Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Feludian Slip??

I complete a century of posts with this one and I'll also be hitting the second anniversary of my blog in about a week's time. The journey so far has been awesome and I only have myself and the world around me to thank. Myself, for putting in the effort and sustaining the interest to write and the world around me for providing me with the topics. Of course, I should not forget my dear friends (who also double up as readers)...

Anyway, I felt that this century could be celebrated with Feluda, the Indian Sherlock Holmes. And what I read today, seemed slightly 'deviating from the realms of probability'. In the story 'The Mystery of Nayan' Satyajit Ray writes about the protagonists having lunch in The Mysore theme restaurant of Hotel Coromandel in Chennai. He says that this restaurant specialised in Moghlai cuisine. Donno man!!! But something seems out of place.. what is it?

1. Either I haven't been to Hotel Coromandel and tried out this Moghlai speciality restaurant which means I am out of place


2. Ray mixed things up slightly which would mean that the facts are out of place

Whateva, it does not take anything away from the sheer pleasure of reading this book. I love it, and I would suggest you to check out The Complete Adventures of Feluda, Volume 1 and 2, by Satyajit Ray.

Errata: Apparently I didn't read the story properly. The restaurant hall was called Mysore. Had nothing to do with speciality in dishes.

Dalrymple says....

.........."Delhi was the main theatre of action"

Read this intellectually stimulating interview with William Dalrymple. Check out Dalrymple's homepage.

I posted this blog, just to serve as a notice to all potential (and kinetic) email forwarders who send forwards about the Taj Mahal being built from the ruins of a destroyed temple. This is what one of the best historians says....Read it and please stop forwarding a pack of lies.

Over the last year, I must have received 20 or 30 e-mails saying that the
Taj Mahal is a Shiva temple dating from 400 BC. There should not be a situation
where the intelligent middle class believes this rubbish. And it seems to me
that historians are failing in their duty if, alongside with their detailed
specialist work, they do not provide accounts which engage, interest and teach
people their own history.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Anatomy of a BEST ticket

Courtesy: BPL Mobile's In House Publication

The world is full of things that we don't know. One such thing was the meaning of the different symbols on the humble bus ticket. I got an opportunity to know what each item meant while i was at my mobile gallery waiting to pay my bill. Some of them have been erased from my memory in the course of the last 4 days, but the others are a faithful reproduction of the article in BPL Mobile's in-house publication. (anyone who knows the name, can write in my comments section)

This is for public gyan and applicable only to BEST tickets...

1. The serial number of the ticket

2. The cost of the ticket

3. The number of stops from the point of boarding.

4. The 15 paise surcharge collected in the name of starving Bangladeshis during the 1971 war. Wonder why we are still paying it. Does it go to our poor? If not, please don't withdraw this surcharge, but transfer the donations to help Indian poor.

5. Indicating that you are under the age of 'full' tickets

6. Literally translated, "khaas" means special. Not sure about this, any pucca Bambaiyya may help me out!!

7. Indicates that the ticket has been purchased for carrying luggage.

8. "jodi" meaning connection. Pucca Bambaiyya, ur help is needed

9. the up arrow indicates an upward journey, the down arrow indicates the downward journey

Further info always welcome!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Go West

Got a mail from my firm's partner today with these words:

"Go West, young man, and grow up with the country"

I thought that he had quoted it from the Pet Shop Boys song 'Go West', but turned out, that the history of the phrase is this. I also found a counter article (partially), here.

Albeit, my partner meant it in a different context and I second his views. Well, I am in Bombay, on the West Coast of India. India is growing and so am I...

My day is made!!!! And I need to qoute this

(Go West) Life is peaceful there
(Go West) In the open air
(Go West) Where the skies are blue
(Go West) This is what we're gonna do

The next question is, what will be the western boundaries that I can go upto? Only time will tell...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Secrets, Death and Exposes

Regional literature in India is much more powerful and open minded than what it is thought to be. People seem to have this impression that only English literature has the power to tiltillate, thrill and hold the reader in rapt attention. This is because of the elitist treatment given to English in Indian schools. True, English is essential for survival and should be patronised to maintain our worldwide edge. At the same time, English cannot cover all the social aspects as thoroughly as regional literature can.

I was reading the play Wasansi Jeernani (Tattered Clothes), a play by Mahesh Elkunchwar translated into Kannada by Girish Karnad. It essentially deals with a simple theme of a family, where the father is on his deathbed and the other family members gather around him. The scene shifts from grief to internal bickering and finally to confession mode.

The gist that I gathered from the play was this:

The Dad --> learned scholar, loves his children. Yet, suspects that his eldest son is not born out of his loins, but by the union of his wife with someone else. On his side, he silently desires his sis-in-law (desire in the sense of bodily and through the soul. Also, I am not sure if this female is actually his sis-in-law. I can say with assurance that she is a relative whom he has given shelter after she was widowed). Infact, this desire is manifested by the statement "I was happy when her husband died the day after her marriage". Of course, living in the 'virtuous and moralistic' society of India, they don't go all the way, and silently desire each other.

The Mom --> She is trapped in a marriage where her husband does not ill treat her, but at the same time there is no sexual or soulful joy. She tries to quench this thirst by indulging in a fling with someone else and her daughter is born out of this union. Of course, she still remains unhappy.

The sis-in-law --> She is widowed the day after her marriage. She desires the man who sheltered her, but in the absence of any moves, she becomes close to the children, treats them as her own and thus mentally satisfies herself as having borne those kids.

The eldest son--> A decent chap, not as successful as his dad, but frequent comparisons have disheartened him. Also, his dad doesn't get close to him being under the impression that he is the fruit of someone else's seed. This chap is recently married but has left his wife behind at her parents' place so that she can complete her doctoral thesis. He lives under the constant shadow of self-pity and occasionally doubts the chastity of his wife.

The daughter --> The "najaayaz" aulat (illegitimate child). The irony is that her dad regards her as his own and bestows all love and favour on her. She ends up being a good-for-nothing and marries a mechanic who drinks often and beats her. She is the prototype of the 'ungrateful child'

The youngest son --> A complete wastrel who is neck deep in debt and is worried about repaying it.

All these confessions unfold in the minds of the protagonists as each one sits next to the death-bed. The suspsense is maintained till the end, and I promise, you will have no inkling of whats going to happen next.

The spoiler? This is only for those literate in Marathi or Kannada.....