If this becomes a regular feature, a title will be needed. Alternatively, if it has a nice enough title*, one might consider making it regular. Do suggest.

Recipes for the weekend basically**. Not basic stuff, not randomly exotic, certainly no body parts just for the sake of it, but certainly a bit experimental. Type/style will be largely mood-dependent. Other key words - Comforting. Easy-to-prepare. Not for those on diet.

Today's offering*** -

Red fruits in a wine sauce

Keep Ready:
Raspberries, handful.
Halved strawberries, handful.
Demerera sugar, sprinkling, but only if fruits aren't sweet enough.
Fresh mint leaves, couple.
A medium-dry red wine, glassful. Or more.
Cinnamon powder.
Plain vanilla ice-cream.

Put fruit in pan and heat on medium till they just start to liquidise (the raspberries should 'pop' a bit). Add the cinnamon, mint, wine, sugar (optional, see above), put on simmer for about 5 minutes just till you can smell the cinnamon and mint, then bring to boil quickly.

Serve on dessert plate, with ice-cream.

Alternatively, let it cool completely, put in a dessert glass, pour thick cream on top, and chill (not freeze) till it sets.

What's nice about it:
The cinnamon and mint provide a lovely contrast to each other, while the wine mixes with the fruits to give this beautiful red colour. If you have it warm, it also reminds you just how lovely plain vanilla ice-cream can be.

Focus on:
1) Making sure its a medium red - a dry one just won't have the body this dish needs, and a sweet would take away from the natural taste of the fruits.
2) Do not heat the fruits on their own too much, or they'll taste burnt. And don't stir too much - you don't want them to break up, you want whole chunks of them.

* Friday Feast is too cheesy a title. Any other suggestions welcome. But must have kick.
** One considered putting it up on Mondays, after experimenting on the weekend, but this way you can try it out too. And then you'll have the whole weekend to write all the nice comments you want (no nasties).
*** Please note all subtle foodie phrase-ology...one is soooo hilarious. Sigh


Right then, let's be having your names.

Own up if you've been snorting away on the cacao, or generally acting like this.

Ringleader is BM, one assumes?

One day later:
What? Nobody's a chocoholic? Strange bunch of people.

Principles and all that

Sometimes it helps to take a stand. Nice polished oak ones, preferably, on which friends can deposit their little berets and tophats while dropping in for tea and scones. If one were in an 1930s MGM production, that is.


Like one mentioned earlier, sometimes we need to just take a view and stick to it. Not always, mind you. After all, flexibility is a wonderful characteristic (Just ask the people at Cirque de Soleil...Ok, sorry, no more asides). But once in a while, it helps to stiffen the moral spine and keep to one point of view, one goal, no matter how tempting the alternative may be.

Now one loves Get Shorty, and Rain Man. One also likes Collateral, Pulp Fiction, Minority Report, Grease, and Vanilla Sky.

But one does not like Scientology. Because who the heck wants another brainwashing, intimidating, secretive, weird-ideas-spreading organisation?

And so....brave chest forward and all...one has resolved not to watch any film that headlines, co-stars, or has a decent-sized part involving the Cruise, the Travolta*, or any of their deluded friends.

Not in theatres, not as rentals, not even as TV re-runs. They ain't getting any money from one, not through tickets, or through royalties that rental firms or TV channels have to pay them. That much less for them to spend on harassing sceptics.

And yes, its a token gesture, a small fist against an uncaring tornado, but it's one's fist. Besides, every drop of phenolphthalein takes you closer to the pink colour.

This is one's stand, and one is sticking to it.....for now.
You wanna join?

* Not every film with them in it. Not yet, anyway. Is okay if they have teensy-weensy role. Otherwise one would not get to watch a whole bunch of films. After all, there's Principles, and then there's principles.


It's been so long since one saw a sparrow in the city.
Any city.

A quick check through memory, and then a slightly more focused one, yields no definite result. Hmmm...it must be years, then.

And parrots. There used to be hordes of parrots crowding the banyan and gulmohur trees near home, and memories somehow seem to associate them as being especially noisy and abundant in the early evening; while one sat at the window, munching on cheese toasts after coming home from school, watching them fly around.

When did they disappear? When did their little chirps and loud squawks stop intruding on the noises of daily life? One suspects the distraction was caused by those beautiful documentaries on the nature channels, with their breath-taking visuals and intricate details. What chance did the poor birds have in real life, smeared with the grime of the city as they were?

And what else have we forgotten, and how differently did we do things, when we did them differently then?

This is how it changes, little by little, till one day we stop, and wonder when we agreed to live in these strange worlds.

But the answers just giggle and scamper away, leaving behind a sense of .... of....

oh, well.


All because
of whys
and buts
and isupposes.

of theysaids
and whyshouldnts
and ididnts.

of howdares
and whocares
and ohwhythefucknots.

of pleases
and pauses
and petty little causes.

all the yeses
are still a no,
of becauses.


Shite. Or, life as we know it.

This is not about angst, existentialist or otherwise. Angst is about worries and repressed beliefs. This is about...resigned frustration. And hopelessness.

