Monthly Archives: November 2009

Date Palms, a Water Pool and Bubbly Children

Update for 30 Nov 2009

An oasis in the desert conjures up inviting images of tall date palm trees, fringing a cool blue pond, with lush grass on its banks. It is a place in the middle of “nowhere”, where the weary traveler can rest his limbs, wash up in the pond, refill his camel skin water-bag and chew on the ripe date fronds that abound the place. It is also the place where children from the nearby settlement escape to, when oppressive mothers drive them out of their huts to tend the sheep. The children play as their flocks gambol among the greenery. They also chatter with the weary traveler and give him some useful inputs on their settlement. The traveler could be a merchant carrying prized salt from the desert that he would trade for food along the way or gold with the white sailors at the port. The traveler could also be a slave driver looking for his next “catch” that he could smartly bundle out to the palaces at the edge of the desert where he would get handsomely paid for. The traveler could also be a gold digger looking for the lost ruins of a civilization and looking for cheap labour or inputs to help him in his mission. Or he could be the maverick explorer just looking for new places and recording them in his journal which he would publish when he went back to his university. Whatever role he essayed, the traveler is always in awe of the oasis as it provides relief from the scorching heat and loneliness that he has been subjected to. It also helps him rewind and gather his energy to travel forth. It can be enriching for any traveler.

The desert storm from the Persian Gulf that clouded D Street seemed to have settled a bit. The D(isoriented) Boyz sighted their oasis this morning and quickly took into its green environs. The green leaves of the date palm, the sweet fruits from the tree, the cool blue waters in its ponds, all invited the D Boyz to stay and savour their much needed respite – so their caravan, the SENSEX, also stayed to enjoy the oasis, recouping the losses of last Friday and gaining more. The children from the nearby village added cheer to the D Boyz and the SENSEX as they brought cheerful news of how their village had so much of business opportunities – actually 7.7% more than the last time … (little children did not understand complex acronyms like the GDP –and “mistook” them for Good Date Pudding – which their mothers would prepare tonight for after dinner). The weary D Boyz were refreshed with this stay and their SENSEX looked healthier – actually 294 points healthier at 16926.

Sometimes, the villagers invite the headman of the caravan to their village for a meal at night, and this opens up opportunities for both to gain from each other. The wise elders of the village always know when to invite and when to avoid. They have lived in these harsh environs for long to know it.

Have a nice day. Cheers….


The Hamlet on the Northern and Southern Slope

Update for week ended 27 Nov 2009

The bearded old shepherd had been hearing noises in his head for a while now. He did not know when it all started, but his wife blamed his age and his drinking habit for it. They lived on the north facing slope of the rugged mountains and at this time of the year, it received little sunlight and their small slate roof hut got colder than the old couple could bear. They had lived in this sparsely populated countryside for over 4 decades now. Since they had no children, the old woman suggested they adopt the orphan who roamed the village streets in the valley below. The young lad quickly adapted to the family ways of this mountain shepherd couple and helped in tending the sheep and also helping around the house. The old couple found their “son” and lived happily, until these “noises in the head” episodes. On one such day, the old man, led the lad out with his sheep down the rugged slopes. The cold winter months were creeping in and grass was getting sparser, so he sent his wife to live in their temporary winter home on the south facing slope, where it was warmer and the tall grass could be cut and dried to serve as hay for roofing and stuffing for their beds. As he moved downwards, the old man heard the voices in his head which caused it to spin and he stumbled on the loose stones and fell down the dry dusty slopes. The boy was too small to prevent the fall and he quickly ran behind the hurtling old man. They stumbled and tumbled down the slope and found it difficult to stop. The buzzing noises annoyed the old man and he used his instincts to arrest his fall and slowly picked himself up to orient himself with the surroundings. His “son” was standing next to him, breathing heavily, bent and resting his palms on his knees. The sheep were still way behind, but heading their way. The old man heeded the “command” in his head and grabbed the startled boy; placed him tummy down on a nearby rock. He reached for his little dagger in its scabbard and raised it high, about to strike the boy, whilst holding him down with the other hand. That was when the sobbing child looked back at his father and pleaded for his life, only whimpering, not screaming. The Old man snapped out of his reverie and suddenly noticed that he had tears in his eyes; he looked up and saw the dagger in his right hand, about to strike down; he unclenched his fist and dropped down on his knees, releasing the grip on the boy. He cried out loud and trembled with fear. The boy got up slowly and hugged his father before drying his tears. The old man knew what he had to do and what he had to shed. He flung the flask from his waistband onto the rocks beyond and held his son’s hand seeking forgiveness. The child was only too willing to see a smile on his father’s face and hugged him again. The old man and the boy held hands and started climbing up the valley towards their new winter home. It was getting chilly, and the bleating sheep followed them without missing a step or stopping, as though nothing had occurred. They hastened their climb and could see smoke from their new home. Mother had stoked the stove and they looked forward to the hot meal later that day. The duo did not talk much on their climb, but held hands and the firm, yet loving clasp said more than words.

