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Showing posts from September, 2007

Diamonds and Curry

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Bored and trying to find some Indian food during a business trip, I met Chimanbhai Patel at the Murugan. Readers would naturally assume that I was somewhere in Chennai or some other Tamil town, but well, it was many thousand miles away, in the picturesque canal city of Amsterdam. It was and is not a vegetarian or south Indian restaurant, but a Punjabi restaurant. Located on Rozengracht, it is close to the famous canals and in the tourist district. The hotel itself was a little garish as most Indian restaurants places overseas are, usually, with a bit of red wallpaper on the walls and dim lighting…with Kingfisher beer proudly on offer.

It was then that I chanced upon Chimanbhai who was there for some food as well. Though it was bright and sunny outside, the time was dinner time, about 7PM, and there were nobody at the Murugan except for the manager /owner - a Punjabi lady and us. She appeared to know Patel, I did not, but soon enough he struck up a conversation. I was looking at both of…

A time when slide-rules ruled

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No! This is not a review about the great Nevil Shute novel with the same name, but a musing about the object itself. The book itself was Shute’s own autobiography, and quite an engrossing one at that. For serious readers, Nevil Shute is always a recommendation, books like his ‘Town like Alice’& ‘On the beach’ standout novels.

I still remember the fist time I saw one of them beauties, a slide rule (not the gals), after I joined the engineering college. I had not the faintest clue that such a thing existed till I saw one and held it in my hands, and the one I saw was a lovely Faber Castell off-white contraption. It took a while before somebody explained how it worked and it took many days before I figured out the rudiments of slide-ruling.

As it was a necessity (until then we had managed famously with the Log tables), I pestered my uncle, a shippie to get me one, and he did. That was how I came to possess a ‘Hope 530’ Made in Japan - Slide rule. Straight away I stuck my name tag on th…

Miss Teen's mega blunder

I am sure a lot of you have heard about this very popular lady. Her telly bit on youtube has attracted over 19 million hits already.

Well, I agree, it was an awesome answer from the lady who had the best of education the world had to offer, I guess, or well, let us give the shell shocked lady some leeway. She goofed up.

So what did Lauren Caitlin Upton say??

Q: Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?
During the pageant: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."
More fun is what others had to …

Vivekanada's Lunatic Kerala

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Watching a totally loony & horrible movie ‘Bharghava Charithram Moonam Kandam’ scripted by Srinivasan and based loosely on the fantastic ‘Analyse this’ starring Robert De Niro & Billy Crystal, I was wondering about the comment Sreenivasan makes during the opening scene. He refers to Swami Vivekananda’s statement about Malayalis being lunatics. I thought I must be crazy one to be watching this miserable movie…First & foremost – Do not see Bharghava charithram…It is probably the worst movie you can see, but then you should watch ‘Analyse this’…

Kerala today - is a tropical paradise, God's own country, recommended by the National Geography Magazine as one of the 50 destinations in the world that one should visit. Kerala is a land of great natural beauty, one of the smaller states of India. From the majestic heights of the Western Ghats the land undulates westward presenting a vista of silent valleys clothed in the richest green. A place Bill McKibben describes thus in Nati…

‘No 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ – Satisfaction guaranteed

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Like they say, books written by Alexander McCall Smith are for some, not all readers. If you like laid back writing about a sleepy town in Botswana, about simple people and their simple lives, about human behavior and simple joys, read Smith. If you want thrills, read James Patterson. If you want to undergo mental calisthenics, read the late Robert Ludlum. Thus start my recommendations, but let us get to Smith.

Smith became famous with his first book of the detective series, one that I read second, called ‘No 1 ladies detective agency’. What a master stroke, the name of that book. It makes you curious and when my cousin recommended the series to me, I was intrigued. I am through reading two of them, the first and the fourth with an equally strange title – ‘The Kalahari typing school for men’. In a way it was good to read the 4th first, as it sets the pace and mood, also describes the settings without much of a plot. It whets your appetite for the others which are supposedly better. Now…

Those were the days – Train rides - Part 2

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I hope at least some of the readers understand Malayalam and can follow the lines sung by Mehboob in the movie ‘Doctor’. The song is Vandee, pukavandi…..Those who have speakers, turn the volume up..Though this is more apt for my earlier blog, I could find this song only recently.



The train journey I remember the most is the long – was it 6 days then? from Olavakkot to Howrah. Around 1969, we decided on summer holidays in Calcutta at my aunt’s place, so another aunt escorted us in a steam engine driven second class sleeper compartment to Calcutta. We were like ruffians when we reached there, hungry, black as coal, hot and miserable…But I can still remember the food at stations (this was before in-train catering) where tea was drunk off a the tiny mudka, the poori’s with potato curry served in a stiff leaf cup, the potato skins still in place…the grime and the misery in the compartment, the stinky toilets with taps that ran dry, but we were kids then, and it was all very enjoyable…

For so…