Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Court appearance

Recently,I got a call from an office, wherein, I had worked.Well,the call was from an ex- colleague.She made the usual discreet inquiries as to my being disturbed & I replied in the negative.I was surprised, that she had taken time off during her lunch hour oops, wasted her time to call me.She then proceeded to enlighten me that she had a job for me.I was flabbergasted !

She told me the reason she had called me up.There was a document signed by me when I was an employee there.So,I was expected to go to a town which will require me to travel overnight & give evidence in a matter before the Judiciary in favour of my erstwhile employer.Her boss had been kind enough to inform her which she passed on to me by telling me that my traveling expenses as also my expenses for staying in that town would be reimbursable.

I told her that as my daughter's exams were on,I would be unable to attend to the request for court appearance.Moreover,I reminded her, that as there was no one who would baby sit my daughter,I have to refuse.She was immediately apologetic & said that she was doing as directed by her boss . Her boss had told her that my evidence would make the Company's case air tight & save quite a substantial sum.He also opined that the company was going to win the case.I was quite impressed that persons like her boss were so concerned about their employer as very few in this age care more than a damn though I still harbor doubts about pretended loyalties et al.

I spoke my mind & let her know that as the company was so sure of a win,my evidence was unnecessary- maybe just a formality.I also brushed aside her suggestion that I left my job to look after my kid.

The whole talk left me quite amused.When ,I was in employment,I recall some of our senior colleagues being reprimanded in open court for deposing in court.The reason was though they were employees of the company,the judge was fed up of the stand taken by the Company that the people appearing in court were not authorised to give evidence or take a stand about the department.The court stated that the public sector just seems to believe that the case can go on & on without any of the executives of the Company stepping into the court as they were too busy & so high up in hierarchy that if they attended court,they stature would diminish in inches if not feet.

When senior employees whilst in office could be taken to task in the court during their service,I wonder, how I can make a court appearance after resignation?Do I have any locus standi at all ?Moreover,my travelling & other costs would be paid back but what about time spent by me leaving my family ? If any evidence is needed to demonstrate that time has little value in public sector then,this is it- there is no value of time -neither yours,nor mine & about theirs of course -was there ever any doubt ?

But one thing is certain- the manner in which my terminal dues were settled ( the time,the procedure etc ) had made me doubt if I was ever employed by the company but now, that has been laid to rest.But still,being answerable for a decision taken more than ten years back is just too much to digest ,isn't it - the decision to sign a document & that too in public sector ?!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Yesterday, the daily, reported that a woman was gangraped & burned by her spurned lover & his brothers & friends.This happened in a slum with none of the neighbours noticing anything or even hearing anything.The time was evening -just after sunset.

One can only think of the callous indifference of the neighbours & that too in such a crowded area. Moreover,it was not that it was midnight & all were deep in slumber & still, the accused ran away after setting her ablaze ! Really,this has all happened due to our collective apathy.But then how are you & me concerned ? We are,maybe not in this case directly, but surely, in some indirect manner.This apathy is what is so prevalent in a city like Mumbai where we all stay in matchboxes huddled together but care a damn about what happens next door.We keep crying for space -for privacy.

In a way,we are glad ,aren't we that there in so little a space, we learn about a death in our neighborhood from the Obituary column in the newspapers ?How does it bother us - a death,an accident ,a rape,a molestation et al ?It is only somebody else's problem & the police has to deal with it.But, even the police, need witnesses but, then, why waste our precious time & energy in such mundane matters ?

The problem with this approach, is that, other also think alike when a problem strikes me home & then I have to deal with it alone as I left them alone to deal with their problems.Unless,we collectively take up cudgels against such goondaism or for that matter in solving our problems ( not my problems,mind you),such episodes will continue.Even the State can be goaded into action only, when we all urge it to do so as a team -as a team has strength unlike one person.So let us share ,help & work together so that our Government,our netas can be made to serve us & not the other way around.Then only will we be kaamyaab.Then, we can sing in chorus,"Hum honge kaamyaab,..."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Siree( Kannada for saree).

As I started getting ready to go to haldi kumkum in the Navratrii just a day before,I was in two minds.Should I wear a dress or drape a siree ? I am always fumbling when I have to wear a siree as I am not at all used to it. I am always in salwar kameez or churidaar though I have got one or two sets of trousers also now, well past my youth.

