June 27, 2005


two for the price of one...

coral island; lord of the flies
who can forget j m ballantyne's coral island, where ralph, peterkin and splendid leonine jack are marooned on a deserted island in the south pacific?
a twisted version of this got william golding his nobel. (lord of the flies- beelzebub) lots of little kids are marooned on an island, and even as they plan to organize things, they begin to go over to the dark side..

candide; decline and fall
my favourite twofer.
i read decline and fall first and was isntantly charmed by waugh. instantly! what can you say about a book that has the school porter saying "I expect you'll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That's what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour."
paul pennyfeather mirrors the troubles that voltaire's candide goes through. memorable for its scathing indictment (or so i thought anyway) of pangloss's "It is proved that things cannot be other than they are, for since everything is made for a purpose, it follows that everything is made for the best purpose."

more tenously linked:

dirk gently's holistic detective agency; the rime of the ancient mariner
make sure you read coleridge's rime and kubla khan, then read doug adams' masterpiece, then read coleridge again. and so on. until you too understand the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. and then please explain the end of dirk g to me, i still don't get it.

bridget jones's diary; pride and prejudice
bridget jones is prejudiced, mr darcy is proud, as are elizabeth and mr darcy. most importantly, colin firth plays both darcys, in the televised/filmed versions of both books. he's a natural darcy. stern, saucy and smouldering.

tchach! returning to the booklist, anyone have any ideas?

the coorgi moorgi returns!

alt title- leechy keen

went on one of those treks that are great to talk about, after you've actually completed 30 hour bus rides, leech attacks and biting cold rain.

yes, it was biting cold in the evening on the windswept slopes near the bramhagiri range. did a quick sweep of the irupu falls. nice, but after a mintute of gazing at gushing water and oohing, i'm usually ready to move on.

coorg was very green and monsoony. the sun rarely peeped out. it felt very familiar, as gaurav put it "almost entirely but not quite unlike mahabaleshwar". but without all the tourists. and with lots of coffee, pepper and arecanut plantations. there was even a sports club in a village we drove through, and i could almost swear it had a squash court. the famed kodava women were absent, and with the way it was raining, who could blame them?

unfortunately, larger forms of wildlife were absent too- we were really close to waynad and saw lots of elephant dung (scat/potty/ poo?) but the animals that were out in full strength were the leeches.

leeches to the left of us
leeches to the right of us
into the valley of death walked the brave six hundred

i shall now launch into a leech-filled post. the slippery lil guys would sneak up ones shoes and stick onto the shin, unbeknown to the shinnee. we werent carrying salt, but a form of perfumed tobacco to get them to loosen their grip and be flicked off. unfortunately, some of the leeches mustve been habitual smokers and were unmoved, even when i made them snort the baccy and rub-a-dubbed it into their skin. a whole lot of the trek was spent examining feet and ankles. my theory that leeches prefer certain blood types could not stand up to the smallest statistical sample and was discarded. my theory (and boast) that i was miraculously leech free came up short when i ended the trek and found huge rusty patches (blood) on my jeans.

(weak stomachs, exeunt stage from left. there's more gore)

some of the fellow trekkers took the whole thing very personally. would mutter "bastards!" in american accents as they threw the lil chaps off and tried to pound them to death. alarmed by their anger, i pointed out that leeches formed a part of the ecosystem and.. shut up because i got the same look the leech had.

it was strange to watch these slim creatures clamber up the shoe, attach itself, commence bloodsucking.. and then swell up mightily and roll off. the fullbellied leeches just lay on their backs, chillin'..

further leech tips from those who know:
wear leech guards
slice off leeches as they suck on you.. the blood apparently gushes out in a pretty fountain.
maharashtrian leech recipe- with sazuk tup (ghee) and all!

read up a bit on leeches in medicine- they were used for bloodletting as a remedy to most ailments from Hippocrates time to the 19th century, but the practise was discontinued when it was found to have small to negative effect on patients. but its now being used post surgery, as leeches thin the blood even after they drop off.

there's maggot therapy as well- to liquefy dead tissue and kill bacteria.

have you hugged a leech today?

