Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Local Airport

As I lugged my suitcase to the taxi stand in Mumbai, the gang of Taxi drivers standing besides the paan Shop perked up and crowded around me.
"Where do you want to go sir?" One of them asked
"To the domestic airport."

This produced some confused looks and a bout of vigorous murmuring. After much ado, the enterprising man questioned me again.

"To where might you be catching the plane for sir?"
"Er, to Nagpur."

His brows cleared and he glowed with satisfaction.

"Ah! You will be wanting to go to the Local airport then."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The walls of Cafe Mondegar

Last in the series of stiched images, Let me present to you, the walls of the famed Cafe Mondegar. This is where the end of the walk found me. Cafe Mondegar, or "Mondy's" as it is fondly called by its admirers is a landmark in Colaba and is one of the oldest pubs in Mumbai. The walls have been painted by the great Mario Miranda and his signature style is evident. You will need to click on these to actually see some detail.

The pictures were taken after a couple of beers, so You'll have to forgive the blurriness. I will make it a point to take better pictures on a dry day.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Flora fountain

Another in the series of stiched pictures, this snap is also the result of stitching three pictures.The fountain was the place where the walk ended and apparently this fountain was actually made in the UK and then shipped in peices here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Mumbai University - II

By the time I got around to taking this picture, the light had faded to very sad levels, but I wanted to try it out still. The shots were exposed for about 1.5 seconds and as I was holding it in my hand it was shaking a bit as well. Add to that the fact that I got it after stitching three pictures , it is a wonder that it even exists.

There are large distortions due to this, but I think this was the favourite three pictures of the evening. You will need to click on it to see the whole thing in detail.

The Mumbai University

By the time we reached the Mumbai University, it was too late to do any serious photography, and I must ask the good readers humble forgiveness for the following pictures. They were taken by long exposure of over a second and will therefore be not very steady.

But the building is truly beautiful and I really must go sometime in the day and get some better snaps.

The constitution posted outside

The convention centre with its zodiac wheel

A beautiful winding staicase

The Main window on the Univ building

The Watch tower.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kala Ghoda area - The Sasoon Library

The David Sasoon Library is right next to the Elphinston college and is truly a beautiful peice of work and I went in the library for the first time.

I'm putting a few of the pictures I took there.

The Kala Ghoda Area - Elphinston college

The walk was great. We started off from the Jehangir Art Gallery and the went down to the fountain via the Bombay University. Sadly the it became a bit dark by the end so I couldn't take as many pictures as I might have liked to have taken.

Right Opposte the Jehangir Art Gallery it the Elphinston College. It ofcourse has a great history behind it, but we were focusing only on its architectural side of its facade. This is the Bust of Sir Jehangir on the front of the building.

The brown rock that we seehere is the hard Basaltic rock quarried from Mumbai itself. Whereas the white rock is the much softer rock brought in from Gujrat.
As you can see, the White rock is the one where all the art work is done, whereas the Basaltic rock was used f load bearing purposes. Unlike the buildings of today, where the beams take the weight of the structure, here the walls take the weight. That is why architects call these load bearing structures.

The College was built in the Neo Gothic style and it does look grand.

Surprising really how many times I passed by it without really realising how beautiful it really was.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bombay heritage walk - 19th Nov

Got their message in my mail box a couple of days back.

Lets see how it goes. If it all falls apart, Atleast all the beer joints are close by. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This was my first (and only) chopper ride. I was joining my ship off the LOOP (Louisiana Offshore oil Platform) and as a result caught the chopper from New Orleans to the ship.
We even stopped midway to fuel up.
A great feeling to be up there.

Anti-heat seeking missile flares deployed by IL 76 aeroplane

I finally put up my first google video. And thanks to Dada, also found out a way to embed it in the blog. During the Diwali celebrations, we had gone to the camp and the huge IL-76 went overhead dropping the flares.
These flares are actually a defensive measure against heat seeking missiles (like in Air force one). They lit up the whole night sky and was an awesome display.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Google Video

Hey I finally put up my first google Video. :)

It's a clip of the IL-76 transport plane dropping anti-heat seeking missile flares. It was some show and the whole night was lit up because of it.