Draping a siree becomes a long drawn exercise as the various other pieces of clothingthat complete the saree ensemble that is the blouse & the petticoat are in numerous places.Also,they have to match as well.Moreover,the blouse after years may not fit me.Yeah,I wear a siree so rarely that the turn of a siree may come once in ayear or maybe after two to three years. So the exercise becomes a chore & then I discover, that the blouse & saree are not ironed.

The problem is my numerous attempts at adjusting the saree should leave some scope for spic- spac appearance & this is only possible if they are ironed.I keep putting the pallu in place like all neatly appearing women do but but I can manage only a shabby one.It does not have the evenly proportioned pleats like those of others.I still wonder how they do it.But one lady who was my colleague,always had a very different way of wearing her pallu -the rear side of the pallu would be prominently displayed from the front pallu.But she carried her look of the pallu so confidently, that every other women who wore it the right way, would doubt if she had got her pallu right.

Finally for the haldi kumkum,I wore a siree as I got all the complete set in time & without much of a search.I managed it for half an hour as I had put some safety pins in places..I was glad to change into my churidaar for my evening walk.Now,if only sarees would be available like a ready made dress with pleats,pallu et al ! Then,maybe, I would wear it more often.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sparsh ( Touch )

I read in the newspaper that a book is being released tomorrow titled "Learn the rules of touch".The book is in Hindi ( Sparsh ke niyam seekhiye).

Millions of kids all over the world are abused by persons known, as also unknown, to them.Moreover, the scars inflicted remain on their minds all life long.Even I, have been tormented by this.I remember, the first time, it happened was, when, I & my sibling were left with teenagers as all our parents had gone for a party.All of us started playing a hide & seek game by putting off all the lights.The eldest teenager caught hold of me & my sibling & started groping me.He kept passing some funny comments.I was too naive to know what was going on but, I felt, very uncomfortable & tried to wriggle free.When I grew up,it was clear, that this was my first brush with abuse.Later ,I got a marriage proposal from the same person !I refused.Maybe,he had forgotten, what he had done, but naturally,he will not recall as he may have acted similarly with other kids.It was then, that I told my parents about it.I did not disclose earlier because, I did not understand the assault then. As I grew up,I had begun to realise it.

Later , I had to travel with a younger cousin to a town some distance away by a bus.I was still in school then.On our way back,a middle aged fellow sat next to us.He sat besides me & my cousin sat next to the window.Very soon, he tried to get physical & before I knew,he had begun fondling.I was aghast, but could not protest. I knew nobody on that bus except, my cousin who was younger than me & a boy at that.So I kept turning my position till my bus stop came & my ordeal ended.

Whilst in college,I was coming home on vacation in a train.It was very early in the morning & I had got up as my destination was nearing.But being sleepy,I wanted to catch a few winks.So I lied down on the sleeper at the bottom.In a few minutes,I could hear somebody breathing.I opened my eyes to discover that one fellow male traveler was cosying up to me ! I turned but he smiled & assured me that I could sleep ! I got up & sat till my station arrived.There were majority of men around me & a minority of ladies who were asleep.I was forced to be silent.

Later ,this happened, while I was working in Public sector.I was feeling unwell in office- so much so, that, I needed to visit a doctor. I went to one who had his clinic next door.Under the pretext of my physical examination,he abused me physically.I left hastily after collecting my prescription.My boss later asked me if the said medical practitioner would be suitable for being on the Company's panel for Mediclaim.I told him that his inclusion in the panel would lead to a flood of grievances instead of redressal.

We all have gone through such sexual abuse as children as also as adults as Indian society places too much premium on our tolerence but, it is time, we discuss & debate all this.This will educate us & give us solutions to overcome this menace. Boys are as much abused or maybe even more than girls- the tender age of children is exploited for satisfying sex maniacs,promoting pornography as well as supposedly curing sexually transmitted diseases ! This has to stop.

That is why sex education at schools becomes a must.That is how a child will learn about sparsh- the good,the bad & the ugly.Lest,we forget,we cannot have another incident like Nathari.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Self -regulation.

On 16thSeptember,2009,one of the headlines in the Times of India read that the government expects the pharma companies to do self -regulation.This is real news !