(if yes, its probably still attached to your neck. go to a corner and bleed quietly)

June 22, 2005

crime and punishment

this has been the week of unprovoked attacks

was called a camel
speculation was rife as to whether i was a genetic mutation or not
and there's a rumour that i drove my car into an office vehicle

mee lard, yeh sarasar jhooth hai!
pandemonium in court.
old man in scratchy wig: aarder aarder!
chashmadeed gavahon ke bayaan ko sunkar yeh adaalat faisla kartee hai ki mulzim f.y. cannibal ko baizzat bali bheja jai.

as sting almost sang- you'll remember me, when the west wind moves, upon the fields of bali

since i'm in the dock, i confess that i am guilty of assuming that madonna sang
"last night i dreamt of some beggar", in la isla bonita.
got quite hot and bothered about that.
not objecting to her singing about the beggar, but at least dignify him by caling him "the" beggar, or "my" beggar.
careful relistening proved that apparently she was dreaming of san pedro.

off to push the arab outta his tent.

June 21, 2005

if the world all spoke esperanto..

would we have
philippine's cardinal jaime sin?
thailand's former miss universe porntip "bui" nakhirunkanok simon?
bui is not where i would put the inverted commas

June 17, 2005

cowed down

dok c spricht mit pizzash
dharmendra quotes ogden nash
but arty of bee ilk
knows not enough about milk
........................and how
to get it from the end of a cow

(see comments on previous posts to make some, but not much sense of this)

while on the bovine theme, i've noticed the streetcows in bangalore are of a different breed from the ones in pune. they look rather jersey. plump. not emaciated and unable to star in the opening shots of a foreign news channels reporting on india. i'd herd they were importing and crossbreeding, but to what extent? i've hardly seen the desi zebu at all. and they're known for their hardiness. what happens to in situ conservation of local genetic resources?

just read up a bit to clarify the difference between zebu, brahman and chicago bulls. my (possibly innacurate internet based) sources tell me that the zebu was crossbred in the u.s. to get the brahman variety. thereafter it was crossbred vigorously to get us
brahman + angus = brangus
brahman + shorthorn + hereford= beefmaster
brahman + shorthorn = Santa Gertrudis

beefmaster meets santa gertrudis in madison square garden tonight
but i'd rather watch some udder stuff.

June 15, 2005

slime on, you crazy diamonds

why are gay men called gay while the women are called lesbians? is that we see and expect to see witty, funny, smiley, gay, gaymen? while your average lesbian is always portrayed as a grim prison warden type?

i allus expect hippys to be happy. hippos too. and hoopoes.

the first in a series of random comments is below. no context or editorial comment, just verbatim what i genuinely hear on the street or sometimes think of myself and wouldnt it have been brilliant if someone had actually said it.

"an investor is like a hungry baby"

June 13, 2005

the butler did it!

on rainy afternoons, i am seized by the urge to sit in bed with a soft blanket, a bowl of chips (preferably budhani's cheese flavoured) and read a murder mystery.

i enjoy detective fiction, without pretending that its anything other than comfort-reading. one cannot always mortify the flesh with kafka, can one?
agatha christie frinstance, has so many prejudices, cliches and stereotypes thrown in, that i absorb without a murmur of protest.
but when i see that kind of schtuff ("ineffable twaddle!", as watson once remarked) on stage, i feel angry and cheated.

i just saw a play that i thought was terrible- i'd rather be poked in the eye while listening to britney spears terrible. the acting was poor. and the enunciation vos werry baad. and the chappie's attempt to seem mysterious and evil was for some reason expressed as an irritating snivel. if i was closer to the stage, i'd have thrown a hanky at him- blow your nose man, and continue! and (one last whine) they adapted the upper westside type lines and set the play in jayanagar. but forgot to tell the chap that noone wears suspenders in bangalore! again, if i was closer, i might just have snapped em.

but meelard, as they said in those 70s courtroom dramas, i've watched well acted and produced thriller type plays too (including the mousetrap), and not really enjoyed them.

does one need a movie or a book to suspend disbelief long enough to develop what is essentially an anachronistic, highly stylised genre?

ooh, beeg beeg words.
but i stand by my thesis.