Check out the video out here!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Happy Diwali

To all of you who hapen to drift by, ...

A very happy diwali to all of you and your families. Hope you have a great and peaceful year up ahead.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Triumph of the hostel food

You really should never let down your guard in Life. Just when Puja thought that she had escaped the fate of hostel life, Bham! She gets married and finds herself in a hostel.

As we were discussing the logistics on the first day in the hostel room, In came the canteen boy with two plates of our Veg-Thali's.

"How much do these thali's cost?" asked Puja
"20 Rupees." I told her

She went into whichever world where women go to handle finaces and multipled the figure with 2 & 30's and bigger numbers before mumbling,
"Hmm... this isn't bad. Maybe we won't need to cook after all."

She then proceeded to eat the lunch in silence. The only thing that she did say at the end was,
"I think we should start looking seriously for that gas cylinder."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jerry Springer and Indian Biker Daddy's

Or Riding on bikes with Daddy - II

So where was I? Yes For some reason, I had drifted over to talking about riding with dad on the Vijay Super. It is probably a good thing that I stopped then, because I would inevitably have then drifted on to how in a darstedly move, he sold off the beauty to some milkman for 40 USD before my 18th birthday when I was out at sea. A occasion of great tragedy, which I never refer to except when I am listing out points that I never refer to.

So the point was this. Indians travel everywhere with their daddy on a two wheeler. They travel in front, behind, and in some Indian vehicles, even above or below their esteemed fathers. But under no circumstances will you ever see an Indian riding alongside his father.

The reasons for this are not hard to understand once you try to the understand the sociological ethos and the root of all traditions of the nation. It would be a gross insult and a tragedy of unmigitated sadness if proper protocol were not to be followed while in transit of a beautiful woman.

Consider this situation. As you are driving past in your two wheeler in all your splendor, you spot at 1 o clock, a vision in blue. Now if you are driving the bike, then you honk on the horn with vigor appropriate to the vision-ness of the particular vision.

Not everyone is gifted with daddy's who are fighter pilots. As a result, most of my friends were stuck behind dad's on slow moving scooters. This can prove very advantageous as the time of impact can sometimes last a lifetime. The potent weapons in the hands of young teenagers can range from simple glances to more complicated maneuvers involving the tongue and drool.

But if you thought that growing up was the only exciting period in the life of us scooter bound nation, you are much mistaken, as we grew up, we grew wings of our own. We took on more responsibility and once we went into our twenties, some of us could even stay out of home till nine in the night after taking permission from mummy. In such an open and free atmosphere, we would take to the streets on motorbikes in groups of two three or even more depending on the width of the roads where we would ride parallel to each other.

You see, because India is a free and democratic country, we even have a right of equality as a fundamental right. As a result you will find as a rule that Indian men when driving bikes in groups, will always ride them parallel to each other. While they are doing this, they will also engage in other things like talk to each other, talk to each other that their cell phone is ringing, talk to each other that they are talking to each other on the cell phone, and talk to each other that while they are talking to each other on the mobile phone various things like cows are heading in their direction. I think this is directly a result of our nice history. One of my friend went to Pakistan and he tells me that there people drive in a V-formation and the people behind the leader constantly try to put a stick in his wheel.

But we are deviating from the topic. So as I was telling you, when we would take to the roads in parallel formation, we would learn the true value of stubtle. For example, when ever we would pass a white woman, we would shout, "Dekho dekho! Gori!" (Look look! White woman!) while honking and pointing fingers. After all it was understood by us that making lewd gestures with our tongues did not substantially enhance our chances of scoring and yet often would give us sore tongues.