The article went on to state that most of the pharma companies in India are the MNCs which have been fined for gross improper conduct by courts in the US ,UK & Europe.The fine runs into several million dollars as they bribed doctors to change medicines & sent them on foreign jaunts for recommending their products et al.When in the west,the pharma companies can behave so blatantly in violation of all laws which are much more stringent ,how does the State expect that there will self -policing ?Moreover most of the pharma MNCs are at loggerheads with Indian pharma companies as Indian pharma companies make cheaper versions of drugs available to the Indian public.This is a huge loss for the MNCs in the Indian pharma market.There are many court battles being fought about patents & trademarks between the Indian companies & the MNCs over such matters.

With the elections around,it is understandable, that a lot of money has changed hands from the MNCs to the political parties.No political party seems to oppose self regulation in the pharmaceutical industry.This means that the MNcs have cultivated all of them without discrimination !

The Times report stated that the MNCs account for nearly 70% of the Indian drug market.With our rulers allowing the pharmaceutical industry to discipline themselves,this share of the Indian drug market will very soon become 100% !On second thoughts,if there is self -regulation allowed for all -industries,individuals,etc,is there any need for governance ? Obviously,there won't be, as that would be Utopia !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The trust of the Tatas.

I have been watching the TATA tea advertisement for quite some time & have come to the conclusion that Tatas inspire trust in all of us.

The new advertisement by TATA tea is against corruption & so catchy- I am sure,it has caught your fancy as well ! Their earlier advertisement was for registering voters- actually encouraging people to register as voters & they had an online campaign as well.I am certain that many did vote because of the advertisement.The advertisement ran like this "Agar election ke din aap vote nahi kar rahe to aap so rahein hain."

The TATAS are also running SCIP( Second Career Internship Program for women ) for those who left their jobs after marriage,child birth et al.This is the second year for them.I had also applied but as they had got better candidates who fitted the bill,I lost.But mind you,TATAS mailed me their book" The creation of wealth -THE TATA STORY " by R.M.Lala about how TATAS created wealth for a nation.It is a real eye opener -at least it was for me.This year also,I did apply for the said program but again,they got better candidates but they were so nice that they sent me a letter informing about it. I was overwhelmed !

I have learnt that TATAS have been instrumental in reviving the silk weaving industry of Benares & now all staff at their hotels wear benares silk sarees.They started many indusrties & Universities ,etc-in fact, you name it & they were pioneers.The Indian Institute of population Sciences,The Tata Institute of social Welfare,the Tata memorial Hospital,are just a few of the institutions they started & nurtured over the years till the Government took over them.Moreover,they never boast about the wealth they possess as everything is held in the form of trusts.The TATAS truly believe in practicing the trusteeship system advocated by the Mahatma.

So many corporate houses have tried to pretend that they stand for trust but few have succceeeded like the TATAS.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ICICI Bank :Red Alert !

Yesterday morning,I saw this huge advertisement by ICICI Bank clarifying its position visa vis the news paper report which had appeared in a financial daily on Sunday ( 13th September,2009).

We have been doing rounds of banks for getting a housing loan & to tell the truth,we are fed up of the clarifications ,the banks need from us for loan disbursement.Our credit rating has taken the banks 2-3 months to finalise & they are still on the job of evaluating the project,which we are interested in & this after more than 2 months of submitting the papers to them from the builder or rather the redeveloper.I am certain that the builder sorry, the redeveloper is no less a crook but, then, at least, an answer is yet to come from the bank.Our patience is being tested to the limit.

ICICI Bank like others had erred in disbursing loans right ,left & centre during the boom & so, are over cautious, like all banks in lending now, during recession.But does this help ? It is like ragging- the freshers are ragged because seniors were ragged by elder students earlier.It has no logic but the repercussions are there for all to see.So, in this case or rather such cases, wherein, banks are going overboard by not lending money for housing is just not helping in checking fraud.Maybe, it is just giving a complacent feeling to the banks that by refusing to give money,they are safe.It is like closing the stable door after the horses have bolted.Moreover ICICI saysbthat one crore is too minisicule an amount -this is so very true ! How we all have progressed ! Unless the crores are in three digits oops, sorry, four to five digits ,nobody is bothered & so why would ICICI bank, as it is said to be the largest bank in the private sector in our country.Moreover,if people have to remember any financial irregularity, which may turn out to be a scam,it had better be huge lest, people tend to overlook ? After all,public memory will continue to recall gigantic frauds & not dwarf ones !

