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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hey ! I am talking to you, Time.

                                                        Hey ! where's the fire?
                                                    is there any need to rush so?
                                             look at me trying to catch up with you
                                  but only managing to catch a glimpse of the vanishing you

                                                Have heard paens sung in praise of you
                                                   your punctuality and  regularity
                                                       how you never miss a date 
                                                    with all the three sixty five days

                                                       Is it foolish of me then
                                                        in this year of my life
                                                   to hope that you slow down
                                                    sort of slacken the pace
                                                 give me time to do everything

                                                      Time is running  away and out
                                            with all my dreams spinning in a web of wasted youth
                                                  I want you to slow down,catch your breath
                                              give me time to do at least half of what I have wanted to do
                                                   Hey ! I am talking to you, Time.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rx : Eat Healthy and develop Immunity

This is my entry for the Indi-Happy Hours' A healthy child makes for a happy home' campaign. Below is a link to Dabur Chyawanprash site.

My mother was a great raconteur , with an enviable ability to keep her audience engaged with her stories. Most , may be all, of these stories were culled from real life and would have real people as their protagonists and antagonists. We, her daughters, following the time honoured tradition of children never fully appreciating a parent , would often wander off in the middle of some story/anecdote but never my mother’s grandchildren. They would climb onto her bed ( the stories invariably came at night, post dinner)and wait expectantly for the ‘treat’. Nani never disappointed the children and they in turn rewarded her amply – the reward being the enchanted look on their faces and the rapt attention with which they heard her out. She was their Gabriel Garcia Marquez-spinner of magical realism.

It was the summer of the year 2004. I was at my parents place with my  6 year old son , a fussy eater. The fuss invariably was about eating the greens, pulses, fruits etc. The first two days mum watched in silence my attempts to feed, and sometimes force feed, the boy. Then, post dinner on the second day, she started on her story. I was reading a book while she was telling the story to the kids, but something in the story made me forget all about the book.

Mum’s story:

Once upon a time ( yes, the first line would always be Once upon….) a girl was born in the house of Papa B and Mummy P.  Papa B and mum P were very happy that God had blessed them for the fourth time with a child and showered the girl with their love and care. Papa B was very particular about his children’s diet and would ensure that they were fed healthy and fresh food. The elder three took uncomplainingly to drinking milk twice a day, eating three portions of fruits and five portions of vegetables daily. The trio thrived on this healthy diet and  gained height and color.  However, the fourth child, let’s call her Shambhavi, liked to eat only fried snacks, cakes, cookies ,pizzas and burgers. She created a fuss daily about drinking milk and many a time would slip out to the front garden and pour the milk down some flowering plant.

And then one day Shambhavi fell sick. She came back from school with high fever and collapsed on the bed in her room. The family doctor was urgently summoned. He examined the six year old and then came out with a very grim face.  His verdict was that Shambhavi had a very bad case of Typhoid. The little girl had come down with the disease because of her unhealthy eating habits. These in turn had weakened her immune system and so she had taken unwell.

Typhoid now is not a life threatening disease but in those days, about forty years back, it was not to be taken lightly. Shambhavi was in bed for almost two months. Those two months were the most difficult period for Papa B and mummy P. About twenty days after falling sick there was a day when the family doctor feared the worst for her. Shambhavi’s father rushed back from office while mum P wept silently into the pallu of her saree. Thankfully the child survived but another fortnight passed before the doctor could say, with a sigh of relief,  that the worst was over.

The aftermaths of the illness were: Shambhavi  lost almost all her hair ( the hair took almost 6 months to grow back). She missed out on one full school term. Her parents lost weight and looked haggard and drawn. They were now over protective about the child and ensured that she ate well and ate healthy. Shambhavi also co operated because she had understood the perils of unhealthy eating. Soon she became a healthy and robust child . Her parents were relieved and happy at this change . Happiness and normalcy returned to the house.

Here my mother stopped and kissed my son. “ So,  do you think it is better to eat healthy food and not fall sick or eat unhealthy and fall sick like Shambhavi”, she asked my son.
“ Nanu, I will eat only healthy food from now on,” was the boy’s reply. I looked at mom questioningly. “ Shambhavi”? 

Mum looked at me and nodded. “ Yes, you”.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

' You are Cordially invited...'