I am sorry, but we Indians can do no such thing when accompanied with our fathers. It is against our ethic, our fabric of society and all of those things. It is simply unacceptable. I know you white people think that father is a friend and all that. I saw in TV this show called "jerry Springer" that sometimes fathers are even more then friends. But I am sorry, even Jerry Springer refuses to ride motorcycles with his daddy.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Riding on Bikes with Daddy

White people just don't get it. I don't know why that is so, but it is so. The other day, I saw a chap asking people on the net about renting a couple of bikes so that he and his dad could drive around India and generally have fun. Apparently he wasn't a good biker and was wondering if he could keep up with his dad in a country like India.

He asked the same question after a couple of weeks when he didn't get any replies, but he still didn't any reply. Neither did he get the point. You just don't ride bikes with your dad. How difficult is that to understand?

I was raised like any normal Indian. That I didn't turn out to be one does should not reflect in any demeaning manner on my parents. But the fact of the manner is that like all Indians I have ridden on bikes with papa. If you look up on my other blog about dad, you will see that he used to ride the Jawa. I have no memories of the Jawa. Infact if I didn't keep leaving links for it everywhere, it is doubtful that I would even find the link to my blog again.

But I do remember the Vijay Super. That was the only scooter that shall ever qualify as beautiful in my directory. This is a picture that I have culled from the web, but ours was pretty much the same except for the fact that we had a carrier fixed on the back of the spare tyre. From the day I remember this scooter, I was standing on the front part of the scooter, between the steering and dad. My elder brother, in deference to his size and familial status would sit behind dad, and mom would bring about the rearguard of the family as our daily rations were piled up on the carrier ...

(to be contd..)

Friday, September 22, 2006

The dreaded Veluitis

The thorntree is a great place to hang out for someone who likes to travel. Or anybody who doesn't like to like to travel & yet still has to. I had also posted the "urinating Norms in India" thread In the Indian Sub Branch. Some of the replies to it were most entertaining. I am not very sure how long the Mods on that branch will allow it to float on the TT waters, so let me run by a few of them here.Till then please see the thread on its original site:

Terry recounted how he had suffered directly due to the horrible bacteria:-

Horrible side effect: The damn Indian bacteria (veluitis) made my package huge, but shrunk my bladder to the size of a peanut.

Result: I'm hung like a porn star, but have to go to the bathroom every 3 minutes.

Personal allegations were heaped in my directions for raising the deadly Veluitis:


...Velu has been one of the leading oracles on this branch for many years, ever since he got honourable discharge from the merchant navy in 2003, when he (not to his fault, I haste to add) contracted an unpleasant disease in Shanghai at Maison Pouce.

Velu has set his heart and mind to all things medical, and will answer any question regarding health and hygiene in India...

...Veluitis however is far more serious, since it is bacterial and as far as we know there's no antibiotics available at this moment to cure it, so pay heed to OP's warning, otherwise you'll end up hung like poor Terry...

LAwoman: ...Velu, you must have picked up the bacteria from that strip joint you visited in Texas, so much for cheap lap dances...

There were alternate veluitis avoidence methods as well.

Ashique : ...This problem as far as I understand was addressed long back. According to a UN health report, mostly men urinate on the street walls standing and they were advised to carry a scissors, and occassionally cut the urine stream. So every few seconds, the connectivity is lost and the bacteria falls back on the ground...

But this was rapidly dismissed by Tonya001 :

...A recent report, published and peer-reviewed, pointed out that the scissors method to cut the flow was an urban myth and noted that the real way to stop the bacteria was to pee upwards in short bursts making an arc - but ensure that ye stop each short burst before other end of arc reaches the ground. Alternatively, if ye have forskin, pinch this very tightly as ye pee...

Ofcourse not everyone believed in Veluitis. These people have not been heard of since. I hope they have not fallen prey.

SlimesA: ...This is a joke right? Or perhaps we're witnessing the birth of a new urban myth.

Bacteria can "swim", but oh so slowly - about 5 minutes for 1 mm according to the first link below. The idea that one can swim up a stream of piss is just laughable. And waiting to pounce?!..