But, if all the small scams are added up,the result will be a scam which will give all the huge scams a run for all the money involved.This is not to say that we only be bothered about the small frauds & leave the big ones -what I am trying to tell is that there has to evolve mechanisms & procedures which will nip such things in the bud.But nothing of this sort happens-we continue to witness one mess after another -we forget the earlier ones because, we already have a bigger one at the horizon, waiting ,before we can recover from the effects of the earlier one.

Moreover,huge scams make it so convenient for more & more people to share the loot & surely,the shares of the loot will be big too.Maybe, what has been reported is only the tip of the iceberg.Perhaps, more banks have been party to such acts.Let us only hope, that this is not true.

In this case,ICICI Bank seems to have omitted in its duty of verifying the credentials of the persons involved & hence, there is reason enough for suspicion that all is not well.Omission & commission are both equally culpable in law.

Today, the financial daily has issued a clarification about the news report it had published on 13th September,2009.But then, you have to read between the lines- the clarification report is just a quarter of the size of the published news report.Moreover,the news report was on the front page - it was almost as good as a headline.The daily's clarification is on the front page but down & on a side which a reader may easily skip.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Apprapos this news in the Times of India "Flying biz class helps us work better:Pawar"

This is the best joke so far- our ministers would have us believe that in economy class,passengers are constantly interfering & hence no file work gets completed by them.Really,our ministers are in power because of these passengers who voted for them.It is said that public memory is short but our ministers beat us at this as well, as they have the shortest memories.

Our ministers are in all probability, only working while they are on flight & not otherwise - in such circumstances,the protest against austerity is understandable. On second thoughts,many of us would be thankful if ministers excused themselves & their cronies from working as other than abusing and or misusing power,they are good at nothing.Moreover,if ministers are asked to be frugal with public expenditure,we are asking for the moon !They are in that job ( service of the people that is ) for wasting public money -so how can they give up that ? If they do,they will lose the very reason of their existence! Moreover ,we the public who are so habituated to the ostentatious life of our ministers,that in all probability ,we will die of shock !

Earlier,Tharoor & Krishna were told to move from five star hotels where they were residing.Tharoor, of all the people, stating that in Kerela house,there was no gym & no privacy & hence he was averse to shifting there takes the cake.Does he forget that he is holding public office ?In such a case,the rule is no privacy.What about us ordinary citizens,who have no option about moving anywhere- privacy,gym or otherwise because we are grounded on terra firma.

Our mantris want the masses to adore them for votes but when it comes to even a pretense of any virtues,they want to have privacy from it all !

We would like to believe that Tharoor & Krishna paid out of their pockets for the five star stay but, then, are they complaining because, others got away with public expenses for personal gratification ?Moreover,if the likes of Tharoor & Krishna are unable to control their personal expenditure,how can they be trusted with public money.Of course,the reverse, is not workable either, that is, in our country.

We know that there are two diametrically opposite rules -one for the masses & another for the mantris.But we will steer the nation out of this recession in spite of the greed of our representatives as always.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Copter crash.

Suddenly this thought of writing on YSR's death came to me.Maybe, it was not so sudden- it became more concrete on reading an article about his "contributions "to so many "c"s- corruption,conversion, collection of funds for the party,cohabitation with Naxals,etal.

YSR had been warned about the copter that it was in no good condition as also about the weather that was not too conducive for flight but he just went ahead endangering himself as well as others who died with him.But then being a politician,endangering other's lives is just a daily or maybe a perennial pastime for the likes of YSR.But the moot question is, what sin/s had the others committed that they also died in the copter crash with YSR ?

There is no need to state the endless list of crimes committed by YSR for obvious reasons.About the unfortunate people who died because they were accompanying him,there was not even an obituary in the media.Then, why did they have to meet such a gory death ?

I recall a story shown on the idiot box -I forget the name of the serial-Katha or Ek Kahani.The story is about a group of persons stranded on a stormy rainy night under a shelter.The group consists of some four to five men,a child & a woman.The men are abusing the woman as they allege that she is an unwed mother.The lightning keeps striking the ground near the shelter just missing the shelter many times.The men keep screaming at the woman telling her to leave the shelter as they feel that the lightning will next strike the shelter & they will all die.They keep telling her that her sin is responsible for the lightning striking so close . The woman keeps clinging to her child -now the child just breaks free from the mother & goes out to get drenched.The mother shouts & also runs behind the child under the open sky.Just at that moment,a stroke of lightning strikes the shelter burning the shelter to ashes.All are dead, except, the woman & the child.

