Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thanks to everyone for the wishes. Lots of stories to tell, but paucity of time. Interesting story from Air Deccan again. Boy, this airline continues to boggle me time and again.

Aryan is having a ball. He doesn't mind going to any one. All he loves is lap, and it could be of anyone. Age, sex, caste, colour, creed no bar.

Weather is fantastic. I was expecting frigid cold, but it is very plesant as Sanguine had predicted.

Lucknow is going great guns. Its raining malls and multiplexes here - after Waves and Saharaganj now we have Fun Republic, Shopper's Stop, Westside, Magnum Mall, and Singapore Mall. More are in pipeline. Skyline is changing very fast.

More on them later. Presently, I am hungry for some delicous food, and I know I am at the right place.



Thursday, January 25, 2007


Would be leaving for Lucknow for two weeks for my sister's marriage. Never have been in such situation before, but I am sure I am going to cry buckets.

Though we have hardly stayed together for 2 years in past 12, due to my college and job, yet I will miss her. She won't be "home" anymore whenever I visit there. Until now, it was like granted. Not now.

Will keep you posted from Lucknow. Happy Republic Day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Haunted House Of Horror

Let me make a confession. It won't be a too charitable statement on me, but I am bit scared of ghosts!

Not that I have myself witnessed or experienced any supernatural phenomenon, and not that I make quite an issue about this, but I believe that those who think there is nothing called ghosts are the next one to see them.

Therefore, I keep a balance, and nor do I say about non-existence of the ghosts as an idea, and neither do I proactively advocate about them.

I am not all at blame for this. All my kiddo life, most of my cousins and uncles were ready with one spook story or the other. So be it the Peepal Ka Ped at the backyard, or their Ulte Pair - all had indelible effect on my psyche. The fact that these evil spirits are afraid of fire and Hanuman Chalisa was not much of console.

My little sister knows of this fact. So when The Haunted House Of Horror opened shop in Lucknow, she made me promise her to visit the place along with me whenever I was in Lucknow. Since she shares the same uncles and cousins as me, she too is scared of the spooks, but she didn't want to miss out the sight of my scared face.

Sadist sibling pleasures.

During my September visit - I, my sister, and another cousin went to that place above CCD at Hazratganj. Only two people are allowed per trip, but since I was the only male amongst there , we all went inside together.

The idea was like this - there would be some ghosts inside, who will try to instill the fear of Satan in all of us. It would be short 10 minute trip along a dark, serpentine alley, full of strange voices, skeletons, and ghosts, of course.

Family pressure made me take this trip which I wouldn't have otherwise taken. This is not in my Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid. But, the trip turned out to much different than I had imagined.

There was a pitched darkness inside, with tremendous amount of stereophonic-cum-human yelling. More than the fear of the surroundings, I was more afraid of falling down and breaking my teeth.

The first casualty was my cousin. She immediately chickened out, and doubled back the path she came in. No amount of persuasion by the security guard outside could make her come in again.

The other two brave girls desperately clutched each of my hands respectively. The amount of noise, together with lurking ghosts, took the winds out of them. They were screaming in panicky.

But, I was disappointed. The whole stuff didn't look spooky at all. Once my eyes got adjusted to the darkness, I could see people inside, who couldn't hide themselves good enough. The skeletons too looked a bit artificial. At that moment, I decided to have a little fun my self.

I began replying to their voices all along. I even mocked at them for the bad arrangement, given the good concept. A hanging artificial snake was at my hands reach, which I snapped it off from its thread, and threw at one of the hiding attendants.

Meanwhile, we had reached the end. A person was hiding near the door to open it. As soon he came to open, I just jumped at him. The poor guy thought I was about to hit him. He just ran for the cover, and fell down while doing so.

I came out laughing, albeit with a hoarse throat. It was such a disappointment for my sister. Poor girl thought I would be scared, which never happened. Instead, it was she and my cousin who had hearts in their mouth all along.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

A Rogue State

This weekend, I could not watch the India-WestIndies match because my cable operator did not put on Neo Sports channel. Neo Sports is a new kid on the block which has won the terrestrial rights from the BCCI for next four years for a whopping sum of money.

