Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Demonetisation

Monday, November 14th, 2016

So this little kid had earned to dine out by agreeing to do her homework. And she was holding us on to our word. So we three, she, her mom and me promptly drove to a nearby restaurant. Since we only had around 280 Rs between us, the majority being the little kid’s pocket money, we asked the waiter if they accepted cards. He said of course.

We had a relaxing dinner; the portions were just right and the paneer chilli and tandoori chicken were delicious. We finished our food and waited for the bill. Bee kept the card in the bill book, and the guy says, ‘sorry ma’am cash only’!

‘We don’t have any money. We confirmed you accept cards before we ordered the food’

‘But card machines are not working now’

‘Well, we don’t have any money!!’

We remembered the serpentine queue outside the ATM on the way, and neither of us was going to wait there the entire night.

The table next seeing our ordeal called the waiter and asked ‘How much will our bill be?”

The waiter calculated and told them, and the guy began to count the money in his pocket. ‘OK, you can bring the order.’ And we all began to laugh…

The manager says he tried the card machines in all businesses nearby and nowhere it’s working.

‘So what do we do now?’ asks Bee.

‘Pay us in old bills. I can give you 50 Rs change in 1 rupee coins’ says the manager.

We did have a 50 in tens and paid the rest with old 500 Rs note. And that ended our feeling of ‘this seems to be not affecting us that much’.

I now have 2000Rs in hundreds I took out from my office ATM machine. The perks of being an early bird!

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US Elections

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

The world cannot handle another complete idiot in the white house. A US president can change the direction of the world in such a big way, as we saw with Bush. Iraq war over God knows what! And see where it left the world. The entire middle east is a mess, children dying everyday, people jumping into bungees to cross hazardous seas. While the guy leads a happy retirement.

And here’s a real possibility of Trump now! I am no Hillary fan, but if I was religious, I would call my fervent wishes for her to win a prayer.

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Pita Rakshati…

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

I know the greatest older brother in the world,he said.

We are driving to the outskirts of Bangalore, and the kids in the CWC are ours now. My involvement is mostly operational. I do not connect with children on a personal level that easily. However, I do want them to have a tiny bit of a chance at a better life in the future and I am giving my time and money.

We have collected clothes and toys, lovingly sent by many mothers we know, and the kids are happy. In this fast world, the kids I know are never that excited about anything. We have too much money, too many clothes, too few children per household compared to my childhood. When I usually gift a kid a toy, I expect it be forgotten after an hour or so of playing with it. A two year old is trying to make a swing of B’s hand and she lets her. A slightly older little girl, later I came to know she was five, is making sure the kid doesn’t fall.

They are sisters, he said. They try to keep the siblings in the same centre. Jagan is their brother, he shows me the shy eight year old holding a shirt and shorts. Orphaned, I ask. Worse, he says. The mother died, and the father began to molest the elder girl. The five year old kid?!! Yep. And the boy took both his sisters and ran away.

I do not cry easily. He really is the greatest big brother in the world.

I wish a child didn’t have to handle such hard and cruel realities at such a young age. They are relatively safer now, yet not secure. Legally the father still is the guardian, and in this country without proper social services if an aunt gets custody they will fall through the cracks. The only way we know of fixing this, other than changing the system, is make sure they stay where they are and they get an education that will allow them to live an independent life.

Every child here has a story, and hope to transform it with your help. #sponsorme
http://sponsorme.in/

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This is a Man’s World

Friday, March 27th, 2015

This is a man’s world.

I am an individualist. And by extension I am a feminist. That wouldn’t be the first thing I call myself, because I value the individual be it man or woman or straight or gay more than any predefined box. I do not want equality for woman. I want every person to have the freedom to be what he/she wants to be. I do not ever want gender to be a factor.Yet, I am partial to women on a personal level, as in spite of my ideology I also have a sense of belonging to the Group, however unreasonable that maybe.

