Monthly Archives: November 2010

Vegetables on the Truck Farm

Update for week ended 26 November 2010

While Vitthal got busy with the seedling patch on his little farm,  light clouds were gathering overhead. Post a long monsoon, Vitthal was now preparing to get his truck farm ready for the winter vegetables. These were simple to grow, and given the low moisture in the air, it also needed little tending, especially on weeding. The carrots, peas had already been sowed in their rows, while the little bulb garden was defined at the corner of his small 2 acre plot. He would grow the usual spring onions as well as the garlic chives. And much of the farm was vacant as the cauliflower and lettuce seedlings were not strong enough to transplant yet. These were still in the seedling patch which required careful watering. Having done that, Vitthal headed home to rest. But that night, there were sporadic lightning streaks in the lightly overcast sky and when he awoke the next morning, a heavy downpour and squally winds were not something Vitthal wanted. This was bad news for him, as he banked upon the seedling patch and had not even used a thatch as the monsoons had withdrawn over a month ago. But the rains that fell from the grey clouds did not yield and thundered down forcefully all day. The thundering ended in the plundering of the field and the delicate seedlings and their shoots just lay uprooted in places and submerged in most. Vitthal was not sure whether he was to feel relieved that the farm did not have any standing cash crop like wheat, or feel lousy that he would lose at least 2 weeks before he can get his crops growing again which would harvest bang in the middle of the season, when prices were at their lowest.

The good tidings of the run up at D Street started getting a bit slow, as clouds from overseas started gathering. The D Street Boyz looked up, but did not heed it as a warning until they returned the next day, as bad news unfolded.. first it was the thundering beating by some overseas Boyz (Irish or Korean I think), and then some scam like rot that set in which spooked the D Boyz. What could have been a breeze in the park turned into squally winds, uprooting the Boyz so much that they could not hold onto the SENSEX. The Boyz scampered around trying to tame the downward running SENSEX which they finally cornered close to 19000 points at 19136. The tired Boyz will perhaps rest on the weekend before they get back to work on the messy D Street – they need to clear the fallen branches and debris from the squall of the week.  

Either ways, Vitthal did not lose hope, he just went to examine his field – the first thing he did was clear the seedlings patch and erect a thatch for the next batch. He examined the peas and carrots and got to work immediately weeding out the rotting shoots, and replanting a few seeds in their place. He would get a patchy farm, but that is better than no farm, he felt. The bulbs were his biggest fears and the onions were destroyed beyond redemption, so he had them uprooted; however the garlic chives were hardier and did not look too bad. He knew what to do to replace the onions. He had hard work ahead of him and just got down to it.

Have a nice restful weekend and catch you all next week.



Dusky Beauties

Update for week ending 19 November 2010

A couple of decades ago, a leading movie comedian sang out his heart on being rejected for being dusky or rather dark….. and even tried to throw analogies of how a dark spot on a fair skin is called a beauty spot, while a white patch on a body is actually looked down upon as vitiligo or some such scourge. And so it took a long long while for Indian entertainment seekers to finally even acknowledge that dark or dusky is also acceptable. Even the Maharaja of the South – famous for his one liners and cigarette flicks, tried to “whiten” himself by using a tubful of skin whitening cream. And if the movies tried out these aspects, could Indian Satellite TVs be far behind…. Many of the leading TV serials of their times had a dark heroine as the protagonist – so what if the story turned and twisted and finally ended as a typical mother-in-law wickedly conniving against cow-like daughter-in-law. And everyone forgot that the theme of the TV serial was to promote the cause of dusky woen, but alas, other eyeball grabbers arrived on the screen and out went these serials. So one ended last weekend and another will follow suit this weekend, all because one dusky dancer, caked up her face with make-up and threw political correctness out of the TV studio and called people by their “real names”, so what if it was not suitable for general viewing – but her exaggerated expressions and her poor diction of Hindi and English kept getting more viewership than the Player Hero who is cooking up to save his TRPs – especially in the backdrop of huge flop films. And the latest to join in the spoil story is this fair blonde from the West Coast of the US…. who used to wear red swimsuits and rescue drowning swimmers – who I am sure drowned or pretended to be rescued by her or her other life guard compatriots. If the I&B Ministry raises noise about these 2 ladies and their antics on TV – then it will only result in higher eyeballs and more money for the colourful and imaginative TV channels…..

The D Street Boyz also started appeasing investors to go black… and so coal and allied dark objects that were being peddled on D Street during Diwali saw hectic activity. The D Boyz’ favourite toy, the SENSEX also had a good show during Diwali – going black and getting stronger. And then small niggling issues started irritating them and some of them from countries with large blonde populace – and then people started getting jittery and dropped the Indian dusky SENSEX. And dropped it so many times, that if the SENSEX was human, it would have got dusky by the bruises it received by the drops…. So a SENSEX that looked comfortable kissing the wispy Diwali clouds at 21000, is now struggling to get out of its teen thousands…. It is only at 19930….

