Morning ripples !

The Powai lake right here in Mumbai offers some of the most pristine e sights. Peace like a Buddhist monastery. Tranquil like a double dose of valium. And beauty like a professional photographers frame. Its just there.

On one side there is a hotel called Renaissance! (Let me not talk of irony or whatever). On other there side is the Indian Institute of Technology. On another there is a bustling road, teaming with traffic that can compete with any road for ‘The most snarl prone road in the world award’.

The bustling road opens into a residential neighbourhood which boasts of wealth (residents would file a defamation suit against me, if I hazard a guess about the quantum of wealth! For I am sure I will be off the mark by many marathon kilometers !)

Of course, the one remaining side remains what it was. Untouched. By and large.

Along the bustling road, the government and some well thinking folks have built a park and a joggers track along the banks of the lake. Complete with concrete, spaces for flower beds, children’s parks et al ! All for development you see.

It usually provide a lovely setting . A good run, looking at the hills afar, is always soothing. Blokes like me catch a run in the morning. Children soak in some shrieks of laughter in the evening. The elderly sing a few notes from memory as the moisture laden Powai air comes alive by the lake !

The lake also comes alive when its festival time. Where articles and idols that were worshipped are immersed ! Last years Ganpati Visarjan for instance, saw huge cranes help the immersion ! it’s a natural process, you see.

The IIT holds bustling thought for the future minds. In this case, there seems to have been a persistent afterthought as well !!

That’s the setting. You get the idea ! Don’t you.

Today, I run. With a lazy drizzle, muffled huffs and puffs, early morning traffic and such else for constant company! From a distance its such a pristine sight. The lake. At least one side of it. With hills and their reflection.

Today, I try and keep the buildings and their reflections away from my sight. Somehow, the hills afar seem prettier..

It is at that time I see him. Majestic and beautiful like a royal monarch inspecting his army.

I stop on my tracks. Open mouthed. Half from the run. The rest on just seeing him. I just stand and watch.

A crocodile.

A few feet away from me. Slicing through water like knife through butter. A small crowd gathers. Mostly staring. Some incessantly chatting. A lady mutters – ‘they should do something about this’.

I notice that I am nodding my head. I notice my nodding stops and my open mouth opens further, like a crocodile would, upon hearing her next statement.

“They cant let such animals live near our homes !” she says.

She could well have been a spokesperson for the crocs ! And spoken the same lines for the crocs as well.

As I stand watching the croc glide away, a shudder goes down my spine ! I wonder what I would say, if my home was encroached on by the buffalo and the bumblebee ! (Despite my home loan)

I stand there. Seeing him glide away. Hoping he will understand the pain and sense of loss some of us share. About his loss and ours too.

He continues gliding away. Somewhere in the middle of the lake where the hotel’s ‘Renaissance’ signboard’s reflection glistens in the morning waters of the otherwise still lake, is where he pauses and disappears.

There are silent ripples. That distort the reflection of ‘The Renaissance’. Perhaps reflective of us and our renaissance !

Mistakes or Right-takes !

A mistake may not be a mistake. Even though it may seem to a mistake. A mistaken mistake is more the mistake of the mis-taker than the mistake itself.

Phew. Thats about the distance that can be travelled on this blog to sound profound !

Coming back to the mistake domain, survey this signboard, seen somewhere in Tanjore.

How profound. Wouldn’t you think so ?

Speed breaks heads ! Reckless speed breaks many heads! The Superintendent of Police of Tanjore has better things to do than comming after you with his pet lathi and pocket revolver to split your head, when you exceed speed limits. This is pretty much a do-it-yourself excercise !

Or take this signboard from Lonavala.

Rickshaws these days with run the streets with colourful seats, hanging beads, and broken silencer pipes, that can roar down the Ferrari in all departments.

Throw in a fretting driver, who will haggle over the authenticity of the meter reading with a ferocity best otherwise seen of a screaming TV channel going after an insipid cricketer ! Add a dash of driving ( acrobatic ) skills that would have Schumacher and his tribe cowering in the bushes.

What would you have ? RickShow indeed ! 🙂

Or for that matter, sample this, found on every other wall in a fancy apartment complex where fancy heavy duty friends live. Every attempt has been made to let this blogger know that these are two different instructions on one piece of paper.


The complex is fully loaded. With four wheel drives, high profile designations and pockets that run deeper than the Pacific ocean ! And sometimes people with more jewellery on them than clothes. (The last part was an exaggeration, but you get the drift. Don’t you?)