But since past many years, Prasar Bharti and its bosses have introduced a new form of loot against which no FIR can be lodged.

In the name of "public interest", they would forcibly usurp direct feed from any private telecaster. Soon, they would introduce their own "interest", and start putting their own Ads of Ghadi Detergent and Young India to earn easy money.

Later, "public interest" would be heavily compromised by blocking presentation ceremonies, any replays - be it a dismissal, a boundary or an appeal, and even the first and last deliveries of an over.

Meanwhile, nobody would remember the interest of the poor private channel which had bought the telecast rights in hope of some Ad revenues and viewership. Due to DD business, cable operators would boycott them, and advertisements would also fall short of expectation. Ten Sports had almost run into bankruptcy till Zee Sports bailed them out.

And our "public caring" DD would make kill even without spending a single Paisa.

However, Supreme Court woke up and saw the loot. Though holding DD's right to telecast, it forced DD to share the revenues with the concerned private channels. But again, this was peanuts as compared to what telecasters would have originally achieved because cable operators would still boycott them.

But Nimbus stood up to the challenge. They said no to loot. They refused to agree to Doordarshan's terms. Predictably, Prasar Bharti's boss Priyaranjan Das Munshi is hopping mad. Look what he says - "Nimbus is unpatriotic! I will not allow them to plunder India!"

To slightly change the old phrase - "Look who is plundering."

Pathetic, Munshi, pathetic. Its not even laughable. Only an absolute idiot like you would utter such a statement, but then again that couplet comes into my mind - "Har Shakh Per Ullu Baitha Hai, Anjaam-E-Gulistan Kya Hoga."

Also remember, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel(and plunderer, looter, idiot)! Anyway, a Congressman is the last person who can comment on patriotism. Their only loyalty lies with their Italian boss.

I am not complaining that I couldn't watch the match. I won't watch it on DD. These shameless money launderers have got in habit to feed on other's effort like parasite. Now they are planning to bring a legislature to continue to do that.

In last twenty years, they haven't invested a penny to improve upon the infrastructure. Now they want to have their cake and eat it too. That is what rogue states do. Public interest is the last thing in their mind.

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As I had guessed, this ban was temporary, spreading exactly for one week, like twice before. Again a close shave.

So I would be back to my normal blogging self.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Race and Disgrace

It has suddenly exploded. Racism, that isFirst poor Shilpa Shetty was at receiving end, and then unfortunate Pakistanis. Oho, this world is heavily tilted against the browns(and blacks) it seems!

Shilpa's was a sob story. And what did it achieve ? Well, millions of TRPs, if not anything else. What more, even our Parliament, and British Prime Minister foolishly added to that.

Herschel Gibbs was shown the door for "racially" abusing some of the Pakistani fans. No, I must put in this way - Herschel Gibbs was shown the door for "racially" abusing and getting heard on the microphone.In private it is OK to abuse, but Thou Must Not Get Caught.

Hello, but did any one bother what Pakistanis said ? Certainly not nursery poems. I wonder if there is any criminal way to racially abuse Whites.

Come on guys, whom are we kidding? We all practice this stereotypes whether it racial, sexual, regional in our daily private lives. So what's the big deal if something like that has happened in front of media. Our crime is no less.

Don't we ridicule a Doodh Walla Bhaiyya, Lungi Clad Madrasi, Kanjoos Marwadi, Motel Wala Patel, Kaam Wali Ghatin Bai, Musically Accented Gulti, and above all our favourite whipping boy - Sardar Ji!

So lets chuck off this Holier Than Thou attitude, and act in a matured manner. If this world is a global village, these things would happen. Individuals should handle these at their own level. Instead of crying, she should have confronted it firmly.But if everything was a gimmick, which I think it was, then its ok.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cold & Cough


The free spirit of Aryan has been suppressed by a severe bout of sneeze and wheeze. Poor guy has been hit by the virus in the lower respiratory tract during an innocuous visit to neighbourhood Sabji Mandi albeit without his faithful hat.

Not much fault of his, actually. His father has not been able to sort out the frailties of Pune's weather even after seven years, then how can he achieve that in just after five months on this planet

Suppressed that he might be, he is not grounded. The new step that he has learned in his life is side rolling, and he enjoys that immensely. And he does that again and again. Couple of times, he has also done two roll overs to come back to his normal posture.