The tremors, jitters, trembles that people feared led to sleepless nights for the D Boyz. They did not even have any cues from America, so waited for their Asian friends to give them some direction. They started the morning with sinking feeling in their stomach – sending the SENSEX down 200 points and thereafter, the noises in their sleepy heads grew louder and louder, that they spun like a top and sank into what looked like a vortex. So 200 to 300 to 400 to 500 and even 600 points sent enough shivers down the cool D Street. Some leading pharma company that sold anti-depressants had its counter thronging with customers; while the overseas phone lines were in over-use – making only these 2 companies the profitable ones in the D Boyz’ SENSEX. And just how quickly the tumble began, like the proverbial “snapping out of the reverie” moment, came the reversal and the upward trudge quickly got the 250-200 level and stayed there till end of day. The D Boyz who had a whirlwind of a day moving 1000 points in the day saw a disheveled, but settled SENSEX at 16632 – 222 points down. The weekly fall has been 388 points – about 2%; but as you can figure out, it could have been worse.

This weekend is thanksgiving weekend, not only in America, but also around the Islamic world. Let us offer our thanks for what we have, and hope we get better from hereon.

Have a nice weekend… Cheers…

The 3 Friends

Update as of 26 Nov 2009


Peter, like most young adults in his country had flown out of the nest. He went to University and stayed in an apartment that he shared with 2 fellow students. Study life was quite different from the one back home – he had to do his own laundry and dishes, the food at the college cafeteria was the tastiest meal that he ate, evenings were spent either at the gymnasium, swimming pool or the local mall. His flatmates lead a similar life except that one of them, Carl was also a guitarist and strummed his guitar at odd hours. Jules was the odd one out, as he spent lesser time at home and more at the university, flitting between the lab and library while attending classes in between. He was what the other 2 called a “nerd”. When they graduated and moved out, they kept in touch with each other – writing a letter once a month, or sending greeting cards on festive occasions. Jules went on to join the military and rightly so, he had at least one aspect of that life well practiced – discipline. Peter was waffling between a day job and a possible post graduation, while Carl followed his heart and joined a local club where he played his guitar and wrote songs, and sang some of them as well. Their lives were not exactly smooth-sailing, but not particularly patchy either, until…..! Until, a war was declared in the Persian Gulf. Jules, who was holidaying with his family was called back to report to duty on the war-front. Carl and Peter were horrified with the news of the war and although they could not stop it, they formed an association opposing it quite blatantly. They knew that Jules would also have supported them, but his duty always came first. And then Peter got a call from Jules’ home in the country. Jules had been killed the previous night in combat and his body would be flown in on the weekend. Jules’ father wanted both Peter and Carl to attend the funeral. Infuriated, yet emotional, Peter drove those 344 miles in silence while Carl sat beside him, silent, yet with his hands on the guitar. At the funeral service, Carl dedicated a song to Jules and Peter laid a wreath. The body was not buried, but cremated with full honours. Jules’s father was heart-broken, but remained stoic and when it was all over, he walked upto Peter and asked him for a favour that Peter would never refuse. He wanted Peter to scatter Jules’ ashes in India, in the famous river where Jules had once found peace, while on a University exchange program. Despite the squalor and chaos and the filth in the water and outside, Jules had confided in his father that this was the most mystical and peaceful place he had ever seen. Peter took the urn, wrapped in white cloth and departed.


