Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My wish came true!

Whoa! My wish has indeed come true! 
 This surely warrants a post - even if it is the second one of the day!

Last few months I have been thinking that if only my dear Google would let me search by image as well; in addition to the textual references through the hundreds of things I keep ferreting out from its unlimited reservoir!
And hey presto! Just now the Google home page tells me that now I can precisely do that! To say that I am ecstatic is an understatement!

As a trial run they ask you to drag one of the pics seen below the search bar - I of course chose the Van Gogh - and Lo! Behold! The web pages unfurled themselves for me like the genie in the lamp!

Oh! My God! For me that is a manna from heaven! So go please, all of you and find the joy like I did!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rare bit of Welsh, pickles etc……

Words have always fascinated me. Often I come across some phrase that catches my attention. Once intrigued by one; I am compelled to find out more about it. 

'Welsh rarebit" was one of these. I came across it in a book and saw a rabbit in my mind’s eye.
Went searching and was amused by the fact that Wikipedia had this to say about it: “Welsh rarebit, Welsh rabbit, or infrequently rarebit, is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot on toast.

That’s English for you. Not even remotely having anything to do with a rabbit - as in animal. I guess it is all phonetically governed. That again is an irony because English is one of the phonetically most illogical languages. What you write is far from what you pronounce. That’s why 'C' is pronounced at times as 'K' and then also as 'Ch' or sometimes as 'S'; driving my Indian brethren mad while learning the language.

Another word that caught my eye was “pickle”; especially when I came across it on television.
The American characters in those programmes dig out of a bottle a "pickle" with fingers and pop into their mouth. The bottles show semi clear liquid - brine, of course - with green cucumber-like small things submerged in it.

Now for an Indian a pickle is a more often than not fiery, red or green and oily gravy-like stuff within which a wide variety of other stuff like diced raw mangoes, green chilies, lemons or even carrots are pickled. Of course there are parts of India where pickles are mild but none of them is something you reach for with fingers and pop into your mouth. If you do at all use a tip of a finger to taste; more often than not, your tongue is on fire. Then you either wash or carefully watch that tip because an innocent rubbing of an eye can make you experience the pickle magic in quite a painful manner.
Well, it takes all kinds to make this world! So let's enjoy this world - with rarebit, pickle and all!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This weekend I went to buy a book to gift to one of my dearest friends for his birthday and after a blissful episode of looking at many, fingering few and scanning some; found a lovely book by J. Krishnamurti titled “Mind without Measure”. Can't wait for him to finish so that I can borrow it!

Books; they beckon to me whenever I am in their vicinity. I am promptly under their spell whenever I have time to browse. And hence after buying that one - as always - I simply had to buy one for myself. I bought Osho’s “Love, Laughter & Life.” 

The preface hit me between my eyebrows like a bullet with this sentence: “Seriousness…it’s like a disease, it is the cancer of the soul.” Then the master story teller goes on to make even more sense and I am so hooked!

Began reading it and I remembered something I had written years ago when I wrote my own “Notes to Myself” as recommended by Hugh Prather. Here it is, reproduced for my dear readers:

“Taking myself - and most of the stuff that happens around me - seriously is something I tend to often overdo. No wonder that everything; well, almost everything, looms larger than life. Ease up on that and I am better off to deal with whatever I face.
And in the bargain I travel light and get to enjoy so many finer nuances and facets of the situation, which otherwise I miss out on.”

Have a lighter journey through the week, all!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Solstice 2011

There was - the other day - another pretty Google doodle by Takashi Murakami - a contemporary Japanese artist - to mark the  Summer Solstice. As always, it was a pleasure to see it!
For me the day - 21st June -  means "the longest day" of the year; just as 22nd Dec means the "shortest day" of the year.
In school you are made to learn - what back then seemed like a whole lot of totally unnecessary and painful to remember data - such stuff that later on you realize can be so interesting!
Such occasions are the only once when I remember that the earth is a globe on which we all seem to merrily go about our business - surprisingly without falling off it!
Most of the time I do not think of it like that. I mean who does, right!
Any way what does it matter whether the day is a long or a short one. What we do with it is what is most important and that stays with us - always!
So have a fantastic, productive, loving, abundant day, all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Being Here & Now"

Here are some my favourite columnist "Busybee"' would say, "All my own work"!