Neither grounded are his toothless chuckles which he emits when I come back from the office. The moment he makes eye contact, he wants to talk which he does with his eyes, eyebrows, grunts and chuckles

That is the most precious moment of the day.With lots of steam and antibiotic, he is trying to recuperate. God knows how will he cope up with the cold of Lucknow this month end.

Post Script: Though I did manage to post a photograph this time, I don't think I would be able to do that easily in future. Emailer just goofs up at that. Also, emailer tends to add extra spaces between paragraph. Its pain!



Blogging By E-Mail

My employers have blocked www2.blogger.com yet again. They have done this two times previously, but lifted the ban within a week. Not sure they would do this time.
Luckily, I have registered for Blogging by email, so I would continue posting through here. However, I might not be able to manage things like tags, edits, settings etc.
Let's see how things pan out.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Am Sorry Ma'am

My office is 17Km from my house, so I take the office bus to and fro. Since its on highway, it just takes 30 minutes.

Office buses are usually reliable and comfortable unless there are traffic jams. Occasionally, they are dangerous too, when driver is either drunk, or is a Schumacher incarnate.

My activity on bus includes reading a book or a magazine, or taking a short wink. If I am doing neither, my mind is into dreaming serious, fantastical issues like - when would I be a millionaire, or what would it feel like kicking Sehwag at his butt. Stuff like that give me temporary pleasure.

However, the only part I detest of the whole trip is when I try to get down near my home during the return trip, though, no problem getting down near the office because the bus comes to a halt before I alight.

But in the evenings, one has to move towards the driver's cabin to convince him to stop. While the driver is in acceleration & deceleration mode, it get extremely difficult for a flat footed person like me to keep the balance, more so when one has a bag precariously slouched over a shoulder, threatening to come down.

At this time, hands come to rescue. They try to grope the side seats, the top rods - whatever they can. But hands have a mind of their own, and in the given situation they too get out of control. Some times they land up at someone's hair, at other time they might give a backhanded mini slap to people.

Since this is generally painless, if receiving person is male, they do not mind but females, predictably, do give some sign of discomfort. However, my blushing face and profusely sorry expression usually convinces them of my honesty.

But not this time. That day, a lady was walking in front of me, and there was a person behind me too. I was totally cramped for space, and since the bus was decelerating pretty fast, my strides were slightly longer than intended.

So my shoe hit the bottom of her sandle. She ignored. To my horror, it hit her sandle again. Twice again. She tried to turn back and confront me in the bus it self, but then she gave away the idea because she might have fallen down.

The moment she landed on terra firma, she gave me such a noli me tangere look that I thought she was about take out those sandles and hit me. I was a bit embarrassed, but the scene was averted. Since it was between the two of us, nobody else noticed.

Thinking about the legal and social consequences of that event later in the day, I was slightly perplexed. By hitting her sandal thrice, by no means I had outraged her modesty. I had done far worse things than that as I have mentioned above.

Also, she should have understood that this was totally unintentional. The only logical solution I could think out was probably she was angered that I might have damaged to her costly sandles. By experience, I can say that these things don't come cheap.

If that's not so, then she has an overrated notion about her beauty, and a perverse notion about my integrity. Whatever, the case may be, I am sorry ma'am.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Firaq Gorakhpuri

Allahabad is hosting ArdhKumb at Sangam, near Prayag. There was a time when the city hosted a sangam of the some finest poets of their era - who, by stroke of destiny, had descended upon the city to make their living.

These were Sumitra Nandan Pant(orginally from Almora), Surya Kant Tripathi 'Nirala'(from Unnao), Mahadevi Verma(from Farrukhabad), Harivansha Rai 'Bachchan'(from Allahabad itself), and perhaps the most talented and eccentric amongst these - Firaq Gorakhpuri (originally Raghupat Sahai from Gorakhpur).

I don't know why greatness usually comes with eccentricies, perhaps only Nirala might have match with Firaq here, but that's probably because he had become schizophrenic. The popular as he may be, he was a Muhphatt as well. He had no small opinion about his looks, knowledge and poetry.