The D Street Boyz were not in a particularly happy mood, but they were not sombre either. This Thursday was the monthly expiry of the F&O Nov series, so they did anticipate some downwards moves and some shakiness. They carried on their work at D Street moving between flat to about 100 points down. Then the shocking news from the Persian Gulf spelt gloom on D Street – at 2 pm the SENSEX plunged 150 points and stayed 350 points below previous close and no amount of cricket cheer could get the Boyz to perk up their SENSEX. Perhaps the Malayali Bowler who took 6 wickets in the cricket match against the Lankans, helped get the SENSEX a wee bit up – 6 points upwards to end the day at a sombre 16854 – 344 points down.


And then he saw the bearded mendicant wearing ochre robes and the brown bead necklace around his neck. His red vermilion mark on the forehead only accentuated his piercing eyes. He waved his right hand at Peter and beckoned him. Peter took quick paces towards him, and pulled out a container from his rucksack. Holding it with both hands, he followed the mendicant and walked down the wet and slippery steps to the river. No words were exchanged between them, as they stepped into the water and stood waist deep – the mendicant then mumbled a few prayers, and motioned Peter to empty the contents of the container into the flowing waters. Peter was emotional, but in control of himself and closed his eyes for a moment before submerging himself into the water and then stood up, turned back, pulled out a few notes from his pocket and dropped it into the mendicant’s wooden basket.


A Trip to Maasa’s Shamba

Update as of 25 Nov 2009


Shankar always looked forward to his weekend day trip to Maasa’s Shamba. This was a farm owned by Maasa, the elderly neighbour who did not mind talkative, inquisitive 9 year olds tagging along whenever he visited his farm. But unlike the normal notion of a farm, that grew cash crops and had a farmhouse, all within about 20-30 acres of land; this Shamba was 800 acres large and almost sustained a township within it, with a grocery store, farm implement store, a diesel pump and a primary school, all within the shamba. Shankar looked forward to the trip as it let him be footloose, fancy free, and appreciate nature from real close; not that he lived in a big city. He lived in a small town on the shores of the large lake on the equator. The shamba was actually a sugar cane estate that grew tons of the sweet grass to be supplied to the nearby sugar mill. The weather was tropical, yet pleasant with warm mornings, slightly humid afternoons, rainy evenings and cool nights. The weather stayed uniform all year round and so the farm grew the cane for harvest all year round, too. The beauty of this crop is its ability to regenerate more than once – so if the “first” cane is harvested, in a few days, fresh shoots will grow in place of the short sugar stumps and regenerate into the 1st ratoon and even if that is harvested, quickly springs up the 2nd ratoon. This is convenient for the farmers as they have to till the land only once in a year or so, but the short growing season ensures that farmhands are occupied enough. Shankar’s shamba trip would always be in a multi-terrain four wheel drive vehicle as the murram roads within the estate could be quite tricky – slushy in places, while dry and dusty more often. At times, little streams needed to be crossed which only a sturdy vehicle could manouevre. Lunch would always be at the farmhouse clusters – hot Gujju food served by the local Luo cook; lip-smacking wholesome goodies, most of which were grown in their backyard. On some of the afternoons, Shankar would ask to be taken to the nearby forest and the natural water springs – just to savour the cool and bubbly water that flowed freely from a banana grove and on his return to the farmhouse, he would be treated to stories of a gorilla attack last weekend or the hyena that almost caught a school going child. Wild stories that scared him, but at the same time, egged him to return to the shamba every other weekend, at times with his siblings and parents.

There was furore in Delhi last week on the sweet grass, and more in the parliament this week too. I guess some other issues demolished this little niggle, as the D Street Boyz settled to see some political action that transcended into religion as well. Of-course, as is usually noticed, they were taken by surprise as some northern state announced a pact with the cane farmers paving the way to a sweet compromise (I presume) and the happy, sweet feeling and the green grassy sweet canes ensured that even the SENSEX remained lush and green all through. And like the real cane, even when there were threats of decimation (when the SENSEX slipped down), it rebounded like the 1st ratoon and 2nd to keep the day green. Someone predicted a volatile session, which it was in the second half, but if a 60 point here and another 50 there could scare the D Boyz, then they would not be D Boyz. So taking it in their stride, they ended the day on a sweet note up 67 points at 17198.

