October 23, 2008

Moon Navnirman Sena and Chandrayaan

I just love the way cartoons like this put things in perspective. People like Raj Thackeray think they can win by promoting discrimination and bigotry. But they forget that India has come so far only by embracing all and because of her tolerance. Let's just hope they realise that soon. And meanwhile, lets make a resolve not elect people like him.

P.S. Dont know who made this, so cant link it. Sorry. Just got it via a mail and it was too good not to share

October 17, 2008

Houses, changes and weird letters

Today is house-hunting day for a couple of my colleagues. I'd love to move into a 'real' house, but me being the choosy person I am, both about houses and people (:P), it isn't going to happen till M decides to move in. Which I pray is by the end of the year. Anyways, what got me thinking was the house itself. Take my room for eg. It nice, good shelves, the same ol boring yellow, could do with one more window to let the sunshine in, pink striped curtains (bless my landlord!) and a bathroom I can't fall down in.* Yay!
* That's because it is too small! lol!
But then when I move in somewhere, I think of what I would love to do to that place. Mostly, it's just furniture and stuff (I already made the extra bed into a fence for S's books and put in the table and chair from H). I'd love to break down a part of my wall and put a window there. It'd brighten up the place and save power. Ooh, or maybe put a rooflight! But more on that later...
Lotsa plans in my head to change things here. I wonder if the ones who put made the place would mind. I mean, they'd have put in lots of thought on why they wanted that chandelier in the living room right? Which, BTW, looks hideous and is totally unsuitable for the size of the room. Or maybe I just hate chandeliers. I know that I for one would be a little miffed if I created my dream house and then had to sell it and came back a couple of years later and found the place changed. Ya, they could have made it better, but.. umm.. heck, I made it good! (Now would be a good place to mention that my place = my way or the highway. LOL!)
Anyways, I cam across this page today that mentioned this person who wanted to fill in his pond. So he drained it out and there at the bottom of the pond was this letter.... from the previous owner! A letter to the person who drained out the pond, saying he'd be 'miffed' if this guy drained the pond. LOL! Snarky, yes, crazy, maybe, entertaining, absolutely! Hmmm, wonder if I'd ever write such a note?

Inspiration from the unexpected

You stumble and you fall. And realise you found a gem.

And that is how I heard Paul Potts. He was a contestant of the Britain's got talent show. The song playing as soon as you open the link of his site is Nessun Dorma, which was what he sang when he first participated. I do not usually enjoy opera music, but this blew me away! And when I read about him, it was like the feel-good factor just grew. Reminds one that you sometimes find the best of things at the most unexpected places. Real astonishing talent!

I loved everything that I saw here. His voice, the way he sang - it just moves you, the way he sang even though he was so nervous - you could just feel it from him; I thought he was going to cry, the transformation you see on the judges faces - 'so what are you going to do?' 'I'm going to sing opera' and then Paul starts to sing... Ah!

Paul Potts went on to win the show.

I didn't have a clue what he was singing, but then you don't always need to, to appreciate music. And doesn't music seem closer to your heart when you understand what is said? :) So for people like me who are opera virgins, here's the translation of Nessun Dorma /None shall sleep.

Italian Text

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!
Tu pure, o, Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza,
guardi le stelle
che tremano d'amore
e di speranza.
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
che ti fa mia!
(Il nome suo nessun saprà!...
e noi dovrem, ahime, morir!)
Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò!
vincerò, vincerò!

English Translation of "Nessun Dorma"

Nobody shall sleep!...
Nobody shall sleep!
Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know...
On your mouth I will tell it when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!...
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!

Trivia: "After Luciano Pavarotti performed "Nessun Dorma" at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy (his recording of the aria was also used as the BBC's theme song for its television coverage), his recording reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart - an event that has never happened for a classical music song." Hmmm... nice...

P.S. I still have trouble mapping the words to what he sings, but then I listen and i doesn't matter...

October 16, 2008


I have a very unorganised way of cooking. I start with something in mind, google the recipes, mentally out that into one of my ways of cooking, go to the kitchen, start, realise i want to add something else or don't want something, change the recipe and finally end up with something totally different. LOL!
But the last two time, I got lucky. So, to the ones who are willing to experiment, or to the ones who have iron clad stomachs: try these out.