Sky Princess: ...I thought they were little bugs but everyone says bacteria because they were so small. So which is it? Like simesA says bacteria actually can't travel that fast, but bugs can. Please use appropriate terminology so as not to confuse people!...

Some of the other great method of Veluits avoidance were listed as well:

Gengis : ...or you can piss thru a one way filter and eliminate the upward travel of the bugs...

CoqitoErgoSum: ...Most people just drink a bottle of antibacterial mouthwash in the morning. That way the bacteria die on contact.

Just make sure you don't use whitening mouthwash - the missus might not like the colour mismatch. ...

Uli qlueck: ...Are there no pissing purification filter, maybe from kathadyn or some well known brands.
For the light packed travelers maybe purification tabletts which you can take an hour before your business?...

Hardbubble: ...My technique is to run backwards as fast as possible, while urinating.

Run forward for pooping.

If pooping and peeing, sit in a swing alternating streams of pee and poop as you rock back and forth. Long steady arcs work best as you will be clenching/releasing just a little less often. I recommend practicing at a childrens playground before heading to India....

Such talent. Sigh! Piss safe friends!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Happy Birthday to me!

Yes. It is my birthday today.

Apart from the fact that I have aged another year and don't seem to be any wiser from it, it is proving to be much fun.

Much to Puja's anguish, these days the birthdays seem to be welcomed at midnight. This ofcourse means that someone has to stay awake till midnight so that the rest can be woken up. As you can see, I am not slowly taking the narrative to a party that was most rocking!

But thankfully we had Rajat, my batchmate and my chaddi-buddy to give me company through the aurdous hours leading up to midnight. Ofcourse a few pegs of officers choice did help in relieving the burden of each others company. I think we didn't deviate much from our usual discussion on topics ranging from the Karmic circle to our great wisdom in being able to talk about the karmic circle.
Puja , full credit to her, did manage to stay awake till almost midnight, but the poor thing has been below the weather these last few days with a viral and needed to be nudged at approprite intervals so as to make nodding gestures in Rajats direction.

Then about 10 min before midnight, Rajat called it a night and went off. I thought, " Great! Some action with the Mrs perhaps?" But before I could put any moves in effect, in comes Rajat again with a choclate cake and there was as much commotion and clapping as three people can legally make in a hostel at midnight ! :)

I got great gifts. TWO FabIndia cotten shirts which are great as is evident from the pictures. I even wore the red shirt in the morning and it does look good on me , a fact that you will have to agree with simply because it is my birthday today.

But the best part was the Stamps! Puja went all the way to VT while she was sick to get me these neat miniature sheets! I liked the sheet from Anguilla the best. It is so beautiful, that you could just stand looking at is for such a long time. But also, the views are what we have in our Admilarity sailing directions. . Also there is a stamp ( I think Russian) about some football event in Brazil that happened during 1983. I will have to check up on that. But there was great happiness and I have now put them all in my stamp album.

I think I will wait another day before I shout on Puja for going out to buy me gifts when she was sick.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Urinating norms in India

It is like this. India has never been known to be a very healthy place. You hardly have to step out of your hotel before you are assaulted by people urinarting everywhere. This has led to great epidemics like bomb blasts and aircraft falling.

Now it is like this. More and more forigners are urinating on the side of the road sides of side roads. But they are not knowing. There are these bacterias that actually climb upstream through the stream of urine as it falls on the ground. These bacteria are waiting on the ground, waiting to pounce up the first stream of urine that is splashed on to them. After they swim up, they lodge themselves in the urine emiting appendege or crevice (as appropriate) and cause much sadness.

The method to avoid this sadness in India is as follows:

1) Urinate with all your might.
2) Urinate maximum for 2.35 seconds. These are very fast bacteria.
3) Stop urinating.
4) Hop over five jumps to the right.
5) Repeat step 1 to 4 till as long as required.

This procedure is not as easy as it appears. Please practice it a bit before you come to this (otherwise) beautiful country.

Issued in interest of interested public.


Monday, September 18, 2006

The days are all packed.

