Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Ketchup Worshiper

When the beauteous and talented Janaki Nagaraj asks you to guest post for her blog Memoirs of a Homemaker you just can't say no to her. Her Poetry blog is avidly followed and rated amongst the top. 

After much procrastination I came up with this saucy post.....
Courtesy - Google images

The title says it all. This is going to be a dedication to those unique specimens to whom the thought of food without ketchup is like a movie without item-numbers. A magic potion that makes broccoli bearable, fries scrumptious, bread-pakoras slurpcious. With ketchup on your side, you feel invincible, courageous enough to stab a heap of boiled spinach and manoeuvre it towards your mouth, say yes to the boiled piece of chicken that Mrs Mehra has so lovingly prepared in your honour. It’s your best friend who never lets you down.

One of my earliest memories of school is of a classmate who ate everything with ketchup. Be it parantha, boiled eggs or even sandwiches. Having spent most of my formative years partaking paranthas, puris, kachoris with jam, I found this habit of hers rather weird. This was till I discovered the sinful taste of Maggi Chilli Garlic sauce and then I was damaged for life.

Let’s just say it was love at first lick. One look at it and I knew we were destined to be together for ever. I mean, who in his/her right mind can resist the taste of sweet and tarty tomatoes tingling with chillies and garlic. The heady burst of aroma and taste is capable of uplifting even the most insipid to sensuous highs.

To read more, click here...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Challenges Teenagers Face

If Nirbhaya's brutal assault and subsequent death shook the nation and brought us out on the streets to demand justice, the Roast Busters case, a sordid sag of under-aged girls being exploited for sex, brought New Zealanders on the streets to raise their voice against its rape and victim blaming culture.

Khoty Mathur, author of Never Mind Yaar and a concerned parent, talks about this alarming trend of teens veering towards dangerous territory for the sake of few cheap thrills. A long time resident of Wellington, she also blogs here.

We all know that freedom has a price. It is rarely free.

Take the recent “Roast Busters” case in NZ. Young men of eighteen slept with under-aged girls - as young as thirteen and fourteen - in 2011 and then boasted about it on facebook, naming and shaming the girls.

What came as a shock was the role the NZ police played in the whole sordid affair.

Apparently, the girls were so inebriated they didn’t know what was happening. The difference between the rapes that hit the headlines in India recently and the Roast Buster rapes is that the youngsters were known to one another.

This post lets you know the facts of the case but isn’t about being judgemental. It is about the challenges teenagers and their parents face today.

Teenagers, whether in NZ or India, are getting a taste of freedom as never before and it is important for them to know the responsibilities and consequences that go with it. I am aware that in India the majority are content to go for healthy, light hearted fun, are busy trying to excel at studies or are under strict parental authority. Yet, the videos about boys from ordinary homes misbehaving with girls on Delhi roads were pretty alarming.

What can parents do about their young with raging hormones who indulge their own desires uncaring of the feelings of their victims? Mike Cagney, who has worked with scores of abusers, says abusers go ahead because

– it felt good at the moment

– was gratifying

– they couldn’t stop

– they felt they could get away with it.

He says almost 80% regret it afterwards. [I wonder - Do they realise how disgusting and unpleasant the experience was for the victims and that isn’t a nice feeling?] Before they become repeat offenders (who regret it afterwards) he talks to them. Here’s the entire radio interview. Perhaps we, as parents could pick up some pointers on how to prevent our own teens from becoming abusers instead of feeling helpless in the face of their unchecked raging hormones.

What about our normal teens out to have a good time with friends? The ones who are definitely growing up and need to be out amongst their peers more often than with parents, and yet, need to have set boundaries?

Teenagers are at an age when their bodies are changing and evolving. Parents watch their little babies growing up. But while they mature physically, mentally they still have a lot of growing up to do. Some parents marry them off! But most parents, brave souls, take on the terrible teens.

We understand it isn’t easy growing up and that in spite of their temper tantrums, their harsh criticism and manipulative behaviour they need to feel safe and loved. We know they face hormonal changes and grappling with new emotions is confusing and exhausting.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So you think you’re smart!

