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Showing posts from January, 2015

When the Amerika Maharani came calling……

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Jackie Kennedy in India – and how she charmed
Barrack Obama is in Delhi, charming the Indians. The papers are full of what’s going on. A great relationship is being forged. US’s icy relations with Cuba are on the thaw.But that made me think of a period in the past, 53 years ago, when an attempt was made, to forge a relationship between India and the USA. The first lady was the emissary, and she was none other than the graceful Jacqueline Kennedy Bouvier.
This first lady always had a special allure, primarily because of her youth and beauty. In 1962, she was just 33 years old and only the previous year had her husband JF Kennedy become the 35th president of the United States. Their marriage at that time was 9 years old. A consummate entertainer, she was very popular with visiting dignitaries, and in fact even the dour Khrushchev had mentioned that he wanted to shake Jackie’s hand fist and then JFK’s. Her restoration of the white house and getting it accessible to public eye took her in…

AM Nair – Ronin extraordinaire….

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Nairsan - An Indian in Manchuria, China and Japan
Many a hotel in Kerala serves chiggen manjuri (Chicken Manchurian) or Gobi manjuri (Cauliflower Manchurian) these days and you will see that it is relished with gusto by the finger slurping Malayali, wrapping it inside bits of Malabar Porotta. Of course Ayappan Pillai Madhavan Nair, the subject of our story was not the one who brought it to Kerala from Manchuria, for it was apparently conceived by one Nelson Wang of Calcutta (owner of China Garden Bombay) in 1975, using Indian spices.
So what has AM Nair got to do with Manchuria? Then again many won’t even know there was once a state called Manchuria, for it does not exist today. Some people may remember Nair as the Nairsan of Japan, purveyor of Indira curry powder and late owner of the Indian restaurant in the trendy Ginza area of Tokyo, but his exploits during the World War II are legendary, if not in public, at least in the intelligence circles where he was known as the Manchukuo N…