Of course, there is not much of room for humour with the dour security chaps out here. With their stern looks, dry instruction and menacing walk, you must be out of your mind to spit and drive slow !

If you must spit, drive fast ! OK ?

Mistakes huh ?

Dhoti Pants !

‘The National Attire of the deep south’, said a friend from Obama land nonchalantly nestling a glass of beer, ‘is wraparounds’ !

Well. He couldn’t be faulted to the full distance. ‘Well, yes, sort of. But no. Don’t call it wrap around’ was a response that quite quite get past his left ear lobe. The pitchers of beer were at work.

Lets set the record straight.

The dhoti ( called ‘Veshti’ ) is the sort of thing that gives a certain impeccable identity to the average man on the South Indian street.

A pointed mention to all North Indian friends here ( and as an average tamil from the deep south will define, ‘north India’ means ‘north of Chennai’ ), the dhoti is principally a different garment from the ‘Lungi ‘

The ‘Lungi’ is akin to pajama wear. Dotted, coloured, checks, stripes etc. Worn to bed. Worn at home. Period.

Multitudes of authentic dhoti wearers have cringed as they enter weddings and such other social events in the ‘North’ only to be complimented with ‘thats a nice lungi’ ! Well, to give it some perspective, imagine going to a wedding in a Armani bespoke suit, to hear compliments : ‘thats a nice pajama’ !

The Dhoti is regal apparel. ( Except seeing ‘dhotis folded at the knee or thereabouts and bristling with striped knee length underwear as seen in tamil movies). Its supposed to give the average male some spirit in his step. Its airy, lose and fastened at the hip by ingenious folding of the garment.

Modern city bred males however require belts and such else as insurance against wardrobe malfunction.

Any visit down south, gives an opportunity to wear the dhoti, brave the heat and walk about with this sense of new found freedom ! At least the proverbial ‘pajama question’ that would reach the ear, when the same is done in any other part of the country, is absent.

It is another matter though, that the dhoti is not part of accepted corporate attire.

Quite obviously seeing this in a big city mall in Mumbai created some flutter in the heart. Like the flutter actors and actresses are shown to have when they find true love, or the brother that they were separated from in the village fair. A combination of a ‘Dhoti’ and a ‘pant’ seemed to be a super deal.

Only to find in a short while later that a ‘Dhoti Pant’ is women’s wear. Some thing that loosely balloons from the hit only to taper at the feet. And could make the wearer look like she is floating on a helium balloon across the road. To a casual bystander.

More authentic explanation is in this link here.

What particularly catches the eye is this statement from a fashion designer : “To get the funky look, a body hugging T-shirt and dhoti pants would make a great combo. To complete the look, illustrative danglers and funky belts would look great.”

Illustrative danglers and funky belts for ‘completion of look’ is an awesome amount of elastic stretch to the simple elegant dhoti !!

Whatsay ?


In the world with walls, inclines and declines the South Indian way of eating out of a banana leaf offers a degree of equanimity !

For those that aren’t in the know, traditionally food is served on banana leaves, in the South ! With ‘progressive’ generations moving on, steel, plastic and other material have come to occupy the primordial place that the banana leaf used to enjoy, when the average southerner was hungry !

In the modern times, a wedding or an ‘authentic’ restaurant tries to cater to the nostalgic South Indian mind with a leafy serving ! That said, it is easy to see that the banana leaf is perhaps the earliest version of common place ‘use & throw’ system. Natural. Bio-degradable. And green too.

A typical lunch would mean three or four vegetable curries served from a bucket straight onto the leaf. Arranged on a straight line that could resemble a battle tank formation !
The remaining place is strategically kept for loading heaps of rice, where the mainstay of the battle is. (As soon as the rice arrived, i didn’t click any more pictures. Well…). Usually filled with three categories…of well, lets call ‘toppings’ (for want of a better word) !
Some Ghee – Sambhar ‘topping’ for round one.
Some rasam ‘topping’ for round two.
Some curd / butter milk ‘topping’ for round three !
(Topping isn’t accurate at all ! They are not toppings. They are massaged with five fingers into every morsel. Right there on the banana leaf !)
Of course… all the while, accompanied with a smacking of the pappad and a touch of pickle. Finished with a flourish of some delicious payasam !
Bliss. Often times announced with a burp that could well set off an anti-aircraft missile in Pakistan!
If you are used to spoon, forks and plates, well, you are in for trouble. That is to put it mildly. Very mildly. For the banyan leaf has no ‘walls’ nor any ‘height variant’ ! But then a hungry southerner, who is used to having food out of a banana leaf would have let go the burp, by the time you finish reading this post !
(We eat in some hurry. As though, there is a Olympic medal that will do the country proud! That’s for another post though).
What got me started on this post was a lunch that well meaning colleagues took me out for. At a Gujarati restaurant.

