Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where Is The Crowd, Man?

Last year when ICC Mini World was taking place in India, the two WestIndian commentators - a lady called Dona Symond, and ex-bowler Ian Bishop - kept on cribbing, match after match, on the fact that apart from the matches involving India how low the people turn out was. All that on the expense of Indian Channels money.

The clear cue was - "Wait And See What Happens In West Indies in World Cup".

Well, we waited and nothing swashbuckling has happened. There are absolutely no corwds even for WestIndies matches, forget other matches.

That's what we call 'Shooting From The Lip'.



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jhar Gaye Paat

It is such a sad state of affairs that Government had to bring a bill for protection and taking care of our elders. No amount of punishment can be less for such a crime, but just 3 months of imprisonment and Rs 5000/- of fine is definitely way too less.

I hope no parent suffer in such a way, and none of children face this humiliation, but then truth can't be ignored. Lage Raho Munnabhai is one example. People deliberately leaving their clueless elderly parents at Kumbh Melas is so regular. Like I said, no punishment can be less.

Noted poet Balkavi Bairagi has written a wonderful poem - Jhar Gaye Paat - with similar message. Its about how we discard everything which is old, be it people, relationships, belongings, or anything else, whenever we encounter something new.

Now more about the poet. He has been a Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, and a minister in state's Legislative Assembly for Congress. He has written some memorable songs for the films too. Like the lovely "Tu Chanda Main Chaandini" sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film "Reshma Aur Shera", and "Nafrat Ki Ek Thokar Ne" sung by Manna Dey in the same film.

Interesting thing about him was that his family was so poor during his childhood that they(including him) use to beg for surviving. His father was crippled. He had beg to furnish his studies too. He lost his first child, barely 11 months old, as he could not afford to buy medicines.

Now the poem.

Jhar Gaye Paat

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Food Panorama

I had taken some pics on my trip to Lucknow.

Royal Cafe: Chat King
Royal Cafe

Makes one of the best Chat in Lucknow. Huge variety available here backed by very good service. Costly, but value for money. Chat Basket is their speciality(35 bucks). Excellent clientele and gentry. The restraunt behind the doors is excellent too, with speciality in Muglai and Awadhi food. Serving since early twenthy century. Located bang in the middle of MG Road, next to Capoor’s.

Ritz Continental: Veggie Delight
Ritz Continental

Two branches: one at Sapru Marg, other at Mahanagar. One of the best Veggie stuff in the city. I loved its Stuffed Nan with Dal Tadka. Good chinese food too. An old favourite.

Rovers: Burger King

Our hang out for Burgers. Small shop with no seating facility at MG Road. Great hit with college crowd.

Mini and Moti Mahal: Sweet
Moti Mahal

Delicious sweets. Owned by MM grouo who have chain of eateries in Lucknow(Madhurmilan, Madhurima, Moti Mahal, Mini Mahal) and one in Pune(Manmeet Lucknawi Chat) too.

Aryan: Namesake
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A namesake of Aryan, this is a new fast food chain hugely popular amongst crowd for hanging out. Aryan would love it.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Mee Punekar (Replies)

Sudipta has put the cat amongst the pigeons, by forwarding my post to Desipundit as a result there has been a sudden flurry of comments in my box. I thought it would be better if I replied in full post here.

Kusum Rohra: Sorry as much I tried to find, I couldn't find it. However, even yesterday when the bail acceptance was put on TOI, along with each culprit, there home city name was also mentioned in parenthesis. They get so horrifically wrong with the facts that they mentioned Yamunanagar in Uttar Pradesh, which in fact is in Harayana.

Karlton: Sorry, I somehow forgot that and so did I forget the incident of blackening of the face Fergusson College principal - another landmark in the city synonymous with its culture.

Vick: Yes Vick, I remember. It was just an year back in March when Meher Bhargava was killed. Issues and their severity are different. But as I said then, a criminal is a criminal whether outsider or insider, and s/he should be punished according to law of land. This post is not about not punishing the offenders, if they are destroying the basic fabric of the city, but about the sheer hypocrisy.

Its a human nature, but when the debates carried to national newspapers and channels, then it kind of project wrong picture to people all over.