I don't know about you but I have always felt excited at receiving an invitation. A sliver of thrill travels up my spine and miraculously  manages to find its  own convoluted route to my voice. People in the know ( my family)  tell me that my voice hovers between a quivering and a breathless tenor while accepting the invite. In the event of having to decline the said invite the voice teeters on the edge of melancholic anger, the anger directed at whoever is the cause for the 'sorry, we will not be able to make it' . The melancholy is of course, reserved for myself.

Wedding invitations elicit a mixed bag of response. If the card is accompanied by a box
of , well ,anything- mithai, chocolates, badam ki giri, even cardamom and mishri, true happiness is felt. Here, one is  slightly foggy about  the routine- is the  card  opened first to check out the who what when of the wedding or is it the box that gets preference. The sneaky suspicion is that it is the box. The red /yellow cellophene covering  is ceremoniously unwrapped  and the cover lifted. A sigh of  pure ecstacy is released if it is mithai. The bliss of taking a peek at the diamond shaped kaju ki katli, or, even better, at the moss green pishta burfi ,and the thrill of renunciation that one will not be eating the mithai is unmatched. Next in the pecking order come the chocolates. They work well  for the children and their friends and are packed off in the 'chocolates section ' of the refrigerator. The badams come a humble third because of their prosaicness and their association with  health benefits , though it is they that are actually consumed first. Cardamoms, well, I know the cost of ilaichi is no laughing matter but still...I do wish people would go in for mithai- for the reasons already mentioned above.

An unaccompanied card is looked at with slight misgivings and a tut of sympathy. It reinforces the argument of the school of thought which holds that 'One is a lonely number'. Misgivings because ,'what will the actual marriage be like ...' and sympathy as in, ' poor things...' The daughter invariably , and more so lately, professes herself to be in total and absolute agreement with the austerity drive. The husband, fence sitter till now, jumps to her side. Since political correctness is the order of the day and it is just so incorrect to declare oneself in love with mithai and bhaji dabbas that I , perforce, swallow both misgivings and sympathy and agree that it is so nice and in keeping with the times that people have stopped sending boxes. Family receives this in disbelieving silence but by then I am happily mulling the possibility, in silence of course, that may be the oversight will be remedied at the marriage itself.

However, what is truly upsetting is the latest trend of sending electronic and phone invites. You know the ones that urgently solicit your presence at  the bhoomi pujan of the ultra delux apartments coming up on Sohna Road or whichever road/expressway. What is upsetting is that there is no mention of breakfast/lunch/tea/dinner and whatsoever no mention of any laddoo ka dabba. All that is mentioned is that one will get a 10% discount on the booking amount if one is among the first five to give a down payment!

 What really took the cake the other day  was an invite in my mail. It stated that in the X institute  pursuit of excellence they, on the occasion of teacher's day, were cordially inviting me to be present to receive an award for my contribution to said excellence. You can imagine the swell of pride in this public affirmation of my excellence, till then visible to only a few.  Stat I ring up the husband, the son, the daughter and share with them the tidings. That the tidings are met with stunned silence I take no note of. Next on the to do list is a beautifully worded acceptance mail . In short it states that yes, I would be honored to receive the award from an institution of such impeccable and unimpeachable reputation. Here, I nudge away the inner voice which tells me that I have never heard of the thingy. Now  I have ,I inform the inner voice. The next day the institute reverts. They are absolutely delighted with my acceptance of their invitation. Would I like to pay the charges for attending  the event by credit card or would a demand draft work better?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ctrl alt delete

I look approvingly , first at the magazine handed to me, and then at  the 'magazine guy' . Twenty six days a month he supplies us with our fix of weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies. I love all of them because there is something 'interesting' ( read gossipy) in all. Even the high brow weeklies bend low enough to give readers like me a last page with its 'what's hot and what's not' type of features. Though, mind you, I go about my reading in a very intelligent manner. So, when, after dinner is over,  the husband and I are catching up on news and other sundries like Modi, and Circle rates and inflation ,I make sure I have read enough to make intelligent sounds at the right places and sometimes enough to even  throw some light on why and how  A.K Antony only dozed his way through his 10 years of scurrilous defence deals and why the BJP M.P from Unnao should be told to keep his lips tightly shut.

