Saturday, November 14, 2015

How time does fly!

Seriously, I was under the impression that my previous post was published just a couple of days ago - but's been over a week already! And what do I have to show as accomplished for the week? Not particularly much, unless you want to include watching the new James Bond movie "Spectre". Which, to be fair, was absolutely the best paisa vasool ("money's worth", in Hindi) movie I've seen of late.

Other than that, I've dragged myself to work every morning, then simply RACED back home in the evening - believe me when I say that I have boulders tied to my feet in the a.m, which turn into angel feathers when it's time to go home!

So that's been my last few days. Hardly enough to scrape into a post, is it?

Friday, November 06, 2015

Home is where the stranger is?

A funny thing happened today on the way back from work. 

No, really, it was funny! 

I was standing at the pedestrian crossing outside my workplace, waiting for the little green man to appear (would have been a little white man *snigger*, if this was set in the States), when a guy pushing a whimpering little girl in a pram came up. She may have been 2 or 3 years old, and very cute. I smiled at her and said "Are you feeling sad?". 

Her dad only then noticed that she was whimpering, so he bent down and asked her what was wrong. She didn't reply, just whined a bit louder. He tried to comfort her, saying "We'll be home soon, sweetheart, and you can tell mummy why you're sad." 

That really turned on the waterworks with increasingly louder cries of "No no no". Rather at his wit's end, I suspect, the dad said "What IS it, Emma? What are you saying No to?" And his sobbing daughter said "Don't want to go home!" Then she looked up, pointed at me and added, just to make sure he understood: "Don't want to go HOME, want to go with HER!"

Hmmm... methinks dad's going to need to start the "stranger danger" talks fairly sharpish with that young lady! 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A confession

Remember the post where I wrote about how I was cruelly disillusioned by Gerald Durrell and his Jersey Zoo? This episode sort of followed on from that disappointment, because I was still determined to do something nice for animals and demonstrate my support for conservation - even if Gerald would never find out about it. However, being penniless and gormless, I didn't quite know what I could do or how to do it. 

Then I saw an ad in a magazine for the "Beauty Without Cruelty" organisation (they make ethical cosmetics that don't make use of animals for research or incorporate extracts of dead animals in their products) and was immediately impressed. They offered, for the princely donation of 20 rupees, a subscription to their magazine and various other enticements that I can't recall now, with the added attraction of helping to save endangered cheetahs or leopards - or perhaps it was tigers. Some sort of big cats, anyway. 

I don't know if you can guess what I did next. Because I had no money (the idea of pocket money was light years from being a twinkle in my dad's eye), I "liberated" the subscription amount from my mother's purse (or dad's wallet? I'm not quite sure) and sent it off to Beauty Without Cruelty. Not for a moment did it occur to me that this was stealing - I considered it a justifiable act because the money was going towards a good cause. After all, I wasn't spending it on library books. 

Anyway, eventually a large package arrived for me, causing a lot of surprise all around, because I was normally not the recipient for anything the postman delivered. I opened up the package in great excitement (alas, another disappointment, because the magazine wasn't what I was expecting, and the accompanying bumf was just more appeals for donations, forms to fill and so on. There really wasn't that much to show for the 20 rupees that the organisation had received).

Also, I was busted. 

Once my parents saw the contents of the package and the letter thanking me for my donation, they of course realised what had taken place. I thought I was going to get a bollocking for taking the money, but somewhat to my surprise, my dad wasn't mad. He asked where I'd got the donation amount from, and I had to confess that I'd simply taken it, pointing out pathetically that I'd only wanted to do a good deed and I didn't think that was wrong. He was silent for a moment, then he said quite firmly that I was wrong, what I did was wrong even if it was for a good cause. Especially because it was for a good cause. The end, he said, never justified the means if the means were shady. 

I made a promise that the next time I was overcome by the urge to generously donate someone else's money to charity, I would first ask their permission. It was an unnecessary promise. That urge never returned.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Ditch the fish and try the fry

Ok, nonsense headline, I know. We'll just ignore it and continue with the rest of this post, ok?

So I was reading a book today and came across the phrase "other fish to fry". It's a perfectly common expression and obviously I've not only come across it but - drumroll - I even know what it means. Mensa level brain, of course. Until today the phrase has been ordinary enough that I've not felt the urge to write about coming across it. But today... today was different. Today, right after I read the phrase, a random thought rocked up to my hitherto quiescent brain in relation to the fish that were apparently lined up to be fried. And it was good. The thought was this: the phrase "other fish to fry" is all very well for pescatarians in particular and non-vegetarians in general... but not really suitable for vegetarians and vegans, is it? So many things nowadays are geared to cater to the latter two categories, but it would seem that the language of idiom has not really moved with the times. 

Any, as they say, hoo - a second thought then occurred in quick succession to the first one, and it was also good. The thought was this: how about coming up with alternatives to the fishy frase - er - phrase? That way there would be food-related idiomatic expressions suitable for use by vegetarians and vegans when they want to imply (or state outright) that they have other important things to do (than the original thing they tried to do but embarrassingly failed at). 

Here goes, then:

- "other vegetables to boil"

- "other varieties of rice to cook"

- "other (eggless) cakes to bake"

- "other meat-substitute proteins to fry"

Do feel free to add your suggestions too - they will all go into the idiomatic pot and enrich the language stew. 

PS. Yet another thought has just occurred to me (yay! Hat-trick!) - we should root out other such non-veg expressions and make suitable vegetarian alterations. No, I can't provide an example. I've exceeded my quota of thoughts for the day.