Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mayawati though the eyes of foreign press

Newsweek has done a story on Mayawati and it is indeed a very objective piece. The candid observations make up for good reading and something to ponder upon, especially on the extreme regressive attitude the frontline leaders harbour!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Joy of travelling light!

I learnt it the hard way! I have never known how to travel light. Every time when I used to pack my bags I would overload myself with stuff I thought I can’t do without, and most of the time I would never get a chance to wear those extra pair of jeans! But I would never learn! A nagging backache after a bad fall in 2005 also did not help, and the thing is it did not deter me to be extra cautious while I am packing. The incident that helped me mend my ways happened in December 2007 when I was on my way back from Holland. As typical of me I was on the brink of the usual limit when I was doing my onward journey, top it with shopping (retail therapy is the best therapy!) and I was over the limit on my way back...guess what the price I paid...€155... my six days of per diem!!!! And I never used half of the stuff I carried...what is the possible use of a chiffon blouse in December in Europe...a pity that I never thought of it before!

But now...I am a wise traveller. Most of the time, I manage through cabin luggage, it helps me to save the time waiting for the check-in baggage! Even if I don’t confine myself to cabin baggage only, I feel lighter and a lot less worried on how to manage bags with a bad back! By the way cutting down on shopping is never an option...in case someone was wondering!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The lonely tree

I had been to Kasauli a couple of years back, an amazing trip for reasons more than one. It was one trip, which I had planned on paper. It all happened apart from the dreadful cold & fever for which I had to cancel my trek to Triund and instead settle with Kasauli, I was glad that I did. For those who are not aware Kasauli is located a few KMs down Simla in Himachal Pradesh. I happened to stay in one of those old bunglows, on the hill. I remember Kasauli for the monkey that chased me (may be I’d narrate the story some other day!), the absolutely heady peach & apricot wine, the long winding roads, the mouth-watering chicken-ham-mushroom omelette that I ever had but most of all I would remember it for that tree. It came on my way to the bungalow, the road was very steep & I always gasped for breath every fifty meters I climbed…even then it was good because I would get a chance to look far away and catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks far away! The branches were bare & deep brown like a withering old woman full of old hill-town tales. It appeared to me lonely and waiting for someone. I came across it for the first time when the sun was setting…it made the tree appear even more solitary…and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Friday nights are always Starry!

It is indeed interesting to note how our favorite stars can come together & hug each other as calmly and with thorough professionalism as they did each other’s collars a few months back! The media is going all brouhaha and all past skirmishes are forgotten over “fair rights over Friday nights” … well, it’s all about Friday nights at the end of the day! I don’t have any issues over the fair rights piece, after all in India it’s all about rights & equalities (aren’t we all equal & aware of our rights?!!) But Friday nights…whoa... that’s a different ball game! About eleven months back, AK put a post on his blog, where he mentions about his pet dog, who’s incidentally called Shahrukh…& it went on & on. Media went crazy running each story after another and off-course there were takers for it, but why make a fool of us is my question, when you are all buddies bound by need, if not anything else. Why make us feel that you guys are die-hard enemies when you share your weekend drinks together?!! Fans fight over their favorite star; there are debates, who’s great, greater & the greatest…etc etc… when you guys are all laughing away to glory!!! Off-course these stories are fed to the media by your media relations consultant, that’s why it reaches us…! But why…only publicity stunts?!! Any clue, anyone?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do we deserve a responsible leader?

I was just reading a piece on JFK the other day by Richard Reeves, former Chief Political correspondent with New York Times, & an expert on Kennedy. It was regarding that he had Addison’s disease due to which he had a degenerative back problem causing severe back ache. But, this was kept away from the Press & the public, since the Americans would never want a man with a chronic back ache to run their country!

I think, there’s logic to the thought, if the State head is not physically & mentally fit, how can I expect him/her to look after the best interests of the Nation?!! Let’s draw a similar parallel to India – Prime Minister Vajpayee, had a severe problem with his knee, even he had to go for a knee replacement surgery. The politicians use these to draw sympathy & eventually garner votes! We the common men & women actually give into it! Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had to go through a by-pass surgery very recently, still he is chipped in as the next Prime Ministerial candidate…Unbelievable!! Today, an eighty-one year old man aspires to be the Prime Minister of this country. Forget that he is the man instrumental behind Babari Masjid demolition, for which history will always remember him (& a key man to create communal tension in the last one & a half decade!), I question his physical capability. Octogenarians in our country suffer from mostly cardiac diseases, renal problems and other systemic diseases. Does he expect us to believe that he is fully fit?!

I have cited just two examples; there are umpteen leaders all over India, for whom the same stories apply. Whenever a leader dies, his wife or children is pitched in as the next leader. Do we even question if they are mentally or emotionally well to take that kind of responsibility?! Even if they are, are they qualified for the job?!! It’s not their fault entirely, the onus is on us...we commoners do not exercise our brains, and we just eat out of their hands…until we are aware of our own responsibilities, we do not deserve responsible leaders!

Friday, April 3, 2009

And these are a few of my favorite things…

It’s Friday afternoon, post 4’o clock…I can smell (rather feel) the weekend. I’d let myself loose on a senseless banter now, so if you choose not to read further, I’ll perfectly understand.

A couple of small things that I love in life (or cherish the memory, when I did it!), not in any order though:
  • A rainy afternoon, weekday of course, when I don’t have to go to work. I can sit in the couch with feet tucked under a blanket & read PG Wodehouse.
  • Sevpuri in the evening followed by Masala-cola.
  • The FM playing Non-stop five back to back…uthe sab ke kadam, na jaane kyun, kabhi kabhi Aditi, Mera kuchch samaan hai, Aye Salaa…rare combi!
  • Mutton-kheema made by Raj, hogging with rotis on a Sunday afternoon.
  • A drive to Pondy from Chennai, coupled with mindless banter about University & men (& women!) with Arnab.
  • Shopping of-course, whether it’s in New Market, Forum Mall (Kormangala), Dadar, Commercial St. or Gariahat…I absolutely love it all!
  • Ma’s shutki mach (Bombil, for non-Bongs!) …even though it’s so spicy, that tears are streaming down my cheeks, I love it absolutely…can have it any day any time!
  • Any adventures sports…rafting, para-sailing, trekking…I am always ready for one.
  • Saturday mornings...a beautiful morning, no waking up early, no deadlines, and no rush to catch the cab…the best part of the week!
  • Rice-potatoes boiled together, butter with Ruchi’s mango-ginger pickle…the ultimate on a Monday night, after a tired day of work. BTW, my Mondays are always tiring irrespective of the week.
  • Adrak-chai at Shreedevi condiments, followed by endless small talk on movies, politics, people-at-work, travel…without having to look at the watch.
  • Making Chicken on a Friday evening, while sipping white-wine & songs of Masoom (SK’s of course!) in the background.
  • The best non-veg salad by Suppy…while watching GolMaal or any comic flick at his pad!
  • Endless hours of browsing books in Landmark & Crossword.

Well, I was just wondering, most of my love-to-do list doesn’t actually have a big money question in it. I have wondered from time to time if happiness can be equated with money… I guess not, though we have to pay the price for many things in life, there are plenty that comes free…like the first rays of sunshine that’s going to stream through my window tomorrow morning!