing pills which cure you from one disease only but create side effect which is guaranteed for a return trip to doctor for more pills for yet one more disease.) I have asked the secretary of my building to ban all those pani-puri wallahs and bhelwallh that sit outside our building. Every time I go down for a long walk, I am forced to eat their bhelpuri and spoil my health unnecessarily. No temptations no sins! I am sure of that!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Dieting in the city.

My mom lived in a nice world. She remained healthy and slim all her life and she had no restrictions on her diet. She would eat whatever she wished and there were no issues to discuss. My aunt lived in a nice world. She remained healthy and big all her life and she had no restrictions on her diet. She would eat whatever she wished and there were no issues to discuss. Nowadays, every second person you meet, you find her slimmer. And looking thin/big is a big issue, thing to discuss, thing to ponder. Whatever is happening to this world? Is there a food shortage or have people just stopped eating? Why is everyone dieting? Every body is aping each other and there is some sort of competition on getting thinner and thinner. Do they seriously mean to become so slim? But why? Why do people want to become so slim that they need to hold on to the lamp post every time there is a gush of strong wind? I think I know the answer. There has been advent of malls in our city. And there are fabulous clothes in every designer’s rack but they don’t seem to suit our big-sized sisters, so they have decided that they need to get into those small-sized pretty clothes. Or maybe, there are too many gyms in our city (one in every lane) and its is a in-thing to belong to some gym or other (‘Oh, what gym do you go?’, ‘I go this gym and we have this film star visiting too’. . ‘oh really, how lucky, I will join too’), It is the deep rooted desire to be the part of and belong to some group or other. Or is it that non-tasty, non-oily food/ snacks that is a craze nowadays? We are having great number of dietician who are trying out range of healthy foods and are seriously looking for big-bodied girls to experiment their stuff and miraculously, it works! The hot topic at the kitty parties is what you can and cannot eat. And the list is endless. And I am very much confused! Everybody says: Don’t eat anything white. That means bread, rice, milk and milk products, salt and sugar should be eradicated from our super-marketing list Don’t eat tin or preserved food. That means all the fragmented food like tin food, packed food, cold-stored food, chopped food should be avoided No drinks. So no coke, Fanta, soft drinks, aerated drinks, tea, coffee. No biscuits, skip the lane in a super market which has biscuits on display No chocolates, skip this row too. No fried stuff. So no samosas, batatawadas, bhajias, puris etc No Mithais or any other sweets. Bad for health. So what do I eat? Only fruits and vegetables, sprouts and nuts? Okay! So when can I eat my normal food again?

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Card game called Rummy!

When I was small I was made to believe that playing cards is a vice to be avoided. So I only played solitaire and free cell. But as I grew up, I realized that my elders enjoyed the game of Rummy and whenever they met for lunch on Sundays, they played cards and passed their time. The family met regularly. They cheered, laughed and joked while playing rummy and sometimes they quarreled over a poor game or bad luck but the bond within the family was maintained and all the members looked forward to lunches and a game of rummy on Sundays and on festive days. My aunts and cousins would encourage me to play, sometimes sponsoring me, so that I would sit, joke and play with them. I was thus introduced to a game of Rummy and I gradually learnt to enjoy it as it kept me away from gossip and idle chat and also from taking endless, aimless walks, surfing through those shopping malls. And now I am a regular player of cards, and my educated/ literate friends don’t seem to understand my this passion. Every time I play cards, I am introduced to a new game. Many years ago there used to be only thirteen-cards-game of rummy that we would play with one or two packs of cards and there used to be one/two jokers and one pure run. But people soon got tired of playing the same game of only thirteen cards, every afternoon from two to seven. So they decided to try this game with little alteration. And the rummy with twenty-one cards was introduced. People complained at first, that they could not hold twenty-one cards, and the cards kept slipping out from the hands, but gradually people started liking it and for many years they play rummy with twenty-one cards where you make three pure runs and you play with three pack of cards. There are three real jokers plus one-up and one-down in addition to the card displayed as joker. Then, to make game more interesting, they introduced ‘andha kanoon’ where the joker was hidden till you had three runs ready. After some years again a new version of this game was introduced where you make four compulsory runs and then make your own joker to declare a game, earning the maximum penalties. And now, again, they have one more alteration. The new rummy is now played with twenty-seven cards. And they are not complaining about their inability to hold it because they have learnt the tactics of holding them efficiently in two layers. In this version, you have to make four runs and there many jokers. The main joker that is displayed carries its value two-up and two-down of same color and thus increasing the penalties. It is no more a game of wit but it is only a game of luck. If you get good set of cards, play or else pack your game and keep losing. And, I am still loving it…..

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