Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Wedding"

I’ve been musing a while now, on why celebrities bother getting married, when invariably they get divorced in a year or two or three. Sometimes it only takes weeks or months before “true love” gets defenestrated and the “eternal soulmates” part ways, heartbroken for a couple of days, before popping up with the next “true love”. There are a few exceptions to the hordes of quick-marriage-quicker-divorce… although, haha, nobody but Tom Hanks comes to mind at the moment. (He IS still married to the same woman - whoever she is - isn’t he? I’m not up-to-the-minute on Hollywood gossip.)

So ok, why do they go to all the trouble of spending millions of dollars on glitzy weddings, when the statistics – personal and general – are proof that the marriage will not last longer than it takes for the next candidate to be lined up? Could it possibly, possibly be the triumph of hope over experience? (That's the uncynical way of looking at it.) Or - this is favourite with me - is it that they will do anything, up to and including having a baby and naming it something bizarre, just to be in the public eye?

Not being a celebrity, I wouldn’t know if fame is really addictive, even though a very large part of it consists of negative comments, gossip and intrusion in private lives. I also cant imagine wanting to live in the public eye all the time (that actually sounds painful for the public eye, but what do I know), but then I’m a private person and don’t like being the centre of attention at all whatsoever. I cant state that strongly enough. But I do like to think that even if I were rich beyond my wildest dreams, and – god forbid – in the limelight for any reason, I would still consider marriage sacred and not a multi-million-dollar publicity stunt.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another award

At this rate I'm going to have more awards than I can count on... er... one finger. (No, not the rude American finger.) But now it's nearly more than I can count on TWO fingers. (No, not the two rude British fingers either.) Ah, let's just say I'll have more awards than I can count :)

This one - the BFF Gold Card - from A Mommy's Diary

Many thanks, Mommy! :)

And the BFF Gold Card award from me goes out to...





Thursday, September 25, 2008

Continued from previous

So, I'm not in any way defending the heinousness of killing a child - a handicapped one at that.

However, there are a couple of things that puzzle me somewhat. This mother is said to have bought a bottle of wine and driven around for 8 hours. She made a bottle of wine last eight whole hours, AND got drunk on it? Or did everybody forget to say that she made more pit stops for more wine in those 8 hours?

Also... there have been worse cases of people being tortured and murdered horribly, in maximum pain. Their murderers seem to get away with pleading "temporary insanity", thus escaping a life term in prison. They might spend a lot of time in an asylum, but they manage not to go to prison. Why is that? How come the juries in those cases dont think the murderer should spend the rest of his natural life in prison? Was it just the jury's collective horror at a little girl being killed by her own mother that brought about such a quick verdict? Why does the murder of adults not give rise to the same sort of horror? They would have suffered too. Horribly, in some cases. (Just the thought of it makes my heart grow cold.)

There are murderers who have killed for no reason other than a whim. Joanne Hill might have been driven by a combination of factors - mental, physical, emotional - to killing her daughter... in my eyes she would have been more deserving of at least an objective attempt at trying to understand her state of mind, than someone who killed a stranger out of lust or greed or some other dark reason. I dont think I'm being particularly coherent here, but I cant seem to collect my thoughts to make a more convincing point. I'm not even sure what I feel about Joanne Hill - she killed a helpless 4-year-old disabled child, her own daughter. And yet... I cant help wondering what drove her to it. I dont believe it was something as trivial as embarrassment. It might have been ONE of the factors, but I cant bring myself to believe that it was the main one.

Oh, I dont know. I suppose it's just that justice seems to have been TOO swiftly rendered in this case, whereas it's taken its own time in other cases of rape, torture and/or murder that to me seemed more open-and-shut than this one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Puzzling statement

I’m not going to comment on the tragedy of the 4-year-old disabled girl being drowned by her mother. What could I say that hasn’t been said, or thought? The mother has been sentenced to life in prison. End of her story as well.

I was just intrigued by what the girl’s father said:
"It has been said in court that Naomi suffered from cerebral palsy. This is not true; she did not suffer at all. She lived life to the full and was an inspiration to us all.

“Naomi took everything in her stride and enjoyed everything. She was my constant companion; she was my best friend. She was my little princess."