Yesterday evening I spent some time standing at the window watching the road below my bedroom window flowing with humanity and vehicles of all kinds, shapes and colours.  
And I remembered spending many evenings in the balcony of the house that I grew up in -in a Mumbai suburb. The time has brought so many changes.

The colours of the clothes everyone wears are more vivid, shapes and colours of the vehicles are so varied and almost all very beautiful. Not many ladies were seen manning vehicles back then. Now they all go around festively dressed, zooming to and fro on those vehicles which compared to the vehicles of my childhood look more like the designs from some science fiction flick. That speaks of wealth and good living.

All the people I see are in a hurry, all are so occupied with their own thoughts. No one really looks around. None is here and now.
I guess we all are very nicely dressed most of the time, we all eat quite fancy food all the time and we all do a lot of work, lot of traveling for fun and family reasons.
But we are - almost - absent!

I am too. In most things I do.
Because I am so either in past or future.

I wish I could train this silly little mind of mine to stay here and now. My mind goes around in a loop, now in past now in future. But NEVER right here and now.

What to do so that I can relish this moment as it is given to me? How can I intellectualize it so capably, word it so effortlessly and then fail so miserably when doing it?

Well, the question is rhetoric of course, because I know that it is done by DOING IT! …...perhaps now I too will write a book titled, "Just do it, you fool!”
Okay, now let us all go do whatever that we do so that we are never here and now.

God help us all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All things Fresh & New....

I am informed that the ‘International Father’s Day’ falls on the third Sunday in June – meaning tomorrow. Inevitably the fact makes me think of parenting and childhood. The month of June along with the monsoon, heralds the start of the new academic year in schools in Maharashtra and the frenzy of new parents. This starts me off on a trip down the memory lane.

I remember when my first born began her primary school. For every parent and the child it is a big step and so it was with much trepidation that I set my young one among the strangers while putting up a brave front, raving to her about how she was sure to love it all. She was fine with it, in fact quite happy to go but I was not ready. Is any young mother ever ready for stuff like this? Not really.
My anxieties were made worse by my overworking imagination that included scary mental pictures – right from big rude boys shoving and pushing my little girl to sharp edges of the benches coming in contact with her soft small head…yup, a classic example of how a rational sane adult can become a neurotic, irrational individual.
I had another small worry gnawing at me when I went to collect my precious bundle at the end of the first day – which was barely a few hours later.
What was eating me was whether I’d be able to recognize her when all of them would tumble out at the final bell! Will I miss seeing her? Will she feel abandoned because Mommy couldn’t find her? Wow! Now it is so easy to laugh about it all. Back then at that time I was never farther away from laughing!
What a fool I was! How could I have ever imagined that I’d fail to zero in on her face among the crowd! When the gong sounded and the waves of sky blue-gray uniforms tumbled out it took me a fraction of what I am sure was a nano-second to catch her face in the crowd! Oh! What a relief! I still remember the thrill of gasping out, “there she is”!
Almost instantly it also dawned upon me that ALL of us young mothers had done the same! In a flash all moms had their wards and the excited, energetic sharing had begun.
Well! Well! Learning has never stopped since then and I am now listening to my young friends and colleagues narrating their tales of the “First Day at school” while smiling inwardly at the memory.
But to tell you the truth, I am grateful that it is over. The skinned knees and injured pride, the lost friendships and in general the whole gamut of the pain of growing up – finally it is all behind us.
Life of course throws up new challenges one after the other but the intensity has come down quite a few notches as far as newness is concerned.
I am glad we all –my kids and I – finally are grown up.

A peaceful weekend all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Lunar Eclipse, Kungu Fu Panda 2 and other significant things.....

Sigh! Bliss is me!....... You would sigh too if you go check the Google Doodle today. 

