Vegetarianism.

becoming_a_vegetarian

It is a rather odd but grammatically correct usage to use vegetarian and non-vegetarian as words to describe food in Indian English which is now called Hindish or Indish depending on which part of the country you come from. So, please bear with me when I use the latter quite liberally in this post.

I think that this powerful post from Tammy at Peanut On The Table is a good place to start this post. Please do read it before you proceed any further. Thank you Tammy.

I come from a traditional vegetarian family background and my late mother never in her life had even an egg though she would happily cook eggs for us. My father however became a non-vegetarian while still in school due to his best friend having been one.  My father as well as that friend saw to it that my three siblings and I grew up to eat and like non vegetarian food,   Other than one brother who lives in the UK, the other three of us have now all become vegetarians for various reasons, mostly due to aging I should imagine.

I have been a vegetarian since mid 1998. It is fashionable to give up milk and milk products too when one does that,  but I have not. I have not given up eggs either. I was quite well known among my circle of friends and family for being a good cook of non-vegetarian dishes, and I continue to cook them for others on occasion.

For me, it is strictly a matter of personal choice and I do not proselytise vegetarianism.  My son and daughter in law with who I live, are both non-vegetarians and so is our pet dog Chutki.  When we entertain at home, non-vegetarian food is more often the rule than the exception.  I have no problems with that as long as I am not expected to eat that.  This occasionally gives problems during family outings when people have to find out whether where we go to dine offers some good vegetarian food but since I can be quite content with some bread and eggs, mostly this is solved to everyone’s satisfaction.

I  conclude this post with one observation.  If you have to be a vegetarian for whatever reason, there is no country like India to be in.  The variety of vegetarian dishes that you can encounter everywhere is just mind boggling.  You will simply be spoilt for choice.

This topic was suggested by me, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

Posted in Blogging, Family, Food, India/Pakistan | 3 Comments

Badlapur, A Review.

badlapurThere is no telling what will please who.  I was advised by three well meaning friends not to see this film as they had seen it and were convinced that it would not please me.  I had resisted other invitations to see it earlier but could not say no to Ramesh who was feeling out of sorts and wanted some diversion.  So off we went for an afternoon of diversion and I am glad that I did.

This is another film in the so called dark genre like Ugly that I had reviewed earlier.

The title literally translates the Revenge City and that straight away gives an indication as to what the story is likely to be on.  Yes, a story of revenge executed in style with panache and the twists in the tale that keeps one interested in staying the course of two and a quarter hours. The whole picture revolves actually around two characters, the hero and the villain with all the other supporting roles more or less  just that. Varun Dhawan and Nawazudding Siddiqui give very creditable performances.

Tight direction and excellent cinematography makes the experience worth spending the extra long time in the theater.  The occasional unnecessarity loud background music can be forgiven for the effect it provides to the whole experience but which gets me to drop giving it the full six and to settle with just a  rating.

I took great pleasure in contacting my three advisors to share my review with and to argue as to why I thought that the picture was worth seeing.  I am getting increasingly impressed with the stuff that Bollywood is now coming up with.

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Education.

Convocation-Cap
I recently had an exchange of views on being educated and wrote the following two paragraphs. Something I sincerely believe in.

Education to most people, means acquiring qualifications, academic or professional. I disagree totally when this is the understanding of the term. Degree holding donkeys are still donkeys and you will find them everywhere.  If by being educated, one means having learnt to learn, you will find millions of them around.  Some of the most interesting and educated persons that I have met have been illiterate peasants in rural India and some remarkably successful but illiterate fisher folk.  With modern communication being universally available, it is increasingly getting to be unnecessary to acquire qualifications to be educated or become wise.

My liberal arts undergraduate degree got me admission to a professional Master’s Degree course which in turn got me a job. What I learnt about my profession was on the job, learning from others in the profession and, observing human nature.  Since I am still undergoing the same experience, I consider myself educated but not expert.  Experts, forgive me, teach.

horse-painting

That brings me to a story that is very popular in Hyderabad. A Nawab regrets that his son is a wastrel and threatens to disinherit him if he does not acquire a proper education. The Nawabzada brings home a Bachelors Degree from a reputed university after a few days and the Nawab is very pleased and gets it framed and hangs it in a prominent place in the drawing room.

After a few days he asks his son how he got the degree and the son explains that there is a shop in the bazaar where he bought one. The Nawab takes details and goes there to the shop and asks for a degree for his much loved horse.

