Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Simple Things - All Fabulous

About Uncomplicating things
Some things amaze me by their absolute simplicity. They convey the message, or they are adaptable, or so convenient, or they astound and yet are so easy and simple .. and no nonsense.

single line Gandhi sketches

Here is a list of TEN SIMPLE THINGS that AMAZE me.
  1. The single line drawing of Mahatma Gandhi - (and my attempts to copy)
  2. The safety pin
  3. PING - Book
  4. Who Moved My Cheese - Book
  5. Ramdev's Yoga lesson
  6. Wooden Divan-cum-bed
  7. Electric Kettle
  8. GM Diet
  9. The unh-huh song.
Please do watch these adorable kids doing the unh-huh song.

and Oh I have only nine!
Can you suggest a tenth one?

What amazes me more:
Someone who talks for 20 minutes and then says... in short, what I mean to say is ...!!

A Happy Thing from the Papers Today
Barclaycard will soon have us using our cell phones as credit cards! They say it will be as much a culture shift as the personal credit card and the ATM.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

About being Authentic

Rosy Grier is a great (and huge) football player from the 60s. When Neil Pasricha talks about this interest in needlework we hear an audience burst into laughter. Mind you, this is an audience of Sep 2010, open-minded and accepting. Neil tells us...   Post retirement, Rosy Grier joins needlework clubs and even brings out books on it. Imagine his confidence, his authenticity!

Rosy Grier to broke social notions of ‘what a football player must do’and followed a passion that made him famous all over again!
Saalu marada Thimmakka ignored sniggers and had the gumption to plant and nurture 284 banyan trees along a highway in Karnataka, India, ...and this resulted in 8000 more!
My Dodamma (aunt), Papacchi, sat for her graduation exam along with her grown up children, and then went on to a commendable career in education.

We are often caught between what people expect and what our heart says. The heart only whispers. People and Duty scream. To hear the heart you need to bend down, and listen deep. 
But in the rush of  life and commitments, we are not able to strike that balance between duty and authenticity. We are not even sure if we are listening to head or heart!
But sometimes we pause and listen.
I am trying to do that now.
Listening to the heart is a risk we cannot afford not to take
A Happy Thing from the Papers Today
Yesterday Darpan won the Chennai Open Chess tournament playing against players who could see. Darpan Inani became blind at the age of four. The family could - Mope or Move. And move they did. And how! ...  This is a success story of Darpan, his parents and tutors who hand held him and then allowed him to grow and excel.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I saw this little fist

when I looked out of the car window during a drive-around in Bangalore.

A scooter ride is one of the thrills of childhood. I have seen many kids standing right behind the scooter handle, Titanic like, wind in the hair, dust in the eyes, and the first to see everything as the scooter races through streets. But this kid is sitting squashed between his loving parents. Protected. Secure. Safe.

I wonder what he is thinking.
Is he envying the Titanic kid?
Is he dreaming of more adventure?
Would he like more freedom?
Or does he accept his lot without questioning?

I like this line from FRIENDS where Chandler tells his wife that they should adopt a poor, orphaned, discarded child, and bring him up, so that they can mess him up in their own unique way! Can you tell me which episode this is?

We all do that. As parents we do what we think is best. Or convenient. Or only way at that point of time
And then
Years later
The wise books tell us
That’s all wrong.
You got to do it this way!!
Every way works
For what affects is not the action but the emotion. We recall the warmth, or the hurt, the encouragement or the censure. It is the emotion that matters. Whether at work, at school, with friends or at home what really touches is the emotion.
  • More people quit jobs because of a bad boss rather than work overload.
  • Teachers are remembered more for the emotion they roused rather than knowledge imparted.
  • Friends are treasured for the abandon they allow you to experience
  • Home is where you feel important.
These emotions matter
These make our lives.

I am inspired by the footsteps story, but it really has nothing to do with this blog!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Something tells me ...

