potatoes and peas in tomato sauce, with roti and buttermilk (yoghurt thinned with water, flavoured with cumin)
dosai with two chutneys: coriander-coconut, and peanut (the black specks in the chutneys are mustard seed, not to be confused with the blue dots on the plate)
As an Indian citizen living in New York, do you see the U.S. as a force for good?
No. Islamophobia has completely raged in the Western world since 9/11. Americans are only given one very biased point of view about the Islamic faith.
You seem to be suggesting that Americans view all Muslims as terrorists.
Living in New York, we never felt foreign. After 9/11, we felt foreign.
Have you been mistaken for a Muslim on the streets?
Last time I checked, Muslims looked like every other human being. My parents are Hindu, and I married into a Muslim family. I would be happy to be mistaken for a Muslim.
... We are sure your car will give you years of trouble free motoring pleasure to you & your family.
As part of our endeavour to continuously provide value added service to our customers, we have initiated a chauffer training program specially designed for your chauffeur. This aim of this training program is to enrich the driving knowledge of your chauffeur in areas of vehicle knowledge, driving habits, safety feaures, maintenance schedules & self-help. Experienced staff will conduct the training of 04 hours duration...
Meat-eaters soak up the world's water
A change in diets may be necessary to enable developing countries to feed their people, say scientists
Governments may have to persuade people to eat less meat because of increasing demands on water supplies, according to agricultural scientists investigating how the world can best feed itself.
They say countries with little water may choose not to grow crops but trade in "virtual water", importing food from countries which have large amounts of water to save their supplies for domestic or high-value uses.
With about 840 million people in the world undernourished, and a further 2 billion expected to be born within 20 years, finding water to grow food will be one of the greatest challenges facing governments.
Currently up to 90% of all managed water is used to grow food....
"The bottom line is that groundwater levels are plummeting and our rivers are already overstressed, yet there is a lot of complacency about the future," the IWMI report says... (more)
The cost of building the [Chepauk] palace and keeping the ever-so-popular, generous and gracious but ambitious Nawab Wallajah in the lifestyle he wished, was enormous. And to meet his requirements, he borrowed heavily from the sahibs of a Fort where private trading was rampant...
The Carnatic Debts was one of the major scandals of the 19th Century and the debate in Parliament, with Edmund Burke leading the eloquence, is reported to have been one of the high points of British parliamentary history. The British Government eventually agreed to settle the multi-million pound debt in exchange for the title of the Carnatic, which stretched from southern Orissa to Cape Comorin.
The age of empire had begun - as did, in time, a special treaty arrangement honoured to this day by the government recognising the Prince of Arcot and the Carnatic Stipends as a special arrangement in the Indian polity.
|Twice I tried to draw a bicycle with a coffee dispenser on a platform on the back, but twice its owner moved it away. I saw: a cycle-cart piled with tomatoes. A bicycle carrying a sack of cement, which the rider and another man dumped in front of the clinic, next to a deep hole right beside the narrow steps to the front door. They must be digging a borewell. An auto-rickshaw, parked across the narrow street.|
|In the lobby, a strange motto over the reception desk, in the centre of a clutter of posters and calendars related to medical products and health procedures. Artificial black-eyed Susans in a china vase.|
|A framed picture of Shirdi Sai baba with his hand raised in blessing, lean and austere, with a white cloth tied around his head and a trimmed white beard. The picture was hung with a sandalwood garland and a string of dead jasmine flowers.|
A website has been designed and created containing a brief history on the Nawabs of the Carnatic, in South India (1690-1855 A D). The Nawabs were the sovereign and independent rulers of this part of the country.
Nawab Mohammed Ali Wallajah, who ruled from 1749 to 1795 AD of the second Carnatic dynasty which traced its lineage to the second Caliph of Islam, Omar Bin-Al-Khattab , distinguished himself eminently in South Indian history by his vast and unforgettable contributions to civil society. Nawab Wallajah stands out as the epitome of religious tolerance and nobility.
The website narrates historical events and developments from the times of the first Nawab of the Carnatic, Zulfikar Ali Khan (1690 AD) up to the present descendant, the Prince of Arcot.
When was the last time you saw a cinematic shot in a movie that was held for five minutes? Let's not even talk of television: I doubt they hold their shots for more than thirty seconds at a time. Too much money involved for all that lyrical shit. Besides, people get uncomfortable with silence, and with looking at the same thing for "too long". So, faster, faster, edit, jump, cut, channel surf, fade out.
