Friday, February 26, 2010

Tales from the kitchen

Thou shall never overestimate thy culinary skills!

Thoroughly disregarding this rule, two men (one doggedly coerced) set foot into the kitchen with towering ambitions, one bent to prove to the other his prowess, which was famously non existent! A great deal of preparations went into the making of an elaborate mezze pla that would have put even the finest of executive chefs to shame!

The younger one, expressed his doubts over what he considered was an operation waiting to be botched, but the elder would have none of it! Alas, the former was quickly silenced. So he shouldered the dubious plan in the thick of distrust and the worst of expectations!

Soon came the big question; how would it be done? Phone calls were made to an unsuspecting lady who was in the midst of recuperating from an affliction. The younger man on one end, wanting to soften the blow on the lady, suggested exercise of caution to the elder accomplice, as he knew the possible psychological after effects on the lady who considers her kitchen so dear. After all, the experience of having co-ruined a priceless Pyrex dish, many years ago, still lingers fresh in his mind!

Finally, after explanations were sought, in what was extensive detail, the plan was put to happen. Fire lit, concoctions readied and condiments dispensed with the supposed precision of a druid's exercise, hope soared high! But hope, as is the case in many instances, lasted momentarily and came crashing when the kitchen was soon awash with a burnt foul odour!

After all of the mess that ensued, the duo could not have expected horse d'ouvres, canapes and wine on the menu, could they?

You can well imagine the characters in this cast, though I dare not mention them by names or suggestive indications! I shall leave that for you to discern!

Moral of the story - Thou shall never overestimate thy culinary skills!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inside the home and mind of a Josephite

Following my earlier post on a visit to my alma mater - St. Joseph's school, in Coonoor, this is set of pictures, among the many, that I took on that day!

And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune, then the piper will lead us to reason!
-- Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin, 8 November 1971

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young,  In a world of magnets and miracles,
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary, the ringing of the division bell had begun! 
-- High Hopes, Pink Floyd, 10 October 1994

How I wish, how I wish you were here. 
We're just two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, running over the same old ground. 
What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here.
-- Wish you were here, Pink Floyd, 12 September 1975

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one 
-- Imagine, John Lennon, 11 October 1971

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition, there's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon, though down this road we've been so many times
-- High HopesPink Floyd, 10 October 1994

Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
-- Mr. Tambourine Man, Bob Dylan, 22 March 1965

I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone, I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone 
At night I could hear the blood in my veins, black and whispering as the rain!
-- Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen, December 1993

The grass was greener, the light was brighter, with friends surrounded!
-- High HopesPink Floyd, 10 October 1994

And we'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph, sail on the steel breeze! 
-- Shine on you crazy diamond, Pink Floyd, 15 September 1975

And a new day will dawn, For those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter! 
-- Stairway to HeavenLed Zeppelin, 8 November 1971

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking, 
racing around to come up behind you again!
-- Time, Pink Floyd, 1973

Yes, there are two paths you can go by.
But in the long run, there's still time to change 
The road you're on! 
-- Stairway to HeavenLed Zeppelin, 8 November 1971

How everything still turns to gold 
And if you listen very hard, the truth will come to you at last 
When all are one and one is all! 
-- Stairway to HeavenLed Zeppelin, 8 November 1971

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tipping Point

A world that follows the rules of epidemics is a very different place from the world we think we live in now.

Think, for a moment, about the concept of contagiousness. If I say that word to you, you think of colds and the flu, or perhaps something very dangerous like HIV or Ebola. We have, in our minds, a very specific, biological notion of what contagiousness means. But if there can be epidemics of crime or epidemics of fashion, there must be all kinds of things just as contagious as viruses.

Have you ever though about yawning, for instance? Yawning is a surprisingly powerful act. Just because you read the word "yawning" in the previous two sentences - and the two additional "yawns" in this sentence - a good number of you will probably yawn within the next few minutes.

Even as I am writing this, I've yawned twice. If you're reading this in a public place, and you've just yawned, chances are that a good proportion of everyone who saw you yawn is now yawning too, and a good proportion of the people watching the people who watched you yawn are now yawning as well, and on and on, in an ever widening yawning circle.


Excerpts from the acclaimed Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which is a highly intelligent and articulate account of how little things can make a big difference!

For those of you who are interested in understanding trends and the undercurrents that make them as powerful as shockwaves of an earthquake, this is the book to get hold of!

So, what really, is the Tipping Point?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Out there on your own

Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.

-- Hey you, The Wall, Pink Floyd, 30-11-1979

Some memories last forever, and the pain lingers on like an inevitable habit embedded in the deepest recesses of the mind.

Mistakes can never be forgiven and are like cracks on pot china, it's pieces smartly stuck together with a binding adhesive but the cracks still very visible and existing! Sometimes I wish, I could travel back in time, as envisioned by H. G. Wells in his famed Time Machine, but that hasn't come to be, yet!