Yet, this is a man’s world. I am painfully aware of it every day. And somehow many the man in this world doesn’t seem to be the upright individuals I would want them to be. A woman, defined in this world by her gender alone, is forever in a state of bondage. There are the bondages of duty, societal norms and of love. But it is also shaped by fear, and that seems to be a bigger factor than any other. If I had a daughter, I will be chaining her down due to fear. I, who does not care much about society would still be cutting her wings because of the sheer fear for her safety. We see the bigotry every day. If young women walk down the road, there are wolf whistles, and harassment. Maybe not all the time, maybe just once in a lifetime, but the chance of it being there makes many a woman wary of going for a stroll if she feels like it. Women in a strange environment tries to be invisible. Women drivers are harassed on the roads because she is a woman. It is not just those uneducated security guards or drivers. We all saw the Police Inspector kicking his daughter because well, she is his property. Physical violence, and the threat of physical violence, is a great hindrance to a woman’s sense of freedom. It may not always be a direct threat, but passive aggressive behaviour, and you do not want to provoke!When it is you who are being provoked. I wonder when the women decide the provocation is sufficient enough to hit back. This land is lawless when it comes to women’s safety, and only a revolution of sorts can bring it around. There may be laws, but as long as the law keepers share the same thoughts as the culprits, and when everything is chalta hai and boys will be boys and women should know their place, women will forever be prisoners.

But for the time being this unfortunately is the bad man’s world.

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House

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Another misanthrope millions swoon over. The highlight of my day seems to be watching House. Then reading about the episodes. And wondering at the Sherlock connections. Why is the world so obsessed about not so nice geniuses? Intelligence really is sexy. Or is it wishful thinking? To behave the way we feel but cannot in the polite drama that we call life? Maybe it’s the same fascination about Sherlock. Be rude if you feel like it and not give a damn. And be always right. I wish.

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Austen Binge

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I am on a marathon Austen binge. Not reading though. TV series and movies and web series. I started with ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’. I have to say it is really really good, if you are an Austen aficionado. This is a 21st century Lizzie Bennet, doing a vlog of her life. I didn’t much care for the Mr Darcy in this at first, looks-wise. But he is OK once you get used to him.Quite OK by the end of it. But Lizzie was quite the charmer.

Then what would I do, but watch `Lost in Austen`. It is every silly girl’s dream come true. Get into the world of Austen and then let Mr Darcy fall in love with you. It was very interesting, since I didn’t know the story beforehand this time. And the Darcy here was nice to look at, kind of silly at first with his brooding stares but reminded me of Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy. Ah, first love! So I went on and watched that version next.

As if Mr Darcy wasn’t enough for the weekend, I moved on to Emma. This is the Jonny Lee Miller one, and I of course loved it. Anything remotely Austen I love. The things are so perfect and proper and everyone gets their happily ever afters and there are extravagant dance parties and brooding handsome rich men and perfect women. Maybe little girls should never be allowed to read Austen.

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The Krishna Key & Chanakya’s Chant

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

So I have read these books by Ashwin Sanghi. The best thing about the books are the title. They sounded promising. You know, a thriller with the name Krishna Key. But, turned out to be silly little books.

The editing is horrible. Why is it so in Indian books?

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Honda City

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

I always say Honda City drivers are the worst. And today, a Honda City hit my car at a traffic stop.

We had all stopped, and a bicycle rider on the left decided to go horizontal and he promptly went and hit the car in front of me. Then they Honda City behind mine came and hit me. He apparently thought the traffic had started moving. Hello?

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Belur, Halebidu & Shravanabelagola

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Belur

It was heritage tourism on Sunday, with a friend’s German colleague.Reached Belur after 10 AM, after a roadside picnic breakfast. These are the remains of the 12th century Hoysala dynasty, mainly the temples built by a Hoysala king. The carvings in Channakeshava temple are really breathtaking and there are beautiful damsels and elephants and gods set in stone everywhere you turn. The only eyesore is the Gopuram, a later addition by Vijayanagara kings. You also see the statue of boy Sala slaying the tiger here and there, even in City centre(?). Sala was the founder of the Hoysala dynasty, and the temple was built by a Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. I guess this Kannada dynasty is the reason why the police in Bangalore(maybe all of Karnataka) use Hoysala as their name. There is an organised guide system in Belur, and for 200Rs, someone will come with you and tell you a bit about the temple and its carvings. Though he kept adding his own version of interpretation, it was interesting. The queen at the time seems to have been an enchanting character, and there are many sculptures of the queen in dance poses.

