Leaving on a jet plane

Leaving on a jet plane.

Leaving on a jet plane

Leaving on a jet plane…


I love these days. The countdown to the big day has come down to five. I am a sucker for reverse counting. Don’t know if this happens to you, but I can get more done on my to-do-list a few days before I leave on a vacation. The energy keeps flowing like P.C. Sarcar’s Water of India. While we in the audience would never know from where this incessant supply of water comes, like most other things in a magic show, I know from where my endless energy springs.


Vacations. Aha…it starts with a desperate plea flung around the house by its inmates of varying dimensions “Need a break.” The wishful expressions over meal times of heavenly destinations and paradisiacal (did I just create this word?) locales rise to a crescendo of heated arguments that get flattened by practical considerations of dwindling bank balances.


The next port of call is the settlement of dates. Clash of the titans. This permanently-reclining-on-the-settee piece of teenage lard suddenly has bursting-at-the-seams calendar appointments for every date proposed. Hubby takes care to work around all our business commitments. His beacon is the blinking cheapest airfare on his laptop monitor. He stares at it as a doctor would at the ECG monitor of a sinking patient. I am the least fussy. My requirement starts and ends in one single statement. My vacation has to coincide with my maid’s annual vacation. She goes, I go. She returns, I return.


This barricade crossed, the frantic bookings begin. This is a veritable battle. I don’t know why we end up doing this, but always, always, we plan our vacation on the exact dates when the whole world plans theirs. Frustration leads to temper tantrums. The teen is unfazed, either way. He moves enough to shove his shoulders a wee bit. It’s a shrug I guess.


But, it’s not fair that I crib. We’ve always been lucky with our bookings. This time is no exception. Of course, with a slight tweaking of the plan here and there, the ground work is done. Hubby and I are as excited as puppies. The teen’s shrug is accompanied by a hint of a smile.


In the long two-month wait to the big day, the vacation is not even a blur. Mind space is taken up by the drudgery of everyday existence. But it all begins to come back a fortnight to the event.  And then the countdown comes down to five. This is when productivity peaks. To-do-lists get longer, but energy flows abundantly. Images of the vacation zoom celluloid size in the mind. While the regular work does get done anyway, packing lists get onto post-its. Suddenly we have no suitable clothes. Our overflowing closets seem to have all the unwanted stuff. So several quick trips to the mall are made. Pack light is the injunction thrown at us by dear hubby. Airlines have restricted baggage allowances, he warns in a defeated refrain.


Arguments ensue on the choice of bags. But they are not as drawn out as the ones with the teen to get him to at least review his packing list. Time is ticking away, but not for him. Last but the most important item on my to-do list is the visit to the salon for getting it right on the vacation snaps. I splurge on that annual hair spa, the lavish facial…everything is fair in vacation times.


The eve of departure is the maddest time. A last minute review of the packing list reveals rude shocks. Son has packed his two cell phones, chargers, ipod, speakers, rechargeable batteries, earphones, and a pile of unlaundered clothes. He has forgotten undergarments and night wear. Not good to lose temper on the threshold of a vacation. I steel myself and sit in his room supervising the repacking.


The night before the early morning departure seems endless. Finally, we are ready. Bags are packed and stand in a neat file in the living room. Suddenly, all tension eases. We are cracking jokes and laughing nuts, even the reticent teen. We make a riot. We are teetering on hysteria.


Funny how vacations can get you out of bed without the alarm ringing the death knoll in your ears. Showered and ready, we are at the door, dressed up in vibrant vacation spirit.


We are leaving on a jet plane…









Arnabism…cannot miss reading this!

An Editor explains ‘Arnab Goswami’ to an NRI

19 November 2013



picture-20For most TV news consumers, Arnab Goswamiis both a name and a phenomenon. But there are still large parts of the world to be conquered by Times Now‘s bulldog of an inquisitor.

B.V. Rao, editor of Governance Now, explains the name and the phenomenon to a childhood friend who lives in Canada.


Dear Sharada

Sometime ago during a Googlegroup discussion you innocently asked: “But who is Arnab?”.

In India not knowing Arnab is against national interest. You are lucky you live in Canada. But if you don’t want to be deported on arrival on your next visit, you better pay attention to this complimentary crash course on the subject.

Arnab, as in Arnab Goswami, is India’s most-watched prime time news anchor and editor-in-chief of Times Now*. But designations don’t even begin to describe him or what he is famous for.

You must have heard about hurricanes Katrina andSandy. Arnab is also a storm, a news-storm that hits India every night via his show, the “Newshour”. Nobody is quite sure how, but somehow Arnab gets to know the questions that the “whole nation” wants answers for, or the sinners the nation wants hanged before midnight that night.

In effect then, Arnab speaks for a “billion-plus people” each time he takes centre-stage.

I can’t say for sure if he took this burden upon himself voluntarily or if his employers made it a contractual obligation. Whatever it is, the fact is that Arnab has come to relish asking the most “simple and direct” questions to the most dubious people demanding instant answers to complex problems because the “nation wants to know” and it wants to know “tonight” as in right now.