Anyways, coming back to the magazine in my hand- it's one of my favorites.It has a horoscope page  , a short story section, a recipe page with immensely exotic looking dishes, a two page feature showing the bad hair days and enough worse dress days of celebrities , a travel section and then features like : how to clean up your wardrobe in 10 minutes flat, how to teach your children impeccable table manners, how to make the maid a part of the family, how to keep your plants fresh and watered when you are away holidaying in Honolulu....

I sit myself down with a pleasurable sigh and open the magazine. The horoscope is the first stop- it gives me  my feel good fix. Whoever writes it is obviously a kind contented soul as he/she  always writes kind things for all the 12 signs. Next is the recipe page - gluten free muffins with lime icing-  I promise myself that 'someday' I will churn out batches of the lovely looking muffins. Now is a longish stop at the bad hair and dress day of  our film industry celebrities. I look sympathetically at the actors. If they could see me they would know how much I , someone with a perpetual bad hair day and an, almost perpetual , bad dress day, empathized with them. How could Kareena have  known  that blood red lip color would make her look like a thirsty vampire lusting for,what else, blood?

I turn the page and find myself at  the first of the 'how to's'. This one seems interesting. It is: how to clean up your phone contact list. A quick glance gives one the gist- don't hang on to contacts who have vanished from your life. De clutter the contact list , and your life, by deleting obsolete contacts. I glance at the  phone lying next to me . Should I ? A voice  urges- 'yes ,do it -do something instead of  just reading the how to's month after month after month'. Goaded by the tinge of sarcasm in the voice I pick up the phone and scroll down my contact list.  Ajit - cousin from Saharanpur. Should certainly be deleted. We must have  last spoken   about 15 years back.I am on the verge of deleting but then stop. He is my  last contact  point with papa's hometown and family. Nah- I can't do it. I move on to the B's. Bikram - locksmith. I had taken his number the day he had been frantically summoned because the daughter, while playing 'I spy' with friends had hidden herself in her loo and the lock had played up. Yes, Bikram can go. The children were now all 'growed up' and knew how to close doors and open complicated locks. But, again I stop.I cannot do it. He is my camera to a tense and funny quintessential childhood moment.

I move on. Shanti ,the maid? Best to keep her number- might need it sometime. Neha- couldn't even remember when we had  last  hung out together. But we had some fun times together and for the sake of those good times... An hour later I am through. With the magazine that is. The phone is still next to me. All contacts intact.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Crunchy Spinach Chaat

For the past fortnight or so I had been consciously trying to stay away from making , and therefore eating, any fried stuff/junk food. However, the beautiful weather this evening weakened my resolve and the result was some finger licking spinach chaat.

If the weather is good your side of town too, why don't you try out the recipe?

For the spinach pakodas

  • Take about 15-20 large spinach leaves. It goes without saying that the leaves should be fresh, washed well and patted dry. Remove the stalks of the leaves.
For the batter
  •  In a mixing bowl put 1/4th cup corn flour
  • 1 cup besan ( gram flour)
  • red chilli powder and salt to taste
  • 1/4th teaspoon haldi( turmeric powder)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4th teaspoon hing( asafoetida)
  • add water to make a smooth batter of medium consistency
Dip the leaves in the batter and deep fry in hot oil till golden brown. Remove onto a plate. Do not cover the pakodas/ bhajias.

To serve 

This chaat is best served in individual plates/flat bowls.
  • Arrange two bhajias on each plate.
  • Put fresh and beaten curd on top . ( To the  curd add black salt, red chilli powder, and roasted and crushed cumin seeds).
  • Now, arrange thin rounds of boiled potato slices . (This is optional).
  • Next up is  green coriander chutney.
  • On top of this put the sweet and sour imli ( tamarind) chutney.
  • Sprinkle sev on top.
  • Some chopped coriander leaves will  look nice.
  • Serve immediately.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What rocked and what shocked this week

What Rocked

There are no two opinions about this one- yes, the Jury is certainly not out on this. The award for 'What Rocked' most certainly goes to India's erstwhile Prime Minister, Dr ManMohan Singh. Do I hear a collective gasp out there? Well, let me put matters in the correct perspective.

 Consider this: we have all had, at some point or the other in our chequered/colorful lives, some skeleton tumbling out of the cupboard. Such  a skeleton leaves  us dented ( if  not painted), slightly bluish around the fins and with a haunted/hunted expression for at least  a few days.  It takes us a while to recover from the unexpected revelation of something we had presumed to be safely buried.

