Monday, April 29, 2013

Royal khichadi : The dummies guide

           The title of the post may appear oxymoronic to the superficial eye. The insightful and more evolved may readily contemplate (attaboy !this also serves as self awareness test for the reader) that the aforementioned adjective might indeed be referring to the process, and not the product. So there you go. Imagine the great Akbar badssha on one of those days when all the servants are on vacation. Its not hard to imagine , particularly if you you know about 'strikes' in the PSU realm. Now what would the great man do! He had many wives one may argue.However, the golden rule of womankind, held sway even then. Those who look beautiful, are seldom useful. He would have done cost benefit analysis of asking one of his older (uglier) wives to oblige. The conclusion, too much of price to pay for a meal. Its better to be useful to oneself. Going out is 3rd best choice in summers.Second best being hungry. So he would have thought of this great recipe. The royal khichadi, if you still cannot fathom (then this recipe is indeed for you)is the way Akbar badshaa (or the schmucks who ruled after him) would have made khichadi . With the minimal of effort that is,without being out of AC in that infernal kitchen for long, delhi was always notorious for summers.And yes, with no cook book help. I wonder if there were any those days. Anyway our man was illiterate. So, here goes the recipe. Take dal. and chaval. Mix . Just have a look for enemy bugs.They are rich in protein,but are somehow socially tabooed to eat.I suspect they taste bad , Like most of the other things that are good for you. Anyway depending upon your dietary preference and social consciousness pick them out. Now rinse thoroughly. No no,not the bugs.They are to be discarded. Put the mix in pressure cooker. Now use the panchpala. Again, its a hepta-cameral container, which for some strage reason is called having five sections ! But again Akbar bassha had better things to do than worry about oriental eccentricities. So , take quarter tea spoonful of turmeric powder , and add to the mix. And salt.Also a dash of asafotida and coriander seed powder. If all these terms sould confusing, put a dash of all the sections in that box. Akbar bassha would be confident his newly 'dealt' hippy wife would not keep her magic stuff in panchpala. Put the lid , and your tribulation in that menial sweatshop is almost over . Just put on the gas and get back to your AC den. You can then wait for whistle. Or set alarm for 12 minutes. What if you miss both sounds ? Dont worry. you will have a blast sound sometime later. We will consider the most optimistic scenario, that of having the sumptuous, steamy khichadi ready after the longish wait. Now, put amul butter by dollops over it.And generous servings of haldiram ki bhujia over it, and you are ready for the divine meal. Eat it with any of canned juices. Akbar bassha, would have loved grape one.

Some lines !

We all must have read this one in KG. Must admit the spunk in the end is endearing . Very endearing !.

What is your fortune,My pretty maid? My face is my fortune, sir,She said,
Then I can't marry you,My pretty maid, Nobody asked you, sir,She said.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pigeon baiting