My blog does not seem to have any entries in it for some time now. It is probably a good thing. But then most things, good or bad, must be explained when possible.

As everyone is aware, there is nothing like some good education to kill anything creative in a person. I have joined college. In Mumbai.

The weird part of it is that there is so much to write about in a place like Nagpur when you are doing practically nothing, but in Mumbai when the day is literally packed, there just seems to be nothing to write about at the end of the day. A day in mumbai is like a roller-coaster ride, after which, you just want to sit down on a bench and grin to yourself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shadow work and the town of Mhow

The town of Mhow is famous for its shadow work. What shadow-work actually means it that the actual embroidary is never seen, but only the shadow or the faint color and outline of it is seen from the other side.

This work has caused much sorrow and confusion since the time it was created. My own mother once gave a suit to be stiched and the tailor like any sane person thought that the beautiful embroidery work should be presented outside and stiched the whole suit inside-out. I personally think that the whole story of the Shadow work might very well resemble that story of The Emperors New Clothes.

But one thing that is undeniable is that this is a work of art. The first thing that I thought on seeing the work was that it was a pity that they had made the shadowwork on such poor cloth. But then I realised that the cloth had to be thin and of that texture if the color of the threads had to be seen on the other side.

To make the shadow-work, a tracing is first printed on the cloth. You can still this dark colored stain in some of the pictures. In the confines of the tracing are then the painstaking work of the embroidery done. The trick in the whole thing is that the embroidery should not be visible on the other side. So if you look at the pictures, you shall see that on the actual visible side you hardle see any threads poking out their (in my opinion) beautiful head.

We bought two of these that you see here. The first one is for the top in white that I honestly can not figure out how it will turn out. My doubts about the feasibility of this peice turing out into a wearable peice of apparel are "Pssh'ed" and "Phoosh'ed" out of the window.

But the other one, the yellow thing promises to be awesome when it comes out. It is a cloth for a salwar Kurta and you can see where the neck goes. I guess once the neck goes correctly, the rest of the anatomical parts fall in place on their own. Salwar suits do look great, as you can see on the model in red on the link provided.

Of course my wife will look better.

Indian Postal Service - Philatelic account

I had written some time back, in an upbeat spirit about the Indian Postal service and the philitaly service that it offered. In the intervening period, the postal department has not done much (Apart from a few misplaced postcards- which could be because of Thai post) to remove the tinted glasses from my eyes.

The scheme that had made me so buoyant was brilliant in its simplicity. It purported that if you deposited some money with the post office, they would at no postal cost (all in house you see!) send you new philatelic stamps as and when they did get published.

I had put in my trust into the department and placed my 500 rupees in their care. That was in June and just when I was beginning to fidget, in came the mail with this package.

I must say that the packaging and the processing is great. The stamps come by speed post and are sealed in an impressive envelope that is sealed with wax (do they still do that?) on the behind. Inside the stamps are further enclosed in a clear polythene bag to protect them from any eventuality that the postal employee might face. And finally, the account sheet is great. In it are detailed every stamp that is sent, the total cost and the final balance that is left in your account.

The stamps themselves are not such "swoon-worthy". The only one that I liked is the one commemorating the Mutiny of 1806 at Vellore. I honestly did not even know anything about this, but this link provides some great info about the mutiny. If I might quote a few lines,

" The massacre of the helpless European sick so aroused the British that no mercy was shown; about 100 sepoys who had sought refuge in the palace were dragged out, placed against a wall and blasted with canister shot until all were dead. John Blakiston, the engineer who had blown in the gates, recalled that although such punishment was revolting to all civilized beliefs, `this appalling sight I could look upon, I may almost say, with composure. It was an act of summary justice, and in every respect a most proper one.' Such was the nature of combat in India where the `civilized' conventions of European warfare did not apply."

But history apart the stamp itself is a beauty with sepia tones and and artists sketch. A piece of art.

The other stamps are on the whole uninspiring stuff. A high court in Srinagar, a girls school and a college. Not something to slobber all over the keyboard about.

