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September 23rd, 2016

Gardening leave is drawing to a close

These last few weeks of enforced home stay (because my foot was in plaster) saw me spending more quality time than usual with my potted plants.

Taking an evening turn on my roof terrace became A Thing, slowly walking to keep the injured foot a little active.

I deadheaded a lot, and weeded a lot, and generally irritated the heck out of the mali (gardener) a sweet man who much prefers working on my mother-in-law’s garden and veggie patch, than my plant pot collection.

And who can blame him?

A lawn and a veggie patch definitely trump a gaggle of […]

Click to continue reading Gardening leave is drawing to a close

September 22nd, 2016

Fiddling while Rome burns

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Was the expression that sprung to mind when I opened my morning papers today.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Delhi is in a mess these days.

Apologies if that sounds negative, but when a capital city is ravaged by dengue and chikungunya, when two women are killed by stalkers in as many days – all while Joe public looks on, to our collective shame – what do our esteemed city fathers do?

Oh, they change the name of a street, that’s what.

Out “Race Course Road”!

Begone vile name!

Let’s welcome “Lok Kalyan Marg” !

Race […]

Click to continue reading Fiddling while Rome burns

September 16th, 2016

Re-visiting the battlefield

Traditional wisdom has it that Diwali marks the change of season, ushering in the winter and cold weather up here in north India. Diwali is still many weeks away, but the extreme ends of the days are slowly & imperceptibly changing. Improving, in a word.

Early mornings and late evenings are now pleasantly warm as opposed for to baking hot, but the days are still hot hot hot.

For example, it’s only 9am as I write this but I’ve already retreated indoors from my sun filled verandah. Plus I got bitten by a mosquito. And over my morning cuppa, damn […]

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September 15th, 2016

Education. Education. Education (& a lot of punishment)

Where on earth do you start?

How does one inculcate a sense of respect for women in the Delhi police?

Where does all this arrogant, dismissive misogyny come from?

Read this and weep – not so much for the revolting creep who flashed a student in her own kitchen. Sadly, low-life exists in every country. Sick men who flash are not exclusive to India.

Weep rather for the attitude of the cops, the hostel owner (both men) and – even more shockingly – the owner’s daughter-in-law.

[…]

Click to continue reading Education. Education. Education (& a lot of punishment)

September 14th, 2016

Love me, love my dog. (Or not)

A brilliant interpretation of the modern day Indian love story has gone viral here, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into the clash of young India.

Girl’s parents want her to have arranged marriage.

She chats & whatsapps a young man they think is suitable. To quote Karishma:

“It was an arranged marriage set-up. This guy was good to talk to, well-to-do and pretty good looking, but when I told him that I wanted to bring my dog with me after marriage, he wasn’t keen on it.”

Like so: […]

Click to continue reading Love me, love my dog. (Or not)

September 14th, 2016

Cheap thrills, Bihari style

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I do not for one minute believe that the only way to have fun/relax/feel witty/look sexy/sound clever is via alcohol.

Not. At. All.

I enjoy my glass of wine with the best of them, though if the truth be known, sadly age – and increasingly running – have taken their toll on my wine consumption.

Can’t drink and then get up at 5am to go running.

No can do.

And obviously I’d rather run than drink.

Obviously.

But this advice meted out by the Chief Minister of Bihar (who has imposed prohibition in his state) made me smile over my […]

Click to continue reading Cheap thrills, Bihari style

September 8th, 2016

And your Hindi phrase of the day is “khaat chaupal”

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Remember the story I shared with you yesterday, about 2000 string beds getting stolen from Rahul Gandhi’s first meeting with the villagers of Uttar Pradesh?

The occasion was what young Rahul’s PR gurus had termed a “khaat chaupal” and since I’ve a hunch this phrase may well linger in the irreverent sections of the press for a while, I thought we could make it our phrase of the day.

Thik hai?

So, let’s begin.

“khaat chaupal”

Let’s look at “chaupal” first.

A chaupal is a community space in the rural areas of north India – it can sometimes be a […]

Click to continue reading And your Hindi phrase of the day is “khaat chaupal”

September 7th, 2016

The case of the 2000 stolen cots

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Oh dear me.

It must’ve sounded like such a good idea at the time.

You can just picture young Master Gandhi and his chums planning the “look” and the “feel” of his interaction with the Indian peasantry, can’t you?

I have absolutely no idea how it went at all, none whatsoever, but I do have a vivid imagination – and so one sort of imagines them all lounging around in an air-conditioned room in Lutyens Delhi. Young Rahul & his PR gurus.

“You know what, why don’t we place hundreds of “charpois” (the ubiquitous string-bed found in every Indian village) […]

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September 7th, 2016

If you can’t beat ’em…

…join ’em.

Arre! What’s with the boring “join’em” reply.

If beetles are decimating your crops, what do you do?

Yes! You eat ’em.

This is such a great story in so many ways.

Sensible.

Free.

Abundant.

Non-pesticide-y.

Presumably nutritious?

Aren’t beetles supposed to be chock full of something or other that’s good for you? Though, as a vegetarian, AND a squeamish human being to boot, am not sure I could “binge” on these things, the way the Kakoti family does:

view full post » […]

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September 4th, 2016

How green is my terrace?

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It’s been an age since I chatted about my little urban jungle, but ever since I tore a ligament in my foot last weekend, I’ve been spending more time than usual on our Delhi roof terrace.

Every evening, when the day’s heat dissipates a little, I head s-l-o-w-l-y & painstakingly upstairs, and then proceed to walk very slowly round & round & round, since I’m under doctor’s orders to walk – despite the plaster cast.

I can’t face walking on Delhi’s non-existent pavements (aka footpaths here) which are so encroached upon that one has to walk on the road. Given […]

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September 4th, 2016

Cute bald story from rural India

A feel good story about a politician for a change, folks. Here is a cute story from Madhya Pradesh, the state that is (as its name implies) in central India.

I love the notion of a politician using simple, amusing analogies to get his message across.

Shabash Mr. Arya!

And, yes, he is indeed bald – see:

Anyone who champions the cause of water conservation and the need to plant trees

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September 3rd, 2016

About that front page ad starring our Prime Minister

So how does this work exactly?

You ask the Prime Minister of the country to feature in your full page ad on the front of the leading English language daily?

And you pay him?…or do you?…do you suggest the fee?…or does the PM specify?…or does he do it for free?…does he donate the fee to charity?…

Gosh, the possibilities are endless my friends.

I’d be fascinated to know the logistics and the protocol behind this.

And yes, of course, I’m only human, and so

view full post » […]

Click to continue reading About that front page ad starring our Prime Minister