Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don’t Know, Unsure, No Idea

What do you do whenever you are faced with uncertainty? Do you live at the mercy of destiny, do you blame god? Do you blame yourself for the situation you are in? Alternatively, do you console yourself that things will get better? It is very strange but people have given me mixed reactions when they are faced with this situation in their lives.
It is easy to react when you battling tough times. The pessimists usually begin getting used to the situation and hope for the worst without really doing anything about it. However, day-in and day-out they do not miss a wink to curse god or their destiny. The optimists keep striving and wading through the tough times hoping for things to turn better by the day. However, what do you do when you have no clue about where you will be or what you will be doing? It is understood that the future is unknown however, take a hypothetical situation where you are working in a particular organization, which has a good progress plan in place, and you know that you will be employed with the organization doing a particular work. Now imagine yourself working at a place where everything was going fine and suddenly thanks to the various changes or changing economy, some decisions are taken where your future seems uncertain. Although ambitious plans are put in place, your role or your position is not defined or clear. What do you do?
I am sure people go through these situations in their personal lives as well. Recently, I saw a serial where the husband of a very close-knit family was actually found to be a serial killer. The family had no clue about his dark side and thought of him to be the most loved husband and father. Suddenly, one day their future, which seemed so secure and great was engulfed with uncertainty. The most respected family in the neighborhood is shunned for life. There was so much of uncertainty and I shudder to think if something like this happened to someone in reality. The thought to ponder on was the lives of the family belonging to the security officials who live is uncertainty forever during emergencies. At a local level families of people travelling by local trains in Mumbai where the probability to being thrown out of the train is 2 on five or that of being blown to bits in a bomb is once in two years have learned to live at the edge.
I often think are we prepared for this. Again, for myself I am not sure. Are you?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Global Khane ka Tadka

Being a south Indian the standard veggies cooked by my mom when I was a kid were bhindi, red pumpkin, cauliflower, red-eyed beans, dal, suran, tendli and brinjal. Thankfully, we are non-vegetarians so chicken; mutton & seafood were also occasionally cooked (especially on Sundays). Even the spices were standard nothing innovative. Gradually as mom started expanding her friend circle, some cross cuisines were cooked at home but again very very safe dishes i.e. food to suit the taste buds of our typical south Indian family. My parents never encouraged us to eat out as a result of which street food was alien to us. I remember the first time I tasted paneer was at a reception party of one of our family friends. We were awed by the texture and taste of this new food.
As time passed by thanks to the advent of new channels, my mother started experimenting with new dishes & slowly we had new dishes on the menu. Paneer became a part & parcel of lives. North Indian savories like gajar ka halwa, mapluri, sevai kheer were applauded at my place. These were followed with chats like sev puri, pani puri, bhel & food from various states. Non-veg dishes like Biryani, fish tikka, chicken tikka and Kheema kept getting better by the day at my home. Believe me life was never better and I thought to myself, India is really blessed we have so many varieties of food here. Little did I know that I was in for a big surprise! My introduction to international food was Chinese which was soon becoming a rage.
However, the real experimentation with food began when I started working. I got an opportunity to taste global cuisine ranging from Italian, continental, Mexican, Lebanese & others among few. The first one I had was the classic roast chicken. Believe me it was heaven. Then I tasted chicken quiche, stuffed chicken, fish-n-chips, fried squids, pastas, ravioli’s, shwarma, satays, roasted duck etc. The best experience that I hate to love is when I had sushi. The very thought of having raw fish deterred me from venturing close to any sushi counter. Nevertheless, I told myself what the heck! I need to try this. When I put it in my mouth, and started chewing, I could feel the slimy fish meat melt in my mouth, but at the end of it, the flavors and texture of the entire combination was awesome! I must say I hated the thought of having raw meat…but loved the experience.
For all those who are deterred to try new cuisines, taste it this once if and only if you have mentally prepared yourself. Honestly, you need to enjoy the food and if you have apprehensions, the beauty of the experience is lost. Take that leap and don’t hesitate to visit places that offer global cuisine. Enjoy the world of food.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall……