The shop keeper refuses no matter how much the Nawab keeps hiking up the purchase price. Finally giving up, the Nawab asks the shopkeeper as to why he won’t sell his horse a degree to which the shopkeeper responds – “I sell degrees to donkeys, not to horses.”

Posted in Humor, Language, People, Self Improvement | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Kingsman: The Secret Service.

kingsman What my friend Shackman would call a popcorn movie.   And Shackman, I bought a large box to share with my companion for the afternoon who could not follow quite a bit of the accents.  Very entertaining, if somewhat difficult for someone unfamiliar with British accents of which quite a few were on display but made easier to follow by some more familiar American accent from Samuel Jackson as the very hateable villain.

A weak and incredible, (in-credible) story, but good action scenes. tight direction and editing makes it worth an afternoon’s outing.  What we call “timepass” here. Very creditable performances by Colin Firth and Taron Egerton with some good support from the others bar Michael Caine who I thought was underutilised and was disappointing.

If you like mindless entertainment with a lot of incredible action, you can do no better than spend a little over two hours watching this film which I will give a  rating.

Posted in Movies | Tagged | 6 Comments

Privacy!

The personal aspect of our lives and the value one placed on one’s privacy seems to have disappeared! I would have resented anyone opening my diary to read it in my absence just as I would have if someone had opened and read a letter addressed to me. I was taught not to do such things to others as well.

I started writing a diary when I was 18 when I had started to formally work for a company where I had to submit daily reports. While the diary helped, it was also a source of reference to jog my memory and to record significant events.

I stopped writing a diary when I was a little older and wiser when my diary was seized by an investigating agency of the government of India when I referred it to refresh my memory about some date when I had met a government official who had sought my help. That official had landed himself in trouble subsequently and my name had come up as one of his contacts and that is why I was investigated. I realised then that the government had a right to seize my diary and invade my privacy any time it chose to and decided against maintaining a personal diary.

I did use diaries during my working days to keep track of appointments and there never was anything personal in those that could have caused me or anyone else embarrassments.

This cartoon published by my brother Arvind however reflects something that has become obvious over the last few years.

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How values have changed!

Posted in Facebook, Family, Management, People, Values | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Cute!

I had a new bridge put in last week and all was well till this afternoon when I tried to chew some biscuits.  There was acute pain just below the new bridge and I sent this message to my dentist.  Being Sunday, it won’t be till at least tomorrow before she will see me, but I had to send the message to get in first in the queue.

“New bridge suddenly sore and painful while chewing.  When can you see me at the earliest?”

I am waiting for her response which will come only tomorrow after she checks her appointment book, but in the meanwhile one more instance of synchronicity! Mitch posts this on facebook! Please click on the image to a get a larger resolution.

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Thanks Mitch.

 

Posted in Blogging, Humor | Tagged | 9 Comments

Skill Development.

skill-banner
Cheerful Monk has a rather intriguing blog post with the same title as this one and I urge my readers to read it in full.

As she always does, CM asks this question at the end of the post.
“Do you agree with James at all? Do you ever think in terms of skill development?”

I could not resist the temptation to be a little facetious and responded – “What is skill development? I have got two left hands and two right legs. I have a sound box that faithfully echoes a frog.”

And came the totally unexpected googly as we would call it in cricketeese or the curve ball as the Americans would call it in baseballeese from Ursula. This is of course to thank her for coming to my rescue like a knightess, (is that the word or is it baroness?) in shining armour riding a white horse with these comments.

“Don’t make me laugh, Ramana. Stop it right now. Two left hands, two right feet? Think about it. If you were left handed (which, admittedly, I don’t believe you are) you’d be laughing. Two for the price of one. Productivity going through the roof.

Feet don’t care whether they are left or right. The poor sausages and their intricate network of fine bones are occupied enough to carry us and our body weight through life without going all philosophical. In fact, I sometimes think feet (and mine don’t even hurt) must be looking forward to finally being put up (to rest).

On this cheerful note,

U”.

Okay. I will give you something to really laugh about Ursula. In my misspent youth I did go through a period of intense training to develop mathematical skills. So, here is something that I will give you as a skill that I developed. Learning useless information and sharing it with others to impress them with my skills and or knowledge.