Now, here is our gentleman,who has a skeleton tumbling out almost every day of every week .  So, if Sanjay Baru  happened to the Accidental Prime Minister on a friday, Vinod Rai on a tuesday and  Kamal Nath on a Wednesday ,then Natwar Singh sprang out on a Monday. Anybody with less chutzpah would have called a press conference , told ALL ,and then gone studio hopping to clear his/her name. Not Dr Singh. He is displaying  the true mettle of a survivor and staying put and staying quiet. Nobody and nothing has made him open his mouth.

What Shocked

Used to as we were, for the last decade or so, of a lackadaisical central government approach to problems of a magnitudinal nature , Narendra Modi's hands on approach to salvage the situation in flood ravaged Jammu and Kashmir has certainly been a shocker. He understood , before even Omar Abdullah did, that Mr Abdullah would not be able to rise to the occasion and so took matters in his own hands.The  army was called in, core teams dispatched and mobilization of resources begun.
Bottom line: The buzzword is ACTION.
Now, don't you find that shocking?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Missing the Ex

I dreamt last night that I was back with the ex. Even on that rain drenched January morning, bustling about in a busy going about its business  house,I vividly remember the pleasure the dream gave me.The strangest part of the pleasure was that it was being felt  for all the reasons that had led to ex being dumped, viz reliability,comfort ,ease of functioning.... Any woman worth her salt will tell you that too many years spent with someone with the just mentioned qualities tend to get under one's skin. Ennui sets in  and one starts yearning for change.What does the said woman do in such a case? Dump,obviously.

Well, to cut a longish story short,I dumped. Cliches such as The only constant in life is change come in very handy as guilt suppressants and so,with a carefree mind, one made the transition  from then to now. And what a now!! Good looking would be an understatement of  the year . Add to the looks a certain rakishness - as in unpredictibility- alongwith moodiness and presto ! I had for myself a typical Georgette Heyer hero.

Life was smooth sailing for some time, as in the time that was spent in flaunting one's acquisition. One wallowed in the envious and covetous looks.But ,alas! to use another cliche-all that glitters is not gold, and the shine soon started wearing off. It is very difficult to continue being enamored of someone who just doesn't listen.So,when I touch the green , because that incoming call is important for me , nothing happens. Of course, one forgets all about the touching and one presses -hard. Result? The call gets cut! Wait. There is more.Here is the 9th call from the lady wanting to sell her chocolates and, after telling her very patiently eight times that I am not interested, I understandably do not want to take the call. So, I touch the red -and I get connected!

The other day I ventured into the ,till now ,unexplored territory of whatsapping.So,I compose this brilliantly witty message to a friend and press the sign for send . The message disappears. Not one to give up,I start the process again. The message is only half done when it mysteriously gets 'send'. The friend apparently spends all her time online and within a second I get,as a reply, a puzzled face. Red faced I furiously start punching a Sorry. I have only managed a sorr and hey, the recalcitrant phone seems to be having a mind of its own. It sends off the sorr but with two asteriks added so that my message looks like this: sorr**.

Nothing like this ever happened with the ex. It was silent when silence was needed , responded to the slightest of touch, had no hidden agenda; never displayed any moods, never embarrassed me by sending off asterik ridden messages...Oh my God- it was perfect. So what if it wasn't a smart phone- it was smart enough to know just what I wanted. And to think I gave it to the car cleaner as bakshish for finally giving the cars a wash!

Lesson learnt : that cliches are actually truisms run down by people who cannot bear the truth.
 The truth?
Old is Gold.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Terribly Tiny Tales

There is no doubt in my mind that we are living in  extremely creative times- creativity seems to be both  imploding and exploding . A case in point are the Terribly Tiny Tales ( ttt). A baby of the storytelling agency Not Like That in the summer of 2013, Terribly Tiny Tales publishes one tweet-sized tale, everyday.The  tale is posted every day on its Facebook page.

Sample some tales:


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Of Alia Bhatt's video and our need for Approval

You must have seen the 'Alia Bhatt video' by now. Yes, the same brilliant  one  which shows her joining an academy to increase her  IQ. The video is clever, full of laugh a minute gags and designed to serve its main purpose of putting an end to all the 'Prithviraj Chauhan is the President of India' jokes that exploded after Alia's  debut on the KJo show.