I was with him... right up the point where he talked about his daughter being his “best friend”. An inspiration she could well have been. A happy child as well. Pretty too. His little princess, certainly. All within the bounds of possibility. But - his best friend? A 4-year-old child with cerebral palsy, best friend to her father, a grown man? How did that work?

I genuinely cant imagine considering any child my best friend - especially when he/she is really only a little child - however much I might love that child, and however much time I spent with said child. I havent come across any parent describing their little ones in those terms. But what do I know, I'm not a mother. Or a father.

So this isn't the most thunderingly important topic to choose for a post. But that statement puzzled me, and I didnt have anything else to write about, really.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why a public loo, George?

What is it with George Michael and public loos? He was caught “in a lewd act” in a public loo in LA, and now he’s gone and got himself arrested for being in possession of crack cocaine – again in a public toilet.

Granted that it’s been 10 years since the LA loo episode, but my question is – what’s this fetish for toilets? Does ol’ Georgie not have a home where he can indulge in lewd acts with whomever he wants to his heart’s content, without offending anybody? Or where he can do drugs without getting himself arrested? Public toilets can't be the most hygienic of places, so wouldn't it be a lot more comfortable for him in his own toilet (or toilets) in his £5-million-pound mansion?

He’s old enough to understand that public toilets are… well, y’know, public. He’s old enough to know that doing drugs is wrong at best, and illegal at worst. He should definitely be jailed for being in possession of a Class A drug, and no pathetic “show of remorse” should work for him – although the police HAVE let him off and he’s left the country, so it HAS worked for him, and I guess there’s also no point saying he shouldn’t be let off.

However and anyway - he SHOULDN’T have been let off!

Still, cant help wishing I could have seen him live in concert – I did (do) like a lot of his music. Bar that barf-inducing “Last Christmas”, that is. It's really the world’s WORST song for inclusion in Christmassy song collections. Has anyone actually listened to the lyrics? The only bloody connection with Christmas is the word “Christmas” ... otherwise there is effing nothing else to do with the spirit of the season.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jumping the queue

I cant remember now where I read it, it was a while ago. But it was some advice from one Indian to another in the UK, about how one could get to be seen by NHS GPs quicker than the norm (the norm basically being at least a week of waiting for an appointment). Basically, the advice was to see a specialist privately (yeah, paying for it) and then, because the specialist would eventually refer you back to your GP, further appointments with the GP would be easy because you were referred by a specialist. At least, that’s what I think the idea was, if I remember right.

I thought it was a pretty good idea, and mentioned it to Pete as an example of ingenuity.

He agreed with the ingenuity but said it seemed unethical to him because it was like “jumping the queue” – yes, it got you ahead, but made it a longer wait for other people who couldn’t afford to see a specialist privately, that being the reason why they were in the queue to see an NHS doctor in the first place.


That certainly put things in a different light – I hadn’t thought about the consequences of that bit of ingenuity, and now that I’m better aware, I’m not about to abuse the system. Sure, I don’t like being unable to see a doctor on short notice (unless you go to the A & E section of a general hospital) – it’s annoying that if you’re ill you cant turn up without an appointment, and hope to be seen by a doctor.

I don’t like being ill, and I hate the idea of my loved ones being ill, but the bottomline is that nothing makes me and mine (or you and yours) more important than all the other people out there who are suffering or watching their loved ones suffer.

It also made me wonder – was that advice indicative of a typically Indian (or Indian sub-continent) trait to sneakily get around what is essentially a fair – though slow and cumbersome - system and use it for personal benefit, never mind everybody else? I’m certainly not proud of the fact that I thought the idea clever at first – it probably damns me as much as anyone who’s actually done it.

So… is it ingrained in us to be inconsiderate of other people, and cunning in our mentality, because we come from a poor and hugely overpopulated country, because of the yawning divide in prosperity, because of the corruption which means that only those who have money can get ahead, and those who dont are left to suffer? What is it that makes us take that attitude everywhere we go?

I do NOT mean that people from other races/ethnicities are blameless angels of goodness and rectitude – certainly not that. But this indifference to other people, at the most basic of levels… is that a typically Indian mentality?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Invitation"

A big bed, soft - yet not so soft that it sags in the middle – and comfortable.


700-thread count cotton bedsheets with the ends tucked tightly under the mattress so that the surface is without a single wrinkle.


Three or four fluffy pillows filled with goose down (not feathers that can – and do - stick their sharp ends out and poke you painfully at random and in random places) and wearing butter-soft cotton covers, piled up at the head of the bed.