So, you thought you were smart when you mortgaged your gold tooth and a kidney to buy that much hyped smartphone- a technology so smart that it compressed the world in your palm. All you had to do was leave smudge marks all over the screen to access information crucial to your existence. Like finding out through Facebook that Mrs Sharma was taking off to Buenos Aires for a three week sojourn and reading your husband’s will miss you sweetie, in one of the many comments. That Delhi has been hit by an earthquake yet again and people were so traumatised that they had to wake-up in the middle of the night to tweet about it. Then you were so engrossed in forwarding Lol, this is too funny yaar, jokes to all your 65 Whatsapp contacts, by the time you looked up, you realized you hadn’t exchanged a word with friends you were out lunching with. Since you’re a strong believer of making up for lost time, you smile sexily for the selfies you take with your friends, click photos of all that you ingested for lunch and coolly post them on Facebook.

Just as you step out of the restaurant, your mobile pings. You narrowly miss colliding into the pillar as you discover to your delight that it’s the much awaited mail from your client. You hastily punch in a reply and press send. It’s when he immediately replies WITH PLEASURE! in caps you find out you’d accidently keyed in ‘I look forward to sleeping with you’ instead of speaking! Wasn’t it last week you’d texted “Happy Birthday, dead husband” to Ajesh, your friend sniggers. You direct your iciest glare at your friend and mumble “He knows, I meant dear” through gritted teeth.

You’ve often wondered if smartphone technology meant you to have spindle shaped fingers. The last time you used your stubby fingers to surf the World Wide Web, you ended up sending a friend request to your daughter’s boyfriend and now she won’t talk to you. To add insult to injury, your phone has an autocorrect feature that insists on behaving like your Mom, completing words and sentences before you can finish them and embarrassing you in public.

You have a sinking feeling that your smartphone has succeeded in its evil design in making you stupid. Why else would you be walking on the pavement like a zombie with your eyes glued to the screen and a silly smile pasted on your face, unmindful of manholes and potholes? But isn’t it how normal beings behave these days – each lost in a world of their own making, oblivious to their surroundings. A new world order where people prefer gazing at their phones to smiling at strangers and trying to make friends…Where drivers are more concerned about replying to texts than road safety. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A definitive guide to preventing rapes

The CBI, India’s highest investigative agency, has been in pursuit of truth since 1963. An unbiased agency that knows no allegiance and is impervious to political pressure, it is every common and uncommon man’s only hope for justice. So, when its revered chief Ranjit Sinha, in a rare show of candour makes a profound statement about rapes and asks women to enjoy if they can’t stop it, one has no choice but to sit up and take his advice seriously.

Dear women, it’s time you started treating rape like our law enforcement agencies do, as a harmless extra-curricular activity. It’s almost legal, just like Mr Sinha would have betting be treated. As such it was your damn fault that you got raped. Ask any respectable police officer and he’ll tell you when a woman is not covered from head to toe, she wants men to rape her. So, when you venture out of the house for work or pleasure, you are clearly being adventurous. And if you’re not wearing a sack, you are obviously asking for trouble.

If you are stupid enough to get raped, be prepared to be called a slut who did not get paid. According to Delhi Police, expert on sexual crimes, 90% of rape cases are mere business dealings. So, if you were 'really' raped, you would never complain for fear of media and society. Only ‘loose’ women with dubious reputations go to Police stations to file complaints against sexual assaults. Nice women quietly go home and cry.

According to a Policeman’s code of conduct for women – nice women – certainly do not consume alcohol. When a man drinks, he turns into a sex-crazed Neanderthal, incapable of controlling himself. Conclusively, women who drink and place themselves in the company of men having a drink are sluts looking for trouble.

It is a known fact that no respectable lady gets raped in India. Even an underworld don will not like to touch a woman of respect. And if you are in Bharat, no man will touch you even with a barge pole. It’s because in RSS’s Bharat Mahaan, every woman is treated like a cow and every cow is your Mother. Therefore every woman is treated like a mother. Get it?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monsters of the Matinee

Ms Tee went to watch Thor and came back bubbling like an active Volcano. 