Whenever you see people fall, what do you do? Sympathize with them; give them a lending hand or atleast call for help. Do you know what I do, I LAUGH hysterically. I often feel ashamed at my reaction, but simply cannot help it since my entire biology reacts naturally in that way. Does that make me a sadist? Does this make me a low-lying life? Does this mean that I have not humanity left? These questions keep hounding me. Therefore, I decided to unravel the truth behind my instant reaction to this and guess what the truth was astounding.
When I discussed this with one of my professor, he suggested that there could be various theories. Some could be related to an incident in my past, which triggered funny memories because of which I laugh. The other theory could be probably since I have a photographic memory, where I am able to visualize or relate the incident to a very funny episode, my natural instinct or reaction is to laugh. Therefore, I began addressing the problem by first understanding ‘what do I do when I see someone fall’. It is really funny but imagine you having a call out in your head just like Laxman’s cartoon where you see humpty dumpty (as a cartoon figure) falling exactly the same way the person has fallen and developing a big ‘lump’ on his head. This is what happens to me whenever I see someone fall and guess what the laughter follows instantly. Therefore, I know the truth now and I can safely say I am HARMLESS and very much HUMAN.
Thought of sharing some instances where I have laughed my guts out.
During college, few of my friends were walking down the stairs at the railway station when one of my friend slipped and fell few steps. The funny part was she did not tumble but fell on her bottom and slipped four steps. I couldn’t help but laugh my life out. It’s a different thing that my friend gave me one tight whack after that. We are still good friends though.
I used to share a workspace with another college at my earlier organization. This was when he was a new joiner and I used to seldom speak to him. He used to occasionally ask me for help, IT related, and I used to help him out too. He had this nasty habit of leaning back on his chair when he used to read intensely, and I mean lean dangerously. Therefore, one day I was busy with my work and I heard a thud! When I turn to him, guess what I see, two feet in the air. I mean imagine the sight, an five feet ten inches tall, 85 Kg man lying on the floor with his feet up in the air. Gosh! that was the sight to see. Being the person that I am, I started laughing so much that I found it difficult to extend a helping hand to him. Somehow, I did and after he got himself together, and got a chair to sit on, I ran to the rest room. I was stuffing my dupatta into my mouth to prevent myself from laughing. I confess that I felt like a pathetic sadist that day. However, I really really felt sorry for that person.
I often think, Does anyone in the world behave like this? Is this normal? My professor says it’s absolutely normal, you are a good person. It’s just that some funny memory that triggers your reaction, ‘So don’t worry’. Just try moving away from the scene since the possibility of you being beaten-up is higher if you laugh.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soul Mates…..

My mum always says that dad is her ‘soul mate’. Never really understood what she meant by that though when I was younger. Probably because we always associate a husband, lover, boy friend in short people of the opposite sex or for that matter, your parents or siblings for whom you are ready to die for as your ‘soul mate’. However, over a period, I have realized that a ‘soul mate’ is nowhere related to blood relations, love or intimacy….surprised? Well thought of sharing a good examples maybe then you could identify who your true ‘soul mate’ is.
In Mangalore, a city in Karnataka, a simple girls Sharadha went for an interview. There were a slew of people waiting to be interviewed. Since this was her first interview, she was a bit nervous, her anticipation grew as she seen the disgusted look on the faces of the people coming out of the interview room. Just as she was about to get up and leave, a young chap came running into the lobby and sat right beside her. He was gasping for air, she offered him water. Muttering something to himself, he took a sip of water and then thanked her. They sat next to each other for 15 minutes without giving each other even a glance. Finally Suraj, the guy, broke the ice and told Sharadha that he had just come from his third interview . Stunned Sharadha asked him ‘Third? Gosh how did you manage, aren’t you like tired or something?’ to which he replied, ‘I am in need now therefore have to always be in high spirits & expect the best . We are at the beginning of our careers its just about getting the foot in, rest will follow’. Sharadha was quite impressed. She told herself what the heck, I will give the interview. Later, both were interviewed and rejected as well. Both shared their numbers and then went their separate ways. Now whenever, Sharadha was down or depressed, she would speak to Suraj. He was one person she would turn to if she needed advice or boost up her morale. Whenever Suraj wanted to share something or discuss work, it was always Sharadha. The relationship bloosmed so well that they developed some sort of a telepathy for each other. They were always there for each other. Surprisingly, they did not meet even once after that interview. Even today, both are happily married to their respective spouses, but whenever they need any help or assistance, they are there for each other. They both admit that they never loved each other but knew that in the whole wide world if there was someone who would come to their rescue, it was either of them……is this what you call being a ‘Soul Mate’?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ande mein kheema an absolute feast for a foodie!