Last night was a damp squib, we kept driving around on quiet rain-drenched streets, well past midnight; trying higher and higher places to scan the skies, hoping to catch a glimpse of the TLE (Total Lunar Eclipse for the uninformed!) but the rain kept it all hidden and then first thing in the morning at my desktop...yippee!.... I get to see it all here. 
I mean wow! Admittedly not the same as the real deal but better than nothing, right!
Okay here we means my son and I; and no, we do not make it a parctice of going around the town to witnesses eclipses - total or otherwise; and last night's damp squib was after the brilliant time at the movies, I must clarify here. After catching the mid night show of Kungu Fu Panda 2 with its usual 'popcorn-sandwiches-drinks' load of pure delight I just had to drag my boy for a "dekko" at the eclipse instead of driving straight back home. Oh! The things a good son has to do for his mother!

That said let me turn to more serious stuff like my morning agenda of hunting down hinges for toilet seats. Yeah, you got that right, hinges for the seat so that a lady can use the toilet as it ought to be used. If you are wondering how on earth can something like that be a serious matter, you are a man. If you are not, no need to mention that you so get me!

Well, after sad inquiries about it at various shops displaying gleaming classy art objects that go by the name of  bathroom and kitchen fixtures where I received several pitiful glances; I finally managed to find a place near Deccan to successfully end the traumatic phase at workplace where the unresolved issue had been festering to really get me going like this.
But no more! God is in his heaven and all is right with the world - once again!
All I now need is a handyman to fix the cursed thing on the damned seat so that life can go back to normal.

Now that that is done and over with, I am so going back to the eclipse.

I suggest you do the same, all!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time flies......

 Phew! Time just zooms by sometimes. Of late more than ever before I notice.  I distinctly remember thinking yesterday morning that today is the start of the week and how nice it is to have a Sunday as the sabbatical but how it is also equally nice to go back to work and how by lunch time I should be able to get to post a new blog and all. 

And before I knew it; it was closing time and the day had simply ‘swooshed’ by! Happens – often. Time is such a funny thing.  And I just couldn’t come back here all day yesterday. But now I am right here, at my favourite place, writing my blog! Feels good! Love writing!

Well, now about time.  And how it runs out so fast on you at times! There are times when it so drags on! As a young girl I used to fret whenever I used to have a chunk of it unexpectedly. Meaning - times when I had to twiddle my toes and wait. I remember being so distraught, so ready to scream – well almost. Waiting and youth simply do not go together.
But with advancing years and newer challenges life teaches you to value whatever time comes your way whether planned or otherwise and you learn to cherish it. You forget to fret. Frankly because being late stops mattering that much. For two reasons; one because you - with maturity - plan your days much better and two, you also quite  gleefully realize that waiting means free moments that you could never on your own keep for yourself. There are always demands on your time – always. 

One can utilize the moments thus given in so many ways. One can observe others fretting and smile smugly –inward of course – unless you are fond of inviting dirty looks! 

There are ways and ways people fret in. Some start repeatedly checking time – as if trying to nudge and hurry up the time. Some begin to settle down but with a resigned, pained look about them – a fatalist stance. And then some begin “doing” something about it – like forever making inquiries and discussing how difficult or wrong it is to be stranded like this.  
I usually search and manage as much a comfortable position as I can – If I can sit, well; and if I must stand then it helps to have something to lean against. And then either I keep unobtrusively watching the humanity around me or I withdraw and go in. 

One can do so much thinking. So many interesting thoughts my mind can weave! I have always felt that there is no better chance for this than to “have to” wait somewhere! Airports, doctor’s waiting rooms, railway platforms and even over cooking. So much exercise for the mind awaits. If only we would delve into it and reap the rich harvest!

Time flies then and leaves you with such great satisfaction that is unique. We all have become human ‘doings’ more than ‘beings’. Such times I guess allow one to be a human being. An experience I recommend quite highly!

Have a great day all!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A fine animation like Rio or Ice Age; a big bucket of Caramel Popcorn…sigh! Who needs the glass of Chardonnay?

Yeah! I know!
Strange coming from someone who has never tasted Chardonnay! But hey so what! This is not about the merits or demerits of wine over popcorn. It is about the child like joy one can have even at the ripe old age of fifty!