In matrimonial ads, do they still say wheatish complexion to describe a person who is actually “dusky”? I have not read through them for long. Maybe this weekend, I will try and cacth up with the newspaper supplement to see what other adjectives are used apart from the time tested “convent educated”, “innocent divorcee”…… etc etc… It has been a while since we connected – would be interesting to hear what you feel about Dusky Beauties.

Have a nice weekend (I know we still have a Friday to surpass, but believe me, it will pass).. Cheers..

Festival Time

 Update for week ended 4 November 2010

The brooms were out of the closet, as were the dishcloths and other pieces of rags quickly bundled together and kept handy in the red bucket. The woman of the house donned her pants and T-shirt and shouted out her instructions. This was the Diwali cleaning operation across the entire country, as every house got out their cleaners and sponges and detergents and stools (four legged varieties) to get their walls, ceilings, fans, windows all sparkling and squeaky clean. Sunday was the day to ensure that all members of the household lent a helping hand to the Lady of the House – so everyone got into the act. The hectic activities and discovery of muscles that many thought never existed, tired them out and they just plonked themselves on the closest couch, chair, bench, doorstep to relax. And then they had a simple dinner that day – a one pot meal. This was invigorating as everyone was ravenous and anything that tasted like food would have tasted like manna. On second thoughts, this was perhaps planned by the Lady of the house since she knew that the following days would see hordes of foodstuff being prepared for consumption over the weekend and beyond, and the family had to be healthy enough to stomach that much of fat, sugar and loads of “rich” food. The next day was her day – as she got out her kadhai, Indian style heavy bottom metal wok, and used it as a multipurpose kitchen tool – first to dry roast the gram flour, rice flakes, semolina; (separately of course) and then to heat oil for frying the goodies, sweet and savoury. The leftover oil or clarified butter was ingeniously woven into the next step of making sweetmeats that were drenched in the fat and sweetened with golden sugar syrup. The scents emanating from the kitchen were so overpowering that the heat and sweat did not keep away prying eyes, and naughty hands that wanted to dip into every steel tin or container and even a cajoling “please” by the apple-of-the-Houselady’s eye did not yield. But at the end of the sessions, the scraped bottoms of the kadhais and the bartans, vessels, were quickly distributed for everyone’s tasting and approval. A little adjustment of sweet here, a dash of more ghee there and voila, the magic was woven. The only thing left now was to decorate the house, as the finest linen draped the windows, and the sofa covers suddenly reappeared from the mothballed trunks, the torans , traditional doorframe decoration, were strung up, and the colourful rangolis, floor patterns, were artistically laid out. The only pending item was the oil lamps that needed to be lit and placed strategically across the house, one in the kitchen, one next to the prayer altar, one next to the tulsi plant, holy basil, and a few outside the house around the rangoli or kolam or alpana. All ready for the festival of light, colour, food and joy.

The D Boyz were busy cleaning up D Street for the Big D Day event this weekend. And as they started working out those “non-existing” muscles, they tired out during the first part of the week and in the bargain lay flat the SENSEX (like their position on the nearest couch, desk or wherever they could rest). But after a day or two when their wives shared some samples of the tasty snacks prepared for the festival weekend, they revived their sapped strengths and pushed up their favourite SENSEX on Wednesday. And when the black diamond’s cousin was being laid out on D Street – the Boyz could not contain their excitement – their overjoyed status got them to celebrate Diwali with a bang and close this week’s SENSEX height at an all time high of 20893 – 861 points up from the previous week. They don’t particularly care for the traffic restrictions around D street on Saturday when some foreigner visits the city in his bulletproof car and 20 year old airplane. They will work tomorrow though for their auspicious trading hour at 6 pm… They want to twinkle at their sparkling best.

Marigolds, rose petals, mango leaves are strewn all across as they find pride of place in every street corner and household. The sparkling and shiny silks rustle as the children go dashing out to show off their new garments to their friends. Mothers wear their favourite gold ornaments and don’t forget to spray on that perfume she bought at the swanky Manhattan store last summer. The husband is busy downloading traditional instrumental music onto the home computer and successfully connecting it to the home theatre system. And the blinking sparkling lights twinkle in their shades of blue, red, orange, green, pink…. lending that glow to the already sparkling house. Diwali, the festival of festivals is here.

I wish all my readers a fantastic Diwali. Be safe and enjoy yourselves, and I really look forward to your experiences this season. I am taking a short break and will be back mid November.