Showing posts with label people. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people. Show all posts


A quick post

Reading old newspaper clipping fascinate me; an article which earns a good amount space on that day and most likely people read and forgot. and here I am reading it after days with a fresh eye. And most times it turns out to be a great story to read with eagerness.

This one was bit special which caught my eyes today was "Chaturanan Mishra passed away"; now there are few things which made me to write this quick post. First the surname which is very similar of mine, but the name is really catcher. I am quite sure no parent of 21st century is going to keep this name for their boys due to many reasons.

The real meaning of this name is a person with four face and that is Brahma the creator of universe.

It should not be confused with "Chatur" a quick English translation will be a "Smart person" but somehow over years the base word "chatur" is used with dark side of smartness like mischievous act which may result in trap for not so "chatur" person. The last reason is off course if you seen the blockbuster movie from Amir khan - "3 Idiots" the memory it bring back is enough to skip this name as there zillions of name to choose from.

A humble tribute to Chaturanan Misra -- he was a freedom fighter from Bihar's Madhuvan ; was imprisoned by British. Post independence he served in both state and national legislatives and worked for agriculture reform and farmers. Madhuvan northern part of Bihar is famous for it natural color painting with unique style. Some considers Mathali ( the local dialect) as a very soft and poetic .


Whatz FRESH about Reliance Fresh ?

As we are new to Bangalore trying to explore all nearby hypermarket, supermarket and open markets as we settle in. This is also giving us as chance to explore places around. The first one we tried and explored was BIG-BAZAR on Old Madras road. As it is just near to one of our office address in Bangalore I knew how to reach there without being lost. Then weekend after we tried SPAR at Kormongala followed by Nilgiris. Hypermarket Spar is having veggies like asparagus, lettuce leaves, endive which are rarley seen. Other then that one can find chesse like brie, blue cheese, parmesan, ricotta, emmental, gouda, feta etc. In between we have ventured many small to medium scale stores like More, SMART and others. There was no particular pattern.
While going towards Sarjapur junction on Outer Ring Road we saw sign of Reliance Fresh; last night decided to check it out. To our horror we were welcomed by stinking smell; yes it was the only thing out there. The floor was very untidy, every thing was falling from the shelves, nothing organized at all, with stale veggies. Top of it, store people were not at all bothered, nor very friendly to customers. To our observations Nilgiris is very neat and tidy, well organized and managed while Big-Bazar with its vastness and madness of crowd keeps the show running although one might have to spend few hrs in queue at cash-counter mainly on week-ends.
Your comments are most welcome to share your views on super markets. This is second post related to super-markets in India what is your take.


Shiv Jayanti

“Shiv jayanti” should not be confused with Shivratri (Night of lord Shiva)- marked with devotion to one of most powerful lord in Hindu mythology. While Shiv jayanti (Birthday) is celebration of birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj who ruled Maratha region in 17th century fighting against powerful Mughal Empire of North-India. He was named Shiva, after the local Goddess Shivai, to whom his mother Jijabai had prayed for a son.

According to English calendar, birthday of Shivaji is on February 19th. But ShivSena, the main political party of regional party in Maharashtra celebrates the same according to Indian astronomical dates. In Mumbai, you can’t miss this day which is celebrated with its colors and festivity. A colorful procession with lezims (a traditional musical instrument) is taken around the city. The main gathering happens at Shivaji Park of Dadar in the evening. You will find saffron triangular flags fluttering everywhere from train station to cabs on this day.
But there are some down side of this celebration to common people. If you have to travel around Dadar or need to cross the central part of this maximum city be prepared for a evening crawl. On the main roads as soon as you see on your rear-view mirror a big speeding SUV with flags you need to give right of way. The priority to this kind of vehicle is more than any emergency vehicle; it also signals ‘do not dare to touch me or stop me’ to law enforcement officials. With recent split of ShivSena this time there were cars from both parties to show their power and dedication to Shivaji Maharaj. Not sure if Shivaji would have appreciating the same. This is one of these celebrations which have been hijacked by political parties to show who rules the city - ‘Asli Bhai Kaun Hai’.


Bhat Suar

Every time I visit my in-laws and see one of these “Bhat Suar” (three-wheeler cart) on the road it brings back memories of my college days. Durg(in-law’s place) and Bhopal(college day) were part of same state 6 years back; although politically divided they are very similar to an outsider like me on social and geographical terms.
First part of the name comes from the sound they make “Bhat-Bhat” and second part “suar which means pig”. The design varies from state to state and its mechanism is very simple and rigid for extreme conditions. Maintenance is simple - all you need to open the hood and fix it- no complicated electronics; only big mechanical parts.
Before coming to Bhopal I have never seen these big yellow tempos (tutuk). Sometime they are the de-facto public transport in central India. Since in these areas, public bus service is inadequate or nil and a small auto for single person is expensive; They are very popular as they are engineered to accommodate around 12-15 people. Memories of these bones rattlers on uncomfortable pothole filled roads will remain for long time. The conductor will always try to squeeze another passenger chanting- "Khasko bhai khasko" (convince to make more room). "Ab kahaan khaskein" ("Now, where do I shift?")would be the apt reply.