This was our table, as we approached it ! The array of containers to hold the different types of accompaniments to the ghee laden stuff was simply mind blowing. Lets not talk about taste here. For whatever was served there, disappeared before the chap could count get started counting 1-2-3 !

I learnt my lessons rather well. And here it is : For a battle hardened veteran the field doesn’t matter ! Be it the plains of the green banana leaf or the shined walls of the Gujarati Thali containers !! Food is a great leveler. Leveler. ( Some word that is).

Of course. Two minutes on the lips. And a lifetime on the hips. And everywhere else too.

So ?

Thank God for ‘spell check’ !

To me sub-standard work is a reflection of your attitude to the reader. Be it spelling errors or grammatical errors or atrocious abbreviations” So wrote a friend. ( It was not directed at me. Really).

As the words registered, a shudder went through the spine that, could have been felt in Greece. Obviously it wouldn’t have registered with the residents of Greece for they seem to other problems to solve. But for sure, my hair stood up. Reading the friend’s note.

Now, I must say, i have the highest regard for you. For you. Yes, you. You who is reading this sentence. For reading what i dish out. On an even keel i have the greatest regard for the chap who thought of ‘spell check’ !

For, If only it weren’t for ‘spell check’, my not getting lynched for mis-spelling would have been a function of the intensity of my prayer and great kindness in readers like you.

Having confessed to fundamental deficiencies, somehow seems to give me liberty to cock a snook at others in boats like mine !! Something like Afghanistan talking about India not being a safe place. Or India whining about Chinese cheap imports. And the Chinese preaching Human rights !

What can i do ? Blessed with a roving imagination and a compelling need to expend energy on things ‘that wont earn two rupees’ (as the missus puts it), the mind wanders to possibilities that mis-spellings throw up !

Like this one.
Seen outside a road side shop that fixes a punctured tyres. “TYRE PUNCHER” ! It screams. (Spell check couldn’t have spotted that). But then, imagine a Mike Tyson just ear away ( yes.. a ear away) from you, punching tyres with ferocity that befits a Evander Holyfield. Wouldn’t you feel insecure ?

Phew ! And there you are, having to fix a punctured one yourself ! That must be some predicament. Would it not be ?

Or take this example.
Spotted near the much advertised and spanking new Bandra-Worli sealink. If you keep to the left of the road, and pass Lilavati Hospital, you will of course come to a church. For many years, its been known as the Mount Mary church.

Until the time some men thought it fit to change Mary to merry ! Some deprived soul, must be. Or perhaps someone who was so much into merriment…! Or perhaps someone with a girlfriend called Mary… ! Possibilities abound, you see !
Of course, these are not big pearls of wisdom in this post.
With Hyderabad having so much of bandhs and shutdowns, i guess someone walked away with a vowel ! Nevertheless, just wanted to write in, saying a sincere word of thanks to readers like you. For coming back for more! And prodding me to venture into unchartered territory.
But seriously. What would i do without ‘spell check’ ! Phew !

Of Water !

The arrival of the sun is announced everyday by a cans of water washing down the previous day’s dust and soot from the city’s vehicles.

Now, that is under threat !

The cars themselves could be dented so much that you could think it to be pop art ! The auto rickshaws and taxis could well make more noise than a NASA space shuttle. The bikes may wear their riders’ kick ass attitude visibly, with torn seats !


Yet, everyday morning, vehicles get a wash down. Washed. Scrubbed. Turned upside down. Well, almost. But then, cleaned.

It is part of the city’s DNA ! To rise and wander with the bucketful of water and scrub away grime !

Now, that’s under threat ! Well, the rain gods have heaped scorn on a parched population. Which any which way let three quarters of the rain water into the Arabian sea ! The weatherman’s prediction of rain was a joke that you could only bear with a stiff upper lip.

To cut a long pipeline short, well, we don’t have much water in reserve. And the summer is yet to show up !!

In apartment complexes, meetings have been organised, and eloquence has been well waxed. With blame being apportioned between Obama and the Ozone layer. The BMC and Brazilian rain forests

Of course, the water conservation was the only buzz ( until google usurped ‘buzz’). A multitude of steps have been announced ! And done very well too. And yes. The morning car wash routines have come under the scanner.