Almighty has conveyed a message -that the death of so many persons along with with YSR was justified because of the severity & the enormity of the crimes committed. Even Jesus appears to have approved.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The upbringing of a scientist


My daughter has discovered a new love- science.She loves to read her EVS ( environmental science) text book as also the notes.She even adores her EVS teacher in spite of the fact that she is short tempered & raises the cane as also her hands occasionally.

My daughter avidly watches a show on the idiot box titled,"Backyard Science."It is aired on Hungama as well as Disney channels at varying times in the morning hours as also in the evenings.She watches the program whenever she can which is at all the times it is aired.I would not mind this as at least she is watching something sensible but then she starts replicating the simple experiments they have demonstrated on the show.

She is young compared to the teenagers shown on the show but she refuses to accept that & proceeds with the crazy antics.And most often than not ends up crying as she opines that,"I am not able to do that as they showed ."She is forever using scissors,tape,paper,cardboard,sketchpen,etal.Actually,all this scientific experiments are costing me the earth.If you ever are able to watch the said show,you will be shocked to notice that it is very anti green! They seem to be on an eternal spree of cutting paper,cardboard,strings-thin & thick & what have you but my kid thinks otherwise.My kid has also started calling up her dad to apprise him of various things he needs to buy her for her experiments as she finds that I am generally in a non-cooperation mode.This has sent my phone bills spiraling.Also,the mess in which I find the room or rather rooms after the so called exercise in exploration & discovery just makes me scream.My kid believes that her mom is there to pick up all the trash after her experimental forays.

My daughter opines that the show explains various scientific reasons in a very simplified manner. Though I agree with this ,my miidle class attitude blinds me to all good points of the show because of the financial implications .

I have decided to tell my hubby to invest in companies which manufacture paper,tapes,cardboard,scissors,felt pens,et al so that the money which has been spent in buying an endless supplies of stationery is partly reimbursed if not completely.

I am very doubtful of whatever dividends this show will reap for my kid in terms of devloping a scientific temper but I am certain that I have started disliking science with a vengeance.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Death of a terrorist..

Ishrat Jahan was murdered in cold blood is the verdict of the magisterial enquiry.We all should hang ourselves because some police personnel killed some persons who were innocent just because they wanted promotions ! Really,where is this greed taking us all ? The greed to get richer,to acquire more assets,to go up faster et al.

Earlier, one Shaikh was murdered in another encounter in Gujarat by the same set of police officers.The justification being offered by the Gujarat spokesperson is that all these killed people were associated with crime .But is death in encounters the only punishment for any crime even theft or dacoity or extortion ? The punishment ought to be reasonable as against the crime commited.In the said cases,extortion cases also were punished by death & that too without giving any chance to the accused to put up their case.So, there was no trial-just punishment.There was not even a pretence of a trial.

Now,it has come to light that the home ministry ( Central Government ) had filed an affadavit that Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist.All allegations & counter allegations will fly all over but will Ishrat Jahan's family be able to handle all this ? Moreover,the bitterness against Modi & his brand of politics will reach the peak.What all this has done is vitiate the atmosphere for the minorities all the more . They may never trust us for ages to come & we have only ourselves to blame as we watched dumbly as innocents were butchered in encounter after encounter.Actually,the trouble is that there is a very thin dividing line between terrorism & terror by the State .We should, therefore, learn to separate the two & demand that the State implement the rule of law.As Nani Palkhivala used to say so often,"Justice should not only be done but seen to be done."

Monday, September 7, 2009


Last evening during my walking,I met an acquaintance.She had been abroad for the last two-three months.I began my conversation by asking about her trip abroad.She told me,"Well,my trip was just too good.In UK,it was summer time & the weather was just excellent.Moreover as there is no pollution there,I came back with my inhalers intact."She then stated that she was asthmatic.

Now,this lady is a medical professional.But she is the one who will buy & burn the maximum crackers this side of the town.Nobody needs to tell her what havoc the highly toxic smoke of the fire crackers play with anybody's breath-least of all,an asthmatic patient but to no avail.Really,what can you expect from a person who endangers her own health this way ?And that too who is in a profession which is to provide medical care to others ?