Geography - mismatch

For any fifth grader Mumbai is located in Western part of India if asked north or south answer will be south. So how can there be a church of North India which is located in posh south Mumbai in a stone throw distance from famous Flora Fountain? You may wonder - in the world of bharat-todo (Break India by new politicians) how all bhaia's(people from North India Bihar and Uttarpradesh - speaking Hindi) suddenly built a church for themselves. Well, few centuries back when western missionaries just started coming to India they came first to Kerala the very south-west tip of Indian map. And from that part of Mumbai was very much north. This just demonstrate how relative human direction was at that time. Let's make our heart big enough to welcome every one as they are without any prejudice :)


Indian Inglish

The biggest asset of 21st century modern India is its big chunk of young educated Indian who can speak decent English. There is lot of buzz and business happening in India as there are numerous outsourcing operations.
But on the ground we speak very different English with borrowed words from Indian regional languages that do find their way into our writing, advertisements and newspapers, TV spots and shows from north to south or east to west.
For example, in south it is very common to end a sentence with “no” – ‘You’re going, no.’ which might be a question or asking re-assurance from the other end.
  • Use of yaar, abey, arey in an English conversation between Indians, mainly by people of native Hindi-speaking origin.
  • Use of the word ki to mean, that such as in "What I mean is ki we should follow that sign.”
  • Use of word "wallah" to denote occupation like taxi-wallah, grocery-wallah.
  • Use of word maane (Bengali) , Yani (Urdu) and matlab (Hindi/Urdu) is quite common "meaning" ("What I mean is...").
  • Use of accha! to express positive emotions as in "Accha, so that's your plan" Or chal (Hindi for the verb "walk") to mean "Ok" like in "Chal, I gotta go now".

  • They have got so much incorporated in our day today life that we hardly notice. Even you might find certain spelling unique in Indian English to attract or just out of ignorance. I think this sign falls on the second category. What is your pick?
    But I personally think Indian English is much more globally understood and acceptable than any other British colonies. And I strongly believe we should not colorize our English; and do every effort to keep it close to its root rather than making it pigeon language.


    Berlin Diary II

    CheckPoint Charlie

    Freshened up to kick start our day and decided to go through past of Germany. Took metro and got off at Potsdamer platz. Had coffee at Starbucks just outside the metro exit as it was too cold.

    From here we walked to Checkpoint Charlie - a crossing point between East and West Germany during the Cold War and Berlin Wall Memorial. The scenes blur as present dissolves into the past. Images flash through our mind of 1989 when news flashed with headlines of demolition of Berlin wall. The wall no longer divides east and west instead the city straddles past and future.

    As this is close to Friedrichstrasse known for upmarket shopping area like Lafayette; strolled there on our return towards metro station of postdamer platz we visited Helmut john’s Sony centre - skyline is a mixture of buildings marked by WWII shrapnel and glass-steel giants - a symbol of new Berlin office-cum–shopping centre.

    In Berlin, the past is everywhere like Gendarmenmarkt - a classical square in Berlin whose name dates back when city was occupied by Napoleon. This square is bordered by two cathedrals - the French Cathedral and German Cathedral with Konzerthaus (Concert Hall) - home of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra between the two cathedrals.

    Then we visited darling of berlin - bust of Nefertiti which was adorned at the Exhibition Hall of Kulturforum (culture forum - This museum often houses temporary exhibitions during which the permanent collection is usually not on display) near to Potsdamer Platz as Egyptian museum was closed.

    On way to Brandenburg we went to see Siegessäule (Victory Column) close to Tiergarten which stands in centre where five roads meet.


    After having late light meal, we once again set off to see the past which expresses the euphoria and great hopes for a better future for all people of the world. This city’s divider was also the world’s longest canvas that stretched for miles covered with graffiti painted on east side - open air Gallery close to station Ostbahnhof.

    Came back to Zoologischer Garten took some night mode shots of Kaiser Wilhelm church and after all sight seeing it was time to eat; had awesome Portuguese dinner at one small restaurant nearby and then headed towards our hotel.


    Berlin Diary

    Today while leafing through the pages of our album found yet another trip waiting to be jotted down before it gets erased from our memory. A trip to Berlin where present and past are in sync once again.