Halebidu

Halebidu is around 16km from Belur and at first the temple looked the same as the Channakeshava temple in Belur. This is a Shiva temple though, the Hoysaleshwara temple. There are two large Nandi sculptures, and the carvings seems to have more layers than the Channakeshava temple. However, this is not as well preserved and the sculptures have been vandalized and pieces broken. The horses were missing legs and Nandi had writing on it.

Shravanabelagola

On the way back to Bangalore is Shravanbelagola, which has a 10th century monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, a jain ascetic. You have to climb up the hill to reach the temple and the majestic statue. The temple closes at around 6.30 or so, so you should reach there a bit earlier. There is also a lotus pond on the way, and a temple pond near the foot of the hill. The view from the top is really beautiful

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Pune

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Went to Pune on Independance day weekend. A twelve hour drive from Bangalore, including breakfast, lunch and all nature-room breaks. A very beautiful drive indeed. Must be the weather in August. The places were all green and dark green, like some meadows. Had to pay a helluva lot of money in toll though.

Drive aside, like Pune too. After the chaos of Bangalore, Pune looked spacious and green and under-populated.. ;) It helped that right next to where we stayed, there was a river and a park. There was also time for some relaxed sightseeing and shopping.

Pune City Trip

The first day went in touring around the city. First stop was Shaniwar Wada. It is the ruins of an 18th century palace/fort. The foundation’s still there, and you can kind of picturise the walls and the princesses. It has some cool fountains too, considering how old it is. The only bad thing about it was the municipality people manning it, as they asked for money to park in the free parking outside. We didn’t pay on principle, cause it was so disheartening to see the greed. Went to a paid parking and then to the Ganapathi temple in the city. Didn’t go in as there was a big queue of devotees waiting to get in. There was a tiny Shiva temple outside though, with a Nandi. Next stop was Aga Khan Palace. However, on the way two very suspicious guys in a bike came and told our driver we had to pay 150 rupees because it is army road. They had no uniforms and looked nothing like the army. And the driver said it was not cantonment road either. We said we will first talk to a policeman. Then they told us the police chowki was in some road, and they were gonna lead us to the actual cantonment roads! We ditched them and went on to our tour after telling the simpleton of a driver not to follow them. Aga Khan palace is a pretty house, and this is where Kasturba Gandhi died in 1944. It is currently a museum honouring Gandhi’s life. There are some items used by them and Samadhi of Kasturba and Mahadev Desai, Gandhi’s secretary.

The last stop of the day was Katraj zoo, which the driver called as the snake park. There was a reptile section as well, with some snakes and crocodiles and turtles, even though olive ridley was missing in its enclosure. The zoo was spacious and had a good walk. There are tiny buses and bus stops where you can board them, but the buses weren’t yet operating when we went it. There aren’t as many animals as in other zoos, but it was quite nice anyway. With that we called it a day and went home and watched a movie.

Lavasa & Sinhgad

Lavasa is a planned city near Pune, quite controversial already. It is in a valley surrounded by hills and bordered by a lake. The idea appealed to me, a retirement place nestled in the mountains and stuff. Self-sufficient and serene and what not. However, not a great fan of it now. The buildings are ghastly. They do impact the environment in quite an ugly way. Guess the builders got greedy in between and messed up the chance of creating something exclusive and private and sought after. The drive was breathtaking though, and they have made beautiful roads for us to enjoy the valley, but the buildings! yuck. Had a picnic lunch not far from the valley, near a tiny natural stream. Was perfect. Then we went to Sinhgad, a hill station nearby with a fort on top. We went mainly for the Kanda bhaji(onion pakoda) though and totally missed the fort. August is the best time for the drive, and the places were beautiful and very Westernghat-ish.

Alandi

Next day we went to Alandi, the place associated with Jnaneshwar, the Gita translator and poet. I did not like the temple. I find that temples are not really very clean outside Kerala (Though I did like the Mathura Meenakshi temple), and the river was very dirty too. Still, Jnaneshwar is new to me, and looked him up and impressed. In the evening went to the riverside park. It is also a bird sanctuary, at least in name.

Laxmi Road & Tulsi Baug

Sunday was earmarked for shopping and spent way too much money than I should have. Bought a bunch of cloths as gifts and even some clay flower vases. Then it was time to leave and started around 5 the next morning and reached at 5 in the evening. That is with a long lunch break. A pretty relaxed trip.

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