There isn’t much option is there ? If the option was between cleaning a behind and cleaning a boot…. well..Is there much choice ?

Of course, there is haggling that’s on. About the taxes that we pay and the action the government should take ! of how neighbours use much water. Of how we should all get into conservation, until the next monsoon ( after which we all live happily ever after )

Of course, We will have to cope with all of this ! Of course we will ! Of course we will. Blaming the politician. Blogging about the weather and the BMC. Tweeting for help and twiddling thumbs !

Wondering whatever they did in conferences like Copenhagen ! Drinking mineral water and bathing in triple refined swimming pools.

Copenhagen is for the wealthy.

Perhaps, the rest of us can be content with cope-n-haggle !

Malware !

“I want this job”. How many times has that feeling visited your gut ? In recent times.

Ok. Lets keep out Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan emerging out of water with…. hmm hmm… guns. No, thats not part of this brief.

That feeling hit me. Recently.

In the middle of a swank mall, a group moves about. Carrying advertisements on their back. For a brand of chewing gum. The product is inconsequential, for they could have been promoting toilet cleaners or dry cleaners. The important element was a certain rhythm in their motion !

When i saw them move, i thought I would like that job. You may wonder why.

It was simple ! I would get to see SOME sights. Mall sights !

Of uninterested husbands digging into their blackberry as though it were a device that was stopping planet Earth from imploding. The eager boyfriend variety who buy ( & carry ) the basket to the bread.

The wailing kid who rolls on the ground for everything from the sun to the shoe rack, and test the sound proofing of the Bose showroom.

Sights of eager diners. Chomping on a mix of Mexican curry and malai kofta with etiquette sounding like a bad word in a foreign language. The girls with looks that would kill and the boys with hairstyles that tantamount to murder.

How wonderful will it be. To walk around the mall and NOT BUY !!! No guilt at all. A clear bonus with some exercise for the legs ! That would be a clear bonus. Hmm. I want that job. Really !

Perhaps i will befriend a nice store sales girl who could let me in on intricacies of managing a large store and attendant problems. Of discounts and devious customers. Serious fraud committed with a straight face. Am talking of the discounts here ! The schemes and the scheming !

Wouldn’t it be plain wonderful. To just walk around a mall. Floor by floor. In a formation, that’s befits a fighter pilot squadron. A squadron with no intention of bombing territory or even planning very valorous actions, like piloting the President.

Wouldn’t it be fun to gloriously walk around. Aimlessly soaking up the sights. Following the chap ahead. With whole world as the audience ! The world inside the mall that is ! .

Perhaps in a corner, i might even spot a wistful nitwit. Clicking snaps of cauliflowers and the corner store on a mobile phone.

Bemused look, balding head and bulging middle not withstanding, pontificating on garbage and trophies with an air of a Somali pirate, holding a Saudi oil tanker hostage !!

One look at us walking the floor with the ads on our back would perhaps cause him to wonder about state of the human kind. Able men doing an aimless job. A job that was relegated to the realms of steel, vinyl and lighting of the advertising billboard !

Such types cant get a clue of the fun. Or the pocket money that it gets us. Walking the mall. Selling some ware. The sights, sounds and smells of mall-ware !

From Above. From Below.

On Mumbai’s marine drive, theres an exhibition thats on. Awesome. Is the word. Its titled ‘ Earth from Above‘. A series of stunning photographs. A collage from up above.

The setting is perfect too. With the Arabian sea on one side and a bustling army of cars, bikes and people to provide the contrast, on the other.

Perfect time to look at the big picture. The pictures are work of a creative mind at its best.

Talking of creative human minds, there is more to be done. Whatever are those scientist folks doing ? With all those gadgets and goatees that, whatever are they doing ?

Especially, for cases like this one. Read on.

An apartment complex that is home to a myriad set of people. Like…Hmm.. educated from the best of universities the world can offer. The best of designations the corporate world can conjure.

Cars that can swallow the economy and bank accounts that seem perpetually overflowing. Computers that run the household and household helps who pay obeisance to the family dog.

All in all, if this set of people were reduced to a single drop of petrol, they could keep an empty fuel tank power a world trip. Twice. That kind of power. You get the drift… ?

That type of an apartment complex. And this was the announcement on the notice board !

Hope the scientist folks are still listening. They need to come up with several things for this apartment.

But where do they start ? What work can science do, when common sense and basic sensitivity go on exile.

Perhaps these are the signs of our times. A time for extremes. New frontiers get broken as new inventions hit the market at speeds that only the sun tries to compete with.