A big, soft fluffy duvet or comforter, also filled with goose down and wearing a cotton cover similar to that of the pillows.


An electric blanket.


A cold, wet, dark winter night.

= ??????

I might not be good at conventional maths, but I DO know that all the above add up to an invitation to spend the evening in bed cuddled up with a good book, prior to sinking into blissful sleep...

THAT'S my kind of maths.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Coffee"

That expression “Wake up and smell the coffee”? To me, it’s literal. There’s not much that smells nicer than freshly brewed coffee in the morning, but I’m not so much a fan of drinking coffee as inhaling its heady aroma. I think coffee smells much better from the outside than from the inside, as it were… when it’s stale, it’s horrible, whether it’s in a cup or on somebody’s (or your own) breath. Don’t get me wrong, I do drink coffee and I do like it – but I like it made the South Indian way, with fresh decoction, if it’s at home. If I drink coffee outside, it’s only Saravana Bhavan’s, although I haven’t had that in years now… *sighhhhhh*

What about *Starbucks?

What about it, then? Call that coffee???

*(Although I admit to drinking their mocha light frappuccino (sp?) once in a while.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

An observation

The subconscious mind is a sly, devious thing… it dislikes the cold and would much prefer that you stay cuddled up under the feather duvet where it’s warm and cosy, especially when it's the middle of the night. So when you have to answer Nature’s call, it does its sneakiest, most convincingly insinuating best to make you dream that you ARE on the loo and that it IS okay to answer that urgent call right there… sneaky, I tell you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WTF??!!??!?!? moments...

Family of lawyer Mark Saunders, shot dead by police, go to court

“In the aftermath, Mr Saunders' family questioned why the barrister was shot when, they say, he was not posing a lethal threat.”

The man was taking pot shots at all and sundry – not just at the police – with a shotgun (though, admittedly, legally owned) through a window of his house in which he had barricaded himself. With a shotgun, folks! What exactly would his grieving family have considered a lethal threat? A bazooka?

Ok, Mr Saunders didn’t kill anybody but that was probably more due to their luck than his judgment. Had he not been shot, who’s to say that he wouldn’t have potted a neighbour or a police officer or some passing pedestrian? If he had harmed somebody, people would have been up in arms (forgive the unintended and feeble pun) condemning the cops for not shooting him.

Yes, a deranged lawyer died… but at least nobody else did.


Lembit Opik gets on his scooter to argue for change of law

Segways look like fun and I’d love to try one out (or own one), but to say that they would be perfect to ease congestion in London is ridiculous! Has anyone thought about what the footpaths are like in London? Not exactly smooth, not exactly wide, not exactly obstruction-free… heck, the only things narrower than the footpaths are probably the roads (I exaggerate a bit, but not by much). Will two Segways be able to go side-by-side on the footpath without inconveniencing pedestrians who DON’T have a Segway? There will inevitably be the sort of a**holes who will overtake those who are traveling slower than them - what if they bump into a pedestrian? The Segways look sturdy enough to injure somebody in a collision, and 12 mph is pretty damn quick compared to someone who is strolling or walking along. Oh, and if they’re “virtually silent”, do you, as a Segway user, say “Beep beep, coming through” all the time that you’re on the move?

Segways would be great fun in villages and suburbs which are comparatively quiet. I rather wish I had one myself. Maybe I’ll give Santa baby a little hint…


Skeleton in Britney Spears' family closet

“…details emerged of a secret scandal buried in her family history that would have overshadowed even her well-publicised personal troubles.”

Oh. My. GOD! What a scandal – Britney Spears’s great-grandparents were living in – *gasp* – sin in the 1920s. Perhaps that accounts for Britney's “loose morals” and carelessness with her baby (driving with the baby in her lap – what a scandal, way worse than people who
break babies’ spines, and so on) and generally erratic behaviour.

Isnt that right, editor of The Times? What could possibly be more scandalous than the news of Britney Spears’ great-grandparents’ supposed “life in sin” in the 1920s!