    We went there for 3days- 2 nights stay by train on Easter weekend when sky was gloomy and mercury dropped to almost freezing point but didn’t deter our enthu to explore city as much possible. We took overnight train from Paris which reached at very early hours. We bought metro (u – Bahn) day pass tickets before going to our pre-booked Novotel hotel.

    Beutiful decorated Mosaic Tile

    After taking our room key we left to meet Berliners, no longer East or West Berliners but just Berliners. Had a takeaway breakfast on a way from one of the bakery shop at metro station and got off at Zoologischer Garten Bahnhof to visit Kudamm. It is here that the KaDeWe the largest departmental store in all of continental Europe stands. If you don't have a lot of time to browse the whole store at least pay a visit to the top floor which is Mecca for foodies. We also checked both BMW and Mercedes showrooms where you find designer items other than car designed by those famous engineering and designer with perfections.

    We walked to Berlin’s famous landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche rebuild itself but not at the cost of wiping its past. The ruins of Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church stand as reminder of the suffering of the war, right next to its hexagonal bell tower very much building of the present. The church is a reinforced concrete structure with blue-colored glass bricks while Memorial hall has still some of the mosaic decoration that survived the bombing.

    From here we hopped onto double-decker bus line no 100 famous among tourists as it crosses most of historic Berlin.

    Tip: Sit at top as it's easier to get a view of most top sights like Reichstag, as well as the many other historic buildings on Unter den Linden.


    Got down at Alexanderplatz to see Berlin’s 365 metre high TV tower. Next to the TV tower is located the gothic Marienkirche, the second oldest church (built in late 13th century) of the historical centre of Berlin. It is close to river spree and surrounded by few notable buildings with red-brick roof and right across the street was Starbucks – had coffee there. I do not drink coffee but those chilly winds outside we took shelters few times where Santanu tried to give quick dégustation class on coffee. From here we walked to Berlin Cathedral built between 1895 and 1905. We even climbed to the top of dome to take panoramic view. It faces the Lustgarten (pleasure garden) and the Berliner Stadtschloss (berlin city palace). Lustgarten is a park on Museum Island. It houses Altes museum (old museum) which we visited later.

    Reichstag - German Parliament

    It was dusk when we were waiting in a long queue to visit Reichstag - German parliament near the Brandenburg gate building with large glass dome and access to top with a great view of Berlin. Although free entrance but extensive security check and at same time its worth visiting.

    Then, we went to see Germany’s iconic landmark Brandenburg Gate at historical center and nucleus of former East Berlin district Mitte. This is where it’s all happening. It’s numéro one place to be seen and to see. Cafes, bars restaurants, theatres, designer shops selling everything from shoes to scarves; day or night places along with many other sites of historic interest are teeming with people. It is new hangout for young and restless. In the very heart of Berlin is a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe which we didn’t visited as it was already dark.

    We at Bradenborg Gate

    Lastly, went to house of world culture centre for non European art whose floor was superbly decorated… no doubt. Had dinner at one of Chinese restaurant near Zoologischer Garten and left for our hotel.


    An afteroon at Pisa

    Being exhausted from last evening we got up bit late and had very good breakfast before hitting the road. According to our itinerary, distance to be covered was long one as our hotel was booked at Florence.

    We took train to La Spezia, it was a crowded, got packed with each passing stations of Cinque Terre but became empty as soon as we crossed Riomaggiore. We had to wait a bit at La Spezia as train was coming from north was late. We heard trains in Italy sometime get delayed by few minutes to hours.

    On our way to Florence we planned to visit the amazing 180 feet high Leaning Tower of Pisa - stop for taking pictures as we were crunched with time for visiting top sights.


    At Pisa, we left our luggage at locker room of railway station went to “Duomo” by local bus, which was a quick way to get a glimpse of this old city. Pisa is also known for its famous university. As soon as we got down from bus we found the entrance was packed with hawkers and souvenir shops. It is a pretty common site in Italy to find people from North African countries trying to lure tourist with fake designer bags to sunglass.

    After years of restoration leaning tower of Pisa now allows visitors to climb up 500 plus stairs to get a breath taking view and unique experience. But there was a small catch – we were told to wait for next five hours for our turn to come. With exhausted legs from yesterday’s hiking and dampened by the long queue we dropped the idea.

    The Baptistery

    In the same campus there are three other key buildings which was also build around the same time. The bell tower only looks leaning once it is referenced against it surrounding. We started with the cathedral (duomo) influenced by Byzantine architecture with magnificent red tiles on the top.

    After that we visited Baptistery- famous for its acoustics. And we were very fortunate to witness the same. There was a group visiting the same at the same time and one among them sang beautifully. Though we did not understand any words what that gentleman was singing but we experienced the power of music. It was a superb impromptu performance as every one inside stopped and made sure there was pin drop silence.