This is the same person who is talking about non-pollution in another nation.Really,how can people have such double standards-one for themselves & another completely opposite for others? How can a person expect that others should care about your health when you are yourself exposing your body to dangers ?

For each & every thing, the rule of law does not work.For some things,people have to come forward & do policing themselves.If we omit to do the least minimum tasks voluntarily,then we all are only fit to be ruled by a military junta.

Hopefully, many people are unlike the lady here.That is why,the Indians rejected the emergency.So,let us all come together & do our bit for the society-pool the cars,use public transport ,protect public property, reduce & ultimately eliminate lighting up fire crackers( anyway it is only money going up in smoke literally)et al.This will also stabilize our tax burden if not reduce it.But maybe I am barking up the wrong tree.

All this needs to be done by the upper echelons of our society as the middle class is already doing it anyway.But let us all middle class members remember to continue with all this even as we move up the economic ladder.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Today is teacher's day,the birthday of our ex-President Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.

I think anybody can be our Guru,anybody who teaches us some lesson -even our own life by circumstances it gives rise to as also by showing us examples as we traverse this journey.

While in school,I was influenced by my teachers- namely the English teacher.She was just perfect to sum up all.She taught us with a passion & today whatever I am able to write is all due to her efforts as a teacher.I met her later, when she was the Principal of the school where my kid studied but that was too brief.She had the same enthusiasm for her job even on the verge of retirement.I was quite embarrassed by my kids antics in front of her but she was delighted to meet me & my kid after a long hiatus.I hope to visit her sometimes later when I travel to the metro wherein she resides now.

In college, for my graduation ,I had another teacher who would be amused at my clumsiness in practicals of chemistry but she was rather fond of me.But I disappointed her by just managing a first class. She had thought that I was slated for a higher score.I met her years later at the beach & she was happy to see me with my family. I even met her kids & she looked the same - full of affection.

At the law college,most of the lecturers were only teachers for part of the time.The rest of the time ,they were busy in the courts.But they still managed to inspire us.I had joined coaching for public services exams with one lecturer who was a solicitor also.He was an institution in himself.He taught us taxation & was superb in his subject.Also,he was up to something new & interesting in his classes.I never cleared the public services exams but managed to complete my law.I met him recently & he made tea for me ! Really,that moment -I will cherish for ever.He was kind enough to advice me,"Please never go in for a job just because they are paying well.Think of the people you will be working with."As,I asked for his mobile number,he said,"I never keep a mobile.People call you on the mobile at their convenience which may be inconvenient for us."
I do intend keeping in touch with my gurus till I can.This is so as I think,we all need Gurus to lead us in life.

I am certain,I will meet more people who will be teachers in my life hereafter even though it was never meant to be in that typical guru-shishya parampara.I would like to add a couplet of Kabir on the need for Gurus,"Guru gobind dou khade,kake laagun paay,balihari guru aapne jo Gobind diyo bataye" -Kabir sings"When Guru & God are both there,whose feet should I touch ( first)-the feet of the  Guru, as he ( she ) only made me aware of God."This paean is the ultimate on the prime position of Guru in our lives.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Being a homemaker, does have its own pros-well if you look at them that way.I have started taking more interest in cooking-maybe, because I have nothing else to do.No,but still,I am partial to eating tasty food & since I am old enough to do it myself,I make a go for it.Obviously, I can't ask my mom or worse still, my mom-in law to try their hands at fusion cooking or better still hybrid rasoi.

I am petrified of making chapatis- phulkas are fine, but, the chapatis, wherein, you fold them,apply grease ,sorry oil & then again roll them out is something,I, have not been able to perfect so far.Hence,the dependence on the maid for the same as my kid is only fond of rotis for her dabba.She has refused to switch over to any nashta items like poha,upma,seviayan upma et al.

I am also coerced by my hubby to refrain from using onions,drumsticks,cauliflower,etc in my cooking as he feels these are tamsik foods.Not that I am a very obedient wife, but then, when I have to cook only for two to three persons,I find it illogical, to prepare separate dishes for each family member.Garlic,I have never used so far.

