Friday, October 24, 2008

When The Saint Goes Frying

OK, I kind of fooled you into reading this one, because you know as well as anyone else does, that I'm no saint. But the frying bit, I promise, is true.
I'm going to make an admission that my mother would be very happy to hear because she's been trying to extract it out of me for years now.

Here goes:

Cooking is an essential skill to learn in life. It comes in very handy when you're living alone. Its cheaper (maybe at the cost of your own life, depending on how well you can cook).

End admission. (Happy mother)

So, my foray into cooking so far has consisted of fairly elementary stuff. I can make rice in both pressure and electric cookers (yay!) and fairly decent Dal, that's barring cheese toast which doesn't count. If you're good at spotting patterns (or are preparing for the CAT), you'd notice that I'm only good at making stuff that involves two cooking movements: Boil and Mix.

Frying stuff isn't something I've ever handled or am comfortable with. A physics student that I am, I also need to be told everything in exact quantitative values. So terms like "Salt to taste", "a little bit of oil" and "a hint of sugar" don't make sense to me. I must be told exactly in the number of teaspoons (or allied kitchen paraphernalia) of anything that must be added.

Another guiding principle I always follow when cooking : "When in doubt about how much salt or spice to add, add Maggi's Hot and Sweet sauce". Hot and Sweet sauce is my answer to all culinary questions. It has just the right blend of everything and makes all cooking (mine and yours, yes YOU who's thinking "Oh I'm a good cook!") taste great.

Having given you a background into my cooking abilities, let me relate to you what transpired last night. I arrived home from college, and was dismayed to find that my maid hadn't cooked dinner. If there's one thing you don't want to see at the end of a hard day of attending (one) class, its the absence of cooked food. For some reason only my maid could understand, I found a plateful of raw, chopped capsicum and a half peeled potato in my fridge. The possibilities are endless. She could have thought of some way to punish me half way through her work; so to say, had had a "die bastard die!" moment, but I'd like to think otherwise. I'm quite the benign employer. Anyhow, dinner was now upon me. I could have made what I know how to make, the boil and mix stuff; but us Krishnamoorthys of the indomitable spirit fancy a challenge and a half. (notice how subtly I pretend to be P.G. Wodehouse)

Therefore, I decided to venture where probably many a men have ventured and burnt themselves (or their food). I took it upon myself to peel the half peeled potato and help it fulfill the purpose of its being. Some of the capsicum must also martyr itself to this cause (which honestly is better than rotting in my fridge for 5 days). First came the rice and dal, which I managed to make in no time at all. Then came the challenge. For the first time in my life, I added an arbitrary amount of oil to a pan and began to attempt the great frying operation. Stuff began to fly around and soon I realised that I'd quite literally bitten off more than I could chew. Soon enough, however, I gained control of the situation and with a little bit of sampling and error, I was able to rescue my potatoes from getting a permanent tan. Then came the next challenge, the seasoning, the extent of my knowledge of which, I have talked of at length. And here, as it has always done for me, Hot and Sweet sauce came to the rescue yet again. So there it was, a full meal without damage to life, property or environment! Did it taste good? Of course it did.
True story.

Monday, October 13, 2008

For The Inner Cynic

All of us have a little bit of evil, only a few of us can express it in the most amazing ways. Sometimes, the best way to say something is to say nothing. Here's a couple of them...

"Listen now and let me speak

I will be the dog at your feet

And come along when you call

Be the little bird in your straw and sing you a song

I'll be there to take the fall

Though you tread upon me for no reason at all

But just when you think you've left me blind

I will keep you in the corner of my eye

I will never leave your side

Though you call me your number one zero

I'll never mind. I'll be your king, I'll be your pawn,

I will builid a pedestal and put you upon it

But just when you think you've left me blind

I'll be creeping right up behind

Cause if I need to, I will keep you in the corner of my eye."

-Chris Cornell, "#1 Zero"

Here's another one...

"Is something wrong, she said,

Well of course there is, Youre still alive, she said

Oh, and do I deserve to be? Is that the question?

And if so...who answers?"

