Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diggy Digs Deep – Musings of a misunderstood genius

Courtesy -

It has been a busy month for me.  Managing smear-campaigns and weaving conspiracy theories is not an easy job.  But I am “tyre-less” and not a stepni as that retired sanyasin, Uma Bharti would like to believe.  I left no stone unturned to make Rahul Baba’s birthday party truly memorable.   Dressed up as a clown, I jumped from behind the curtains and sang Happy Birrrrthdayyy to yooooo….. in a breathy Marilyn Monroe style.   I ordered the birthday boy’s favourite – chicken wings from KFC but made sure none of them were right wings.  Before I could pat myself on the back for doing such a commendable job, my eyes beheld the ungainly sight of Pranab Da and Chiddy at the party.  I didn’t want to burst into tears and make a spectacle of myself.  Instead I promptly arranged musical chairs.  A fun way to pull chairs from under their saggy bottoms.  It was painful trying to make Rahul Baba win, the boy just stood there smiling and waving rather than run.  But one look at Madam’s beaming face and I knew it was worth the effort.

I will now be canvassing to make 19th June - Rahul Baba’s birthday as Children’s Day.   It’s time to move on to a fresh new face, in all his dimpled glory.  And who wouldn’t want to have a cherubic child like our crown prince!

My own birthday on 28th of February should be marked as National Owl Day.  Many moons back my auspicious entry was marked by the hooting of 72 owls – so loud that all of Raghogarh converged at our haveli to see this one of a kind baby.   And what they saw is still etched in their memory – a baby with his foot stuck firmly in his mouth.    All these years and I have been unable to get my foot out. Someone even wrote that I should come with an instruction manual that reads: Open Mouth, Insert foot.   Funny...

I have always been different.  I was a sickly, snotty kid who no one paid attention to.  So I would keep myself busy digging.  I would dig deep and yet come up with nothing.  So I started bragging about my imaginary discoveries and keep the villagers enthralled.   And thus I came to be known as Diggy Raja – the Raja of diggers!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Of Babas and Babies....

Courtesy -

I have been acting a little paranoid of late.  A Mexican Scientist has discovered a novel way of breaking down disposable diapers while producing “tasty” mushrooms.  The fungus called Oyster mushrooms can devour 90 percent of a disposable diaper in two months flat!  Try as I might, I am unable to greet this environment friendly breakthrough with unbridled joy.  I mean I love babies as long as they are not mine and mushrooms are my favourite but the thought of the fungus growing on fossil poop and pee is giving me the heebie jeebies.  I have been made to understand that the diapers are first sterilized but I can’t seem to shake off the what if...doubts.  

And then comes the news that the unpretentious upma has shot into international limelight thanks to Floyd Cardoz’s culinary wizardry.  Cardoz, one of the top three in the Top Chef contest held in New York, whipped up an upma with a twist by adding mushroom to it and bagged the coveted $100,000 prize.  I celebrated the news by instantly ordering the dish from Sagar Ratna.  Now that the upma is an international celebrity, it might reinvent itself to become the piece de resistance at a snooty restaurant.  Chef’s special – rava uppamav garnished with softer than a baby’s bottom, Oyster’s mushroom.  I’d rather fast a la Ramdev.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Hunt is on......

The first thing you notice about New York is the queues.   When in the city you can’t escape one...for a taxi at the airport, to get seating in a cafe, for a cup of coffee, to get into museums, to get your photograph clicked with the bare torsoed model outside Abercombie and Fitch.  So enamoured was Tee with the Abercombie model that she asked whether it was possible get his abs sign an autograph for her. He won’t be interesting anyway so why bother, she snootily informed us.  The mother of all queues was for the ferry to the statue of Liberty.  One look at it and we fled for dear life.   The legendary long legged lasses (LLL) of New York  were nowhere in sight.  Perhaps they were held up too, waiting to get in to one of the famed sample sales?  

Our flight took us under six hours to reach New York from San Francisco and it took us three hours to make it to our hotel thanks to the long wait for luggage, taxi and getting stuck in the traffic.  For the sake of your sanity, please don’t drive in New York.

By the time we plonked our bags in our hotel room, we were dead tired.  But our enthusiasm was far from damp and like eager beavers we headed straight for NYC’s ultimate destination – the Times Square.   As we came out of the subway we felt dwarfed by the gigantic neon signs stretched across building facades.  No wonder they are called supersigns.  Anybody who is a somebody jostles for space here – New York Times, Reuters, the Conde Nast building, Ernst and Young headquarters.  The list is endless.  The Square, the epicentre of the city that never sleeps, throbs with an energy that tends to rub off on you.  It bedazzles you with its pomp and show and engulfs you with joie de vivre.  Even though it was well past midnight, the place was crammed with people, savouring the spirit of Big Apple. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Notes from a Traveller’s Diary - I

Time is a pesky thing...when you wait for it to pass, it drags itself like a snail and when you want it to stop, it flies away.  

Our much awaited, meticulously planned trip to California has come to an end.  I am back home, jet lagged, with a woozy head and a heart that feels like lead.  It’s interesting to note how easily we get unused to routine.  A routine that you may consider mundane, yet guard so zealously as if is the bane of your existence.  A month of being continuously on the move, clutching maps as if your life depended on it, aching legs and experiencing the unknown – it was a rollercoaster.  I think I got addicted to the constant high.  

My memories of our trip along the West Coast and New York are still a scattered montage of images and emotions.  They have yet to settle down for me to sort them. 

Our vacation started with a bang.  Our flight to San Francisco didn’t take off at all, thanks to Delhi’s tempestuous weather.  Lufthansa did an Air India on us.   A day after spending the day holed up in a hotel in Delhi, watching over-enthused firang chicks dance furiously around the pool from my room on the 9th floor, we finally took off, albeit a day late.     

We arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and didn’t mind shivering in cold, rainy and foggy San Francisco.  Fog is listed as one of Frisco’s tourist attractions.  I wonder why we crib so much about corruption in India.  Imagine inviting tourists to incredible India with a come bribe a cop tagline!  Or an amusement park that features fasting babas or netas throwing chairs and chappals at each other. Which other country can boast of such a spectacle? And all that San Francisco can boast of is fog and a golden bridge that’s far from golden.  Bahh....

We had quite an ambitious itinerary chalked out for the next three weeks covering the West Coast and New York.  

California Highway 1 is considered one of the most scenic drives along the breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline.  My first sighting of the aquamarine ocean foaming at the foot of emerald green mountains will stay etched in my memory forever.  Northern California boasts of a stunningly beautiful topography.  The flora, a vivid hue of colours, the ocean sometimes a green, sometimes a moody blue, acres of orchards, interspersed with picturesque lakes – it is a treat for your senses.  Imagine walking down the beach and getting startled by the sight of a chipmunk on its hind legs, begging for a treat.  Or a rocky island with hundreds of sea lions noisily sunning themselves.  Hugging yourself for warmth on Pismo beach and watching young boys surf the icy cold water in their body suits. Our senses were constantly doing cartwheels and did we love it.