The video set me thinking. Here is a person who is young, fresh faced, refreshing and a good actor. Viewers of hindi movies have taken to her and all her movies have done well. In short has everything going for herself
( except for an IQ that plays truant on important days). With everything her side Alia  still felt  the need to win the  approval and validation of those who had not yet done so. Why?

To a very large  extent, we all care what  the other  person  thinks of us. Knowingly or unknowingly we  role play  our lives in a manner that will win us the maximum votes of approval. A simple job  of deciding what to wear for a dinner turns into an onerous task because the decision is governed by our desire  to look our best for those who will be present at  the said dinner.

I have a' friend ' on Facebook whose sole mission in life seems to be to take selfies of herself and then to post them. So,  a Tuesday sees her  reclining on a hammock  in a baby  blue dress , Wednesday she is  a red and white polka dotted  mannequin , Thursday is buttery yellow, Friday...   I am pretty sure she maintains a diary of the 'likes' she gathers. 50 likes- see there are so many out there who like me! I worry about her sometimes because sooner than later people will tire of her untiring efforts at self promotion and the likes will begin to peter out. How will she take it, rather, will she be able to take it?

Just the other day I met a friend for coffee. She looked different and I said so. In her words-"I am someone who has lived most of her life according to rules set by others. The problem with rules is that the person who sets them also gets to  tell you whether you abided by them or not. So, you guessed it, I spent a major part trying to win approval and validation by  conforming  to rules and to a whole lot of people and their  ideas. And then one day , just a normal day, I realized that  I had not thought of what the other person /people  was/were thinking. Not only that- I also realised that I felt happier, more confident and more 'me'. Voila! That was my Independence Day."

Yes, it is true. The approval we  really need to find is from ourselves.  However, this can only begin once we stop searching for approval from  others.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Of Eris , Goddess of Discord and inviting Trouble...

In the process of reading up, choosing and selecting passages for a book that I am working on,  I came across a delightful story. The story, though tracing its origin in Greek mythology,  is  quite masaledaar and very hindi movie style. So here goes:

The lives of the Ancient Greeks revolved around eris, a concept by which they defined the universe. They believed that the world existed in a condition of opposites. If there was good, then there was evil, if there was love, then there was hatred; joy, then sorrow; war then peace; and so on. The Greeks believed that good eris occured when one held a balanced outlook on life and coped with problems as they arose. It was a kind of ease of living that came from trying to bring together the great opposing forces in nature. Bad eris was evident in the violent conditions that ruled men's lives. Although these things were found in nature and sometimes could not be controlled, it was believed that bad eris occurred when one ignored a problem, letting it grow larger until it destroyed not only that person, but his family as well. The Ancient Greeks saw eris as a goddess: Eris, the Goddess of Discord, better known as Trouble.

One myth that expresses this concept of bad eris deals with the marriage of King Peleus and the river goddess Thetis. Zeus, the supreme ruler, learns that Thetis would bear a child strong enough to destroy its father. Not wanting to father his own ruin, Zeus convinces Thetis to marry a human, a mortal whose child could never challenge the gods. He promises her, among other things, the greatest wedding in all of Heaven and Earth and allows the couple to invite whomever they please. This is one of the first mixed marriages of Greek Mythology and the lesson learned from it still applies today. They do invite everyone … except Eris, the Goddess of Discord. In other words, instead of facing the problems brought on by a mixed marriage, they turn their backs on them. They refused to deal directly with their problems and the result is tragic. In her fury, Eris arrives, ruins the wedding, causes a jealous feud between the three major goddesses over a golden apple, and sets in place the conditions that lead to the Trojan War. The war would take place 20 years in the future, but it would result in the death of the only child of the bride and groom, Achilles. Eris would destroy the parents' hopes for their future, leaving the couple with no legitimate heirs to the throne.

Hence, when we are told, "If you don't invite trouble, trouble comes," it means that if we don't deal with our problems, our problems will deal with us … with a vengeance! It is easy to see why the Greeks considered many of their myths learning myths, for this one teaches us the best way to defeat that which can destroy us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What rocked and what shocked- the week that was

   What rocked

  • The Indian Tri Color 
  • Prime Minister Modi's 65 minutes extempore address to the nation from Red Fort
  • Pure Zari Kanjeevarams at Greenways, South Extention
  • India cancelling  Secretary level talks with its neighbor