But for all those with a postal address in India, I most highly recommend a visit to the local GPO and opening an account with them. The least it will do is restore the faith in the amazing thing that the Indian Postal Department is.

A blog for dad

I have started a new blog. In it I will be putting up old snaps of dad and the family. The times when he was in the Indian Air force and even before. I was going to put them up in here, but then realized that this s-crap book was defintiely not the place that something like that should be tackled.

It promised to be a most exciting project. Atleast for me as I try to understand the times and the person before even I was born.

This is the linkto it.

Hope you people go over there once in a while and like it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dad with a Gnat MK1.

Tell me if life got any better!!

Posted by Picasa

Mhow - An Eating foray

I doubt even people staying in Mhow would describe it as a place of surpassing beauty. Any person who enters the small town of Mhow looking for beauty is promptly directed to the Cantonment area. Any person seeking to enter the cantonment area is promptly shown the wrong end of an SLR which miraculously does make the Mhow town look exceedingly beautiful by comparison.

I don't know if it was my misfortune that I am of the defence stock and was not shown the gun, but it did ensure that I shall not chronicle the beauty of the Mhow town in these lines. The Cantonment on the other hand is as beautiful as most cantonments seem to be. In this post monsoon season, the greens were everywhere and the wide open spaces were blooming with some amazing colors. The houses of the cantt. are ofcourse the same from kanyakumari to the valley. neatly spaced, yellow colored, with large lawns and peeling plaster. I think the architects keep it so deliberately so that the residents in them, that keep moving every two years don't miss their old homes.

My grandmother stays in Indore and it was to meet her that I had gone to that area. I decided to stay overnight at Mhow at my brothers place. A bonus of the trip was the fact that reliable information pointed to the existence of one of the few serviceable steam engine locomotives in the Mhow loco shed.

Sadly as I only reached Mhow later in the day, the trip to the loco shed was out. We spent some time indoors, catching up on the news and the events in the family. The gossips of the next generations and the generations past carried us well into the evening when we finally decided to venture out to the town.

3-dimensional plane. For a sailor like me, the navigation is further complicated by the fact that the narrow roads seem to be closing in from all sides with buildings. three storied high leaning on each other and finally inclining at crazy angles on the streets itself. To further complicate navigation, they have tied roped and lighting cables that criss-cross the road over the head, causing every truck to have a couple of boys sitting on the roof to clear them as they make their ponderous wayAs I said earlier, Mhow town is not really a place to wax eloquence about. It consists of three streets that crisscross each other in more places then seems mathematically possible on any abstract through the streets. The first street that I entered with my car, I had to reverse off because there was a huge tree in the middle of the road. The reason for that tree was later explained to me by a soul kinder then me. But it did promptly ensure that I immediately abandoned my car and set out on foot to discover Mhow town. The objective was simple to gorge ourselves on the street food till either our stomachs gave way or one of these buildings. I decided to follow Soulcurry ( from the thorntree) advice and set out on a nostalgia-driven culinary experience.
The first place of stop was the "Shankar kachauriwala". The Kachauris that they dish out does truly match up to its reputation. I had been an old patron of it incidental. In the mornings this fellow serves some of the best "Poha" to be found in these parts and I had taken a few plates the last time I had been here. The Kachauris were in a league of their own. The fellow would break into the middle of each of these piping hot things and pour some green chutney in the hole. As we chewed on them, the kachauri would simply dissolve into our mouths releasing flavours that begged to be reminded of.

Sabudana Kichdi was next on the menu. On the "Phool Chowk" os this stand that reputedly sells great sabudana Kichdi. There is a complication though. Right over Phool chowk, sit thousands of birds. On rooftops, on wires, on lamp posts, on everything. It makes one actually want to petition the local government to change the name of the place to "Fertilizer Chowk". But braving it all, I ate the sabudana with great relish. Two plates.