Like Bachhan senior, he too was an English professor at Allahabad University, and had once remarked - "In this country, only two and half people know English - Me, S Radhakrishnan, and the half one is Nehru." Later he took back the half Nehru from the list. Though I also remember one more comment about S Radhakrishnan, don't know by whom, that - "What Radhakrishnan speaks is English."

Another notorious comment attributed to him was unleashed when Amitabh Bachhan was born. Harivansh Rai Bachhan was a protege of fellow professor Amarnath Jha, and former's wife Teji was very close to Mr. Jha. On Amitabh's birth, at full public view and hearing, Firaq said, tongue in cheek, to Bachchan - " I am not sure whom to congratulate - you or Mr. Jha."

Some call it dry wit.

Ok enough about his oddities and eccentricies, here is a famous Gazhal by Firaq.

ये तो नहीं कि ग़म नहीं
हाँ मेरी आँख नम नहीं।

तुम भी तो तुम नहीं हो आज
हम भी तो आज हम नहीं।

अब ना खुशी की है खुशी
ग़म का भी तो अब ग़म नहीं।

मौत अगर चे मौत है
मौत से ज़ीस्त कम नहीं।

ज़ीस्त is Life.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Call It A Day

The misfield by Sachin Tendulkar on the last ball of the series was befitting, and sums up of the situation for him.

The bottom line is - he is not only way away from his prime, and his form is on perpetual decline - he has, in fact, stooped to the lowest level in his career now. I believe, he should have called quits long before, but he doesn't do that now, his erstwhile greatness may get permanently removed from our memories, and that would not be fair to him.

To put things in perspective, here are some statistics. Of all his 35 centuries, since November 2002 he has scored just 4 of them! Amongst these, one century (248 not out) is against Bangladesh; another is against Pakistan (194 not out) at Multan, in which he was playing so slow that acting captain Dravid had to declare even before he could complete his double century!

His earlier century against Australia (241 not out) was dubbed by Ian Chappel as the worst Tendulkar century ever because he just refused to play on off side!

It all started when media commented that Sachin Tendulkar cannot graft in Tests. He plays as if he is playing one days. This reportedly changed the whole psyche of him. Just to show people, he tried to graft. The situation now is - he can neither graft nor play his natural Cricket. The Midas touch is gone, it seems, for ever.

I have no clue why he is still continuing - for country's sake or for his personal ego - but he must go now for his own sake. Its just not happening with him. He looks helpless, clueless, and pathetic on the field.

The way he patently hops down - after every LBW or Bold dismissal, as if to show that ball kept low, which is usually not the case - cuts an extremely sorry picture. Already, people have begun to ridicule about this, and soon the ridicule will expand to the other features of his game with likes of Barry Richards and Imran Khan already sniggering "I told you so".

The worst part is that his old competitors to throne - Lara, and Inzymam are still at their prime, and the new ones like Ponting have hit a perpetual purple patch. That puts Tendulkar's patchy performances even more dismal in comparison.

The last Test match was lost just because of that inexplicable partnership of 24 Runs in 15 overs between Sachin and Dravid. With Ganguly, Dravid was playing decently which is typical to his habit. If the person at the other end is playing good, Dravid would blossom; but if the other guy plays like all is lost, Dravid creates even more dismal scenario.

Anyways, lot said. Time to rethink Sachin. Don't be another Kapil. Give a last try, and if it doesn't happen for you - Call it a day.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kabir Ke Kuchh Aur Dohe

Some may be repeated, but still...

दुःख में सुमिरन सब करे सुख में करै न कोय।
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे दुःख काहे को होय ॥