    From there we went Camposanto (cemetery) which are guarded together by wall called as Field of Miracles. As we have nothing much to do we tried plenty of pictures where we tried to give a push or hold the tower ;)


    Back at station we picked luggage and boarded train to Florence. The view from the train was superb as we crossed the Arno River few times. The lush green of wheat fields with mountains at backdrop were very scenic with sun setting in west.

    Arno river is very famous river as it flows through the famous Tuscany region. To some Arno divides Italy in north and south as there is vast political and socio-economical difference in those two parts.

    TIP: European trains are very particular in time not fit for people following Indian stretchable time. It’s always better to have some time in hand as they close the doors of train 5 minutes before departure.


    Calamity of Mid life & middle class

    It is impossible not to eavesdrop when people are having a loud conversation on phone in Mumbai's life line - local train.

    Unlike other days today morning, was special one which is worth describing.

    A guy gets in; stands next to me and elbows me to make his room and starts chatting over mobile (so how it goes....).

    “Sorry yaar (friend) had to switch off the mobile as train was coming in; you know how much rush is there nowadays.”

    As if there was less rush in last 20 years in Mumbai local. Well, from his conversation I figured out on other side will be another mid-life middle class male on the call. After few lines of small chit-chat the big one comes (which inspired me to write this blog).

    “Oh he (some friend)! he is still in hospital on dialysis and doctor says it will take another two weeks to recover.”

    Oh God! that is alarming that friend can be just like me another middle aged middle class. And now you read and hear everyday about people as young in twenties are getting heart attack. Well, no doubt life is stressful but we Indians make it even harder with our own karma, as we poke our nose in every matter, as well in others matter; worrying about them, giving constant stream of unsolicited advice is part of our nature.

    “Not sure what went wrong, Doctor says due to his high blood pressure his kidney is not functioning properly. He is having heavy loss of protein in the urine”

    Indeed too sad conversation, but then he admits "what more to say, even we do n't know 2% of our body and how it works; we only go to hospital when sick”.

    Not sure how to say how true it is, in India there is no conception of prevention of diseases, people get really sick spends money (according to their capacity) as most don’t even have medical insurance and then one final day all is over. And worst of all, relatives, friends and bystanders never try to take precaution on the same for themselves as all think that it will not happen to them it only happens to others.

    Now the sunny side of the conversation.

    “I forgot to tell you, I got a Toyota Corolla recently; a good bargain for a perfect second hand, you must come one weekend we will go for a long drive to Pune.”

    It is mandatory to announce, you got a good deal to show your acumen as buyer. I love to hear this stuff as I am sure both guys will never make it in their life, as their wives will never allow that bachelor party to happen. Unlike west or even far-east where it is common to have guys having evening-out after work; it virtually doesn't exist in India yet. As Indian guys has too many balls to juggle with. If you think I am making it sound too boring, the reason is very simple as myself I haven't yet met a person like that.

    Well then the conversation continued with natural stuff like kid’s education, stock market, weather and boss at work. By that time his stop was coming so he cuts the call quite abruptly. For 90% Indians, phone attic does not require a formal hello or bye, conversation starts and ends – cradles down – thats simple.

    May be just like writing no concluding paragraph. Well, this is a good link on our kidney; I will encourage to read the same, may be it increase that 2% knowledge on human body; high time to take care of ourselves with less medication and having more of stressfree life.


    Remembering Belgium

    While categorizing our old travelogs I found there was no post on Belgium which values a lot for me. As I go down the memory lane......year 2003, within 2 ½ months of marriage we have to move to Paris from US which was a big change for me. Apart from the cultural shock, language was immense barrier for day today life as well to mingle up with people around. Not only that, in Indian arrange marriage, it takes time to understand each other with each one's weaknesses and failings. So, quite an adjustment in every way. Somehow, in milieu of all this I lost embedded stone from my wedding ring given from Santanu’s family. Because of which I couldn’t wear for long. And everyone use to consider me Mademoiselle even in presence of Santanu (thinking him to be mon ami) which I use to enjoy a lot.

    Well, it triggered Santanu and he asked me to wear something in replacement but since I didn’t had any extra ornament with me that time I couldn’t. So, I asked him casually one day why don’t you gift me one diamond ring which he accepted easily. Very surprising to me in contrary to other married people (men) but I never took that very seriously. And it never came in our conversation. But somehow it got rooted in his sweet heart.

    In our very first trip to Amsterdam he came up with this topic on diamond ring seeing diamond shops around but somehow we could not make-up our mind. And it became like “raat gayi baat gayi”.


    Then one fine morning while checking the accounts I found that some money has been withdrawn for buying rail ticket – bit surprising which I was never told. I gave call to Santanu to figure out for which he hesitated at first. On repenting said “a wife should not be told about bank account no.” and said it was surprise to you for your b’daya trip to Belgium.