This is what you get when you're walking along on a sunny day, not too hot, with a slight breeze, just enjoying the vibrancy of people out for their weekend shopping, while dodging playful kids and strutting teenagers, and even smilingly rejecting marketeers rather than just curtly walking past.

And then you stop when you see a young-ish woman, slumped in her wheelchair, raising a melting ice-cream cone agonizingly slowly with her one unparalysed arm.

And you watch her single-minded focus on that mound of strawberry flavoured coldness, as she ignores everything else - the heat, the rest of her crippled body, her eager parents who hover ready to help her out, the pitying stares of passersby.

And you cannot bear to witness the delight, the simple and pure joy that breaks out when she finally does get her tongue on it, all by herself. It's too strong - the emotion makes you feel like a voyeur...no, like a thief. Like you're taking something away by even witnessing it. Because this is her victory - this simple act of licking a cone of ice-cream.

And you instead look at the parents, and notice the years of hope and pain and frustration and anger and disappointment and weariness ingrained into their faces. You try to, but you cannot imagine how it must cut through them, to watch her react with so much happiness to such a small, small thing, and to wonder yet again (and despair, yet again) of how much more she would have enjoyed other, bigger things.

And though at that moment, you feel buoyed by the strength of the human spirit, buoyed by the grit and determination that all three of them possess, by the love and kindness the parents give her, by the sheer joy that she feels....

despite all that, you hate an existence where this exists.


You hate an existence where that woman goes day after day after soul-devouring day without the use of her faculties, just through some freak of genetics. And you hate that there are millions and millions of people who cannot see, cannot hear, cannot walk, cannot hear, who have cancer, who are in a coma, who are have allergies, who live in fear of their heart and their blood and their skin, and who knows what else.

Every day.
Every single day.
Every moment of every hour of every single day.


And no, the "This is life, and this just how it is" argument does not work here.
The "This is what makes life what it is" concept is not accepted either.
Nor is the "There has to be the bad to understand and appreciate the good" premise.

Those sentiments are made by us, to make us feel better about our luck, about the life we have. More precisely, about what we have more of in life than others do. Those platitudes are created to justify our most fundamental desire - to live. And to persuade people away from having the right to doing with their lives what they will - including, if need be, ending it.

This is not about the unfairness of it, unfair though it is.
It's about the sheer pointlessness of it.

The pointlessness that you know that you will have to face this if you choose to live, and you will have to live by only occasionally thinking of them, because otherwise you just won't be able to bear it. Or otherwise, just block them out completely, except for the random donation given when the guilt manages to break through occasionally.

The pointlessness that, even if you get the opportunity to work with/for them, it will be through a little-by-little approach, because the overall picture is so overwhelming that you will be forced to focus on the here-and-now, the minutae, to have even a hope of retaining your hope.

The pointlessness that, say what you will and do what you can and think how you try to -
it will still be there.

This is our hell.


Hard love

you are

as you
so often profess
you are,

how dare you
keep using phrases such
as my life?

is ours,
is mine.
Get used to it.


Oh give it a rest

There's inventing words, and then there's being a silly doof-ass (patent pending (not really)).

From an article on the e-Chicago Sun Times*. Please to be noticing seemed-like-a-trendy-idea word in second line.

"In the first new half-hour, the only ingested items are booze, prescription pills and Tylenol with codeine. In an upcoming episode, Nancy's frien-emy Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) goes on her politician's rant -- "Drugs are wrong! ... I'm a crusader!" -- while stumbling drunk in the streets."

Wow. Three extra letters were so much of a hassle? How do you even pronounce that "word"- fray-nay-me? fren-ami?

What utter shittishness (another not-patented-but-would-appreciate-if-one-was-credited-when-it's-used-by-others)

* A review of a new show called Weeds. One hasn't seen it, doesn't plan to (mostly because it stars one of the 'Orrendous Olsens), but one is reading anything to stop thinking about beating up stupid cricket administrators.


These fingers ache
with all the things
they keep getting asked to do throughout the day,
without merciful respite,
whether impressing upon these keys
or turning pages in eager joy
or stabbing at buttons
that bring up continual productions
full of food or travel -
which only bring about a sense of unfulfillment (that word just got invented) -
or preening posturers pretending to be better than all.
These fingers ache,
even though so many thoughts have not yet
been let loose,
and moan at the thought of all that
they will be asked to do.

These eyes ache,
after being forced to stare
at screens and pages of varying sizes
under poor light,
till they snap open
and after dizzying scattering,
try to turn inwards
and fix with their toughest gaze
the thought-maker that helped
time to merrily flit past,
but they can't of course,
and can do naught but
keep looking on till
they're switched off again
by that tease.

Because this mind aches,
with having to calculate
and tabulate
and assimilate the random bits of pointless gossip
that were being nibbled on
in between select morsels of the worldly world,
and following the lives and thoughts
of so many others
and keeping track of who said what and where
and of what one said to whom too,
and coming up with remarks
pithy and witty
because how else will people believe
that one has a personality worth knowing,

This body aches,
with having to listen to the complaints
of all these different voices,
and specially that little group
of lax muscles
that's rallying together around the ninth vertebra,
and who refuse to disperse
or negotiate
except with the sounds of slumber.