New markets get created, as existing land disappears. A time when the Internet brings us all closer even as we as people get divided further.

A time, when those that coast in luxury are epitomes of ‘uncivil’ and the actions of the ‘educated’ take us back a few hundred years.

A time where the beauty of the Earth from the sky is only contrasted by our actions on the ground ! Actions, that which we inflict on one another and on ourselves too.

The opportunity to keep our Earth pristine is omnipresent. The choices are ours to make. And in this apartment’s case, the choice starts with the dustbin !


Those medals. They hang from his chest. A chest that seems swollen from a distance. Medals that were won in the military. Many years of serving the nation. If these medals had a mouth of a TV newscaster, they would narrate battle tales. Perhaps.

Perhaps. Of war cries and hospital walks. Of wins of territory, and loss of limb. Maybe life. Of bravery amidst blood.

Retirement. An able body. A need for family sustenance. And a clutch of medals. These form a neat concoction that provides him employment as a security supervisor at the apartment complex. On special occasions, he wears those medals. And walks with a swollen chest.

Proud as he is. Of his past. For, every time he wears those medals, the second-grade son of the Vice-President who lives in Flat No : 202, insults him lesser.

These medals, awe.

In a distant small town, an array of medals, trophies, certificates, and plaques adorn an entire cupboard. They keep a lonely mother and father company. They were brought home with great joy by sons, long gone.

When these trophies were first brought home, they were brought with tremendous happiness.

Awarded for many reasons. Ranging from elocution to essay writing. From quizzing to tennis. From topping school to writing complex code. And other prolific stuff including ‘attending school without a days leave’ to ‘blood donation’ !

Each trophy was treasured. Polished. Shined. And till date, enjoys the attention of visitors. ‘These were brought by our sons’. They say, to people who care to ask, amongst the few that care to drop in.

Trophies, tell tales.

On another note. Big city living has trophies that are in vogue. From the air conditioner to the amplifier. From branded shirts to premium underwear. From the luxury car to Luxembourg holidays. From the digital thermostat to hand wound watches. From cat salons to the digital mouse !

The excitement of the acquisition always compensating the emptiness on usage. For, material trophies atrophy.

Simple living. Good health. Shared love. And building a collective future.

These perhaps are the trophies that count. These perhaps are the trophies that secretly awe lead runners and podium finishers of the rat race. These are the trophies that will spawn a million memories. Worth more than all the gold with the RBI.

And these perhaps are the only trophies that come, atrophy proof !

Enthu public

We met. Again. Us bloggers. Its been a year since we first met. So. We met. Again. Actually, we needed an excuse.

Two new people joined.

We spoke. About cows. Mumbai. Blogging. Twitter. Bloggers. Comments. Indiblog nominations. Food. Running. British Psychology. 140 word posts.

Blog posts getting hotel discounts. Hotels that charge 1700/- for a buffet. And the self help groups that provide food for others ! Of course, you know which ones survive.

About countries. Cricket. Family involvement. Writing style. And a whole lot more. Of course, the missus is happy again. For these are the ‘gifts’ that came along.

Gappa bowled me over with a IIT Bombay bag, with appropriate customised art for each of us that met. Harekrishnaji came with a lovely hand crafted photo frame. Cabbages and Kings with a delicacy made of jack fruit !

Gunjaiish came with a mango sweet, which isn’t part of the picture. For it is now part of the inner recesses of my hip. Nu was the newest member. Maybe i should write her name ‘first’ ! Catching up with Vivek-Uvaach is a delight. As ever.

Often times i am awed by the medium of blogs and such other social networking platforms. Connecting & transcending age groups, educational backgrounds, distance and cultures is plain awesome. And if that were not enough, getting people to take the time to do something for one another catapults it to a different league !

But then, the essence is not in the technology. Its in the people that use it. ‘Enthu public’ was a comment that escaped G ! An interesting phrase. I thought !

Of course, you will hear from them too. About the meet. On their blogs.

Interesting times we live in. With so much that divides us all, technology helps unite us and break bread. ( Of which we had two full baskets ). I haven’t been as delighted in a long time !

Oh, by the way, the missus has been invited to the next meeting. Perhaps she is getting too much attention on this blog ! In any case, i have let others know that this is a ‘bloggers meeting’ and not a ‘blog subject’ meeting !

That is that. Let us know if any of you are interested in being a part of a small group of bloggers who meet. And talk. Till the cows come home. Which is when the waiters hover around the table with dirty looks.

What a whale of a time ! Enthu public. Indeed. Thank you !