    And at same evening after returning from his office he said to do research on Antwerp – for diamond. My GOD I was really taken a back for a minute that he took things so seriously. Thus, we planned for one night, two day stay at Belgium.


    Train ticket was too cheap; we left early morning train by Thalys - bullet train and on reaching Brussels checked-in our pre-booked hotel. And immediately after break-fast left for Antwerp which is a hour ride by train. Antwerp’s diamond district is close to the Central Station. It’s said that Antwerp is famous for trading, cutting and polishing diamonds. We strolled from store to store then finally decided to buy one.

    Then we walked towards down-town which was quite animated considered as heart of city. Grote Markt is beautifully surrounded by the Town Hall and decorative guild houses dating from the 16th and 17th century. In the middle of the 'Grote Markt' stands the Brabo fountain. One of the most pleasant squares in the city as traffic has been banned in this part. Being small place nothing much to explore. So, by evening we returned to Brussels.

    On reaching Brussels, we walked towards magnificent central square, Grand Palace which boasts the country's finest baroque guildhalls, popular pavement cafes and intimate restaurants. Hidden at the core of the old town, it's only revealed as you enter the narrow side alleys surrounding the square. Had dinner in near-by Indian restaurant where food was too blend to make locals happy.

    Day: 2


    Next day, we were ready to explore Brussels. So first went to Atomium which represents molecules with 9 atoms. This huge 9 balls are interconnected with escalators.

    TIP: Worth only if you want a panoramic view of Brussels.

    Close to it is Mini Europe with models of main highlights of all European countries like Eiffel tower, acropolis etc which we skipped as we already had a plan to explore other European countries during our stay at Paris.

    From here we went to Comic Strip Art museum which houses famous Tintin and Smurfs where we spent quite a time as Santanu being one of the admirer of Tintin. Then we went towards Galeries St Hubert lined with cafes, theatres and luxury stores. It has gorgeous glass roofed arcade worth to see if only this is the first place of trip in Europe. Then we walked towards little boy peeing “Manneken Pis" - one of the Brussels landmark with different stories behind it. It seems it has around 800 costumes displayed at Brussels museum. Town hall (hotel de ville) was our next spot with needle-like crooked spire close to Grand place which is very vibrant.


    TIP: If you intend to do any other shopping remember Brussels is known for lace boutiques and chocolates.

    For us enough of shopping…now time to pack up. I wish there was some way to show my gratitude to my beloved hubby for this trip and expensive gift on PERFECT event which I cherish even after 4 years.


    Festivity begins

    Idols of Lord Ganesh

    Monsoon is about to end. So begins the celebrations and festivals across India. Any Indian festival is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Festivals are the celebration of not only togetherness but also being part of the family.

    In India, monsoon follows FIFO (first in first out) model so the festivals. As the fields look brilliant with a bountiful harvest; the beautiful landscape of greenery can be seen in its full radiance at this time. Starting with Onam - the harvest festival of Kerala (the southern most state) where monsoon was first to arrive. Almost in same time, in other parts of India month of Shravan is considered to be the holiest month of the year which begins with festival of Naga-Panchami. When each Monday of this month, known as Shravana Somvar, is devoted to the worship of Shiva as this day is sacred to Lord Shiva and is specially observed with austerity. Thus, it marks the begin of festivals one after another.

    Basically, festival for Indians means its time to get new clothes, to get their house painted or everything else they asked for or thought of. Time for family get-together where numerous uncles, aunts and grandmas grace their wishes with delight. It is also a time for homecoming for people staying away from the families. Their arrival multiples the joy of the festival several folds. Observing and following the festivals from childhood gets so much in blood that every Indian tries his best to observe the festival in customary way even if they are settled abroad. Thus, passing it from generation to generation.

    People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate their festival with equal joy and verve. Peculiarity of this land is where unity had always coexisted with diversity, especially during festivals when people come together to celebrate life’s unlimited joys.

    Despite rejoicing and gaiety, thanks to the string of festivals we celebrate in name of numerous Gods and Goddesses other then those anniversaries (birthday-deathday) of great men of India. Thus, providing us with numerous holidays if not “bundh” without longing much for weekends as yet in India the concept of 5 working days is not there in majority of work-place.


    Thread of love

    Rakhi - Raksha Bhandan

    It is a celebration of unconditional love between brother and sister in Hindu culture. This age old celebration tries to remind us of the beautiful and unique relationship between brother and sister celebrated since time immemorial. Sisters tie sacred threads on brothers wrist asking for longer & healthy life of brother and brothers in-turn vow to protect (to save her- Raksha) their sisters from any unpleasant situations of life on this day. It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a blood brother but any male can be “adopted” as a brother by tying a rakhi to a cousin or friends.