In India, if you’re planning to watch a movie at a cinema theatre, you are requested to leave your sense and sensibilities behind. No, I’m not talking about Krrish3 here- I’m too snobby for Hollywood rip-offs. I’m talking about the esteemed variety of movie goers that treats the theatre as their living hall and believes silence is meant for lambs. Since I am usually the silent one, trying her best not to combust with outrage at the manner-less of the manor born, I prefer turning into the observer surrounded by a halo of thought bubbles. Once you detach yourself from all things worldly, the ground becomes fertile for some Animal Planet-like observations. 

Here I give my list of pathological behaviours seen in movie audiences-

1. The UPPERCASE variety

Their mobiles are like an extra appendage, or a buzzing tumour on their ear. There is the ‘mildly considerate’ type that will whisper into their phones like they are on their honeymoon. The most common strain of this pathology however presents itself as loud, self-important conversations. If cornered, they will shout out expletives and ask loudly if the offender knows who s/he is. Do not try and reason with them by asking them why they’ve even come to a movie hall if they aren’t going to actually watch one. They are stubborn and the only way to deal with them is to find a seat as far away from them as possible. Maybe hide their phone when they go for a bathroom break. Whatever works for you.

2. The Child on a Sugar High

The most common and by far the most annoying, they are the common cold of movie hall pathologies. They are present everywhere. I watched Black Swan accompanied by constant wailing. First, why would you even bring your infant to a movie as psychologically damaging as Black Swan? Second, this is INDIA: The land of domestic help. If you can leave your children in their care for the better part of the year, 2 hours should not be a problem. If you’re lucky, your local annoying child will only take laps of the entire hall. If 13 black cats have crossed your path, you’ll get a screamer. Fingers crossed.

3. The Canoodling Couple

Dark, air-conditioned, comfy: ideal conditions to get your freak on. Just one problem- there are a hundred-something other people in this space with you. I have no objections if you book those two corner seats in the back of the hall. They even call those seats “couple couches” in Odeon BIG Cinemas. However, if you sit in the 5th row, bang in the middle (no pun intended), you are asking to be pelted with popcorn. If you’re a gentleman, you’ll take her someplace nicer. If you’re a lady, you’ll insist he does.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Made in Phoren Festive Fervour

My first Diwali outside the country was a Shakespearean tragedy. I blame my craving for the desi and my penchant for adventure to get the adrenaline flowing. You have to be brave or desperate or both to venture out of the comforting confines of your home, only to put yourself through three hours of excruciating torture, fittingly titled, “Jab tak hai Jaan”. At that time, spending our valuable dollars on Indian cinema’s Granddaddy of Mush’s swansong was the closest we could think of making our Diwali memorable. It was memorable all right but for all the wrong reasons. By the time we were done with the movie, we barely had jaan to walk back home. But what does one do in a city, where lighting up diyas inside your apartment can set off the fire-alarm…. where mithai is either frozen or so vividly coloured that it’ll put even Govinda’s wardrobe to shame… the most hyped Diwali Mela is more like a school function where you blink back tears as you listen to an off-key, heavily accented rendition of Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram as you spoon in a mouthful of lamb biryani….where your friends and family are so far away that they can only offer you comfort over the phone!

Your safe, quiet, picture-perfect, wine-sipping, steak hating life in Brisbane is no match to the chaotic but vibrant, stressful but exciting, noisy yet comforting existence in Delhi. It’s a treat to watch Delhi brighten up like an about-to-wed bride, weeks before the festival. There’s a sudden spring in her step, her complexion starts glowing and she surprises herself with her indefatigable energy to shop, shop and shop some more.

It’s surprising what nostalgia can do to your memory as it filters out the unpleasant and retains only the positives. Gone are the memories of getting stuck in nasty traffic snarls, getting your toes trampled at the market crammed with eager Diwali shoppers, scouting Big Bazaar looking for the perfect gifts for your household helps and the noisy celebrations with Yoyo Honey Singh for company. All I can recall is the joy I felt when I saw my city look her most beautiful on Diwali night and the taste of the festive treats. Why, I even managed to miss the “Madam jee, bakshish” brigade!