Sadly the rest of Souls old haunts have gone out of business. The pandit sweet shop, which was famous for milk-cakes has shut shop. There is yet to open a new business in that location. Also the hot-dog stand outside Orpheum cinema is missing. This is possibly because of the fact that the cinema hall does not seem to have opened in a decade. I investigated the scene in the morning and the only thing to be found there was a three wheeler missing two of its wheels.

But in place of these old eating joints, there seem to be no dearth of new ones that promise to be as enduring in the memory. One of the most noteworthy being the Kerela lunch home that serves awesome non veg fare.

As I left for Indore in the morning for Indore, bumping along in one of the infamous blue bus, I reflected that I might actually never come back to Mhow. My brother was posted out and it seemed unlikely that I would make my way to those narrow streets again. But one thing was decided. Regardless of what it did to my heart, Mhow does certainly occupy a fond place in my stomach.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Me , my god and some milk

I rarely joke about god. And I expect others to do the same. So today I got a bit of a shock when the TV announcer was shouting that Ganesh idols across the country were gobbling up milk like there was no tomorrow.

A Mr Pinki from bhubneshwar was on the line.

"Hello Mr pinki? "
"Yes Ji. So did the ganesh idol drink milk from your hand?"
"Nahi nahi sir. But it did drink milk from my mummy's hand. please speak to her."
"Yes madam? please go ahead."
"Yes yes. So the lord ganesh drank from my hands. I took it in a cup and the whole milk disappeared."
"So madam, how are you feeling now that god has eaten food from your hands?"
"Ji I am feeling good."
"Did you hear that?"
"Did you hear that?"
"Did you hear that?"
I realized that unless I replied, my wife would continue this talk ad nauseum,
"Em? Realize what?"
"People are feed ganesh. We should too."
"You got to be kidding."
She did not had to be kidding.

So we dutifully picked our small silver ganesh from my black bag and put it in a cup. and with great reverence lowered a spoon of milk to its tusk.


Amazing but true. The whole spoon was empty in a few seconds. As I was wondering if the god had also been watching my bedroom antics in his state of awareness, my wife pointed out that we might also feed it the few drops that had spilt in the cup. As we poured the spilled milk in the spoon, the spoon was again full!Two miracles in as many minutes! I swear. Just to be sure of this, I repeated the miracle enough times to appease any scientific mind.

Great fun it is.

But I'm switching off my bedroom lights tonight.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mention by that Mexican Guy!

That is me! I am velu! I got mentioned here!

I was described as "unlike the very satisfied, and always graceful writer on everything from postcards to Turkish seaports to the recent tragedy in Mumbai, and hilariouly on buying -- or not buying -- a cell phone... sailor,writer and racontuer, Anuj Velu )."

Happiness! Happiness!

Richard: Since you are probably the only person other then dad who reads this I have added your blog as a link on the right:)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Those Singing Indians

I was feeling a bit embaressed after a bout of rather vigrous singing on our cycle expidition at kanchanaburi. I went up to our guide and asked her,
"Don't the Thai people sing much?"

"No." She replied.

"Oh! Well in India, we are always singing."

"Yes" She Replied seriously, "I have seen the movies."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mention On India Blog Watch!

Much Happiness! The bills of lading was mentioned on the India Blog watch.

Theme pubs in Nagpur

The city of Nagpur, in recent times, has taken a lot of beating for being a retrogate, and underdeveloped location that does not even belong in any map worthy of its name. My wife of course points out that this malecious propoganda is driven solely by my blog posts. To counter this and other similar allegations, over the coming days I shall endevour to redress the situation.
There were ofcourse the wonderful pictures of the bovines running around on the Nagpur roads.
A true example of the wondrous ecosystem that is Nagpur.

But that does not mean that Nagpur is something that dies at night. Infact the nightlife is one of the most redeeming feature of this city. Today I shall talk about the various theme pubs in the city.