What Shocked
  • The dismal performance in England of the Boyz in Blue 
  • Rahul Baba's silence in Parliament during the discussion on Communal Violence Bill
  • Akshay Kumar's 'Entertainment'
  • The mysterious 'Algorithm' adopted by Indi Blogger- which plunges a bloggers rank from 82 to 62!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Some observations of an idle mind on the opening episode of KBC 8

The term teeming millions must have been coined for just such an occasion. At first glance it seems the entire population of India has turned up to watch  Amitabh Bachchan  in KBC's 8th Avatar ,  but it turns out the teeming millions are  only the  inhabitants of a single city, Surat. They are there in all sizes and shapes- the sizes and shapes cutting  across different age groups and generations. However, there is a commonality binding  the millions- they are all happy to be there that evening. One can sense that for a lot of them it is akin to a historic occasion- complete with an Indian Idol runner up, a stand up comedian,  the mandatory PYT- and of course, Bachchan himself.

The computer is asked to randomly pick out ten names, from those present, to be the ten contestants. As it gets busy in the act of  picking names one sees many lips moving- silent prayers are being offered. Holy Cow! I realize this is serious business. By now the ten names are being called out. As each Chosen One gets up there is a lot of hand pumping and back thumping by his/her relative/s, friend/s and neighbor/s. The contestants all seem game for the occasion. It is appreciable that none of them seem self conscious or mortified about that crumpled duppatta or the missing lip gloss. In fact one brave gentleman  even went up on stage clutching a plastic packet - I know if it were me I would have totally disowned said packet and dropped it somewhere in the aisles !

Bachchan is looking particularly jaded- almost peaked. He makes all the right noises and moves but the trademark zing is missing. I am sure half the blame can be laid at the footsteps of  an over enthusiastic Kapil Sharma who spends the evening   dogging Amitabh Bachchan's footsteps . The other half may, perhaps, be  attributed   to the nerve racking rumors of his son and daughter-in-law's estrangement doing the rounds.Going through the motions is what comes to mind as one watches him.

The organizers have  packed in a lot in that one evening. So, apart from the above mentioned millions and Bachchan there is Rani Mukherjee too- all flushed and glowing from matrimony. We also get to see a very energetic dance performance by an actor of a TV serial, and a song sung by some half a dozen boys and girls.

 The song must have had something in it - something really soothing and relaxing- it sent me off to sleep.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thinking of some things ‘french’.

I looked at the message. It read: “why haven’t you been blogging”????  In some inexplicable way it made me feel guilty, and then I felt guilty for feeling guilty. In situations so pregnant with guilt my defense mechanism is to fall back on irreverence. And so I messaged back: “was on French leave”. The reply: “What is that? Were you in France”?
So, here is a look at what is ‘french leave’, and some more things French….
French Leave

 An informal, hasty, or secret departure ( in my case departure from my blog !)
The term dates back to an 18th century French custom of leaving a reception without taking leave of the host or hostess.
French Toast
French toast is also known as eggy bread and is a dish of bread soaked in beaten eggs and then fried. It was originally a way to use up stale bread. When French toast is served as a sweet dish, milk, sugar, vanilla or cinnamon are also commonly added before pan-frying, and then it may be topped with sugar (often powdered sugar), butter, fruit, or syrup. When it is a savory dish, it is generally fried with a pinch of salt, and can then be served with a sauce such as ketchup.
French Manicure
 A French manicure is neutral, understated, and goes with absolutely anything.
 Whether the French Manicure  truly is French is up for debate -- some say the ever-stylish Parisians were the first to wear the nude base with crisp, white tips; others say Max Factor invented it and the "French" label is there for effect. Whatever!
The French manicure has enjoyed popularity for the longest time ever. Women all over the world still walk into salons and ask or the pink, beige or nude base tipped with pure white. Its popularity is because of its versatility.
Pardon my French
"Pardon my French" or "Excuse my French" is a common English language phrase ostensibly disguising profanity as French.
My Google search threw up this result: ‘In the 19th century, when the Brits  used French expressions in conversation they often apologized for it - presumably because many of their listeners  wouldn't be familiar with the language.’
 The definition cites an example from The Lady's Magazine, 1830: Bless me, how fat you are grown! - absolutely as round as a ball: - you will soon be as embonpoint (excuse my French) as your poor dear father, the major. (Embonpoint is French for plumpness!)

And then there are the French fries, the French plait, the French kiss ( ahem!)….