बडा हुआ तो क्या हुआ जैसे पेड़ खजूर।
पंथी को छाया नही फल लागे अति दूर ॥

साधु ऐसा चाहिए जैसा सूप सुभाय।
सार-सार को गहि रहै थोथा देई उडाय॥

साँई इतना दीजिए जामें कुटुंब समाय ।
मैं भी भूखा ना रहूँ साधु न भुखा जाय॥

जो तोको काँटा बुवै ताहि बोव तू फूल।
तोहि फूल को फूल है वाको है तिरसुल॥

उठा बगुला प्रेम का तिनका चढ़ा अकास।
तिनका तिनके से मिला तिन का तिन के पास॥

सात समंदर की मसि करौं लेखनि सब बनराइ।
धरती सब कागद करौं हरि गुण लिखा न जाइ॥

साधू गाँठ न बाँधई उदर समाता लेय।
आगे पाछे हरी खड़े जब माँगे तब देय॥

चौदह सौ पचपन गये, चंद्रवार, एक ठाट ठये।
जेठ सुदी बरसायत को पूनरमासी प्रकट भये।।

माटी कहे कुम्हार से, तु क्या रौंदे मोय ।
एक दिन ऐसा आएगा, मैं रौंदूगी तोय ॥

माला फेरत जुग भया, फिरा न मन का फेर ।
कर का मन का डार दे, मन का मनका फेर ॥

तिनका कबहुँ ना निंदये, जो पाँव तले होय ।
कबहुँ उड़ आँखो पड़े, पीर घानेरी होय ॥

गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े, काके लागूं पाँय ।
बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोविंद दियो मिलाय ॥

सुख मे सुमिरन ना किया, दु:ख में करते याद ।
कह कबीर ता दास की, कौन सुने फरियाद ॥

धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय ।
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ॠतु आए फल होय ॥

कबीरा ते नर अँध है, गुरु को कहते और ।
हरि रूठे गुरु ठौर है, गुरु रूठे नहीं ठौर ॥

माया मरी न मन मरा, मर-मर गए शरीर ।
आशा तृष्णा न मरी, कह गए दास कबीर ॥

रात गंवाई सोय के, दिवस गंवाया खाय ।
हीरा जन्म अमोल था, कोड़ी बदले जाय ॥

जैसा भोजन खाइये, तैसा ही मन होय ।
जैसा पानी पीजिये, तैसी बानी सोय ॥

जो तोको काँटा बुवै, ताहि बुवै तू फूल ।
तोहि फूल को फूल है,वाको है तिरशूल ॥

मूरख को समुझावते, ज्ञान गाँठि का जाय ।
कोयला होय न ऊजला, सौ मन साबुन लाय ॥

शब्द सम्हारे बोलिये,शब्द के हाँथ न पाँव ।
एक शब्द औषधि करे, एक शब्द करे घाव ॥

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Baal Mithai

Apart from beautiful Joshis, Pants, Upadhyays, Sahs and Nautiyals, the hills of Uttrakhand(which was Uttaranchal till 3 days back) have also produced an outrageously delicious sweet delicacy called Baal Mithai.

Unfortunately, most non-pahadis outside the precinct of Almora and thereabouts are oblivious about it, but not me. This is because one of my closest buddies is an Upadhyay himself. Till I was a resident of Lucknow, I have enjoyed this heavenly sweet after every summer break when Uppadhyas would pack their bags to the cool climes of Pithauragarh, and on the way back will bring this manna for waiting us. God bless them.

The perplexing part is that there are no pretenders to the throne in other cities - the copycats - who will make the Bikaneri Shevs in Calcutta, and calls it Haldiram Nagpurwale, or that junkie in Pune who makes a mess of potatoes, and calls it Lucknow Ki Chat. But probably that is a blessing in disguise because then authenticity remains and consumer is not left with bad taste in mouth - literally.

About ingredients. Its brownish in colour, cuboidal in shape, laced with abundant servings of sugar cloaked Khas Khas seeds on the six surfaces.The sweet it self is made up of roasted Khoya, but believe me folks - this brown Khoya stuff is different from famous brown Brijwasi's(Mathura)Peda, or brown Benarasi Kalakand. It's just different.

Hardish just it may seem, it not just dissolves - it evaporates in the mouth. The sugar coated Khas seeds gives another twist to the taste - the crunchy effect while chewing. The khas-sugar combination also helps in keeping mouth wet while devouring this relatively dry sweet.

I hope I have developed enough interest and awareness about this yummy. If you plan to travel to Uttarakhand, or have a pahadi friend who might have come back from home recently - go fetch it. I am sure s/he may have a handful of same perched safely around some corner. At first sight it may look like fungal growth, but its not. Khas khas is herb and has medicinal properties, which insures long shelf life of this sweet.

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