-Eddie Vedder, "Alive"

Say something, say nothing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

5 Ways To Earn Bad Karma

I've always been a firm believer in the theory of Karma. What goes around comes around; or as Bollywood puts it, "Duniya gol hai aur har paap ka double role hai". Except of course, the odd fluctuations in my faith, i.e. when I see justice not being served (albeit temporarily). The basic point being, one has to be, in most cases (barring the dastardly, again temporarily, if I may reiterate, fortunate ones) of one's P's and Q's. So here's a countdown to the top 5 ways of earning bad Karma:

5) Busting up a lovey dovey couple: Now this one comes around for sure. How many times in your college have you walked in on your not-so-dear friend with his girlfriend in what would have been a nice, intimate moment for them? Worse still, you stood there and stared till felt uncomfortable enough to get up and sheepishly walk away. You haven't? Good for you. Because I have, and a few of my friends have gone on to the second step. And we all wait in dread, for the day someone returns the favour.

4) Created a fictitious girlfriend/boyfriend: Now I'm not sure if this one comes back in the exact same form, simply because once you've carried out this prank, you're immune to it, unless of course you are incredibly stupid, which, excuse my French, I'm NOT. And this is one of the things we're likely to pull off several times on poor, unsuspecting, romantic airheads who believe in the concept of someone dropping into their laps one fine day. The crowning achievement so far as I am concerned in this regard, was this one prank where I, along with an illustrious batch of co-conspirators cooked up a fictitious girlfriend for a guy in class, complete with a 'sexy name', a 'sexy course' and a very airhead-ly romantic pea-brain which we were sure the aforementioned guy would fall for. The prank lasted for a month and a half and culminated in him all dressed up and a box of chocolate in our hands. We had our laughs, he learnt his lesson, the world's a happy place but someday, somehow, this shall bite, and leave its marks.

3) Make a drunk friend do embarrassing things: And not only that, narrated the story to everyone you could find. This is one I have been at the giving and the receiving end of, and therefore I'm sure the record's straight. On the giving end, making a friend march in the middle of the night, complete with a Nazi salute, and then written a blog post with his pic on it, so that even if he forgets it, nobody else will. On the receiving end, getting terribly drunk and being made to do (on cue) what everyone called the 'Cha Cha Cha', then written a blog post about it (without my pic on it).

2) I will murder your sleep: Not 'murder YOU in your sleep', but murder your sleep itself. This one is for those who are in the habit of calling up during peak sleeping hours. You guys better watch out. Your kids will never sleep when you want to sleep. And when they sleep, you'll have work to do. To prevent further damage, stop calling in the middle of the night! (And sometimes, in the middle of the afternoon)

1)You made me waste my Biryani: This one is addressed to a few 'friends' specifically, but also to those who identify with this lot. Friends who have that uncanny nack of delivering bad news and disgusting imagery with unequalled panache and joy, right at the moment before you dig your teeth for the first time into your delectable meal. This happened to me (of many times, most recently) last year at a Durga Puja and those dastardly criminals haven't been brought to justice yet. But justice shall be served. Mark my words.

Start watching your P's, Q's, R's and whatever letter can now save you. For when kingdom come, His will be done!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I'm really in a mood to write tonight, so there's one last thing I want to share.
I like looking up Wikipedia every now and then and read synopses of songs whose lyrics I really like. Pearl Jam's lyrically one of my favourites, as I have mentioned before. I was looking up Pearl Jam's discography and found myself reading the inspiration for one of their really dark songs called Jeremy. Jeremy is about a depressed kid, who thinks life doesn't treat him well and that the people around him don't care. In a bid to change the situation, Jeremy walks into class one day with a Magnum revolver, puts it into his mouth and pulls the trigger in front of his teacher and classmates. This is inspired from a true story that appeared in American newspapers weeks before the song was written.
The video for the song, if I may say so, is understandably morbid and was banned from tv for the longest time because of the scene it seeks to portray. One subtlety that I had missed however, came up while I was reading the Wiki page. The reason for that subtle point as per Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is also an indicator to the stunningly deep thought process behind the song. When the video starts, a plate shows "61 degrees, cloudy day, 3.30 in the afternoon". The same plate appears at the end of the song after Jeremy has killed himself. Something very inconsequential almost. The motive behind this move isn't. As Vedder puts it, "He tried to change things by killing himself. Nothing changed. The same 61 degrees, the same cloudy day and the same 3.30 in the afternoon. All he did was lose his life and punish himself".