Shriniwas : Yes, I agree that all can't be painted in same colour. I have mentioned specific events which are related to specific persons. I think during our parents time, the things were different. Now we are at different times, and this intolerance is slowly but surely increasing.

HP: So true, what more can be said. Some are more, and some are less.

Sarang: I guess you have read the post in complete haste. Never ever in my post did I mention about Maharashtrians. You can read again. This is in general not only my view. The Maharashtrians from other cities to have the problem coming here. People from places like Nanded, Jalgaon, Beed, Akola, Usmanabad, Solapur, Satara, Sangli are treated same way.

However, due to lack of information, and some "IN GENERAL" information, you have lot of prejudices and misconceptions to which you may not agree. I am not talking about IN GENERAL prejudices and misconceptions others have here, because that I have talked about earlier too, but only yours.

Misconception # 1: North indians are not immune to similar feeling...just that they haven't been expressed yet, because who after all,in his right mind, will go to U.P,Bihar, M.P., Rajasthan to live and work?No one. If maharashtrians tmrw start moving there, I assure you that you (or other north indians) might make similar statements.

You might be surprised to know that since you mentioned about Marwaris, and Gujaratis which throng to Maharashtra, they also do in huge numbers other part of North India , and settle there. So do Punjabis, Bengalis, Kashmirs in large numbers and Tamils, Kannadas, Malayalis, and Telgus in lesser numbers. And yes, all in their right frame of mind. And no ethnic statements till now.

Misconception # 2: The point you haven't mentioned is that North Indians come to Mahrashtra, settle here and then often, try and project how superior unka des is(read one comment above). The fact is that they have come here to escape the lack of industry, law and order,education in their state. So its a bit rich for them to say this.

The comment which you have mentioned is from one North Indian to other North India staying just 200 kms away, and that too in jest.

True that they come here for lack industry, but industry is not someone's ancestral property. Its for the talented and deserving, whoever it may be. If you are then you get the job, and if I am, then I get. Companies go there and fish for talent, if they don't get here. Despite all this, people are neither exactly begging there, nor are they dying of hunger.

About law and order. Of all my life I lived there, I wasn't exactly lynched. Nor are the people are who are living there currently.

Now the education. Now if you are talking about Pune's colleges, let me inform you, barring a few, rest of them are sheer PR exercise. These institutions are there to unload people's pockets, and as far as standard of education in them, I know it inside out. Sheer junk.

About the school education, you won't believe it - its as good as yours in cities. They crack national level exams like IIT-JEEs, IIMs, ICS, CBSEs, PMTs, NDA, Olympiads, NTSEs and whatever you can think of, unlike here. And nobody comes here to study in the schools here anayway.

Misconception # 3: The other fact is that north indians, IN GENERAL, bring the same 'fix it', 'law is for asses' atitude in day to day life. Remember I said IN GENERAL. This is their general outlook to life- since they havee been brought up in such a society- as compared to Mahrashtra, South India and Bengal- which, IN GENERAL, are more law abiding, in their outlook.

Didn't you see Raj Thackrey's press conference? Haven't you heard about Bal Thackerey? Who is this Arun Gawli? Haven't you traveled by autos here? If you want to know about their basic law abiding outlook read this. How come a policeman raped a school girl in police chowky? What do you know about rural Bengal? What happened in Banglore for a week when Rajkumar died? Why did people burnt a school bus containing children in Tamil Nadu when Jayayalalita was convicted? Why did they involve in vandalism at BORI? Why did they burnt whole Singhania hospital in Thane after throwing patients out when one a Shiv Sena office bearer died of accident? Is this law abiding? Or was the killing of Mahatma Gandhi? Lets not get into this loop.

The more you are literate, the more law abiding you tend to be. People here are more literate. But in 15 years or so, even this gap will be bridged.

Misconception # 4: People like you who fail to realize this and just attack Mahrashtrians and make one sided statements are educated but not wise.

I repeat, never once I talked about Maharashtrians or North Indians because I believe we all are Indians. Its only TOIs reporter and you are talking so, I am afraid.



Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Am Back




Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mee Punekar, Rest (Ko)Baharkar

Move over Mee Mumbaikar, here comes the breed of holier-than-thou "Punekar". Really, I have rarely seen a more hypocrite breed of citizens as these. If you are wondering what's the provocation, then I would point the recent episode of Rave party as one, but not the only one.

See, if this had been a drugs party in any other city, and people were caught, given the degree of this event, it would have been treated like another event. Guilty would have been caught, and punished. Nothing more.

However in Pune, there has been a clamour of self denial.

Its not us. Its the people from outside who are responsible. By outside we mean the students , the BPO and software professionals who have settled from outside, and we also mean the people who had come only for the party - from Mumbai, MP, Delhi, Rajasthan, UP and Bihar. But certainly not us - the sons of soil. Not a single one of us. And even if there is one - s/he must be spoilt by the outsiders.

A reporter of local Times Of India - Gitesh Shelke - indulged in such ridiculous reporting that it can't be explained in words. It can only be read and realized. It was clearly not a report, rather an an opinionated outburst against non Punekars - those who are supposedly destroying the 'culture' of the city.

Then this weekend, Regatta, the annual boating event of College of Engineering Pune(COEP) also included the Rave party in their annual theme, indicating how the original 'culture' of Pune getting destroyed.

Icing on the cake came when the debate reached national TV - CNN-IBN. Educational thinkers of Pune like some lady from Symbiosis Institute, along with local landlords made one party, while students made another. Topic was when in Rome, behave like Romans.

On went the lectures on Maryada and Seema that these students should not be crossing. Same hypocrites conveniently forgot how one amongst them had installed webcams in his house's bedroom and bathroom to make videos of the girl tenants! And how a gymnasium owner had put - again -a webcam in changing room! Or what about that unsuspecting college girl that was raped by policeman in Pune University campus.

Arrrg..... exceptions should be ignored, please.

Whither exceptions? Haven't you vested the famed Saras Bagh? Haven't you been accosted by prostitutes in Budhwar Peth or besides Mangla Talkies. Haven't you seen nauseating child prostitution in Lonawala and Khandala. Promiscuity is rampant my dear brethrens, if you allow me to call you one.

This is not the first time such a debate has happened. A few years ago, there was ragging episode in Law College in Pune. All of them who were caught were non Punekars. What a hue and cry there was! They were all suspended. Again Pune's culture was in danger.

Symbiosis Institute's head - some Majumdar - who had absolutely nothing to do with this, poked his nose in. He wrote an open letter to SOS( Sons of Other States) in Times Of India - to behave themselves or they would be chucked out of the city. Then there were a counter letters. Things reached to shameful level. Meanwhile TOI made its millions.

Now I will show you there double standards. These only institutes - Symbiosis, Law College, Bharti Vidyapeeth, DY Patil, MIT etc put full blown advertisements in north Indian newspapers - days after days to attract students. Criterion will not be merit, but money. Obscene money.

So what do they think - Ramanujam and CV Ramans would come to Pune. Many of them are rich dad's good for nothing off springs.

Then where are the facilties? Meagre hostels. I bet there are more fancy courses than hostels. Hardly anything worthwhile would be taught. Coaching Institutes are there to teach them, not the colleges. The standard is pathetic, and more than 50% don't get a job.

Now, when there are no hostels, so they would reside in apartments. Landlords would charge them Rs 8000 for one BHK, and deposit of Rs 80000. Who can afford that? Afterwards, with their rich life style these guys landlords only develop complex. So at first they want huge money, for that purpose they would rent out to rich students, and then they only would ask them to behave.

My neighbouring flats always had bachelors as residents for past 4 years, and none of them troubled me. During Diwali, when I asked them kindly not to explode crackers near my the flat because that may trouble young Aryan, they readily complied.

On the contrary, my local neighbours, the family ones, refused point blankly. So would the other young college going society boys despite requests. "Arey Sula Ker Rakho Usey", "Abhi(sic) Diwali Ko To Chhodenga Na Phataka".

On the name of Ganpati and Janmashtami Chanda, they would fall just short of threatening. One guy from society was ready to pounce on me when refused. Before that, they kept on banging door like hooligans. Go and teach them manners.