1) Tofu - eggs - prawns

1 packet tofu
All the spices you can find in your kitchen (yes, all - so bring out the chicken masala, sambhar powder, cumins, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, chat masala, everything)
4 eggs
2 tablespoon prawn pickle/ some boiled prawns
1 onion
salt to taste

Cut the tofu into small cubed and boil it. Meanwhile, cut the onions. Fry it. By the time the onions are lightly fried, the tofu will be cooked. Add tofu to the pan and stir. Add Turmeric + Chilli + chicken masala and stir. Now take the eggs and beat them well. Keep aside. Keep frying the tofu till it becomes light brown. Add the eggs and prawns. Fry till eggs get cooked. Voila! It's done!
Proof that it is alright: I survived the day after having it, with No Problems.

2) Tuna and eggs

2 eggs
1 spoon tuna
Beat eggs and mix with tuna. Cook in whichever way you like it. Tada!
And for once it turned out like awesome! Proof: V, P and me are A-OK...

Preparation time - zilch
Cooking time - max 5 mins

I am a genius! :)

October 15, 2008

An Open Letter From Grand Pa

I get forwards through the day. It makes the 'lazy' periods of the day pass. Mnj had sent me this one. I read the title. 'Hmm, must be one of the sentimental ones about family and love'. To my pleasant surprise, it spoke about saving and money. Considering the current situation, both globally and otherwise (ya it s true :| ), it just makes sense to share this with everyone out there too...

Thanks to the person who wrote this.
So here goes....

Thanks to Subhash Apte:

An Open Letter From Grand Pa

LATELY, I have been thinking a lot about the Lehman crisis. Spending money that they didn't have and going beyond their means is one of the main reasons for their situation today. In fact that is the cause for the current economic crisis in the US. When I see all this happening, I can only remember the good old days. Then, karz ('debt' is Hindi) was bad. People looked down upon those who took loans. Parents would not give their daughter's hand in marriage to a man with loans. But of course, the times have changed now. Everyone I know has a loan. The buzz word is EMI (equated monthly instalment).

Today, you can buy everything on EMI - a house, a television, an i-Pod. In fact I know of someone who just bought a fancy BMW 3 series on EMI, instead of buying a cheaper car outright with cash. I mostly prefer to take public transport, but then I am an old man with old thoughts! Anyway, coming back to what caused the crisis. Imagine having Rs 2 lakh in your bank account, no regular income, yet buying a house worth Rs 65 lakh, in the hope of selling it for a higher price. Even if the price of the house fell by just 5 per cent (that is Rs 3 lakh), you will go bankrupt.

This is what Lehman Brothers did; with around USD 20 billion they went and bought assets worth over USD 600 billion. And they are supposed to have employed best brain in the industry! Isn't it suicidal and simply foolish? I am sure things would have been different, had I been the head of Lehman brothers. But who wants an old conservative man like me to head a complex financial institution.

But there are a few lessons that we can learn:

1. Live a balanced life and avoid overspending.

Tip: As soon as you get your monthly salary, set aside a fixed amount, usually 35 per cent, for insurance, savings and investments. You can then spend the rest.

2. Not all loans are bad. Loans that are 'need based' (home loans, education loans) can always find a place in your finances against those that are largely 'want based' (personal loans, car loans).

3. Borrow only if repayment is financially comfortable. A thumb rule: Keep EMIs within 30 per cent of your monthly income

In that respect, there is one American who I really respect - Warren Buffet. He has lived in the same ordinary house for over three decades, drives his own medium sized car and leads an extremely regular 'middle class' life. If that's all it takes for the richest person on earth to be happy, why do all of us need to take extra stress just so that we can get things which aren't even essential?

India still has a lot of growth ahead and the future holds immense opportunities for us.

Let us make the most of it and save and invest it wisely instead of wasting our precious little on things we don't need.


Makes a lot of sense right? It reminds me of when I first set out to this place. Dad and Ma came to see me off at the railway station. And they too had told me to save and set aside some of what I get. It got me through some tough times too. I wish, no, I hope that everyone out there gets the same benefit from this as I did.