Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Did you hear about the new Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara video? I headed on over to watch it – all a-twitter I must tell you. This song like “Hamara Bajaj” was a defining one for an entire generation.  Doordarshan played it over and over again, and I never once tired of it. My lips were ready to smile, and even had the angle set on them, I just had to spring it on when it started.  I was actually humming the song before starting the video.

Then it started.  Groan! I can’t say it was entirely bad, but I have a distinct preference for the old one. It has all the Bollywood/Collywood/Jollywood heavy weights, light dressers and banian-bicep shows that you can think of, and the tune s—s! The transitions felt jumpy even to me. I had to come scurrying back to find the old one – midway through the new one, for there was another aspect, the thing just went on and on, like people had nothing better to do. Well, maybe we don’t, but we’d like to retain the illusion we do.

I was really glad to see this video – the one that has tucked away good memories in my mind

This one delivered – even after all these years.  The seamless transitions, when the beat and language changes, are amazing.  So many people from different walks of life, different landscapes and languages.  It gave me goosebumps to feel the fabric of India as we knew it through that song again. Looking at the noticeably younger faces of Revathi, Hemamalini, Big-B, Mithun Chakra, Kamal, Lata Mangeshkar, some Cricket player (I forgot his name) etc, felt like looking through an old kaleidoscope.

I can forgive Doordarshan all those hours of “mourning” when someone died and  countless “Vayalum Vaazhvums” now that I saw this video again.

Update: I originally thought the unedited version got released by mistake, given that each one had their own ego trips and screen time where they could pick their abaswaram, and pet movie songs.

Also, no different walks of life concept at all – no Sports, no Science, no advances in IT. Nothing! This is like AB’s drawing room view of India and Five star hotel beaches. In a country full of throbbing hearts, every heart beat alone in the video – by the rocks, by the beaches. Unattached, desolate and painfully slowly.

Why didn’t the Chinese think of it?

Chopsticks have always intrigued me. They look disconcertingly similar to knitting needles. Now you knit up in your mind the old wizened lady lovingly using both her hands, sitting in a rocking chair by the fire and knitting a warm sweater. I hate to dish it to the old lady like this, but you only can use only one hand, use both needles and knit the same beautiful sweater OL. Go on old lady. Try. Try like the dickens. How does that sound?

That is exactly what eating with chopsticks seems to me. You are given two condiments, you have two hands. Simple? Not simple. The technique is simple, any child brought up on Chinese food in a Chinese setting will tell you how easy it is to use chopsticks. All you have to do is grasp the sticks like this.

Then, move finger number two by using finger number one as the lever/rudder. (When you are trying to keep the sticks afloat in a bowl of watery soup, you are allowed to use the word rudder). Let’s get back to technique now that the use of rudder has been explained.

During the entire process, finger number three is jammed between the sticks, and is expected to move in the same angle maintaining a level of parallelism with finger number two. Never mind that finger number 3 is screaming for respite by now. That demand cannot be met. Ignore finger number 3. It can start acting up midway through the process, and you will be stuck with a finger-chiropractor, soothing function back to it. Don’t worry, it is a part of life. I realise there is no such profession as a finger-chiropractor, so if you would kindly tell me the name of one such specialist, I will gladly update the post.

The trick is to be firm with finger number 3. Show it fingers number 4 & 5 as a method of consolation. Fingers 4 and 5 are in a worse state. They can’t move remember?

Also remember that while one is fiddling with these sticks in the soup, the soup is turning cold. Not to mention the odd contours on the face as lines of worry and concentration contort it into a horrible frown. One would think, that not being able to function with chopsticks will have sent the author home hungry and dejected, with a new sense of purpose – learning to use the sticks before the next soup stop.

Not so…not so! Mere technicalities like chopsticks don’t deter me. I creased out the lines of concentration, ironed out the frown and put on a smile. I then attacked the soup like this.

People were looking at me with awe. Pretty soon, I could see folks cast me the envious look. Their eyes screamed the obvious “Why didn’t the Chinese think of it?”

I refused to wipe the smug smile of my stupid face, and went on eating like this, till a waiter who was charging about the vicinity like a racing bull, stopped in his tracks. You know how these cars screech when they sudden brake? Something like that.

“Next time – fork okay? I give fork okay?” he said.

I shrugged – I’d already mastered chopsticks now, who cares for forks?

Rain, rivers and glaciers

California found itself in the eye of a storm. The storm has been pounding the daylight out of the state with no restraint. When I say daylight out of the state, I mean it. A quick walk at noon requires flashlights, raincoats and squashy boots.

Umbrellas that hitherto held their spokes up high now cower under the wrath of the skies.

A helpful illustration to drive home the point

This is the second umbrella of mine to suffer this fate. Umbrella sales have been brisk. Stores did not have time to run new price tags raising the price, and resorted to sticking ridiculous prices using scrap paper and licking the back of it for glue.