I will give you one more live example of double standards which will shock you no end. One of my friend - a very shy and noble soul to the core - received the shock of his life when his landlord called up told that society chairman has complained that he brings girls to his room. Now 'bringing' girl is no crime or sin per se, but I can vouch that he must have hardly spoken to a girl in a year or two, leave alone bringing home.

Later society chairman accepted he has lied because one of my friend's neighbour was insecure just because that guy worked in Mumbai, and his wife was alone at home! So he wanted my friend to be thrown out. Would you believe it?

Then there are these numerous incidents like deflating motorbike tyres by your local neighbours so that one may leave that housing society. Why don't they teach Puneri culture to them and autowallahs first who are committing daylight robberies.

Like I have said before, outsiders must behave and whatever these cases may be, guilty should be punished. But do not put up a public trial, and before blaming others en masse - Apne Gireban Mein Bhi Jhank Ker Dekho. Kabul Mein Bhi Gadhey Hote Hain.



Monday, March 12, 2007

उनके देखे से जो आ जाती है मुँह पे रौनक ...

Vintage Mirza Ghalib.

उनके देखे से जो आ जाती है मुँह पे रौनक
वो समझते हैं कि बीमार का हाल अच्छा है।

देखिए पाते हैं उशशाक़ बुतों से क्या फ़ैज़
इक बराह्मन ने कहा है कि ये साल अच्छा है।

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हक़ीकत लेकिन
दिल के ख़ुश रखने को ‘ग़ालिब’ ये ख़याल अच्छा है।



Wednesday, March 07, 2007

World Cup

The World Cup is round the corner, and I peg no chance on India this time round. Frankly, they have never been in reckoning in any of the World Cups but they have managed to pleasantly surprise in most of them.

I would love to be presently surprised this time too, but then it would be surprises too many.

I have previously written about the two India Pakistan matches which have been my personal favourites. Incidentally one of them is from 1992 World Cup in Australia. Not sure why, but even as the World Cups as a whole, I have the fondest memories of this one.

And in this post, I am going to talk about my other favourite match in the same World Cup.

One big reason for liking that particular World Cup could be that it was played in the thick of my class X board exams, so though the fun of the tournament was slightly diluted, but the tension of the-first-board-exams got tremendously relaxed.

This World Cup was slightly different than others, with a lot of new things in it - both from organizer's and participant's side. Firstly, it was played in a Round Robin League manner without any pools. That was fun. Next the dreaded Rain shorten rule came into the play. According to rule, it would delete only those overs which had least runs. Side batting second was always in disadvantage. That was not fun.

Then there was coloured clothing and two white balls for the first time, and so was the only two-men-outside-for-the-first-fifteen-over rule.

Last rule gave birth to a new terminology in Cricket, courtesy dashing Kiwi Captain Martin Crowe - the Pinch Hitter. He always was a master strategist and introduction of Mark Greatbatch as the Pinch Hitter, who earlier use to play down the order, was
hugely successful for his team. So was making miserly off spinner Deepak Patel open the bowling, which took most by surprise.

We had our own original pinch hitter in Krishnamachari Srikkanth but (a) he was failing miserably, and (b) Ravi Shastri was diluting his effect from the other side. Gavaskar been gone five years back, and we hadn't still solve the opening problem. Chronic disease, it seems. Desperation was so overwhelming that even Kapil Dev unsuccessfully opened in a match against Zimbabwe!

England tried Ian Botham as the pinch hitting opener with mixed effect, but with his slow swing bowling he created enough trouble for our little master.

South Africa played for the first time, and reached Semi Finals. An airbourne Jhonty Rhodes running out Inzemam became picture perfect for the newspapers and a new dimension called fielding was added in Cricket which could actually win matches apart from bowling and batting.

Rain and Rain rule created a lot of tense situations. First, rain helped Pakistan to reach semifinals. Without Imran Khan, they were all out against England for just 74. England were cruising when rain forced the match to be abandoned. Later Pakistan beat the same side in final to win the World Cup. I still cannot forget that beauty by Wasim Akram that took Chris Lewis' stumps.