... that Today is a Good Day.

Have you tried getting up before dawn in winter? I hadn't. and TODAY was a first for me. You know there is this ad that comes on TV asking us...When was the last time you tried something for the first time?
So well this is what I tried... getting out of bed!

My warm feet on the cold mosaic floor sends shock waves! ... I need to buy runners for the bed
I pull open the curtains and it is dark outside. I got up before the Sun did!
I make my cup of ginger-tea and carry it to the balcony. The white rays of the gentle morning sun begin to spread their glow.
They touch leaves of tall trees to colour them, they tap on antennas and make them sparkle...pass a gentle hand over roof tops to bless, and then fill the air with light.
The birds go kuiku-kuiku-chi-chikkui-kuiku. They have sooooo much to say to each other...and mind you they have just got up!
Amazing energy to begin the day with!
The apartment stirs awake.
Cars get washed, milk sachets get loaded into bags, newspapers go into homes, the rickshaws line up in place, smoke curls out from the tea shacks, school buses stop at gates and life unfurls.
Something tells me TODAY is a good day. And nice things will happen today.

You have a good day too

Wish you many happy returns of the day

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I, Me, Myself

I knew you would spot me
well, who can miss
the intelligent green sheen
the perfect brown patch
the promise of sweet kernel
not to mention the healthful water
I am class apart
not like these guys
i knew you would spot me
you do don't you?
you spot me?

You got to jump, roll, sing, ... or wait

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black Goats and Maths

About taking a standpoint....blindly
The squeak of the chalk on the blackboard brought me to class V with a jerk. Seema Miss my math teacher has scratched a word problem on the board.

Miss: A man has some farm animals. 80% of them are goats of which 40% are black. 25% of the black goats have neat horns. If the black goats with broken horns are 360 in number, how many animals does the man have?
Me: (what!! The man sat and counted black goats with broken horns! Gross…how jobless)
Miss: You start by supposing that the man has 100 animals.
Me at db 2: But why ‘hundred’? He could very well have 150 or even 1000 animals…right? In fact I can see he definitely has more than 360 animals!!

I never understood the logic of assuming that he has a hundred. I never built up the courage to ask her though. I did as she told us, and arrived at the answer.

It was only later……..Much later……….That I understood…..
What I did in class V was this…
I start with something I know. A standpoint, a premise I comprehend completely. 100
Then based on known facts I deduce. 80%, 40%, 25%...
Now I arrive at 24 black goats with broken horns.
BUT.......... The man has 360 black goats with broken horns not 24!!
Obviously, the premise that I had made: the man has 100 goats is wrong!
So I think again. .
When the goats with broken horns was 24 the total animal count was 100, hence, when the goats with broken horns is 360….the animal count is 100/24 x 360
And I find that the total animal count is 1200. See The premise is altered to meet the facts observed.
Our math teacher taught us to test our premise when the outcome was different. But do we do that?

Bride must be younger than the groom.
People from only our clan are good.
The Boss must make the best suggestions in a meeting.
Badly dressed men are insensitive.
Men with moustaches are ruthless.

We make premise. We start with supposing its 100. Facts are clearly different.
Yet we fail to modify the standpoint.
Our math teacher taught us
  • to make a premise
  • and modify the premise.

 We remember to make one but rarely modify it.

Why so?
lack of time or
lack of courage
or plain ego?

It is wiser to find out than to suppose.
Mark Twain.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Janapada Loka, Near Bangalore

We have driven to Mysore umpteen times. We have halted at Kamat Lokaruchi for a breakfast. But somehow have always given Janapada Loka a go by. And it’s right next to Lokaruchi with a wicket gate separating the two! Janapada Loka is about 53 km from Bengaluru on the Bangalore-Mysore highway ... just after Ramanagara. Watch out for it, as it comes to your right.
But, this place beckons. And today is the day. We decide to pay Janapada Loka a visit.