The rain water has become fast rivers and paper boats meet terrible fates. One tends to stop and muse about fast flowing rivers and slow flowing rivers and hardly flowing rivers. So, what does the world give to innocent ponderings such as this. The kind that could someday change the premise of the World? This.

The world has been mistakenly led to believe that all the glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035.

Himalayan Glaciers Vanish

Bopa Uncle and Kreeta Aunty were enjoying the morning sun-rise from their porch house in Darjeeling. Bopa uncle always wanted to impress Kreeta Aunty and randomly pulled studies from his imagination with numbers that appealed to him. He went a bit overboard with the sun glinting and blurted out a bit dramatically perhaps, “By 2035, you take my word, by 2035, all the glaciers in the Himalayas will be gone.”

Kreeta Aunty did what was expected of her and gasped. Little did Bopa Uncle know that his jaunty boast would make it to the Times. So, while the angry skies have been trashing umbrellas and swaying trees, the world finds out that the whole thing about glaciers in the Himalayas was a fib all along.


Happy Bird Feeding

Happy Pongal!

To all you bovine elements out there: Happy Cow Pongal!

To all you nature lovers who managed to celebrate Kanu: Happy Bird Feeding

Kanu Pongal is celebrated the day after Pongal and honours the animal kingdom. Women folk typically pray for the well-being of their brothers by feeding the crows.

How does this happen? Any ritual I try to explain comes out sounding ridiculous. I have the urge to learn now – why do we feed crows to make sure the brothers are fine? Maybe, it derived itself from “Kaka-puduchi-fying” – a term that roughly translates to ass-licking, though Kaka means crow.

I was trying to explain all of this to the usual suspect, my daughter who has never visited a village, and she chirps – “Oh, can I put food in the bird house I built?”

“No No No!” I stop her in alarm.

A little diversion for the bird house:

For those of you who don’t know, there is a jarring piece of art hanging in the name of a bird house in the garden. It is helpfuly labelled “Bird house”, lest you mistake it for a magic mansion.  To clarify the structure to the animals, it specifies in clear English that the bird house is for birds only. It does not say “No squirrels allowed”. I have never seen any squirrels there.  Come to think of it, I haven’t see any birds either. Putting all this together, we can reach a reasonable conclusion – squirrels know how to read, but the birds don’t.

Back to Kanu Pongal, my explanation of the Harvest festival came down to – “Keeping bird food on a leaf?” Please feel free to draw your own conclusions on my ability to teach.

A New definition in the New Year – not bad at all!

Singing Vs Almirah Assembly

There was a point in the past week when we found ourselves assembling and lifting a huge almirah. Beads of sweat creased the forehead and the lip curled in concentration as the husband and wife duo drilled through the wood and clasped and shoved the pieces of the puzzle together. The beauty of creating something is always exhilarating even if the real genius is the guy who designed it that way. Have I gushed about Ikea before? I must have. I love that store.

Anyway, I don’t want to waste words praising somebody else in a post that the designer is never going to read. So, I shall stick to the point and go back to huffing and puffing with the almirah. I heaved and ho-ed. The floor bore it well, the bones did not. By evening, we looked like scraps of wood that could be blown away with a mighty huff and a puff.

Give any two engineers a task of moving an object into a space, and they will discuss strategy. We did too. Over coffee. Finally, we were ready. Shoulders squared, jaws set heavily, we pulled and shoved and pushed. The range of noises went like this


Grunt                           heavy breathing                 undecipherable loud noises

Just as I almost placed the darn 350 pound thing on my foot, I put the thing down clumsily and burst out laughing. That rankled the husband, since it upset his sense of balance. He somehow managed to save his toe in the nick of time and grunted like a mole under a mountain.

I am not an almirah-upsetter usually, but this time I was wondering about the age-old tradition in South Indian arranged marriages. There are a number of frivolous parameters used to gauge acceptance from the girl. After the social, economic and moral angles are suitably dispensed with, they come to the girl and ask her to – hold your breath – sing! Yes sing, of all the almirah-assembling tasks in the world, they ask a girl to sing, to see if she can handle the pressures of life?! It caused my father great tension in my youth, because even if I could sing, I was showing every inclination of pelting “Now, why don’t you sing a song?” people with stones.

If you ask me, they should have asked the fiance and fiancee to assemble an almirah and lift it and place it somewhere to see if they would be compatible. My spirit hovered over-ground and as I saw the sweaty saw dust covered couple trying to lift 300 pounds, this tradition tickled me in no small manner.

We laughed ourselves silly at the thought and suddenly the load seemed lighter to bear. The new almirah is ready and I have a new tradition for South Indian arranged marriages. How much better could it get?!

Jesus Christ or Toast?

Happy New Year folks. 

Those of you who would like to jog your creativity a little bit, please head on to this link.

There are a number of bizarre photographs where people see Michael Jacksons and overwhelmingly Jesus Christ.  I called upon your reserves of creativity to spot the Jesus Christ or the Michael Jackson in the pictures. Going by the news item, any bearded face with a sallow look, would qualify as Jesus Christ!

Me? I just see pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. What can I say? It is lunch time.

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