Going to the movies has always been grand fun. Since early age I have been taken to the best of the English movies and I still can remember that it was an enchanted world where pure magic happened in the dark auditorium. Old time Bombay had the velvety red carpeted – yeah the kind that made your shoes sink in – satin curtained magnificent theaters like Metro, Excelsior, Regal and the New Empire-a legacy of the British “Raj”.

Metro Goldwyn Meyer, Warner Bros. & Walt Disney – they all were a huge part of what childhood also was about back then. With my small hand safely clutched by a warm, big and strong hand of a father all was well in the world.

Now I go for the best of the Hollywood with my grown up children who indulge their Mom pretty well. Tides of time have sure brought in some changes but it is funny because now my hand is no more small, years of hard work has put wrinkles on it and yet it is clutched for safety – mine  again! - by another warm, big and strong hand – that of a son! Life sure is funny!

Going to the movies affects me deeply on gastronomical level. An otherwise a small eater, a magical transformation takes place once I am accompanied by my kids - into the multiplex. I can put away enormous amounts of food and drink at the movies.

Back then theater food meant tiny packets of potato wafers – yes chips were wafers back then – sometimes popcorn too, chicken rolls with mayonnaise and a leaf of salad, perhaps a brownie and a cold drink. Now that we all are so Americanized, movies mean huge buckets of popcorn, brown bread corn sandwiches, chips and cold drinks.

My kids at such times have an almost saint-like patience holding my innumerable sustenance packets, guiding me very carefully to my seat in the dark, making sure the supplies are replenished.

Lately they are kind enough to reckon that mommy is graduating to be an old fuddy-duddy, so they even whisper finer nuances of the dialogue I may miss because I am so keenly intent upon the nourishment programme placed in my lap. 
God bless the movie makers as much as God bless my kids.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I miss it!

Another fresh – albeit a bit wet morning, I am at work -  back at my pc and the fist page that I go for - as always - is Google and Alas! I so miss the Google Doodle!

Yesterday there were these  colourful chords in memory of the jazz guitarist, songwriter and inventor Les Paul’s 96th birthday – the chords making beautiful notes in spite of the fact that I do not know how to create any music – I just love music, period. 

I merely had to run the cursor over them at random and they sang out those notes. Sigh! I miss them so! All day long I kept going back to smile at them as they relieved the tensions in my neck muscles from clicking away at the mouse at my office desktop. Though I love my work, keeping long hours at a pc does that to one, you know!

Anyway, I went looking for the melodious chords today morning and IBNLive informed me that Google has decided to keep it on for another day for the benefit of US users and others like me can select the country specific pages etc. and have a go at it for another day but I am not too keen.

With age you find the grace in letting go. It is fun remembering it all – almost as much fun as the experience.

Google does make life that much better with such features.  Love it!

Well, now it is monsoon in Pune. That means the outskirts of the city would be lush green and cool while hordes of city dwellers will be managing the flooded streets, traffic blocks and the never ending battle of keeping the stuff dry that needs to be dry to get through the day while the air stinks at the river side and it gets quite stifling and not so cool.

But Pune has still retained some of the laid back way of life of yesteryears – though fading too fast – and hence it is much less hysterical than Mumbai monsoon. That I must say is a fever and a war – both. A weird way of life. Ruthless, uncertain and dirty, not to mention perpetually wet. A month or two down the line everything starts giving out a mild stench of mildew - that's Mumbai monsoon for you!. 

Time alone shows – in retrospection - any life decision to be good or bad and my decision to move to Pune from Mumbai more than a decade ago was a wise one; a fact reinforced by the monsoon each year.

So, here I am at my table, ready to tackle another happily productive day while in one corner of my mind I can smell the wet earth, see the lush green out at the country side and feel the soft rain on my skin!
Soon, I promise myself. I hope to get away from the city at least for a few hours and soak it all in.

Till then it is back to the grind. Have a nice day, all!

Day One: Whoa! I begin blogging......

Wow! I really mean wow! One day there is nothing, just the regular your friendly neighbourhood gmail in my life and wham! here I am, with my own blog! Well! Well! Surprises never end, do they!
Okay for the first day I do not have much to say but wait and give me some time and I shall have plenty to say..........till then, ciao.