Closure is demanded,
it's been
A Long Day.


"Why single out Forien Policy. India is sleeping on almost anything."
"Manish Kapur is a sickularist who is trained by his masters to insult hindu gods. Let he be blessed with a raw chicken." *
"Please keep your bloody mouth shut; dont throw all your shits on those kids."

- Comments on Rediff (produced in original glory).

Don't you just love these fellows? One should not make fun of unknown people who write in bad grammar - for all you know, maybe they're taking English in evening college, sandwiched between two jobs, hoping to move up in the world. After all, one can't write or speak in dozens of Indian languages oneself....but heck, these guys are just tooooo funny.

And curiously, the majority of commenters to columns on Indian websites are men. And nearly all the comments are full of rhetoric. So,
Option A: Do men need the feel to rant more than women?
Option B: Are women not as interested in these topics?
Option C: Do women realise these columns are daft, and comment on more discerning websites?
Option D: Is this some reflection on the Net usage/availability of men vs women in India?

One goes with a mixture of Options C and D.

* wah! Slogan/curse of the month -
Keep your shits, or be blessed with a raw chicken! Beat that, CS and BM.


Starter thought: Aren't epiphanies simply the acceptance of something you've known a long time, but are only now acknowledging, due to a confluence of myriad factors?

There was a time in one's teens, when one believed that the gift of the gab, and the hint of potential in writing style, could lead effortlessly to the seduction of the pretty sister. Poetry. One tried, but mostly the words seemed insipid. Matters weren't helped by one's refusal to edit what was written. And matters weren't helped at all by all the musings, questions, and general despair evoked by wondering what to write about.

Standard teenage story.

But one day, one stopped. To the considerable relief of many friends. One decided that -
a) Since one wasn't genuinely trying to be a Poet, one should not attempt Poetry, or even, poems.
(b) One decided that one could do without the general cloud of despair that picking up a pen seemed to bring hurtling from the horizon.

So one went back to creating phraselets, and catchphrases, and charming all and sundry with one's felicity for words. Let those who genuinely treat it as an art form, write Poetry, so one said.

And for a long time, one stayed away. And from writing in general. One even resisted the blog scene for years. But one restarted, eventually. Because one felt like it. And it's been fun.

But the talk was about epiphanies.

And the one that one had, was that one is not a Poet. Or, indeed, is not trying to write Poetry. One does not brim forth with imagery-filled verse, and one does not see oneself sitting and typing and re-typing and deleting and editing words just to create that perfect couplet. One does not intend to make this a career, nor does one feel this to be a calling.

The occasional non-prose that one produces, is literally, a thought in flow. It is not pre-thought of, it is not worked upon, it is not going to be continuously edited into better shape (just a little bit, perhaps).

It is not a creation. It is a reaction. Some of it may be good, but then that's because one's writing is somewhat good (does one seem the type to be modest?).

That was the epiphany - that one is not driven to create a delightful piece of verse, which can be quoted down through the ages. One is quite content to simply, write. One no longer need feel awed by Falstaff, or Space Bar, or the Aimless Wanderer, because one isn't on the same road. And that makes it all so much simpler.

So, avoid the literary criticisms. Lavished praise, is always welcome though.

Dear Anonytrolls,

This is a warning.

Be nice.

Because if you aren't, then all one has to do is remove the possibility of anonymous posting. And since you wouldn't dare talk like you do without that protection, you would have to go and write bad graffiti on smelly walls. Which would probably end up with you catching some unsightly disease from touching said walls. And, despite your rudeness, one wouldn't want to inflict on you. Unless, that is, you are a particularly rude person. In which case you deserve it.

One could even include comment moderation, or remove the comment facility, or even take this blog private, but those are steps too far. But do remember, one holds the dice, the cards, the chips, the stuff. One writes the blog, not you, and one can shut you out when one wants.

One will write what one wants, and one will comment how one wants. One will do naatak if one wants, and one will be trivial if one wants. One may talk about bad Hindi music, or lots of luscious food, or play random word-games. Whatever one wants to, and whatever one feels like.

So go ahead and post random remarks, which one will attribute to your reading the said post through a red filter while standing upside down. One won't even mind if you don't bother to declare which no-namer you are (because heck, that's so much of an effort, isn't it?). And you can even butt into conversations between people who do have some common thread going across these virtual lives, because hey, we all have to start somewhere.

But be nice.

As the saying goes - if you can't stand the weirdness, go read another blog.


To Flaffy

...because it's such a pwetty name*. plus it'll give BM an excuse to do naatak because nobody's posting about her. and one is bored.





* and soooooo much better than Revealed. but does she listen? naaah, all she does is bats eyelids. which, one is not complaining about, ok haan.



One's favourite put-down to upstart know-it-all-wannabe youngsters -

When I was in uniform, you were in liquid form.