Friday, August 15, 2014



                             To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing

                             Ayn Rand

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time to Go- Fiction

  The concrete monoliths that line the  waterfront next to Sunset Park fade from view at one particular angle.  This stretch  is  significantly quieter  than the rest of the waterfront. Between two mourning trees is a wooden bench where Suhasini and Haider come and sit, catching glimpses of the water in  silence , in a life  that was once a cacophony of sounds, but now serving out a sentence as final as death.

It is dusk and time to go home. Suhasini looks at her husband, her glance shattering and piercing through the cloak of melancholy shrouding her husband. He nods and says,”  a few minutes more.” She sinks back in her corner of the bench and looks outwards at the twinkling lights of the bridge.  Massive skylights hover above the atrium, beyond the bridge. The atrium  was built at a huge cost  by the  Thane  Construction Company.  In addition to its 11 acres of floor space, the complex was completed with four piers, each  linked by underground tunnels. Suhasini remembers the the architect’s inaugural statement of “the great red bricked building rise above the streets and waterfront like some vast medieval city’s wall,” giving an impression of power and beauty.

  An involuntary shudder escapes her body and she draws her gaze away and towards the trees. She likes the two trees, finding in their bare branches, gnarled trunk and a handful of yellow leaves both comfort and companionship. A wrinkled yellow leaf , escaping the clutches of the  branch to which it had been tenuously joined, languidly brushed past Suhasini. She feels a featherlight touch on her cheek, almost like a farewell  kiss, and then the leaf floats towards the gleaming water, settling lightly on it. The water swirls welcomingly around the leaf, before taking it away.

To where it had taken Ritu ? She looks guiltily at Haider, only to find him looking at her. Had he heard her thought? Haider came to her and said, “ it is time we went”. She understood and followed him- down the waterfront, down the  east pier, up the steps of the atrium, down the top window, into the water, down and down…To where Ritu, their daughter had gone when she had committed suicide, on just such an evening of twinkling lights over the Eastern bridge.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Some famous movie quotes to use as conversation stoppers

This is a list of  some of the most well-known movie quotes .  English speakers quote them all the time! It's common for someone to drop a famous movie quote in the middle of a conversation.

1.      “Houston, we have a problem.” (Apollo 13)

People quote this line when there's a big problem.

2.       “I'll be back.” (Terminator)

This line is spoken by the Terminator, a killer robot from the future. You can say it with Arnold Swarzenegger's accent when you leave somewhere and you're going to come back soon.

3.      “It really tied the room together.” (The Big Lebowski)

The characters in the movie are talking about a rug that was stolen. You can say this about a piece of furniture or decoration in a room.

4.      “It's alive! It's alive!” (Frankenstein)

A crazy scientist says this when he brings to life the monster he created.

5.       “I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” (The Wizard of Oz)

Say this when you end up in a strange place.

6.      “E.T. phone home.” (E.T.)

This isn't very good English because the character who says it is an alien from outer space.

7.      “Bond. James Bond.” (Dr. No)

The character of James Bond is supposed to be super-cool. If you want to act cool and sexy, you can say your name like this: last name (pause), full name.

8.       “There's no place like home.” (The Wizard of Oz)

Here's another line from the classic film "The Wizard of Oz."

9.      “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” (ApocalypseNow)

This is a quote from a military commander who's violent and crazy. "Napalm" is a chemical that's used to burn forests and towns in war. Usually, someone would say something like "I love the smell of coffee in the morning.

10.  “Wax on, waxoff.” (Karate Kid)

A Japanese Karate master tells his student this. He's trying to teach the student to do Karate using simple movements like waxing a car. You can quote this line when you're acting as someone's teacher.

11.   “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.” (Gone with the Wind)

This line was quite shocking at the time. The man says this to his wife as he's leaving her.

12.  “I feel theneed... the need for speed.” (Top Gun)

This is a line from a jet pilot who wants adventure and excitement.

13.  “I see dead people.” (The Sixth Sense)

The kid who says this sounds creepy.

14.   “I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.” (The Godfather)

A mob boss says this line. It means that he's going to threaten someone to get what he wants. You can copy this quote jokingly when you've gotten someone to do what you wanted.

15.  “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” (Dirty Dancing)

"Baby" is the character's name. The speaker wants to say that she should be a star, not controlled and hidden away.

16.  “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” (Casablanca)

This is a classic line to copy when you're getting along well with someone, especially in business.