Yummy treats, games, and bottles of water go into the car. Eight of us, with no high expectations, load ourselves into two cars, and drive down Mysore Road.
Yel-barattey? Where is it? Is it after Ramanagara or before? Hey. This is Ramanagara. See the boulders. Wow! Awesome! We must plan a trek to climb this one day. (We have been saying this, every time we drive to Mysore...aaah yes…umpteen times)

Dodappa … enough of clicking. Let’s go. The other car has raced us’. ‘You must overtake them. Go faaast.’ We chase along and reach together. Much to Anu’s satisfaction.
Janapada Loka is a peep into the old world. It is a display of folk art and folk life. Eight huts capture the essence with utensils, pictures, puppets and cloth.

We gaze at articles used by rural folk in farms, in kitchens and in daily life. Large pans, a huge coconut grater and many unique shaped urns for steaming and boiling remind my mother in law of things she had seen in Alur, her hometown. A very informed guide tells us about the various tribes of Karnataka and gives us interesting anecdotes.

We walk into a hut, passing below a thorana made of wheat-ears. We see a round grinding stone with 4 handles! Four women sat around and together rotated it to powder grains! I can hear them singing songs or sharing gossip while they work!

As we walk from hut to hut large boards tease with riddles. In Kannada a riddle is called OGATU. and every village home has its favourite collection of Ogatus. Ok. Try this one: neeralli hutti neeralli karaguvenu (I take birth in water. I melt into water) Naanu yaaru? (who am I?)
Answer: salt.

This song to bamboo is fascinating. For a translation click here.

As we walk in the shade of trees we hear the jingle of dancer footsteps. We have walked into a simple function. All are welcome and we get to enjoy folk dances and folk songs.

A banana leaf meal at Kamat Lokaruchi  - tummy bhi khush, purse bhi khush.
We return to Janapada Loka through the wicket gate and play badminton and throwball. For 60 minutes we think of nothing else but the immediate urgency of throwing and catching the big ball. The game refreshes us leaves us feeling most together and most bonded.

All in all, Janapada Loka was a lovely experience.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Moong Dal Khichdi

About Bisi Huggi At Shankara Matha

Call it huggi
Call it pongal
Call it khichdi
This dish is an all India culinary dish.

 And in India, do kism ke log hotey hain, Ek jo khichdi ko pyaar se khatey hain, Aur ek woh jo khichdi sey door bhagtey hain.

The reaction to this basic all India dish is volatile. Some love it. Some hate it. I belong to category one. I simply love it. Bisi bisi huggi…with a dash of thuppa…and some tomato gojju on the side…Sluurrrp

Here is how we make Moong dal khichdi

  •  Dry roast ½ cup moong dal to make it just warm (In kannada we would say uguru bhecchagey)
  • Add to 1 cup of rice. Wash. Soak in water for half hour.
  • In a thick bottomed pan heat ¼ cup of oil. Fry to splutter… Jeera, 5 peppercorns, 2 green chillies, ginger slivers and haldi
  • Add 4 cups of water and bring to boil. Add the soaked moong dal and rice. Add salt to taste. Cook till done. (Or cook in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles)
  • Optional: add some ghee and ¼ cup desiccated coconut and ½ cup milk
  • Stir and serve piping hot moong dal khichdi with spicy chatni or sweet sour tomato gojju
  • There are some who add cooked veggies, onions or peas. But I prefer it plain and simple and hot.
 In Dhanur Masa, in December, temples in South India begin puja early and the Arati called Maha-Mangalarati is performed at dawn. On our trip to Bangalore this time we visited the morning aarati at Shankarmatha in Gandhibazaar.

 We stayed at Rajarajeswari Nagar. So we get up at 4 so that six of us can be ready – bath and all – and leave home at 5.30 AM to reach Shankara Matha in time.
The car has to be woken up too!
This is how Shankar Matha looked as the first rays of dawn lit up the sky.

