Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wayne Rooney is Italian

This picture was taken about 3 months ago, just outside the Andheri (East) railway station. The stalls here (and at every railway station) sell food, cell phone accessories, clothes, toys, pirated movies and even vegetables and fruits.
Admitted, this is a terrible photograph. I made my colleague take this from his phone. But the silhouette and the colours are enough to know what is on this football jersey.
To the left, we have the Italian football coat of arms. To its right is a colour saturated print of Wayne Rooney breaking into a run. And for those who cannot tell the difference between Rooney and Pele...there are the words, "WAYNE ROONEY", printed on the side.
Undeniably the worst pirated gear I have ever seen to date.

Saxy Pictures

I spent an hour at the saloon this weekend. Needed a shave that was long overdue. As the barber went about trimming away my sideburns, my cell phone buzzed. (Answering a call can be quite a pain when you are the barber's.) As soon as I took the call, it got disconnected.
My barber noticed my new Nokia E51 and said (in Hindi), "You have such a phone, means you must have saxy pictures on it."
Still struggling to put the phone into my pocket under the sheet, I asked, "Wha?"
"Saxy pictures...", he replied.
"What's that?", I asked again. (I figured what he was referring to. But I wanted to prod a bit.)
"People keep saxy pictures on their phones. But you don't seem to understand, means you don't keep saxy pictures. Let it be."
I figured he was not going to give any funny descriptions, so I ditched my ignorant look, "Oh! That. No, I don't keep that sort of stuff on my phone."

I did not realize the cellular phone has become more of a saxy picture storage device. I guess that was naive of me to do so. But that question of his still makes my chuckle. His friend had given him a Motorola SLVR L7, which had a couple of Hindi music videos and audio tracks. I guess he was hoping to Bluetooth some from me...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fancy a Trickle of Pickle?

Chundaa:
My favourite pickle. If there is anything that I really enjoyed in my childhood, it is this sweet, syrupy, shredded mango pickle. Gujaratis are known for their food....one of the most popular combos being "chundo aney thepla."
I am not certain about how it is made since I used to focus on the finer aspects of consumption rather than that of production.
You could try this recipe out, it also lists what this pickle needs to be eaten with. It does not go well with anything and everything. I still think theplas and puris are the only 'breads' that can accompany a generous dollop of chunda!


Jackfruit pickle or "Kathal ka Aachar":
There seem to be different recipes in making this pickle. Not many have heard about this pickle and many do not even like eating jackfruit. The very odour of jackfruit seems to make them green in the face. Yes, it seems to be a rather unpopular fruit amongst many of my friends.
But I just love the thick fragrance of jackfruit. It is a sticky fruit and a pain to clean. But the fruit is delicious and so is its spicy version.
I seem to find this pickle only during food festivals. The stall is usually owned by someone hailing from Rajasthan and the pickles are mostly stored in — believe it or not — buckets!

A Natural Clothes Horse

I just spent a fortune on a folding clothes horse. A fortune! Even after buying it from a wholesale market! (I had to — after my balconies were boarded up for building repairs — go and get one.)

This morning, I realised that were other alternatives too...green alternatives. We should invest heavily on trees, I think, if not for their shade and 'oxygenating' ability but for their ability to hold wet clothes quite admirably. Don't you agree?

As Microsoft puts it...this deployment is highly reliable, available, scalable and flexible.
And out-of-the-box.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bump! There It Is!

Right outside my office is the main road - the main road that leads to a highly congested commercial area. The very same road has seen heavy reparation work in the 18 months that I have been here. In spite of the repair work, which also involved raising the level of the road almost 12-inches, the road still looks like it has never been tended to. Actually, a lot of the roads in Mumbai look like asteroid hot spots...they play the part of natural speed breakers, slowing cars and buses to a halt, forcing every motorist to traverse over them (or around them) ever so gingerly, so as to scrape the underside of their precious vehicle.

This road, which plays the lead role in my post today, was initially made of tar. The government decided that concrete is a more durable and reliable option. After most of the roads were stripped and topped with concrete, the government started paving the road with cobblestones (paving bricks). I have learned that if this process is not carried out properly the road can become very uneven and literally split apart.
This road is part concrete and part cobbled leading to a star crossed situation. A metro is being built over this road too. It will run along the middle of this road, meaning more construction work, more barricades, more pollution, more traffic...and yes, a narrower and congested road.
Add to this scene, tracks of sunken earth popularly referred to as potholes. But potholes seems to be a mild term to use to refer to these crater-like depressions. A result of shoddy work and second rate materials, these depressions are guaranteed to rattle you to the bone, if caught unawares. But then some wise being said, life is full of ups and downs...I guess the reference was to the roads and not life as such.
(The pictures below, briefly illustrate the plight of the road. The "hole" on the right, used to be a huge crater that formed during heavy rains. It was covered with debris and made matters worse. Recently, the authorities dug it up, made a frame, and left it to set. While they were at it, a second depression, similar to the first, formed alongside. So much for the Shanghai dream.)

Mumbai's natural speed breakers. They are capable of breaking much more.

Easy does it...


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