Sunday, October 3, 2010

OMG! It's the CWG!



So finally the moment has arrived. The widely criticized (rather than anticipated) XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 is about to start. Everyone has had their say. Ministers of various commonwealth nations, CWG officials, the Olympic Games Committee folks, most importantly ‘The Media’ and even this 16 year old who has never come close to anything known as ‘Sports’ (if only ‘hide-and-seek’ belonged to this category!)



I’m not going to write about all that has been much said and hyped about by the Media. I’m not going to point out the “unpreparedness” of the games nor would I say anything about the foot bridge collapse, the sanity of the CWG village, the incident at the weight-lifting arena, pulling out of (over the) top athletes, the dumb reasons given by our sincere officials ( not to mention the dog’s dump on the athletes’ bed!!).

“Seeing is Believing” they say, which is just another way of saying “Hearing is not believing” But we saw the pictures of filthy village in the papers and they do sound right, right? Come on, it’s like believing our on-screen divas look as beautiful off the screen too.  So now seeing is not believing either.

Let’s take that I’m going to host a large party tomorrow. Will I ever go today and spread news that the food I’d be serving at the party will be grouse? That’s what our media has been doing. They had been so busy mocking the Games that they forgot all about the floods that caused havoc in the north recently.  Thank God! There was an Ayodhya verdict to shift their attention (well, that’s another story).

Look what our good man, Somnath Chatterjeeji had to say about this “The games have been dubbed a failure even before they’ve begun”. That’s quite true. The outcome wasn’t childish. Certain high ranked athletes opted out citing “security” and “health” concerns. The thing is, Indians are known to be kings of the last minute. We can surely pull it off with some luck provided. But alas! Indians are also pessimistic blokes!

The Foreign media, taking a lead from ours’, could be even worse. There’s one Nik Gowing in BBC. He hosts a show called “The Hub” on week nights (he's been at it since 1996). A few weeks back, he interviewed our External Affairs Minister, S.M.Krishna. The black haired hosts of our news channels (with the exception of Mr.Rajdeep Sardesai. He doesn’t quite seem to dye his hair) would generally address someone of his stature like “Sir, it’s an honour to have you on our show……..”, “We have the honourable …… with us..” or something like “Thanks for sparing your time for us…”, “Inspite of your busy schedule..” and blah,blah,blah..

But the Gowing guy didn’t share our gift of “giving due respect.” He didn’t say a “Mr.” even. After showering him with accusations of the corruption levels involved in the games at around 9.30 pm, he wasn’t content with the usual external-affairs-ministerish answer of “The matters will be dealt with, seriously after the games are over.” I doubt whether the guy even said “Thank you” when he ended the Interview.

All I hope is that our media shows a little sunshine on the CWG. They can shred it into pieces and expose every nook and corner of the village when the games are over, I will not be complaining then (as if someone gives a damn for them now). So as for the present, Cheer on the Commonwealth games!!



Monday, September 27, 2010

CSK - champion of the champions!!

 
All smiles!
Chennai Super Kings are on a roll! They were runners-up in the first edition of the IPL (2008), were in the semi-finals in 2009 and won the tournament in 2010. And now just five months after lifting the IPL trophy, they've lived it up once more, in the second edition of CLT20 as CSK drowned Warriors by 8 wickets!

Last night, CSK thrashed the Warriors in what seemed to be a match set right by the bowlers.  M.S.Dhoni is one-big-lucky guy (thanks to Mrs.Dhoni!) The venue was Johannesburg - the same venue where the lad led India to its 2007 World T20 title.

Spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (3/16) and R. Ashwin (2/16) took five wickets as Chennai restricted Warriors to 128 for seven after the South African team elected to bat at the New Wanderers Stadium.

With the most runs (294 off 6 matches) of the tournament, Murali Vijay took home his "golden bat" and R. Ashwin was awarded the Golden ball (the guy deserves it for his most timely wicket of the dangerous Davy Jacobs)

Opener Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay with an opening partnership of 103 runs made sure the trophy was for theirs to lift and with Dhoni hitting the final runs, CSK finished 132/2 in 19 overs.

You won't believe all the gold they struck that day! CSK owner gets richer by USD 2.5 million, which is almost double that of what was won in IPL-3. Warriors (not far behind) won USD 1.30 million. 11 awards were given off to CSK alone!