 The cold mist,
 fragrance of burning camphor,
 quiet confidence of the regulars,
 ringing of bells
 kids quietly running across the large courtyard
 mmm… the experience is out of this world.

After darshan we join the line to receive Prasad. I stretch out my palms and the purohit places on it a green banana leaf and says ‘bhadra’ (careful). He says that to everyone in the line. The next purohit then drops onto the leaf a large ladle full of steaming hot ‘see-huggi’ (khichdi sweetened with jaggery).
            Oooh! The huggi is verry verry hot. Now I know why the warning – ‘bhadra’!!
 We sit on steps; we squat on the green; we stand leaning against a wall; together we relish our share of the Prasad – moong dal khichdi sweetened with jaggery.
Time stood still.
It was an amazingly good way to begin the day.

In silence I feel His presence.
I wish we didn't make so much noise in temples.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

reverb10. Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I have always believed
and as a teacher endorsed that the ONLY path to true meaningful success is honesty.
Other paths are OK to make a quick buck, but money in the bank is not the only criteria to success...right?
of late, with so many making the moolah the wrong way and yet getting all the media attention and respect my faith in my values was taking a rude shaking.
i saw a Hindi movie called Rocket Singh Salesman of the year
Ranbir Kapoor is this honest, pursuasive and clean saleaman who will not bribe, who will not tell a lie, who will not molly coddle the boss.......and yet makes his name and his place in society.
Rajeev Masand reinforced my values.

I count this movie as my friend.


Tell me, have you a movie or a book that you count as FRIEND?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Real world

its two days since i got back from bangalore

I have not yet said Hi to my neighbour
i have not yet met the kids i bond with here
I have emailed, updated on facebook, read up all blogs that i follow, made new friends on networking sites, and watched online videos
is my virtual life overtaking the real one?
or is the virtual world my real world?

this one is about our experience of a powercut in delhi

#reverb10.. 5 minutes

Prompt: 5 minutes.
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

OK here goes....
two weeks with our little grandson and our daughters
awe inspiring ranikhet
messages from students
an ankle sprain...the physiotherapist who attended with care and cure
december visit to bangalore and all the bonding

dear friends
do tell me what u remember most about 2010?

cold winters have their uses. u dont need to iron your clothes! they are hidden under coats and sweaters anyway!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Let me tell you what i am doing. i subscribed to this reverb10 thinking i would be able to react to their daily prompts with a line or two.
but i was in bangalore
i was busy
had no access to internet
had soooo much to do
so i failed to do what i intended to do.
but now i am back. i plan to take up one prompt everyday like i was still in december...and work my way to 2011 all over again!

Happy 2011

Wish you all a very happy new year
May it bring happiness, success and health.

Thank god we have this Gregorian calendar. Therefore we have December. And so we have the first of January...and
yehhh the beginning of another year.
Traffic snarls, red lights, pocket crunch, rebellious kids, lazy colleagues, angry bosses....we have our share of daily woes.
But, the 31st of December brings on a smile. Let me tell you what we did.
We invited a few uncles and aunts and cousins over. The party had an age group varying from 15 to 85. Our 15 year old conducted dumb charades and our 80 year olds played!
It was great fun watching the uninitiated complicating simple clues and making them complex!
Traditional grandmas used to anna-saaru-palya had cheese-veggie-sandwiches, bondas and chocolate  for dinner!
We women talked a lot and the kids asked us to keep quiet!!
At 12 we were looking at our watches.....wait there is one minute appa its 12..... lets turn on the TV......I know my watch is correct......
In that confusion 2011 slipped in
and suddenly we went
Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!
Devaru ella bhagadallu volleyadannu kodali.
Yellaru chennagi iri.
Be happy and healthy

And we begin 2011
with hope, and a sparkle in the eye. We will achieve more dreams. We will set higher goals. We will enjoy the present.

Hey! have a great year. and laugh a lot.