We went to say good-bye to our land.
We stood for a while in the cashew’s shade
before flinching back into glare.
We walked the road we had built
past casuarinas, beachgrass, to the sea's edge.
Shells like bleached fingernails.
Holes in the sand where small crabs hide.
On the way to the car, bones:
a long curling horn,
its surface papery as a wasp's nest.
White shards half-buried. Old news,
not enough to make a whole of anything.
I picked up a vertebra's eroded torus.
That was all. It was empty land.
The reactions of political parties such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were mixed. Although animal sacrifice was not acceptable to them, they questioned the wisdom of seeking to end an age-old practice by the mere enforcement of a law. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), felt that the move was unwarranted. Puthiya Tamizhagam, a Dalit party, demanded a ban also on yagnas conducted by caste Hindus at the mainstream temples constructed and run under agama rules. During yagnas, gold coins, diamonds, expensive silk sarees, ghee and foodgrain are offered to Agni (fire) as `sacrifice', the party said. The Dalit Panthers of India (Viduthalai Siruthaigal in Tamil) saw the ban as an interference in the religious rights of the oppressed people and called for an agitation to protest against it.
Dalits and people belonging to backward and most backward communities, for whom animal sacrifice is an integral part of worship, expressed their resentment in no uncertain terms. Within days of the order, devotees in several parts of the southern districts went ahead with the customary practice at the local temples in defiance of the ban. August-September is the time of the annual or biennial `Kodai' festivals at these temples, and the mood among these people was one of anger, despair and defiance…
The process of Brahmin accommodation to ancient Tamil religion has been described by George Hart (in The Poems of Ancient Tamil) in the following terms:”It must be remembered that, to the ancient Tamils, sacred forces were dangerous accretions of power that could be controlled only by those of low status. When the Brahmins arrived in Tamilnad, it was natural for them to dissociate themselves from these indigenous forces and to characterize themselves as ‘pure,’ that is, isolated to the greatest possible extent from polluting sacred forces; indeed, if they were to gain the people’s respect, they had very little choice. It was also natural for the Brahmins to characterize the gods they introduced as pure and unsullied by pollution… It follows that the Brahmins had to adopt from the high-caste non-Brahmins many of the customs whose purpose was to isolate a person from dangerous sacred power.”
The idea that the sacred is dangerous and potentially polluting is undoubtedly ancient in the Tamil area, and there is every reason to believe that the Brahmins who settled there came to terms with this idea in a manner that guaranteed their own claim to purity. But it is noteworthy that within the Vedic sacrificial cult itself we find an evolution away from contact with the dangerous forces of violence and death that are at work in the sacrifice. This development has been described by Heesterman in terms of the emergence of the pranagnihotra, the ‘sacrifice of the breaths,’ as a substitute for the original blood-sacrifice… The entire ritual is internalized, with the result that the actual slaughter of a victim is eliminated. Death and destruction are relegated to the chaotic world outside the individual performer of the ritual (just as they are made to rest beyond the confines of the sacred shrine in the Tamil myths)… It is this transformed tradition that was imported into south India, and that both crystallized and ultimately reinterpreted a local myth of violent sacrifice. Yet we shall see... how vital and enduring the underlying myth has always been, and how quickly the religious ideology superimposed upon it crumbles before the inherent force of the ancient symbols.
Beyond the Blue - II
Here are some dos and don'ts once you land in the U.S.
Please get used to saying, `Please' and `Thank you' frequently. Any request needs to be prefaced with a `please', and upon receiving it, a warm `thank you' is the absolute expectation. You come from a country where you have heard scores of times the words "Don't be so formal", making you believe that the closer the friendship, the lesser the formality. Perish this thought, instantaneously. You are going to a place where even a two-year-old cannot ask his mom for a glass of water, without being gently prompted, "Didn't you forget something?" Apologising comes in this list too. So start practising.
Americans are fussy about personal cleanliness. Body odour makes them shudder in disgust. Personal care products such as shampoos, deodorants, dental floss and mouthwash are multi billion dollar industries. Put these down on your shopping list and use them liberally and frequently.
Start thinking in pounds, quarts, gallons, inches, yards and miles. They really don't see the necessity to join the rest of the world, which uses the metric system. It is a similar story in respect of temperature too. It is Fahrenheit in the U.S. and not Centigrade!