Actually, the most frustrating part is that the newspaper had to make the more “scandalous” news prominent when those long-dead folks could just as easily NOT have been living in sin. What’s the difference between a two-bit gossip rag and a newspaper nowadays? Just the size of the sheet, then?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Miracle"

My life thus far has been amazingly devoid of miracles and events miraculous. I can’t say I miss them, because how can you miss what you’ve never experienced? By “miracle”, I don’t mean generic ones like “being alive and in command of all my senses” (except the common one… but I prefer the exotic, in any case. Common is SO boring), “feeling the gentle breeze caress my face” (more like a cold fish in the face at the moment, what with all the rain and wind), “delighting in the fragrance of flowers” (said flowers at present shredded by above mentioned wind, but still...) and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all the faculties I possess, and I thoroughly enjoy every minute that I can see, hear, speak and think, and yes, I do appreciate all the glorious bounties of Nature. I don’t take any of these things lightly.

But, miraculous as all those things are, they are still not the sort of occurrence that I expect from the word “miracle” as defined in the dictionary:

"1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God."

Given that I’m not really superstitious (except in the dark of night when I’m alone, heheh) and have not had my (dis)belief in things supernatural and/or divine tested in any practical way, I’m not even sure that I would recognise a miracle if I came across one. I can only hope that when I do, it wont be one of those subtle occurrences because I just don’t do subtle. I’ll need it spelt out beforehand… unless, of course, it’s something unmistakable, like if I were to voluntarily and spontaneously start doing algebra or geometry problems…

Hang on - actually, although extremely unusual, even that wouldn’t qualify in my books.

But if I were to get the answers right... yee-up, right there, that would be a miracle.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Whoa, nearly missed my award!

*sound of thunderous applause, or as much as can be generated by one pair of hands - mine*

Thank you, thank you so much for my award. Of course, I could not have done it without the support and backing of my computer and keyboard and of course I have to thank my typing master from long ago without whose sarcastic mockery I would never have learnt typing, and if I hadnt learnt typing, this award could never have been mine. Yes, mine! MINE, I tell you MIIIIIIIIIIINE! I'm not giving it away! I DESERVE it after all these years of being ignored and passed up for awards because of the envy and jealousy of a LOT of people whose names I cant remember but when I do, boy are they going to regret setting me aside especially as now this award is mine mine MIIINE and nobody can take it away hahahahahaha... who are you people? Your white clothes are SO not in fashion... Where are you taking me?... I wont go without my award, because it's MINE!... oh, it's going to be in a safe place along with me? ... where nobody can steal it? In my own room? No hard or sharp surfaces to damage my award? oh, okay, I'll come with you. But I'll keep my award with me.


Thanks very much for the award, Rads. :) I really enjoyed giving my acceptance speech - I've been prepared all along for an occasion like this, you know. You can tell, cant you? :)

Now, some more about the award itself -

Purpose of the award:

This award is for blogs whose content and/or design are brilliant as well as creative. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogosphere.

This is a difficult task for me, not because I cant think of any brilliant blogs, but because pretty much all my favourites have already got the award!

Anyhoo, here goes, and if you've already got the award, just consider yourself twice as brilliant, folks! :)

1. Kamini Dandapani at
Tales of South India - a gorgeous lady who lives in NY, travels the world and writes beautifully about her travels, about music, dance and pretty much anything she takes up. I, for one, cant help wishing that she would write more of her excellent short stories...

2. ??! at
This Is A Title - a skinny guy (I'm inferring, I dont know him although I wish I did) whose writing is profound, funny, perceptive... and who's put on 4 kilos in two months and is happy about it - the lucky so-and-so!

3. Merino, at
Orange-a-Whelmed - She takes some of the most beautiful nature pix I've seen - especially her macro ones, they're breath-taking. She's also got the cutest little nephew...

4. Gopal, at
Gopalsworld - Ok, he's my brother, but I'm not biased when I say that he writes really well and is very very funny. His (in)frequency of posting is what his fans grumble about - one post a year doesnt cut it, da!

5. Shruthi, at
Hallucinations! - Writes beautifully about anything and, as a bonus, once in a while she describes what her adorable little one-year-and-a-few-months old daughter gets up to. I hope to meet them whenever I'm in India next.

6. Umm Oviya, at Quite Qatar - Journalist, mother, ex-colleague, who writes eloquently, and very readably, about a lot of things.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "How I met my..." and "Somewhere"

Two weeks' worth of scribblings this time. Computer problems at work and at home to blame for the tardy offerings.