    Be it the people in echelons of power, the inmates of the much talked about Tihar Jail, the city’s high profile glitterati, the Generation X crowd or poor - Rakhi is celebrated by all with same faith and traditional gaiety. It is a festival that binds the whole Indian family living in India or abroad together. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration in todays busy life.

    Time old symbol of love and faith, Rakhi thread has changed tremendously in its appearance and outlook in present times. Besides being an expression of love, Rakhi today, is a piece of art and a style statement for the fashion conscious generation of today. People of amchi Mumbai celebrate today Raksha Bandhan in style and festive grace.


    Le Ciel

    Blue sky with moon at dusk

    While rain still continues in South Asian countries; People from Karachi to Dhaka are facing this year after monsoon-effects with this heavy downpour. This monsoon is considered to be most well-known and potent. So, I thought to put a picture with blue evening sky to cheer up ;). BTW this is Gammon House situated at Prabhadevi next to Sidhi Vinayak Temple.




    A four letter word of our modern consumerism; like all other 4 letters words this is very commonly used.

    The first time I was introduced to this was back in USA on Labor Day weekend (1st week of September-’98). In US, every long weekend brings a SALE. Size of weekend supplement of news-paper increases with advertisement from cars to toys. Not only that even you get constant reminder from Macy’s to Wal-mart on your radio while you drive your car.

    In France or continental Europe, it is different; the retail store only has two sales in a year normally for cloths. In July, it is to clear spring and summer collections and get ready for autumn and winter while in February to make room for summer. But never happen to notice for car or computer; may be I was not looking for car.

    Now, when I reached Singapore, two weeks before big summer sale was going on. One such place is Orchard Road which is known for its retail and entertainment centre. This Orchard Road is flanked by malls (houses brand boutiques), restaurants, cafe, nightclubs and hotels This picture was taken inside of Takashimaya -the famous Japanese super store.

    Footpath mark

    Reading the article in Wikipedia it became clear why there are so many sign on the side-walk with fruits it seems it used to be fruit orchards in 1800s. Well, people say the same about bay area where there was Orchard once -around 1960ies before it became Silicon Valley.


    Life in monsoon

    After scorching heat, monsoon has arrived in Mumbai. From last two consecutive weeks particularly weekends (June 23-24 & June 30-July 1) there were disruption of normal life due to heavy shower. Thank God, those were weekends otherwise life of 20 million people would have affected some way or other as many schools and offices are closed. We stayed mostly inside and I only ventured out twice to nearby shops to get some grocery done for forthcoming week.

    Almost all modes of transports were affected severely; local trains which symbolizes life-line of Mumbai were stopped. People flying in and out of Mumbai also had great difficulties. But with all that Mumbai was back to business on Monday. This city and its people are doing quite normal but as a first timer to the monsoon we are taking things with surprise. Monsoon of Western India are well known to us as we were taught with importance in our Geography classes about them and how they effect the livelihood of farmers of this sub-continent.

    These pictures were taken by one of our Support Engineer at Worli. Due to heavy rain there were around 2000 customers of MTNL (State owned Telco) were effected. One out of those 2000 customers was ours (a big fat multinational bank) whose services were compromised for a week. Counterparts sitting in developed countries don’t understand why it takes seven days to get a link fixed during monsoon. Basically, they don’t have idea of what monsoon is?

    I am sure people would appreciate this hard effort put by telephone line-men they had to pump out water from the trench before fixing this mess. Red salute to all those people who get Mumbai going through tough time like this.

    Technicians working

    Technicians working
    Telephone cables


    “Amby” in city of joy

    Calcutta (Kolkata) – mega city of Eastern India. In this vibrant city with a distinct socio-political culture, cabs are grand old Ambassadors from Hindustan Motors and most of cars are manufactured from the nearby plant of Uttarpara. This picture was taken next to major long distance Sealdah Railway Station which shows that city of joy still struggles with traffic congestion. Unlike of other major cities where Tata indica or fiat or Maruti are common hired forms of mechanised transport this city has almost all taxis as amby painted in yellow.

    Yellow Cab of Calcutta

    Before Maruti it was the only car on Indian road. This reminds me of my childhood times when me and my brother used to identify a Mark-II, Mark-III or Mark-IV by its sound (all these models looked very similar). It was a stupid game in era of Nintendo –Wii. The game was a simple one - we used to hide behind a wall as we saw an Ambassador approaching, try to identify the same by sound and confirm as soon as it passed by from behind.