I'm amazed at how emphatically people state that they have no regrets in life. Can life, ever, be so perfect like a clean slate? I wish mine was too, but that remains only a wish at best.

In the end, when they say that nothing else matters, I'm comforted by the adage that "some of the worst things in life are intended to make one better and not bitter."

Friday, February 12, 2010

On the road to neverland

I'm on a journey, in search of something I do not know - a something, I'm not sure I will be able to find, ever! It is a quest that has long endured the vagaries of time and taken my mind to meander in the most unusual places that a thought can lead it to. It is a journey that seeks to draw a pattern of the myriad things that happen and discern the reasons for such happenstances - simply put! Hardly an easy task, I suppose.

It is quite like walking endlessly to seek what I believe are the pieces of a missing puzzle, the picture of which, sadly, is very fuzzy, yet strangely compelling. Often, I'm left with nothing more than exhaustion as a result of this chaotic pursuit that the mind is made to gallop for. Yet, on other occasions, I feel that there is an instant connect with something unknown, unexplained, however strong.

So, I'm searching for answers, much like how Wolverine aimlessly wandered in search of the account that would tell him of how his physical self came so much to border that of a mutant - terribly accidental though! Except here in real life, I do not have a fancy film-like ready reckoner to turn to and draw inklings from!

So I turn to silence, and chaos, the trees and the wind, the mountains and the water and still find little consolation in the hope of finding an answer - while also realizing that the search could well be futile and is perhaps ordained to be so! Quite a comfort in such a thought I rest with, momentarily, before the urging drive takes over again.

The night sky in all its glory, bejeweled by a billion stars, comforts me immensely, by which time I've lost all courage and determination to continue my aimlessly maddening pursuit. Undoubtedly, there is a strong connection. For as long as I'm gazing at the stars and the comforting expanse of the night sky, I feel soothed and forget that the hours of darkness will eventually give way to a bright new day - one that will see me scurrying in search for answers, I do not know what to!

And then, in the end, it's just me, by myself, on the road to neverland! 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dirty Ooty

I'm enraged at how miserable the topography of Ooty has become! It is so full of shit that I am entirely justified in using the expletive here without having to seek any apologies from you for having done so.

How else can one explain the absurd and utter disregard of the much touted scenic environment that has, over the years, come to be known as the "Queen of Hills?" Well, the tagline is surely a misnomer, a myth rather, for now there is no queen, and her hills have long been grotesquely molested by the establishment of innumerable clusters of repulsive settlements that threaten the very ecosystem that houses them!

Now, there are a dozen or so forums that claim to be painfully distressed at the rapid scale of deterioration that Ooty faces, but not one of them has come any closer to implementing as much as the first step to mitigate the damage. I doubt they ever would! And about the Executive, the less said the better.

Simply put, my being infuriated will not reverse the current state to a desired one, neither will the so-called concerted efforts of a certain group of crisply attired, hot-shot, jet-setting, supposedly committed-to-the-cause professionals!

So, I'm better off being irate, or so I believe - talking about sense that is! What do you think?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Happy Birthday Mum

Mother, can I run for President?

-- Mother, The Wall, Pink Floyd, 30-11-1979

To you who raised me

I offer this thought

It is something I learned

Without being taught

In all the world

There is no other

To take the place

Of my dear Mother!

Happy Birthday Mum! You are the light of our lives, now and forever!


Lines composed by Regina Graham

Monday, February 01, 2010

Speak to me

Run, rabbit run. 
Dig that hole, forget the sun, 
And when at last the work is done 
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one. 

For long you live and high you fly 
But only if you ride the tide 
And balanced on the biggest wave 
You race towards an early grave.

-- Speak to me, Pink Floyd, (Dark Side of the Moon), 17-03-1973

Small towns are wonderful. They are small, easy on you and foster a sense of bonding like no other. Throw in good friends here and life is truly blissful, of a kind that will probably not be experienced even in the most sophisticated metro due to its haphazard lifestyles and constant 'on-the-move' designs mostly as a result of the maddening rat race!

So today, when 49 of us got-together to watch the much reviewed 3 Idiots, followed by a good session of cheerful exchanges and hearty laughter, we were doing just the thing that we ought to be doing - celebrating our long lived associations that hold tremendous respect and love for one another, by the grace of God!

To me this is more pleasurable than pub-hopping and once in a while getting togethers, which are largely at a professional level due to one's organizational and official affiliations!

How many of us do some serious introspection about the quality of life we lead and the outcomes of such schedules?  Do we assign enough importance to happiness which needs to be the central aspect of our lives? Perhaps not, as a result of which we suffer the consequences of our ill construed actions!

We alone are responsible for the manner in which our lives progress - good or bad. We alone stand to take the blame or deserve the credit!

We alone are the dark side of the moon - or the brighter one!