Before returning from the shamba, the all-in-one cook would load the four wheel drive with some fresh produce from his kitchen garden – plump purple brinjals, fresh broad beans, bundles of aromatic dillweed, crisp green ladyfingers, cobs of fresh white corn, freshly uprooted groundnuts, log like cassava, and once in while, some freshly cut cane sugar, to be peeled, cubed and quartered and eaten while watching the football match on TV that night!


Shallow Cooking Pots that are Not Woks

Update as of 24 Nov 2009

The cauldron is not a commonly used kitchen utensil in India. Most of us have heard this from foreigners who described them in books and comics whilst a witch’s broth was under preparation or a wizard was making his magical potion, or even comically when a baby accidentally fell into a cauldron and gained magical strength. However, not many would know that a cauldron or at least a look-alike was used often in Kerala kitchens to make some of their choicest puddings,  prathaman and payasam and some were so large they were never taken off the wood stoked stoves, and had to be cleaned there after dousing the fire. Most of these large, wide-mouthed pots also had curved edges and “ears” to handle them. The circular handles were part of the rim and could either be flexible and dangle at the edge or remain firm. The heavier the gauge of the metal used, the better they were for cooking and to ensure food-gradability, they were often made of alloys. Towards the end of the last century, they quietly disappeared from Kerala kitchens, as women and men folk alike migrated outwards making it impractical to use large cauldrons for cooking, so they were reserved for the annual visits to the “country” when family and friends would gather to savour the creamy coconut puddings. But with the proliferation of the tourism industry and the tendency to go back to the roots, many of these cauldrons are finding a new pride of place in unusual forms – at reception counters of hotels welcoming guests with flowers or widely used at the spas filled with scented water and pretty tropical blooms, and even some smart homes where they are the centre of attraction with floating flowers and candles. So like they say, some old traditions don’t die or fade away, they simply reinvent themselves.

The D Street Boyz have installed some nice artwork at their office; last year it was the bronze bull and this year it is the bronze cauldron. I still don’t know if it is a marketing gimmick for some spa or resort hotel in God’s Own Country, but the idea was neat to decorate and attract attention. However, the D Boyz, with their penchant to get carried away quite easily, stopped at the entrance of D Street and admired the contours of the cauldron – they saw the left “ear” handle – then the body of the cauldron, and finally the right “ear” handle. The SENSEX graph was etched accordingly – take a look…

The day that saw dips as low as 130 points and also saw positive SENSEX twice for a few minutes, ended in keeping with the “hanging ear handle” – 49 points down at 17131.

Incidentally, a Malayali friend enlightened me further – that there were indeed 2 types of cauldrons used back home – the one commonly referred to as the Uruli was the one with the “ear handles”, while the one without was the charakk.


Leaves on the Doorway

Ceremonies and rituals in India have some unique traditions that are not often seen or practiced elsewhere on the globe. Take for example, the leaves used outside the ceremonial venues or residences before a wedding or a prayer ritual. Alongwith the colourful floor patterns, rangoli, there are different green leaves inviting guests. The most common among these is the omnipresent mango leaves, usually strung as a bunting, toran, between the doorposts of the venue, most often interspersed with balls of orange or yellow marigold. The waxy, shiny leaves flutter happily and don’t dry up easily, making it ideal for our dry, hot weather and don’t need replenishing often. These torans don’t only play the decorative role at the venue, but have also been known to be good pest controls – the transparent acidic sap of the mangifera indica (mango) is a good pest repellant and keeps flies away as does the strongly scented pollen of the marigold. If it is a wedding, then fully-grown banana plants are harvested to be placed at either ends of the door with the leaves forming a natural curved entrance and if you are lucky, the plant could also have a bunch of fresh fruit growing on it. Nothing could get more auspicious than this, as bananas also denote fertility and a good omen for all events. And a few cultures, especially in Southern India use fresh coconut fronds to adorn their doorways by intricately weaving them together into faux lanterns. The coconut palm is often described as the magical tree, kalpavriksha, and it must these magical properties that the householders must be seeking by using these as doorway buntings, because it is difficult to uproot a palm tree and place at the doorposts, and if you tied the coconut leaves into a toran, then visitors passing through the doorway would be lacerated or at least intimidated by the long pointed ends; perhaps that is why they knit them into intricate shapes.