Its amazing how the subtle points of some things that we miss often hold the crucial message that we need to take home. Thats the kind of thought process I'd really want to have some day.
Above all, live life, it won't always be a bitch.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Who Killed Chivalry?

Some of my feminist friends complained the other day that men weren't chivalrous enough anymore. A simple question I asked as an answer, who killed chivalry? While this is not going to be an exercise in crime solving, one would certainly be on the premise that chivalry is not something that can be demanded. The more rudely you tell us to be polite, the harder we'll fight our good intentions.
A simple example that comes to my mind, are Delhi buses. Over the last week, Delhi buses have been the inspiration for a lot of ideas. I was pushed aside while alighting a bus because the bugger next to me thought he was too smart to get in line. I retorted to myself, " The one thing I hate about a lot of people in India is that anything goes", and pop came the last post, bits of it popping in my head as I took the bus ride back home.
The very next day, as I sat on the side of the bus reserved for the ladies (because that was the only seat available), a lady came from behind, tapped me on my shoulder with that pointy, condescending finger and just said, "Haan bhaiya?" rather curtly if I may say so. I understood her intention, and I got up for the seat was rightfully hers. But I didn't do so very willingly. I would've got up if she hadn't been so rude about it. Her condescension only made me want to sit till kingdom come and let her scream. I don't really oppose this idea of reserving seats in the bus for women. It quite rightly follows the idea that not all men our chivalrous. However, I do implore some of these women to take into consideration, the fact that some of us could have had "Crazy, Long Day" stamped all over our faces, when they mirthfully yanked us off our posterior-pleasing thrones and made us hang by the bus railings for that extra half our while the bus driver was simulating the Delhi Grand Prix 2008. And I assure you, I have always relinquished my seat to a lady who was not able bodied, or when the bus was uncomfortably crowded. It boiled my blood on one occasion where a woman in her twenties made an old gentleman get up. Lack of consideration, is what is killing chivalry. If you're able bodied, and the bus is not crowded enough to permit unintentional yet unsolicited physical contact, why make a distinction? And if you must campaign for that distinction, why must you then cringe about not being treated as an equal on these grounds?
I beseech my (able-bodied) (meant in as non-flirtatious a way as possible) female friends to have faith in the institution of chivalry and keep alive its female counterpart, if exists.

The One Thing I Hate

Written recently, after a long sabbatical from song writing...

The one thing I hate about music,
Is that it’s almost always noise.
Don't know if it's the effect,
Or the cause that I despise.
The one thing I hate about joking,
Is that the joke’s always on someone else.
The one thing I hate about the big city,
Is my soul that it slowly kills.
The one thing I hate about dreaming,
Is that I must wake up.
The one thing I hate about flying,
Is when I fall and I break up.

The one thing I hate about religion,
Is that it’s the one thing we all must fight over.
The one thing I hate about God,
Is that he just sits and watches us kill one another.

The one thing I hate about animals,
Is the fact that anything goes.
The one thing I hate about people,
Is that they’re animals and it always shows.
The one thing I hate about friends,
Is that I must always pay.
The one thing I hate about life,
Is that someday it’ll be taken away.

The one thing I hate about talking,
Is that I end up screaming.
The one thing I hate about hating,
Is that I hate more than just one thing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Festive Season Cometh

Its that time of the year again. There's a slight nip in the air (or atleast was, till a few days back), everyone's awaiting the arrival of the deluge of festivals thats concomitant with this time of the year and being generally hopeful for the future.
The start to the season however, hasn't been great. First there were more collapses on Wall Street (about which I've written a bit too much I think), then came a stampede yesterday, and then, not to mention, the bomb blasts, 4 in the last 3 weeks to be precise, which have become a part of daily Indian life. It's so common now, I guess the news will stop reporting bomb blasts unless they kill more than a certain (arbitrarily chosen) number of people. Its almost like Diwali's come in a little early, such is the frequency of these bursts of fire.
But, despite all the security fears, and all the gloom that hangs above us, I hope all of us can use the festivals as an excuse if not anything else, to get some much needed cheer back into our lives. Happy festive season everyone! Try and get through this one with as much joy as humanly possible under the circumstances.
On a personal note, I hope to feel very different this year during Durga Puja as compared to last year, when I felt like someone had bludgeoned me at the back of my head with a saucepan...