6 and 28 are the only perfect numbers before one reaches three digits (100). It is so because they are equal to the sum of their factors. 6 is divisible by 1,2 and 3 and 1+2+3 = 6; and 28 is divisible by 14,7,4,2 and 1 and 14+7+4+2+1 = 28. You will have to do a lot of summing before you hit the next perfect number 496.

Have I impressed you Ursula?

Posted in Blogging, Humor, People | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Sabbatical.

sabbatical-mug-300x260I have understood the term to mean a break from one’s usual activities. Often people take sabbaticals to do something else other than what they normally do.

If that is the definition keeping in mind which I have to write this post, I am afraid that I have to disappoint my readers. I have never had a sabbatical in my life nor do I see any possibility of taking one ever in the future.

If however the definition is to mean that one takes a rest from what one normally does, I have been on a sabbatical for the past fifteen years. This would mean of course that normal activity would imply working at something to make a living. Since I have not that for such a long time, I can safely say that I am on a permanent sabbatical.

How fortunate!

On the other hand, we have in India a national leader who is currently on a sabbatical leading to much speculation and merriment in the country. I somehow do not think that he is fortunate.

This topic was suggested by The Old Fossil who oddly enough has been on a sabbatical from LBC posts, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

Posted in Blogging, Gratitude, Language | 31 Comments

Whiplash.

Whiplash-5547.cr2 While it is still fresh in my mind I want to write about this film.  Unusually for us, we went to a late afternoon show which took us almost to dinner time and I am writing this just before I have my dinner so that I don’t lose the enthusiasm for the review.

It has been a long time since I have seen a movie of such raw human emotions on display.  A hard driving mentor, an ambitious mentee and jazz thrown in makes for a heady combination.  Add to that, the human element of a competitive if somewhat pedestrian family background and a little bit of romance, and it makes for a perfect drama.

The movie revolves around just the two protagonists, the band leader and mentor played by J.K. Simmons in a powerful portrayal and the mentee and drummer played by Miles Teller in an equally powerful portrayal.  Throw in the superb and tight direction by Damien Chazelle and you have a potent mixture that offers just short of two hours of gripping viewing of high drama.

No fights or car chases, no big romance or titillating scenes.  Just plain drama and some excellent jazz music.  I give it  rating without the least hesitation and recommend it to people who are interested in jazz, and human drama.

Posted in Movies, Music | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Secunderabad Railway Station.

secunderabad-station

Raman and Sudarsan,  family friends from my teenage days, now live in Secunderabad. They have recently been posting some old photographs from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on Facebook and this is one such photograph taken in 1928.  The station is very much different now, but when this story takes place, it was not too different.

Secunderabad station had a special place in my life and let me tell you why.

Despite being North of Hyderabad, all trains from anywhere in India, terminating at Hyderabad would first go to Secunderabad and then to Hyderabad and would halt their for up to twenty minutes while some engine exchange took place.  A bit of a nuisance really, and once I settled down in the Northern parts of India, if we went by train, we would get off at Secunderabad and take a taxi or an auto rickshaw to go to Hyderabad where my late wife Urmeela’s family lived and continue to till today.  That would save about an hour’s time spent in the train at the Secunderabad station, the time taken to go to Hyderabad and from there to her home.

In November 1968, I was travelling from Chennai to Hyderabad by train to get married. Urmeela had come to the Secunderabad station to surprise and receive  me.  Since I was not expecting anybody to receive me at Secunderabad,  I had decided to go to Hyderabad in the same train, as I was to stay in a hotel near the station there till the marriage.  When the train halted at Secunderabad and all the passengers had alighted, I found a shoe shine boy to polish my shoes and sat back to relax and read inside the compartment.

Urmeela missed seeing me anywhere and decided that I had changed my mind about the marriage and had given her the slip.  She went back home and was inconsolable with the entire household in panic as all arrangements had been made for the wedding in the evening.

Just picture the scene.  Those were days when there were no telephone connections  and I in any case was living off a suitcase as a travelling trainee.  The family did n0t know how or who to contact and there was a pall of gloom.

After checking into the hotel at Hyderabad and showering and changing, I got myself an auto rickshaw and reached Urmeela’s home around 11.00 in the morning and there was stunned silence but great joy in seeing me.  Urmeela was quite furious and till I calmed her down was ready to call off the wedding for having put her through the experience earlier.

Till the day she died, the one joke that would lighten up her mood was her husband’s tryst with a shoeshine boy at the Secunderabad railway station on his wedding day!

Posted in Family, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Relationships | Tagged , , | 43 Comments