The wedding season and its fineries are unloading onto all living and visiting India these days – and D Street is not spared either. So after the Wedding Bonanza, yesterday, the D Boyz started today by passing under doorways strung with some green leaf or the other. Initially it was the mango leaf toran, with the 5 – 6 inches long leaves that kept the SENSEX up 50-60 points up. Then the household doorway had the 15 foot high, towering banana plant that ensured that the SENSEX jumped up 10 times higher at 150 points or thereabouts. There were minor dips indicated by the ducking heads of the D Boyz when they saw a coconut frond lantern overhead. A couple of lanterns ducked and they were at day’s end, soaking in all the fun and joy of the good omens. Amidst the din of the celebrations, it is difficult to be heard over the crackling cell-phone networks, and the Boyz did not think using them was a good Idea and also let another Telephone company lose some Air today dipping 4.5%; while the glut of sweet-dishes indulged in over the weekend weddings made the Boyz shun it today – bring sugar companies down 5-6%. The SENSEX kept up the tempo staying 158 points up to end at 17180.

One good thing about these natural festoons is that they last long (I think I mentioned it above), and when you have to bring them down, they do not litter easily and their disposal is so eco-friendly. A certain Gent from Chennai would have loved to add them to his vermi-compost, but I guess transporting it from Mumbai would not be such a good idea from a carbon footprint point of view? Anyone know of a friendly vermi-compost unit in Mumbai that we can refer the D Boyz to?


The Oleander Avenue

Update for week ended 20 Nov 2009

For those who read my updates regularly, you would recall that I usually choose the quieter “backlanes” of Bandra Kurla Complex to reach office, instead of the more crowded main-roads. The silence and ability to view the green mangroves, grassy opens, skies above are good enough compensation for the lack of good roads, and disorganized pedestrians (both the human and the canine varieties) on this stretch. The roads are now (i.e. for the past 350 days or so) being dug up to be repaved and cemented to “improve” infrastructure in this commercial belt of Mumbai – but I would have been happier if it really did improve. But like all things in this city and state, no-one bothers and the common man (and women and children) can rave and rant about the inadequacies, and yet remain unheard. On one of these stretches, one side of the road was dug up and concretised and left inoperational for over 2 months, until someone wanted to unearth the other side of the road. Thank God, for small mercies, that the stretch was not blocked off, but the half ready concrete stretch was thrown open to traffic. The drivers had to be very careful, because there were open culverts at the edges, uncleared debris to dodge, leftover rods, concrete littered carelessly and last week a felled tree trunk as well. The green, leafy oleanders have been colourful sentinels for a couple of years brightening up this road with their spiky, shiny green leaves and trumpet shaped yellow blooms interspersed. And last week, the tree fell (or was felled) to lie on the road, uncared for and forgotten. The leaves took a while to dry up, and before it turned to a heap of brown, I noticed that the never give up attitude that nature has, enacting before my eyes. The felled trunk lay on the side, but at the edge where the tree was still rooted to the ground, sprung numerous shoots of fresh oleander that have also started flowering. The resurgence was a feast for any sore eye, who cared to glance at nature’s triumph.

The D Street Boyz were struggling with the set of “new” directives that would upset their infrastructure and ability to work well and were a worried batch of Boyz. They had to dodge some bad news from the economics departments, from India and abroad; start worrying about how the local Central Bank would go the Real South American way; how the already choking traffic in our cities would worsen with farmers walking in with their canes. So the worried Boyz weighed down their sorrows and the SENSEX alike about 130 points until one of them got a phone call from his National B.K. Complex counterpart about the road work in the lane behind his office. Not wanting to burden himself with more woes, the D Boy was about to conclude the conversation, until he heard some nice words, like green, oleander, growing. And then he realized that there was hope and that he was looking in the wrong direction. He immediately asked for a picture of the street and then D Street did not remain the same. It turned green too and like its natural self, it sprung up so fast and so high and stayed at 200+ points above previous day. It closed at 17021. On a weekly note – this was a week about hope and green thoughts, ignited by children’s enthusiasm, nurtured by thoughtful adults and at times mystifying like the vermilion reds and noisy, but indifferent like cartoon shows. In some way, today’s redemption of 236 points was also in keeping with the week’s spirits.

