Friday, February 29, 2008

Terminator T1000

You guys are going to be wondering what I have to say about Terminator T1000, considering how little I have to do with robots or with weapons of mass destruction. Well, today's DNA has a pageful of interviews with youngsters about the role of gadgets in our lives and how they react to them. One young fellow, Steven Pereira, who sports distinctive criminal tendencies and even looks like a hardened convict, has this to say about robots: "I want a Terminator T1000 robot. I'll use it to threaten to kill mankind." At least the guy's honest and one can't help wondering how many like him are lurking around in today's world, and whether or not they will get access to the kind of power and technology which will make their dream come true, on a large scale!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why My Morning Coffee Tastes A Bit Different

A couple of days back I finally decided to junk the "Indian Express" and to go for "DNA" - which I used to anyway subscribe to a couple of years ago. That time I ditched DNA because I found it a trashy newspaper. I don't think I've changed my opinion too much but now I've decided, that DNA is at least colourfully trashy compared to the Express which is just plain drab whichever angle you look at it from.

To date I haven't come across a newspaper I really feel like reading, which I would feel good supporting. All media anyway is biased, everyone has their own agenda and the "news" you get is the world view of a particular set of people. As long as you know that and read what you read with a pinch of salt it's fine I guess. Anyway it's nice to have a newspaper in your hands while you're drinking your morning coffee and to catch up on what is happening in the world, even if it is a one-sided perspective. Mainly habit I guess.

Friday, February 15, 2008

After months or well, almost a year of discussion about Saru, Asha and me going out to lunch (and slowly losing my credibility as the lunch failed to materialize) we finally got our act together and set out for this veggie thali place in town called Panchratna Gaurav. We had been there a couple of times already in the past couple of years and the two ladies simply love it because the thali you get is unlimited and you can stuff yourself with any amount of goodies for a standard price.

So while nibbling at my own food I watched Asha and Saru devour quantities of chapattis and dal and different kinds of vegetables, snacks like samosas, Khandvi (which every good Guju knows how to make) an array of chutneys, and two sweets which happened to be rasmalai and jelabi. I was careful not to eat too much having learned from past experience that an overstuffed stomach generally leaves me writhing with discomfort for hours! But it was great to see Saru and Asha ingest never ending helpings of kadhi, dal, and other stuff.

Shortly after I learnt from Suresh who was to come over that evening, that the institute where he teaches English was shutting shop due to a spate of violence that had started in the city, spurred by the ranting of our local hero Raj Thackeray. We got back home without incident (the violence was sporadic and mostly in and around Dadar and the suburbs) and sat glued to the TV for the next couple of hours.

Later I asked myself whether the recent upsurge had only to do with the strong arm tactics of a short sighted ambitious politician. Somehow there seems to be so much hatred and resentment in people everywhere that it takes the slightest flame to start a raging fire. One can understand these feelings in a country like India and especially in a city like Bombay which experiences such extremes in wealth. At one end you see folk squandering hundreds of thousands of rupees on lavish five star living and at the other end there are people who don’t get two square meals a day.

The crazy thing is, that often the poor and the middle class are not even conscious about the indecency of all the conspicuous consumption but rather, aspire to the same kind of lifestyle themselves. The violence which transpires naturally, comes out of ignorance and a total lack of awareness. Instead of protesting against corrupt politicians and equally corrupt business people who work hand in glove with the politicians the average man is seduced by politicians into channeling their negativity into violence against those they imagine are “intruders”.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Warmer Days in Bombay

Can you imagine people in Bombay actually longing for warmer weather? Well it's true, that's the state we've been in this last week. The temperature actually dropped to 8 degrees Centigrade. Not funny in a city which is geared for the heat. Not funny to wake up and go to the loo at night and wash your hands with ice cold water. Ugh.

This week has been somewhat more comfortable. In fact this is the kind of weather I'd settle for permanently. Cool but not unpleasantly cold. If only we could have a say in the decision making which goes on in the cosmos, about our weather! One thing nobody is looking forward to is the summer. "If winter has been this cold it means summer is going to be unbearably hot," says our cook Asha with great conviction. Well time will prove whether she is right or not but even if she is, when we're actually there we'll probably be too weak and enervated to take note of her words of wisdom.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Wedding Dinner

At long last Meher and Chandran's wedding dinner which had been indefinitely postponed last year, materialized. The first time we were invited it rained on the big day. In fact it poured to such an extent that the road around where M and C live were flooded waist deep. Around where we live was a bit better but the main reason the dinner was called off was that the caterer was coming with the food all the way from Vashi or thereabouts. So then we decided to have the dinner on Republic day - but the bout of malaria with which I was laid up for a couple of weeks put paid to that idea and we eventually met up last Saturday, the 2nd.

Our entire group turned up including Vijay and Mahendra our "banana artist" as I sometimes think of him (after that brilliant session we had with him in which he made us sketch bananas to meditative music) who are not strictly speaking, part of our group but good friends all the same.

It was a good old Parsi dinner including "pathra ni mach" the chutney covered fish wrapped up in a banana leaf which is almost mandatory at all Parsi weddings, mutton pulao and dhansak, fried chicken, an egg boorji and some vegie dishes which I decided to skip. Followed by the traditional Parsi custard.

I knew I was really back to normal when after downing a glass of Bloody Mary followed by a glass of red wine, nothing "happened" which means I didn't feel sick or liverish or indisposed in any other way. Now this is something to be really happy about!