"How I met my..."

perfect red leather backpack
– not too small, not too big. It was just right for me (and, elsewhere, in a situation totally unrelated to this one and with regards to something else entirely, for Goldilocks too).

It was a long time ago, but I still have very fond memories of it. It gave me sterling service for years, and I took it everywhere – to work, to class, to the gym, on short breaks, on long breaks, just about everywhere. The leather was fantastic quality too - soft as butter but durable, and amenable to rough handling.

I was studying German at the Max Mueller Bhavan at the time, while working as a sub-editor in the Indian Express. A lot of Indian companies dealing with their German counterparts (and vice versa, too – it was always better to be recruited by a German company because they paid so VERY much better!) advertised their requirements for translators and/or interpreters at the Bhavan. I did a few impromptu translations (but alas, was too shy to ask for payment), but thought interpreting might be somewhat outside of my capabilities.

My German teacher, however, thought differently... he thought I needed the practice! He pushed me to apply for a 3-day stint as an interpreter at the annual Leather Expo in Madras, which showcased the leather products of Indian manufacturers/exporters and attracted quite a few German leather importers. Much to my surprise, my application was accepted by an Indian company. So I took three days off and presented myself at the Expo on the opening day.

I was quite nervous at the start, but apparently my job only involved sitting at the company’s stall and answering questions posed by any German businessman who might happen by. Once I found that my ability to understand/respond in German (helped by the fact that usually the Germans spoke fairly good English!) was reasonably up to the mark in real life, not just confined to the classroom, I began to enjoy myself. When things were quiet, I wandered around the other stalls and looked through the garments, bags and assorted leather products on display there. There were items I'd never seen in any normal leather shop in Madras, and the quality of everything at the exhibition was excellent, because they were samples of items meant for export. The manufacturers could not display any but the very best of their wares.

The Expo itself was meant mainly for businesses, so the first 2-1/2 days were not open to the general public. Naturally, when the gates were thrown open to the hordes on the afternoon of the last day, there was always very nearly a stampede. No surprise, considering the export quality of the items and the fact that they were available at huge discounts.

I was, however, given my status as interpreter, spared the necessity of being shoved around in the teeming crowds. No sweaty pushing or irritable shouting or claustrophobic aggression for me, because I had the privilege of reserving the two items that I wanted (and could afford). Watching a dozen people try to buy them, and being told “Sorry, those are reserved” afforded me many sweet moments. It was such a novelty to be on the privileged inside track, rather than be the one unprivileged person amongst all the rich witches.

So on the evening of the last day, after the carnage was over and there were only the carcasses of the stalls left – apart from the reserved items – I went over to my special particular stall and presented myself to the salesgirl there (whom I’d befriended with great difficulty, spurred out of my normal reserve only by unadulterated greed) along with the princely sum of Rs 400. That was Rs 350 for my beautiful red leather backpack and another Rs 50 for an equally gorgeous red leather waist-belt with two zipped compartments. It, too, was just the right size - not too small nor too big.

(That waist-belt needs a whole other post, but I’m not going to bother. Anywhere I went traveling, it went with me. As a paranoid traveler – I HAVE to check every five minutes that my passport hasn’t unaccountably vapourised, for instance - I kept my passport, travel documents, money, pen and lip balm in the belt around my waist, and I was good to go anywhere and everywhere. I didn’t have to check the whereabouts of passport or money as often – although I have to admit to checking every so often that I still had the belt itself! – and it made me a much more relaxed tourist.)

I used that red leather backpack, as I said, for years… until it somehow got a great big oil stain on the front. I would have carried it around anyway, but for the objections arising from my family and friends. As for the red leather waist-belt, it was left behind somewhere on a trip and irretrievably lost by a sibling who shall remain unnamed (although he knows who he is… heheh). Come to think of it, I'm not actually sure that the same sibling was not responsible for the oil stain on my backpack as well. Oh well, both my beauties are long gone now, but the memories remain!



(... over the rainbow? No, not really. But it was the first thing that came to (my) mind. You can blame Little Orphan Annie for it.)

Somewhere… somebody is unhappy, suffering, hungry, thirsty, torturing, beating, cheating, hating, killing, crying, dying…

Elsewhere… somebody is happy, laughing, enjoying, breathing, singing, creating, loving, flying, sailing, picnicking, living…

I’m here and there and, maybe, getting somewhere. But I know where I’d rather be.