The picture that the National BK Complex Guy sent to the D Street Boyz is the same that I took early this morning; take a look.

And if any of you know what happened to Peter, please let me know.

Cheers and Have a Nice Weekend….

Mystical Temple-town

Update for 19 Nov 2009

Peter (name changed to protect identity) had arrived into Varanasi the previous night. The long and arduous train journey from Delhi was an experience he will never forget all his life – which at that moment did not mean much to Peter. He walked out of the 2 storey building that was his lodge for the night with his khaki rucksack on his back, wearing little more than the whitish T-shirt that he travelled with and cotton baggy pyjamas that he had bought at a stall in Daryaganj near the Delhi railway station. He was not particularly attractive, but his deep-set blue eyes could arrest anyone who happened to see them, and since Peter did not blink so often, the gaze had a mesmerizing effect, of sorts. His shaggy mane fell on his shoulders, unkempt, but not very untidy and his sunken pink cheeks and athletic body build indicated that he had seen better times. Peter walked through the by-lanes of Varanasi, with a purpose and although he was unfamiliar with the surroundings, he intuitively followed the paths that started getting more crowded and from which emerged men, women, at times children who had wet slick hair, and draped the red gamchha (a red multipurpose towel) either around the waist or their shoulders and their dripping damp (or wet) clothes had already soiled the lane behind them. Peter was heading to the river from where the sea of humanity was emerging, whilst he was part of another sea of humanity heading there. He ignored the urchins and demi-priests who were attracting his attention and as the streets narrowed and the stalls alongside almost spilled over onto him and the other pedestrians, his eyes got sharper and moved furtively, as though seeking out something or someone. And then he saw the bearded mendicant wearing ochre robes and the brown bead necklace around his neck. His red vermilion mark on the forehead only accentuated his piercing eyes. He waved his right hand at Peter and beckoned him. Peter took quick paces towards him, and pulled out a container from his rucksack. Holding it with both hands, he followed the mendicant and walked down the wet and slippery steps to the river. No words were exchanged between them, as they stepped into the water and stood waist deep – the mendicant then mumbled a few prayers, and motioned Peter to empty the contents of the container into the flowing waters. Peter was emotional, but in control of himself and closed his eyes for a moment before submerging himself into the water and then stood up, turned back, pulled out a few notes from his pocket and dropped it into the mendicant’s wooden basket. He saluted him with folded hands and climbed up the stairs to join the sea of humanity moving away from the river, as his dripping wet clothes soiled the road as he moved on.

The mood on D Street was solemn today, as the markets opened in the red. The D Boyz were not in a mood to celebrate, and so let the SENSEX stay red for the entire session. Joint ventures were forged in steel, while strong winds were hinting towards some better weather in Pune, sugar was not sweet as politicians felt that the cane farmers were overpaid, and the cricketers were still out in the Ahmedabad sun. None of these fazed the Boyz, who seemed to have a sombre tale to tell, but remained silent and applied the red vermilion on their foreheads and took the SENSEX on a path below the surface. In fact at culmination of trading hours, it sank to its depths of over 230 points, but ended at 16785, 213 points down. The 1.25% drop almost symbolized the Hindu tradition of the Rs 1.25 token thanksgiving offered for wishes or prayers.

Peter quietly walked back along the path he took to the river, and veered off at the junction of the small Siva Temple. He walked across to the vermilion powder vendor and quietly sat down with her. No words were exchanged here, but when the next customer walked across and asked for a spoonful of the red powder, he quietly spooned it into a newspaper cone, wrapped it and handed it over to the plump matronly vendor. She had got her assistant, and after collecting her money, she moved a little to let Peter sit comfortably.


Chennai Green – Mumbai ?