This is a new sport which I have just developed using indigenous means. The eureka moment being the infiltration and subsequent entrapment of a pigeon in my princely abode. Pigeons are a big menace in the part of the world I inhabit, and it is almost a given that they are constantly wolfing at every window and corner all the time, a la ‘the bird’ by Hitchcock. While the balcony I have tearfully bid adieu to, the rest of my house behind doors and windows, I still regard as my territory. So when it so happens that one of them sneaks through the impossible gap between exhaust fan of kitchen, I make it a point to fight teeth and nail to drive him out(or her out, for the feminists). Now it may seem a ghastly scenario to envisage a war on own territory , with one sided collateral damages, and a much more agile enemy. But thanks to the myriads of self improvement programs my company gleefully paid for me to sleep through, and the numerous lemonade sermons, I have devised a game around it. The game , is simple. It starts the moment you spot a pigeon which has sneaked in your house. The idea is to open one of the windows and to shove the pigeon out, using a bat. So all you have to do is, chase the pigeon with the bat, preventing it from reaching inaccessible locations, and dispatch him out through the open window(hence forth, to be called ‘hole’). The bat is basically a plastic wiper, about as threatening as a rolled news paper, and if you ever have domesticated dogs, just as useful. My several years of vegan upbringing proscribed usage of any device which could produce a casualty within hundred years of incessant battering. It could as well have been called a club, but for the possibility of pasting endorsement stickers on it. The lay reader may be tempted to think that to drive a pigeon through a window is no game. The thing is, it is as much about putting the pigeon through window, as golf is about putting a ball in a hole. There is so much to it than what meets the eye. You can get the same machismo feel a cow boy gets while herding the cattle through desired gateways. You get the true strategic leadership experience, maneuvering the pigeons through the most desirable path, how to prevent the key assets from possible besmirching, or to prevent the enemy reaching the places of least access( a la atic, or ‘taand’ in hindi), or to prevent the enemy to fly over no fly zones, such as bed sheets. As an aside, you realize the importance of air force , even if all they can do is poop. I would recommend all the army men to play this wonderful strategy game , instead of the banal exercises they indulge in.(It will at least save tax payers money). Same applies to management people , who can learn to anticipate customer’s(pigeon) mind and align it with key business interests. The only hurdle the commercialization of my game is the Maneka lady, who regards the less brained creatures more worthy than her electorate. She however may change her mind after playing a ‘hole or two’ of this wonderful sport. Locking herself in her apartment with a dozen pigeons will help her appreciate the game better. If she is still adamant, I can rename the game as ‘pigeon entreating’.

Delhi Traffic

One of the joys of living in Delhi is the opportunity to drive in this sprawling metropolis, a rare experience, something which cannot be compared with any thing in India. Delhi is a great modern city , a medieval town and a contemporary village , all at the same time. The streets of the south delhi are as plush as it gets in India. Then we have the dariyaganj and shahdara, which if Bahadur Shah jafar appears today, would not be at much unease. And then you have places like harola in noida, Where the fresh country life can be literally smelled, courtesy the venerable cows and their redolent good work on streets. The surface to drive is also as diverse as it gets. From the plush ashok road to the trench infested noida roads, delhi has it all. Interestingly you are as likely to overrun a crest on road, as a trough. The NCR region lives up to its commitment to variety. But the real assets of a country are its people and not the physically tangible things. And it’s the inhabitants of the roads that make it exciting, and not the tarmac (or mud, more often than not). The traffic ecosystem here has several organismic equivalents. We have the flamboyant SUV’s and MUVs of the nouveau-riche, akin to sharks, zipping at the slightest pretext. We have several types of tuna and salmons in form of myriads of cars. Then we have two wheeler walahs like trouts. Last but not the least ,we have those DTC buses and trucks , steadily and regally plying like whales. Genial giants, with nothing to threaten save for size. However there is a caveat. The gentlest of creatures, behave bizarrely, when high on ‘mast’. However providence, with its utmost beatitude, has fittest warning mechanisms for the dimensionally challenged in all its artifacts. Much as the oceanic giants give shrill whistle like sounds when on mating call, The analogous apparatus , in the mechanical counterpart , is called pressure horn. The only difference being the driver being on a high, with a generous dose of hooch. So a sardine should better not be around when the big boys play. Of course if it cares to live. The street brawls are often as interesting . The people in this part of india, are at the extremity, when it comes to well natured conflict resolution. The ‘far end’ to be precise. I had one of the frightening experience, when I hit the rear of a car with my bike, at a red light. A man with a face, which seemed to be shaped by a hundred years of violence, and to which another hundred years of violence could do no (further) harm, growled at me like a wolf with its back arched and tail up. Luckily the light turned green, and the verbal salvo from people behind me, punctuated by generous smattering of references to female anatomy(another specialty), saved the day for me. The thumb rules of road side judgment are pretty clear. Rule no one, its always the larger vehicle , who is at fault. As a people, we Indians are so overcome with emotion, that the secondary things, such as the traffic rules just don’t matter. Rule no two, if one of the contestants, it a lady, she is right. Needless to say this rule, takes preponderance over the former. So, if you end up participating in a road side fight, take the right side, for in delhi, at least some one needs to be bashed up after a mishap, and being on the ‘crowd’s side’ is safe. More on this topic later.