June 07, 2005

playing with food

one should not, of course. but no harm getting a lil innocent pleasure while cooking, is there?

i have discovered that making egg curry is an auditory delight. you boil the eggs, make the masala, drink some marsala and pop the eggs into the onion and masala paste. as you flip the egg halves about, the squeaky noises begin. press the egg a bit firmly with wooden spatula and it squeaks even louder, kinda like a pet being tickled. (i dont own a pet, hence the innacuracy)
i would describe the sound as a "squinch", which'd never steal christmas.

today, mushrooms made the same sound. so either its the consistency of these spongy food items (though tofu was never so undignified and squeaky) or its my new pink booties.

let's just carry on then, shall we?

June 06, 2005

thimphu very much

whats the similarity between me and bhutan?
we've both lifted our tv bans.

no, it's not very witty, but it wasnt supposed to be. i was just pointing out that the dragon kingdom lifted its ban on tv in 1999. and i lifted mine yesterday. they started with local channels, and then included cable tv, as did i.

our reasons for the ban were different. king jigme wanchuk thought tv was a corrupting influence.
i think it converts the brain to pulp.

both of us let in the telly because of outside pressure, but had our reservations. (except he probably got a better table)

i'd love to visit bhutan and watch it as it changes- even now, everyone must wear the national dress, smoking is banned and instead of gdp, they measure gross national happiness. kingy decides the criteria for happiness.
besides, the capital is called thimphu! i'm just going to thimphu for a stroll. dyou know what they're saying on the streets of thimphu?

but if i go to madagascar, i probably wont keep mentioning the name of its capital- antanananrivo. or its president ravalomanana.

when working in DC, the envt minister of madagascar was to speak at a seminar and an "old africa hand" asked me how to pronounce his name. he was quite put out when i didnt know. i'm brown, arent i? then why didnt i know?

June 01, 2005

Summer holidays II: Son of a beach!

The second part of the holidays were spent on the konkan coast at a place called murud. not murud-janjira, but the murud further south, near harnai bandar.
i shall draw a veil over the initial family-run bednbreakfasty place we were supposed to stay at. lets just say searing heat and bathroom horrors and leave it at that.

so we moved to a more salubrious environ, separated from the sea by beach, dunes with some vegetation and casurinas acting as windbreaks. sitting on the oh-so-soft sand and casurina needles, in the afternoon with a book and a lil munchie from budhanis.. ah, that's the life.

another good time to be on the beach was at night- we had the full moon out in all its glory. forget bhaji on the beach, we had pinot grigio on the beach! it may perhaps have been a little better if we couldve cooled it, but even as it was, yumm!
what am i saying?? yumm? nobody says that about a fine italian wine! ok, let me go again. an inquisitive wine. unpretentious. shy, but with a hint of sterness. the kind of wine that would like listening to beatles and beethoven. would read georgette heyers and spinoza..
oh wait, that's not the wine, that's me!

the koli fishermen took tourists out on their boats to see some dolphins. the boat ride in itself was great- we rode the waves like a rollercoaster. knowing that there was no lifejacket or inner tube on board just made it more exciting. once we headed out onto the open sea, the engine was shut off and the only sounds to be heard were the put-putting of fishing boats at a distance and.. the breathing of dolphins! they bounced about at a distance, then came closer, flipped.. and breathed quite audibly. dont' wanna anthromorpho-disneyize them, but what happy animals they seemed to be!
i'll redeem myself with some d adams:

“It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars and so on -- whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man -- for precisely the same reasons. ”

won't blather on about bodysurfing, fish and crustaceans eating, sol kadhi and kokum juice drinking, ukdiche modak avoiding, miles jogging and sand in all my clothes and shoes -ing.. you get the general idea: beach, family, sun, food, good.