Update as of 18 Nov 2009


This gent in Chennai is doing his little bit to improve the environment by ensuring that no chemicals get into or out of his house, save the bathing soap he uses. He has a model house that the Green Brigade activists would be proud of. The water that is used in the bathroom and kitchen are passed through pipes filled with earthworm that digest the edible waste, moss, fungus and even mosquito eggs and then is used to water the kitchen garden. The kitchen waste is composted in the backyard with a little help from cows that roam the street (their droppings are collected and added to the garbage heap to help it transform into manure for the garden). The toilet waste is also biologically treated with some bacteria that thrives on this and converts the noxious gases into water vapour and deodorizes the sludge which then is used to fertilise the garden again. The Chennai gent is quite proud to do his little bit in keeping his home clean and boasts that he has no mosquito problems, and does not need to wait for the garbage truck and his helpers underground (the earthworms) help him by helping themselves. The gent is quite happy spreading his work to anyone who wants to contribute to a green world. A few plumbing changes are needed (mostly to do with the pipes under the ground and perhaps a septic tank, again underground) and getting friendly with little reddish brown earthworms.


An interesting day after really long on D Street! No dramatic rises, nor drastic drops – just flattish tones as the D Boyz looked around for reasons to react. Ciggie price rises did seem to boost them for a while, but news of possible trouble in chocolate territory got them worried and then some Working Hard pharma company got chatty with an American drug maker perking up some of the Boyz, before the day ended whilst the cricket crazy Boyz saw the India’s hopes sinking at Motera. But as I said, it was flattish – rangebound at 50 points above and below previous close. The enthusiastic Boyz want to keep their street clean, so don’t mind a little plumbing and digging and so agreed to the 52 point dip to 16698.


Going green like the Chennai Gent is difficult in Muggy Mumbai – but I have started by doing my little bit – by doubling my potted plants on the window sill. I hope to add colour to the current set. Let us see what colour ixora blooms, when it does!


Fred, the Duck Billed Platypus

Update as of 17 Nov 2009

Fred is a bored Duck Billed Platypus and lives an ordinary life with 2 geeks and their hyper-sensitive sister. The geeks are always trying to invent something or the other while their “I must foil your plans” sister is always spying on them. Fred, the Platypus, despite his squat expressions and general apathy to his surroundings, lives a double life and is actually an undercover agent, the saviour of our planet from devious scientists who have evil designs to conquer the earth and rule its people, apart from the Geek Boyz’ pet. But it is amazing how the timing of the Geek Boyz’ escapades matches that of the Platypus’ trysts with earth saving. So when the Boyz turn their surroundings into crater filled disaster zones, our duck-billed platypus escapes to fight the powers of evil. The Sister just tags along wanting to report the Boyz’ behaviour to their mother, and looks for that moment when she can nail them! It is amazing how this little creature, Fred, who looks meek and lost at most times, actually counters the forces that think and execute complex plans. And invariably, the Boyz and the Platypus will cross paths at a time when the Geek inventions or adventures would reach their zenith or nadir (whichever way it goes) while the Evil Scientist(s) would get their boot from the webbed feet of Fred. And at the end when the 3 meet, it is amazing to see how the inventions / adventures simply don’t exist and how the scheming silent platypus gets his squat expression all over again. And the 4th, the Sister is left gaping, unable to get her “naughty” brothers to book. So if you saw this cartoon show at start and at finish, and missed out the middle, you would not notice a thing amiss, whilst you would have in reality missed a lot!

The D Boyz lived their lives like the Geek Boyz and their pet, the platypus. So when everything appeared hunky dory at start, they quickly took to their distractions and turned their backyard, D Street, upside down. So the SENSEX which started up 40 points, quickly entered subterranean levels and moved to depths of 130 points or so and just when the Sister (SENSEX) was about to nail the Boyz and freeze them, for reporting to Mom; the Boyz and their Platypus undid everything that happened during the day to return to their smug geeky expressions of the morning to settle the SENSEX 18 points up (Flat actually) to 17050. People who checked the SENSEX screens at 9:55 am this morning and then tuned off to return at 3:30 pm would not see anything amiss. So was this D Street working at its cartoonish best, today?

For those who like to gaze at the night sky for some twinkling lights – try and catch up with the meteor shower expected after sundown! If you witnessed it, please write in.