C'mon! Their winning streak isn't due to any LSD, it's all because of MSD!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The daily dose of dosas



    The greatest thing about festivals is the food ; and the love and warmth that is served with it. The Biriyani served during Ramzan (that’s today), the ‘kozhukattais’ made during Ganesh Chathurthi (that’s tomorrow), the sweet pongal prepared during the festival of pongal and all the jalebis, ladoos and home made murukku  on Diwali….wah!  the list goes on..




Meet the Masal dosa
hola Rasgulla!
Early this year, Outlook proclaimed Masala Dosa as India’s national dish and Rasgula (Rosgulla, Rasagola or whatever it is called) as nation’s favourite sweet. But that sounds so weird. There can be never be anything as such. Every time a magazine conducts a poll on food- which state’s favourite dish is which, I really get annoyed. Every sweet, every dish that has been ever made is so special and wonderful with a distinct flavour of its own and picking something as India’s national dish is incredibly unfair.


   
 ** I love dosas alright (never mind it's the only thing i can cook). The full vegetarian "hotel" in my locality serves dosa in several variants - rava, panneer, mushroom, kodhumai (wheat), raagi (finger millet?), set dosas and of course the masal one. There's also this cousin - appam. I love each and every type of dosa available (including the burnt ones I make)!**
      

  It’s comforting to see the menus getting bigger in today’s restaurants. Who said South Indians devour only idlis and dosas? Stuff from the Tandoori oven is such a rage here. Atleast there’s no racial discrimination when it comes to food.  Only music and food transcends boundaries unlike anything else. There’s a downside too. You go to a restaurant in some other city or state, hoping to discover some new flavours and divulge into the regional fare, you are greeted with the same old mixed noodles, parathas with green peas and the boring sweet corn clear soup. As far as I know, there are indeed very few restaurants which specialize in a specific cuisine. Experimentation is something that is to be experimented in smaller towns like Coimbatore where I live. Authenticity is important, surely. But traditional food can be slightly changed to suit the taste of a region, can’t it be? International cuisine can be blended in to make the overall dining experience a learning experience as well (but I don’t want that to be a lesson learnt hard). 

    Before I rant off how restaurants are all the same and make the same gooey gravies, I’d like to say how much of a stress-buster food can be. Some say cooking is (I never know since I haven’t cooked   anything that can be called serious cooking). The smell has that enticing power; that soothing effect. A hard day can have a hard effect on your mind but a good dinner with a good company can change all that.



     So, head to a restaurant, order the strangest thing on the menu and munch on. No one’s going to complain (as long as you have a fat wallet).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rain.......Drops....




Drops of pearl and drops of dew,
The downpour lasting hours a few.
Cotton so white, casting droplets so pure,
Manna sent from Heaven for sure.

Sparkling little beads lay scattered throughout,
Filling my heart brim with doubt
Can they all be strung to form a lace,
To adorn a neck and fill it with grace?

Drizzle! Sploosh! Splat! Plop!
Thence goes the rhythm when you drop
Pitter! Patter! Pitter! Patter!
The moment seems wondrous as you splatter.

Wash away the sadness,
Oh rain! Cast away our madness.
Upon us, you shall rein
And upon us, you shall rain.




Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Bee in my Bonnet...

The Bee in my Bonnet….

 Here are some really cool “BUZZ-ES” I came across,

~There is a city called Rome on every continent.

~Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.

~Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th." (August begins on a Sunday. Hehehe!)

~Coca-Cola would be green if coloring weren’t added to it. (Will the Greenpeace folks be happy if it were?)
~The trucking company Elvis Presley worked at as a young man was owned by Frank Sinatra.

~Replying more than 100 times to the same piece of spam e-mail will overwhelm the sender's system and interfere with their ability to send any more spam. (Pay back time!)

~Among items left behind at Osama bin Laden's headquarters in Afghanistan were 27 issues of Mad Magazine. Al Qaeda members have admitted that bin Laden is reportedly an avid reader. (Tere Bin Laden)

~The deadliest spider on earth is called the BANANA spider. (I am dead serious)

~And finally (the coolest fact), I bought William Dalrymple’s “The Last Mughal”.