    While writing this post I just found the web page of this car and found 10 reasons to buy this car ……

    1. First Indian car – [born in 1950 (inception in 1948. Originally based on Morris Oxford ,United Kingdom ]
    2. Power Steering – [Trying to match up the new market with Maruti, TATA, Honda and Toyota.]
    3. Multi Fuel Injection – [Well, all new car has that - what a big deal?]
    4. Company fitted CNG – [Well, you can convert almost every petrol car in India to keep your running cost as low as 1 Rupees for 1 KM.]
    5. Tough
    6. Tough - [tested on Indian roads for long time but why they have to list the toughness twice?]
    7. Roominess - [Yes, more then 10 people can travel in a single car at a given time!!]
    8. 5 Speed Gear box - [Another lame reason, all car now a days has the same. ]
    9. Easy repairable – [They claim across the country all mechanic knows the car inside out.]
    10. Serves the country – [Used by Indian Army and de-facto car of Indian bureaucrats and politicians. ]

    If I have enough money one day I will like to have a chauffeur driven amby for myself just to hang out in nostalgia or in the roomy car or to be different from every one else ;) .My eleventh reason or may be only reason for having this car.


    Hearty Healthy

    It’s too hot and humid with power failure I was sweating like a hell. Though just few minutes before I took my shower. Having my last portion of lunch I was searching desperately for something in my fridge but actually I forgot to buy one. My all time favourite item which I can even take truckload if needed in any form. It is generally considered to cool the body in tropical climates.

    I don’t know how and when exactly I developed taste for it. One of my favourite childhood food item was a heaping spoonful of it. I’d lick it like a lollipop until all traces of thick delectable were gone. As I got older, I use to mix it with portion of vegetable curry(s) as well lentils given to me beside the last course. Now also I regularly indulge and make sure to have it at last after two main meals. Without that it’s something incomplete for me. I hope you guessed it by now… yes, I am talking about yogurt known for its characteristic taste and consistency.


    Being born and brought up in cosmopolitan town had known taste of India from my childhood. Due to the employment opportunities created by the Bhilai Steel Plant, people from all over the country flock here and the culture here provides a scintillating example of "Unity in Diversity".


    We had a south Indian neighbour when I was a child. I used to love auntie’s food over my mom despite she tried her best to make best food which I never appreciated. Like the proverb says “ghar ki murgi daal barabar” (Self possessions are always undermined and other's possessions seem better). The memory still brings forth strong emotions when I think of it. I have one memory of eating this dish called Curd-rice as a small kid which Auntie used to prepare by mixing curd and rice with pinch of salt to taste if yogurt is bit tangy. For them it is common practice to finish any meal with curd rice. While our other neighbour was from North, so often used to have Raita - a special preparation with yogurt; normally served chilled. Though there are lot of variation in raita of which boondi is most common. Vegetable Raita involves adding grated cucumber and mint paste or using tomato, cucumber and onion raitas or diced carrots. Sometimes tempering it with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, channa & urad daal with pinch of asafoetida. Actually, Raita is good foil for spicy North Indian dishes like parathas, tandoori chicken, etc.


    Now being born in bongo family we have Misti doi a thick sweetened yogurt which taste as sweet as pudding which is served and sold in earthern pot. Presently staying in western part, Shrikhand is taken in form of dessert made from strained curd. A soft muslin cloth is tied up and hung to drain all the water for a few hours from the curd. Sugar, salt, saffron, cardamom, diced fruit, raisins, and nuts are then added for its taste.


    Apart from all these, curd is widely prepared at home where it has an important place in traditional cuisine. It can be made from a small amount of store-bought, plain, freshly cultured yogurt by adding lukewarm milk thoroughly. The quality of curd depends on the starter used. The time taken to curdle varies with the seasons taking less than 3 hours in hot weather and up to 10 hours in cold weather.


    During our stay at Europe I use to wonder seeing one complete row on umpteen varieties of yogurt from fat-free to bio-organic in super-store. Not only natural and unflavoured yogurt but also yogurt with fruit, vanilla, chocolate and various other flavours are common. To offset its natural sourness, yogurt is often sold sweetened, flavoured, or in containers with fruit or fruit jam on the bottom. And when ever we travelled different parts of Europe we found different texture and taste for the same. It tastes completely different just across the border; in 2003 European Union debated to give a standardized name to yoghurt, but later abandoned that project.

    Well well, wherever you go you will find curd; may be of different version in terms of taste and characteristics. So, while I have my daily dose of friendly bacteria you can certainly think on whether its worth to have or not.


    W questions of Indian life

    In India, life of middle class is different compared to occidental culture. There is a vast population of middle class in India and within middle class there are three distinct sub-divisions - “lower middleclass”, “middle middleclass” and “higher middleclass”. Comprehending the complexities of Indian society is not that easy. Though there are variations in socio-economic life within these three but one thing is common between all of them - everyone is curious to know whatz happening in others life despite of their own busy life. And they do pose what, why, when and where to quench their thirst.