Here are a few more quirks. This time it is words that you have always used that meant something, but don't make any sense or the wrong sense in the U.S. A lift is an elevator and you fill gas in your car, not petrol. Start thinking of a gas station, instead of a petrol pump. You rent an apartment and not a flat; you mail something, and not post it, using the right zip, not postal, code. There is no STD code (acronym for sexually transmitted diseases), only area code; your car has a hood and trunk and not a bonnet or a boot, or a dickey. Jelly is Jell-O and jam is jelly!
Don't be shocked if someone asks you, a college kid, about your school! If you are in your Master's programme you are in Grad school, otherwise you are an undergrad. There are no freshers, only freshmen; no boys and girls but young men and women! Don't ask for a rubber, what you want is an eraser. One takes a shower, but relaxes in a bath, and clothing is not generically referred to as "dress". Only women wear a dress, the rest of the items are mentioned by their specific names. And the list goes on; this is just a peek!
First come first serve
Make sure you always stand "in line". They strictly go by the concept of first come first serve, no matter who or what you are.
Do you remember the picture of Bill Clinton (during his Presidency) standing in line at a McDonalds hamburger joint, waiting his turn? As informal and friendly as they are, be prepared for direct, honest communication; absolutely no ambiguity here. If you are invited to someone's home for a meal, do take a small gift with you and offer to help with the clearing and cleaning of the dishes. Punctuality is a must. It is not fashionable to arrive late. Brush up your table manners and be silverware savvy.
You might find people there quite ignorant about their own part of the world. Don't be shocked. You are going to a country, where an impressive number of people wonder if they need a visa to go to New Mexico! If you are wondering about the same thing, find the time in your busy preparation schedule to look at the map of the U.S. of A! Happy journey!
Senior British bureaucrats, members of the judiciary and military officers founded the Chennai Club in 1832....The first home of the Madras Club was at the end of Clubhouse Road and is now the property of The New Indian Express, a splendid Georgian building, handsomely pedimented, pillared and verandahed which is still an impressive sight. It had started out as a Mr. White’s residence and was developed into the building it is now over a period of fifty years. A guide should be able to show you where the racquet courts were, the Roman baths-type swimming pool, the Octagon that was the smoking room, the handsome billiards room and library, and the ‘hen-cote’ where wives and daughters had to wait for husbands and fathers. The Madras Club was, for over a hundred years, very much a “men’s only” institution, with women being permitted only on the very occasional special dinners (any meal in the Club in those days was said to be memorable. It apparently served the finest food in India!). With membership decreasing after World War II, such a vast property was too much to manage and was thus sold to the Indian Express Newspaper group....
Strange ritual designed to 'please the gods'
A thousand devotees cracked open coconuts on their heads on Tuesday as part of an unusual southern Indian festival called Aadi Perukku.
The ritual, which is more than 30 years old, is meant to please the goddess of wealth. The devotees - men, women and children - travelled from all over southern India to the Mahalakshmi temple in Karur, Tamil Nadu state, the UNI news agency reported.
Not all of the participants were brave. Only those willing to have the priest smash a coconut on their heads were allowed into the central area of the temple.
Police said a few devotees were injured and bleeding from the head.
Suede-soft discs on a white plateDried apricots, Indian:
easy, spread open to the gaze.
Their taste bursts on the tongue:
The thermonuclear snack!
A sun in every bite.
Dusty small round dull-coloured. They are sweet, but you have to fight for them: flesh clenched around stone. Break the stone for the hidden nut. They teach the sweetness that doesn't come too easily.
Kashmir Women, 1948
Kite thread injures motorist after entangling him
CHENNAI: A motorist was injured on Sunday when the thread of a stray kite wound around him as he was riding with his wife and child near Triplicane, police said.
The thread of the kite was of the kind called maanja - one containing powdered glass. The glass would be ground into fine powdered particles and mixed with an adhesive. This would then be applied all along the thread. This makes cutting the threads of other kites during competitions easier.
The police have banned the use of maanja as it was life-threatening. But the rules are flouted and the use of maanja is commonplace. Two previous incidents in the recent past have left two persons gravely injured and one dead, but things have not changed.
‘‘Use of maanja has been banned. But even ordinary cords are dangerous. Kite-flying activities have to be curbed at public places...."
Main maut se nahin darta – maut mujh se darti hai!
I’m not afraid of death – death is afraid of me!