Friday, July 23, 2010

”TOWN BUS”TERS



Before I wrote it all in the Laptop:

Believe it or not, I’m writing this post under the well seated bus stop at Vadavalli, the place where all the ‘1c’s in the town queue up. I don’t mind being stared at by some nearby school girls who, I guess, aren’t used to seeing a girl in her uniform, scribbling away in her notepad, staring blankly ( I mean, thinking hard).

It’s been a hard week. I post an average of 3 posts each month. But July’s been real tough - tests, exams and I wrote the last exam (maths) this morning. And I’m sitting here, writing this while fretting over my lost marks in that exam. I always miss my marks in the objective type questions but never mind, Que sera, sera….

I had to stop by a friend’s house with my gang (at mid day, after school). It was the last day of our first mid-term tests and we really had to make up for the lost fun (sigh!) somewhere. What better way to travel, than in a town bus? There’s no dearth of amusement, once you get to know where your feet are, in a crowded bus.
I love traveling in a bus, especially in a crowded one. We’ve got the Government free bus pass scheme which allows us, school students, to travel free in TN.

Very well, It’s actor Surya’s birthday today and all the radio stations were airing songs from his movies. If you board a Private (owned) bus, you can listen to the radio but if you board a State run one, there’s none and so you can eavesdrop on all the wonderful gossip womenfolk speak.

I was on a Private bus. I didn’t particularly hear a conversation as I myself was engaged in one, with a fellow friend. Let me see – what was I talkin’ about? About the newly opened “Ganapathy silks” showroom at Crosscut road pulling in all the crowds that usually go to the nearby “Mahaveers”. Important stuff, isn’t it??

I overheard a conductor speaking over his phone (Aren’t conductors and drivers barred from using them at work?!). He was saying, “You are in that place, is it?.... But the bus doesn’t make a stop there…. Oh, then ok. I’ll make it stop for you.”
Call it social service at the bus’ and passengers’ expense.

There was one more conductor – the “unofficial” one wearing jeans and a shirt that clearly wasn’t a uniform and having a green pocket comb stuck in his back pocket. He shared the “official” one’s workload; the latter will collect money for the tickets while the former will call out the names of various bus stops and add suggestions like “R.S PURAM post office, RS PURAM post office! Hey you, old lady, get down quick!”

There was a foreign couple seated in one of the front rows. White skin tends to attract attention from anyone, even the so called aristocrats and blue blooded patriarchs of our nation. This white guy was standing up at every stop, to ask, whether it was where he had to get down and this “unofficial” responded it with sign language. They got down at the right stop (heave).
 Well then, we reached our destination. We all had a nice time, nice dosas and some nice coffee at the friend’s place and boarded a bus back home.

And back to where I am, writing this, sitting in the bus stop. You may think I’m waiting for the bus back home right? No, I’m actually waiting for my dad to pick me up. I usually walk to my house that’s half a kilometer away from the bus stop, provided the weather’s good. But now I’m damn tired and the sun’s blazing at 4 in the evening. Watching the crowds here is amusing alright but writing something is more useful, right?
And now dad* where are you?? 



* He arrived 5 minutes later…


Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Sheer Pleasure of The Old World

The Sheer Pleasure of The Old World...



The innumerable books written in English… Biographies, Memoirs, Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Novels… And a ‘novel’ has much more – mysteries, romances, war tales, sci-fi, horror, chick-lit..the list is endless.. And the unadulterated old world ones make my bookshelf.

Bookworms who’ve read every other book keep themselves away from classics and I hope the number is few. An ideal bookworm must undergo the ordeal (or pleasure, it depends) of reading classics, obviously, Brit ones.


When it comes to music, each one has a liking for different genres. If I like pop in music, I like classics in English Literature. One might think, “What’s so cool in those big boring books full of words that can’t be spelled or pronounced, even?!” It’s like a jigsaw; one who spends time putting it together, sees the picture.



The reason I like Brit classics is that I was introduced to those uncool books at the very start (right after those tiny tot storybooks, I mean). Abridged versions of novels by Charles Dickens, George Elliot, Jane Austen made my day back then. And soon, I gradually started to read the full length versions.



The first one I read was “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and it remains my favourite book till date (forever maybe). The tale of a simple girl, her silent yet deep emotions and the book’s stirring moments made me fall for it.







And then there was our most loved Jane Austen and her worldly books. “Pride and Prejudice” might have been her magnum opus but I found myself more attracted to her “Persuasion”- a tale of resurfaced love between two former lovers.