17.   “You can't handle the truth!” (A Few Good Men)

You can yell as a joke when someone says that they "want the truth".

18.  “What we've got here is failure tocommunicate.” (Cool Hand Luke)Say this when someone who you're in charge of, like one of your students, isn't listening to you.

19.  “My mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you gonna get.” (Forrest Gump)

This quote actually annoys a lot of people, but it's very famous. It means that unexpected things happen in life. To explain, the speaker's talking about a certain type of chocolates that come in a box with different varieties to try.

20.  “I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore.” (Network)

The speaker is talking about all of the problems with the government, society, and the media.

21.   “May the force be with you.” (Star Wars)

"The force" is a magical power that gives people strength. This phrase is kind of a way of saying "good luck".

22.  “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody.” (On the Waterfront)

This quote is from a boxer who's disappointed with how his life has turned out.

23.   “Go ahead. Make my day.” (Sudden Impact)

A tough police officer is daring a criminal to attack the person that he's holding. Say this when you feel tough and someone is threatening you.

24.  “They maytake our lives, but they will never take... our FREEDOM!” (Braveheart)

This is an extremely dramatic speech about fighting for your freedom. You probably won't have a chance to quote it in a serious way in real life, but some people like to quote it to be funny.

25.  “Are you talkin' to me?” (Taxi Driver)

A guy is imagining what he'll say to someone who tries to mess with him. You can say this to someone who teases or criticizes you.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ahista chal zindagi.....

I read these lines and was totally taken aback by the truth of the beautiful lines. It seemed to me as if the poet had tip toed inside my mind and read what was there. These lines say  exactly what I have been wanting to  tell Life for sometime.

                                                 Ahista chal zindagi, abhi
                                               kai karz chukana baki   hai......
                                                Kuchh dard mitana baaki
                                                   hai, kuchh farz
                                                   nibhana baki hai.

                                                   Raftaar mein tere chalne
                                                     se kuchh Ruooth gaye,
                                                        kuchh chhut gaye.
                                                      Roothon ko manana
                                                       baaki hai, Roton ko
                                                        hasana baki hai.

                                                Kuch hasraten abhi adhuri hain,
                                                 kuchh kaam bhi aur zaruri hai.
                                                     Khwahishen jo ghut gayi
                                             is dil mein unko dafnana baki hai.
                                                     Kuch rishte ban kar toot
                                                      gaye, kuchh judte-judte
                                              chhut gaye.  Un tootte-chhutte
                                                       rishton ke zakhmon ko
                                                             mitana baki hai.

                                                 Tu Aage chal main Aata hun,
                                               kya chhor tujhe ji paunga?
                                                   In saanso par haq hai
                                                     Unko samjhana
                                                             baaki hai.
                                                 Ahista chal zindagi abhi
                                                   kai karz chukana baki

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Idiom of the day: Skeletons in the Cupboard


A secret source of shame, potentially ruinous if exposed, which a person or family makes efforts to conceal.


The  original phrase 'a skeleton in the closet' was coined in England in the 19th century. The usage now is : 'a skeleton in the cupboard'. If someone has a skeleton in the cupboard (or closet in US English), it means that they have a dark or embarrassing secret about their past that they would prefer to remain undisclosed.

'A skeleton in the closet' undoubtedly originated as an allusion to an apparently irreproachable person or family having a guilty secret waiting to be uncovered. . The expression has in origins in the medical profession. Doctors in Britain were not permitted to work on dead bodies until an Act of Parliament permitting them to do so was passed in 1832. Prior to this date the only bodies they could dissect for medical purposes were those of executed criminals. It was therefore common practice for a doctor who had the good fortune to dissect the corpse of an executed criminal to keep the skeleton for research purposes. Public opinion would not permit doctors to keep skeletons on open view in their surgeries so they had to hide them. Even if they couldn’t actually see them, most people suspected that doctors kept skeletons somewhere and the most logical place was the cupboard.

 The expression has now moved on from its literal sense.

Usage:  Natwar Singh's interview , ahead of the release of his 'tell all' autobiography, has Gandhi family  skeletons tumbling out of the cupboard. So, on the one hand we now know ( what we always in any case knew) that it was not Madame Gandhi's inner voice that held her back from becoming the Prime Minister but her son's entreaties and on the other Sanjay Baru's claim- that the Congress President checked out government files- stands substantiated .