Moreover,my dad suffers from bleeeding piles & so I use masalas in the most minimalistic way.In addition,I have to use oil as if I am doing oil free cooking as my dad is a heart patient as well.Recently,my mom has been diagonised with diabetes & hence sweetness also has disappeared from my dishes.

Now, you may be tempted to ask if my rasoi has any swad ? Well,for that you will have to volunteer & test the food by tasting it.

I have found that dahi & malai can be used with wonderful results.I use malai in pulavs as also while kneading stuffed parathas.Mind you,the malai, I get in my home is the one which is of cow's milk.So, that is almost fat free.I loathe malai & hence, try to use it in dishes where it will not add to the taste except add some creamy texture to the dish.

In upmas,instead of water ,a diluted version of chaas can be used which will make the upmas tastier & tangier.I make upma by using lapsi rava -I prefer the finer variety of lapsi but even the coarse lapsi rava can give good results but, it would cook better in a pressure cooker.I have been told by my north Indian friends that they cook dalia in cookers.

One of my neighbours has revealed a secret-she puts kadipattas in the dal before pressure cooking the dal.This saves vagar oil-you need less oil for mustard & jeera seeds.My Maharashtrian friends have told me that adding haldi & hing to the dal in the pressure cooker gives an excellent aroma to the dal & I have followed their advice ever since.

While preparing sabzis,prepare vagar only with mustard,jeera, urad dal, & dried red chillies .The other ingredients like kadiaptta,green chillies,can be added along with the veggies.Even haldi & hing can be added after the veggies have been put into the kadhai.This way, you use less oil as also the haldi does not get burnt.

I use very little amount of masalas as well.Salt,I try to add at the last just before I have to put off the gas.This is so because,I had read that as the dish nears completion,it needs less salt.Moreover,namak kam is the mantra in this age of high blood pressure.

I feel my rasoi though sounding taste less will get to be the norm -well, for reasons more economic than for health.With the cost of food items aiming for the sky,it makes sound economic sense to use less & less of more & more ingredients,isn't it ?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Years ago ,I had read an article by Bunker Roy, that the more educated we are,the more, we tend to exploit the other lesser mortals.

I am narrating a story now-a present day tale which will raise doubts as to who is exploiting whom ?There is a man who is physically challenged. He is married to a village girl for obvious reasons.His elder brothers-two of them are married to two sisters who are from town & from families who are better off as against the family of the village girl.The in-laws stay with the physically challenged man & wife.The family is fine as time passes & he fathers two sons.But the wife feels inferior or maybe thinks that she has been cheated & starts raising her voice.This leads to frequent arguments in the house & later to physical violence.Finally,the two separate & an alimony of a pittance of five lakhs is paid & the wife goes back home to her village.A part of the deal, is that, the sons will stay with the father & grandparents.So now,in this case who is exploited ? The man or the wife ? What about the kids ? Also,the grandmother is now constantly on her toes taking care of the kids-they have just started going to school.One solution suggested, would be, to send the boys to a hostel from where they complete their education.But the father though working in a bank is not earning so well that he can support an expensive education for them.

In all this,who is to be blamed-the inlaws,the parents of the village woman as they thought an alimony in lakhs would somehow alleviate their poverty? But where does all this leave the kids ? They have to spend their entire life without their mother for no fault of theirs.Did the brothers who got married to the two sisters do nothing to save their brother's marriage ? Moreover,why was a simple village girl chosen for him -so that she would accept everything & not protest ? In such situations,it is indeed difficult, to point fingers & say that one person is at fault.
But such situations,make us understand that we all are perpetually exploiting one another -consciously as also unconsciously.An office acquaintance -between a woman & a man though starts off as a friendship goes on to become a torrid affair.Many times,the man may be blamed for exploiting the woman for seeking sexual favours but sometimes the woman is also game to it whereby, she also is seeking a promotion or maybe she just wants to have fun.But in today's age,the morals of yesterday no longer hold good.But still,the bottom line, must be, not to seek pleasure at the cost of causing pain to others.This is because, if we are cruel to others because they behaved that way ,then there is no difference between them & us.

Sometimes,it is, for our own selfish needs & at other times, for satisfying our egos.We have all behaved as sadists in many situations in our life-causing untold pain,grief & misery to others which in turn comes back to haunt us.

Perhaps,this will end, only, if, we try to be less & less egoistic & think about the pain we will inflict on others as also the consequences of our actions.
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