Far from the madding crowd”, one of Thomas Hardy’s less criticized works of prose. Here’s the story – ‘Girl’ refuses a humble farmer’s proposal, hesitates to accept her neighbour’s and says ‘yes’ to a dashing soldier who already has a love interest and whose death makes the soldier repent and leave the ‘Girl’. So the neighbour approaches again with his request and when he thinks he’s an inch closer to his goal, the soldier-guy returns (like the Mummy Returns, you know) Tensed whether this would make his attempts futile, he shoots the soldier. In the end, the soldier’s dead, the neighbour’s thrown into an asylum and the ‘Girl’ finally accepts the poor farmer’s hand… Get it??







Wuthering Heights”, a dark and complex tale of two. A delicate piece of fabric weaved by one young author, who met with an early and unlikely end; so soon and so tragic. Emily Bronte, Charlotte’s sister died at the age of 29 of consumption and this book is her sole piece of work (sigh!)




The most recent Oscar Wilde and his clever, strange and ironical plays, my favourite being “The Importance of Being Earnest”





These are my best liked ones of all the twenty three I’ve read (yep, I’ve read just that much) and I hope I unearth many more golden treasures of the Old World.



And do suggest me a nice classic you’ve read and treasured….

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Sands of Time


The whole of Coimbatore wears a festive look. “Ulaga Thamizh Semozhi Manaadu” (World Classical Tamil Conference) seems to be the reason. So much money has been pumped into it and lots of landmarks like the railway station, bus stop etc.., have been renovated. The Codissia hall at Peelamedu has been extensively refurbished to accommodate more than 16,000 people for the event which takes place between 23-27th of June. So all schools, colleges and government institutions have been declared holiday, for a week. Ah, how proud I feel now as a Tamil girl! (never mind I took up French in the higher stream, my love for Tamil remains intact)

So today is the first week day of my short vacation and I spent it writing my tuition homework (Maths) and yes, I watched Prince of Persia- Sands Of Time this evening (don’t ask me how). Astounding effects, nice screenplay… I’m not writing its review since I hardly concentrated on the facts. I didn’t even notice which kingdom the Persians were invading. It’s real fascinating to watch the dagger when it takes the person who holds it, back in time (but most of the time it plays hopscotch, jumping from one hand to another).
But the print wasn’t good enough, the audio was way behind the video and the subtitles were laughable (oops! That was a damn giveaway!)

Jake Gyllenhaal as Dustan, the prince.

I tried to find the review of the movie printed in last Friday’s paper. But then, I had torn that particular page yesterday to blot the ink my brother had spilt. Tough luck! 
Now I wish I had that mystical dagger with which I could’ve prevented myself from tearing that particular review or better, stopped my brother from knocking down the ink bottle!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Around the world in a few seconds….


Around the world in a few seconds….

It won’t take that much time to think and imagine, will it?

If I were to grow up and earn enough money to spend on a vacation, where would I go?

Taj Mahal, Agra A trip to the north of the Vindhyas seems like a distant dream to me right now. I wonder when I’ll step onto the northern states and feel that part of India the the world knows better. And if I go there one day, my first desire will be to see the most famous epitome of love made by a ruler who was both lovelorn and ruthless (he is said to have cut off the hands of all the artisans, craftsman and architects who painstakingly built the monument so that they wouldn’t build another one that is more beautiful).




The backwaters of Kerala… I’ve got to see what’s so famous in the boathouses of God’s own country. I’d love to go to any place that is flush with greenery and Kerala, I heard is one. 


Kashmir A lovely land torn between violence and dispute.



Go back in time to see the once overflowing river of Noyyal. Will it be restored to its past splendour? How lucky Coimbatoreans were back then! Noyyal is now polluted and has scarcely any water left.


Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Spain…. For their…um, Colours.


Plaza de España, Seville, Spain


The Eiffel Tower It’s hard to believe that this one was made of the same stuff that was used to build my house.

The Louvre Museum, Paris.. Just to see Mona Lisa and her strange (but mesmerizing) smile.

Colosseum, Rome What if cricket matches and political gatherings were held there?



Burj Al Arab, Dubai…. The tallest (self-rated) seven star hotel in the world. I just want to see it, (can’t ever imagine staying there) for it’s for the super-super-rich.



Venice, Italy Canals instead of streets? You’ve got to be kidding..



And Finally, The Moon. (what do ya say?)