South Africa was perhaps laid low by the rain rule in the semifinals against England. They needed some 22 runs of 13 balls, which it self was looking difficult to achieve, and suddenly it drizzled for a while, and the revised target was 21 runs from 1 ball. This was damn too difficult. Dave Richardson and Brian McMillan were inconsolable.

India was both beneficiary and aggrieved party. It lost out to Australia due to this rule in the match I am going to talk about, while it was saved from a shameful defeat against minnows Zimbabwe. Also, India's a sure-win match against Srilanka was washed out in rain.

Zimbabwe however did create an upset when they dispatched England in a low scorer but, England were safe to semifinals by then. Former almost did in Srilanka too by scoring 312, but latter successfully managed a record breaking chase.

Pakistan were benefited not only by rains, but also by the unsporting largesse bestowed upon them by NewZealand. Inorder to avoid going to Australia for playing semifinal, it was believed that they deliberately lost Pakistan in league match. This defeat also nullified the chance of Australia reaching semifinals even though they defeated WestIndies a few hours later. It also snuffed out WestIndies' chances to reach semifinals had they beaten Australia.

See the complications of a round robin league tourney.

Pakistan met the same opposition in semifinal(NewZealand), and this time it was not the case of lady luck for Pakistan. From then, it was the simple genius of Imran Khan till the finals. For the first time Imran Khan must have played one down as a sheet anchor and utilized Inzemam to the best effect in the slog overs. Very traditional Oneday Cricket. NewZealand and England were shocked, and Pakistan was the unlikely champion. Chymes of Allah-Hoo in the dressing room later were nauseating, though.

Gosh! Already such a long post! I will post about the match in next post. Sorry!

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Monday, March 05, 2007


The Foodie in TimesNow finally gave Lucknow its due. As if in act of over repentance for neglecting it for so long, it dedicated four exclusive weekends to Awadhi cusine with an eclectic combination ranging from Kakori Kebabs to Mutton Harabhara.

They are yet to provide links of the latest episode yesterday which covered winter specialities of Lucknow, but all other links up and for the benefit of those who have missed the episodes, and want to know the recepies here are the links.

The Foodie Cookbook: Lucknow - The City of the Nawabs (First Episode)
In this episode, Nawab Jaffar Mir Abdullah talk about Mutton Korma and Raan Ke Kebabs. For those who are not aware, Raan is thigh in Awadhi.

The Foodie Cookbook: Daawat-e-Lucknow (Second Episode )
Here The Foodie is treated at the lawns of beautiful Chhota Imambara, with delicacies like Khadi Masoor Ki Dal , Lucknowi Mutton Dum Biryani and Shahi Tukda.

The Foodie Cookbook: Lucknow Kababs (Third Episode)
Simple Kebabs. First a trip to legendry Tunde Kebabs at Nazeerabad lane near Aminabad. The Tunde kebabs are basically Galawati Kebabs(they melt in mouth therefore are called so) with are eaten with Roomali Rotis, Sheermal (an orange-coloured saffron-flavoured naan, made only in Lucknow), Khameeri naan or Ulta Tawa Parathas. But Tunde's deserve a complete post so some time later. Promise.

Then he moves to a restaurant called NausheerJaan in Hazratganj, where the cook shows how to cook Malai Mewa Kebab , Majlisi Kebab , Pasanda Kebab , Kakori Kebab .

The Foodie Cookbook: Lucknow Winter Specials (Fourth Episode)
They haven't put up the link of this episode as of yet. It started in some Nawabi Haveli which I missed out. All the dishes are Lucknow winter specials. A newly wed of just five days along with her husband tells us about Mutton Harabhara. Later her mother-in-law shows how to cook Egg Halwa.

The Foodie, then moves to Chowk in old Lucknow where he learns how to prepare spicy Kashimiri Chai which is drunk-cum-eaten with soaked Samosa and Balai( Malai). Then he gets to taste delicious Kali Gajar Ka Halwa of which foodie had never heard about. He later put his hands on the yummy Makkhan Malai which is a fluffy cream prepared by putting the stuff open in dew whole night.

They missed out a lot of stuff because sky is the limit in Lucknow, but to their credit they did well by giving a whole month to Lucknow.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Newly Weds and Aryan