I remember being invited to my friends house for dinner where I kept looking at this snack which looked so yummy that I wanted to dig into it the moment I laid my eyes on it. This was what she called 'Ande mein kheema'i.e. boiled egg stuffed with kheema. I prepared the dish myself at home with a little bit of variation and re-named it 'Shyam Savera'.It was a very simply dish but am sure it will regin over anyone's tastebuds for life.
I make kheema the regular way but ensured that it was super dry. Then I took some hard boiled eggs scooped out the yolks & mashed them together with the kheema. Now I took some boild potatoes & added some green chutney into it along with some salt & dry roasted jeera powder, mashed it well & kept it aside. Now i took the egg whites of the boiled eggs, stuffed it with the kheema, then made a thick coating of the potato mixture and made it look like an egg. Then i dipped it in well beaten eggs, rolled it in bread crumbs & deep fried it till golden. Served it with mint chutney...and walah! Shyam Savera is ready to serve....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Two hours a day? Enough to Educate the world in a Better Way

Conserving your energy & time and utilizing them in the most effective manner is the biggest challenge we face in our day-to-day life. One among the challenges we face is the freshness of our clothes. Accept it or not perfumes and deodorants are not good if you have to travel through pollution, or crowded modes of transport. You can take care of your skin & hair but wearing a bandana or scarf. You could even protect your feet by wearing socks or protect your leather shoes by coating it with a layer of petroleum jelly. However, what can you do to protect your clothes is a question we have preferred not to answer. So the maximum time is taken up by laundry since I have to soak the clothes, then wash them in the machine, after they are rinsed I have to rinse them again in bucket of perfumed liquid to look and smell good….two hours of my day are down the drain. Phew! I have often thought that if I had these two hours, I could definitely contributed to make the world a better place to live.
Thanks to the cutthroat competition, children have stopped understanding the concepts and prefer mugging it up. Their reasoning power has gone from bad to worst. If had those two hours, I would create short videos of simple ways to help students understand concepts. Parents could use this as well who regularly teach their kids. For example in mathematics if you understand what is given, what needs to be found and apply the formula (which is usually related to what needs to be found) life could be so much easier for students. Alternatively, help the student understand how to understand and remember the complex formulas of chemicals in chemistry. This will be a website or blog site will be purely for students and will be free of cost.
Imagine the difference I could make in the life of students who cannot afford to enroll for expensive tutoring classes but have the capability to make it big. Imagine the places across a country like India you could reach through this initiative. Moreover, parents who want to spend quality time with their children but do not have time to go through the books, could use this as a ready reckoner by them thereby saving a lot of their time. The interesting result is the bonding between them, which seldom happens these days. If as a parent you can make the life of your child easy, they will obviously reciprocate.
If I create one video per day, I could have 365 videos per year. Every student could login and educate himself at the click of a button. I am literally enthralled with the thought that being a part of this initiative will help me create a generation of efficient & intelligent educated youth rather than simply educated ‘degree holders’.
But ..sigh! only if I get some time off from my household chores.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chance pe Dance!

All the hue-cry over jacked up meters by rickshawalas sure made them realize their folly. For a change, I realized that my travel from Andheri to Bandra which would usually cost me about 140 rupees cost me about 120 now! Long distance travel suddenly seemed affordable.
I remember a conversation with my friend when we were traveling by a rickshaw during the meter ‘scam’ issue was at its epitome. My friend said ‘Its high time the government regulates this. This gundaisim must end. How much more should we suffer yaar’. I was surprised when the rickshaw driver barged into our conversation and said,’ Kya madam. Garib ke pet (stomach) par kyo lath mar rahe ho?. Aapko pata hai ek richshaw ka license ke liye 35000 rupees hai upar se mahengai kitni bad gayi hai. To uska wasooli ke liye apun logo ko magajmari to karna padega.’ Donno what triggerd, but my friend, who otherwise is quite cool headed, lambasted that guy. Her answer was mind blowing. She said, ‘mahengai sirf tum logo ke liye hai kya? Humara salary bada rahta hai kya? Agar hum company ko bole bhai mahengai bad gayi hai humari pagar bada do ya fir hum office ka saman bech kart ode paise jama kar lenge to chalega kya? Kayde se kam karne mein sabki bhalai hai aise chance pe dance nahi marneka.’ I was so impressed. It’s very difficult to argue with them since they are literally like hoodlums. But my friend nailed it.
My happiness however was short-lived. Now that the government has got its share ‘am very sure some union or neta must have had an under the table agreement’ everything has gone to square one. Today when I traveled by rick, I had to shell out 142 rupees. Clearly knowing that I have paid approximately 15-20 bucks more, I couldn’t do anything. The feeling of helplessness is extremely demoralizing for anyone. That is precisely what I felt. Am sure after reading this, you will agree with me that – some things never change!