    Curiosity starts with birth of a child and has no ends. The initial round of questions like does your child walks; has he started speaking, whom does he resembles? As he/she grows a bit question changes its color – has he started going to school, then next question will be in a trice how he is in studies; does he comes first in class (as if all parents were merit holders). Apart from that of course there are questions related to his health, extra curricular activities which he has been thrown into.

    Few more years, child reaches his teenage where he is being again quized with different set of questions how much percentage did he scored in high school and competitive exams; this is the most difficult phase as some of those questions remains hunted in the young mind for rest of his/her life.

    Now related to the “stream” he has opted for; child is categorized - if science particularly with maths then good considered having bright future in engineering if with bio then mediocre. Next in line comes commerce, then with arts and last but not least home science and others where student is considered good for nothing no matter even if he has got gold medal.

    As soon as he/she enters the new stage of his/her life next questions are already ready to be asked - does he have a job? If yes, where? If it’s abroad then– oh now you will have dollars /euros/pounds in your bank no matter if he/she is going to Timbuktu. What do you have to worry in life for? (as you have a kid abroad). No need to worry about money? Your kid is gonna be an NRI soon.

    Now as child reaches marriageable age particularly a girl series of question are asked in a manner that it becomes nightmare for both parents and child. There will be proposal for alliance from any one and as a girl’s parent you are supposed to be very gentle and calm (no matter how much they pinch you). Once he/she gets married the very next instantaneous query has to be what about family planning; are not you going to have baby as if others are going to look after the baby. Once the baby arrives to this wonderful earth ……life cycle of same set of questions repeats endlessly.

    Why we can’t refrain ourselves from asking these questions to others which might hurt someone unintentionally. Really, certain times its so disgusting. Or are these questions which keep us binding with each-other to some extent where millions of people live amidst cacophony--roaring vehicles, surging crowds, jammed apartment buildings, busy commercial establishments, loudspeakers, blaring movie tunes--while breathing the poisons of industrial and automotive pollution.

    Are these those questions where Indians believe in sharing happiness and sorrow; where a festival or a celebration is never constrained to a family or home. Or is it an answer to beauty of Indians lies in spirit of tolerance.


    Viva Goa - Day 3

    We opted for package tour with our hotel stay, so our hotel had arranged for two day sightseeing South Goa with river cruise and North Goa. We opted for South Goa to start with.

    Left hotel around 9 at Indian Stretchable Time after breakfast in a non-AC bus accompanied by one local guide. The itinerary included Dona-Paula (bypass Miramar beach). Old Goa churches-Bom Jesus Basilica and se cathedral along with two temples Mangueshi and shantadurga dedicated to Shiva and shantadurga (goddess of Peace), visit to Ancestral Goa/old Portuguese house and Colva beach. To wrap it up there is river cruise at the end.

    Actually, this kind of package are good way of getting around Goa in short-time. It seems they are more appealing to Indian tourists wishing to combine peek at all top sights with the whistle-stop tour. Sometimes they include certain places inland that you wouldn’t otherwise consider visiting.

    Anywayz, Colva beach was not even attractive to us though it is an oldest and largest fishing beach. There were international tourists marinating in the sun and overcrowded domestic visitors paddling. Beach front is dismal as stench of drying fish waft from near-by village.

    Boat Cruise on River Mandavi

    River cruise on Mandavi was one hour trip over crowed with mostly Indian tourists. Professional troupes perform the Dekni Temple Dance, the Fugdi Dance and the Corredinho Dance with live music. You can shake your leg too as it will tempt you to dance to their beats. They do try hard to entertain but no chance to glimpse the Sun as it sets in Arabian Sea. Its pity that this boat company makes sure you can not view the sun-set as there is a big backdrop on west to hide Sun from you. May be they do it on purpose to make sure everyone is seated and not leaning on side of the boat to take picture of golden ball as it goes down.


    Other then this they took us to souvenir shop (where they get commission)- i.e., one souvenir at least visitor always carries home from his holidays in Goa are cashew nuts, spices and wine. Cashew trees abound the Goan hillsides. The flowering in January leads to luscious, brilliantly coloured fruit in March, April and early May. It is then plucked, while the apple is used in the process of producing "Feni" (Goan speciality) and the nuts are roasted for consumption. Here locally produced wines and beer are cheaper than anywhere in the country. Big percentage of tourist to Goa are men from other parts of India who come to Goa as an escape from moral confines of life at home.

    Disadvantage of this kind of package trips are they don’t give enough time where they should actually give and secondly you cannot have taste of Goa or in other words you don’t have much choice for restaurants as they take tourists to such a remote part where only one restaurant will be there with awful food and you end up eating those as you don’t have alternative. In short, we are the people who want to explore more of the place, know about the culture, food, enjoy the serenity, nature’s landscape and all. So, this kind of packages are not meant for us. And we decided not to opt for the North Goa trip.

    Day 3 - Rishikesh

    The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we...