Gangster-Criminal theme pub : There is a pub out here with and Gangster-Criminal theme to it. The whole place is dimly lit and for the appropriate sound effect the songs are bleated out from Gaint speakers that will make you deaf within a min of entering. The best thing about this theme pub is the attention to detail. You have to look really hard for them, but they are all around.
* Firstly, they don't let you in directly. You first knock on the door and then someone first slides open a small porthole before opening the door.
* Then the props are amazing. Sometimes they put pools of blood like material lying around here and there.
* Apart from hiring actors to occasionally brawl with each other, they even stage police raids on occasion.
A great experience to be had.

Poverty - theme pub:: This is going back to the grassroots pub. Sort of like dressing down. There is ofcourse no lights and they make you sit on the floor. They even put your forign liquor in country liq bottles and serve them to you. The sound system is appropriate. An old two in one bleats out All india Radio. The best touch is the toilet, that has to be seen to be believed. I have it from reliable sources that people from as far as the Mumbai health dept have come by to see this toilet. An experience not to be missed.

Illegal theme pub:- This is another neat theme pub. For all respects this does not look like a pub. Infact nowhere on the premises orin the menu, is there any indication that this is a pub or that any alcohol is ever served out here. Infact the best place about it is that here the customer is entertained by playing games. If you have to order Rum, you have to wink at the waiter and ask for "Cola". "Orange" For Whisky and "7 Up " for Vodka. Sometimes to liven up the atmosphere, a boy comes in running shouting, "POLICE AALI! POLICE AALI!" . Immediately all of us are rounded up and herded into a small damp and dark room for about an hour. Great fun and excitement all around.

So the next time anybody points a crooked finger at this city, point them along to this blog. Should shut them up for good.

Friday, August 04, 2006

That Cow ain't no friend of mine

The term "companiable silence" is rarely used in conjunction with me. Men talk with me because my fidgeting makes them nervous and women have discovered that talking to me makes me sometimes take my eyes off their breasts.
The constant talking of course means that a wide array of talk takes place. On my visit to thailand (i find I am starting a lot of my sentences like this these days) I found a lot of women asking me if I really was on a honeymoon. But after that conversation was tough to source. There was this lady from Netherland. All I could ask her was what the hell was the difference between Netherland and Holland? But she did grill me thoroughly. One of her questions was about the Cows.

"Was it true that in India Cows moved around the streets because they were holy?"

I had thought that these questions along with the doubts of indians sitting on elephants were definitively settled by the publication of the article "The Indian woman." in the July 99 edition of Penthouse. But evidently this does not seem to be the case.

The whole thing of course began because of that infernal Tintin comic where we see Captain Haddock sitting on the cow in the middle of the road. That comic has proved to have cause much sorrow to all white people when they have found out that Indian cows don't run. The Indian cows are holy yes. The cow is supposed to have originated from the cosmic churning of the oceans by the Gods and the Asuras. And yes it is of great use to us all. Not only does the COw provide us with milk throughmost of her life, but also gives us the oxen that actually probably does more work and carry more people in India then automobiles. The cow symbolises the Earth. As such she is considered the mother of humanity. Every part of her from the cow dung to her urine is useful. In villages, cowdung mixed with clay gives us tremite-freewalls and burnt on the fire gives us dinner. The term "Go-dhan" means the wealth of cow, is literally that. The number of cows a villager has is his wealth.

The significance of the cow is sometimes lost on city people, but its deeply ingrained in the fabric of Hinduism and the country. In the evenings, when the cows come back in the villages, their dust hangs in the air. This period is called "Go-dhuli". This is an extremely auspicious time. In fact, my wedding took place at go-dhuli at 1919hrs. So you see, the cow is pretty much the best animal you want around on your streets givena choice, but thats not the reason why we don't pounce upon them and turn them to burgers.

"Thats not the reason?"


"Then what is?"

"Well its like this, Cows are our friends. You don't eat dogs right?"

"No we don't."

"Well, that the reason why we don't do the cows in. Because they are friends."

"Isn't that a hamburger you are having?"

"Well er... yes, but you see, I don't eat beef in India. These Thai cows, they ain't no friends of mine."