That’s how impatient India has become while you’ve been away, Sharada.


The Newshour airs on weekdays from 9 pm and continues till Arnab’s pleasure lasts. Often the show stretches up to 10.50 pm. That’s actually “News hour-and-three-quarters-and-then-some” but I guess Arnab has not asked himself a “simple, direct” question: how many minutes make an hour?

That, or his primary school maths teacher is not his viewer. In which case it is safe to say Arnab speaks for a billion-plus minus one Indians.

You will see that at the altar of national interest it is not just the hour that is stretched.

About two decades ago, Dileep Padgaonkar was the editor of the Times of India owned by the Jains of Bennett & Coleman who also own Times Now. Padgaonkar had pompously proclaimed that he held the second most important job in the country after the prime minister’s.

Arnab hasn’t said it, but I think he disagrees with Padgaonkar on the pecking order:  it’s now the prime minister who holds the second most important job in the country.

Hence Arnab runs the show like he would run the country or like the prime minister should but doesn’t.

You see, Sharada, there’s an awful lot of stuff the nation wants to know by nightfall but our prime minister isn’t much of a talker. Arnab fills the need gap. He opens his show with a passionate agenda-setting preamble that spells out all the problems of the day and how he wishes to solve them. We gratefully receive this wisdom and call it Arnab’s Address to the Nation, a prime ministerial duty that has fallen on his broad shoulders because the real guy has abdicated it.


Let me tell you this, however. Arnab is a very reluctant power-grabber. It is not his intent to upstage the prime minister or make him look silly.

He gives the prime minister an entire day to prove his worth and gets to work only at 9 pm when it is clear that the latter can’t handle stuff.

He then solves all outstanding national issues of the day in just one 110 minute-hour of feverish debates where he grills the skin off the back of everybody who dares to stand in the way of India’s national interest.

He is unrelenting in his pursuit of the truth and doesn’t give up unless everybody has agreed with him.

“I am worried”, “I am concerned”, “I won’t let you politicise”, “I don’t agree”, “you can’t get away….” are some of the phrases he uses to suggest he is in complete control and that endears him to a nation starved of decision-makers.

Arnab hates home work. He wants to settle everything here and now, tonight. As a result, in Arnab country, there is no trace of the policy paralysis that has grounded the prime minister in the real country. Here you get resolutions, decisions, orders, diktats, judgements, justice and denouements all in one place, one show, by one man.


The only people paralysed are the subjects of his grilling and the bevy of experts he gathers around himself, not because he needs them, he doesn’t, but because it must feel awfully good to invite experts and out-talk them on national prime time.

Like confused baboons trapped in little boxes, the experts, who are neatly arranged around Arnab’s own imposing self in the centre of the screen, keep staring into nothingness most of the time.

Yes, you get the drift, Sharada, Arnab is the main dish here. The rest are just intellectual dips.

For most of their airtime the experts keep putting up their hands or calling out “Arnab….Arnab….” to indicate they want to make a point. Arnab is too engrossed in disagreeing with what he has not allowed them to say to care too much.

Some clever guests try to appeal to his Assamese roots by hailing “Ornob…Ornob”. He ignores them as well.

Nationalism, after all, is above parochialism. The cleverer among them have cracked the code: they just agree with Arnab in exchange for a little extra air time. These are usually the people who have paid close attention to Arnab’s Address to the Nation and picked up the right cues on what to say that will get them his benefaction.

It is tough to figure out why Arnab needs any experts at all because he knows the answers to all his questions. Times Now insiders say that more often than not he finds questions to the answers he already has. On his show, politicians can’t politicise, bureaucrats can’t beat around the bush, sportspersons can’t play games and lawyers can’t use legalese.

In fact anybody who is good at something can’t do what they are known to do, to the extent that even civil society can’t be civil, especially if it wants to get a word in sideways. Everybody has to be direct, honest, blunt and keep things simple because that is what the (one-man) nation wants.


Corruption, political expediency, opportunism, forked tongues, doublespeak, dishonesty and hypocrisy, are red rags to Arnab. He takes them head-on with the help of his reporters who keep throwing up “documentary” evidence ever so often to expose scamsters.

Usually this is a thick sheaf of indistinguishable papers that Arnab holds up threateningly. It could be a bunch of used airline e-tickets for all we know, but since we don’t, he waves the sheaf confidently in the face of the enemies of the nation and it is generally assumed he’s got some incendiary stuff in there.

Arnab’s problem-solving repertoire is not restricted to national boundaries. In fact, he is at his best when dealing with nations that have evil designs on India. The patriot in Arnab is best aroused when he is dealing with that evil, failed, rogue nation called Pakistan.

He deals with Pakistan like no prime minister has ever been able to or decimates it like no Army has ever managed to. Each time a blade of grass bends to the breeze on the LoC, Arnab breathes fire at Pakistan for trying to sneak in terrorists into the country. He lines up a battery of serving and retired generals of Pakistan and conducts the verbal equivalent of a summary execution.

Yet, the same generals keep resurfacing on Arnab’s show each time he feels the urge to have a Pakistani or two for dinner. This causes much wonderment among Newshour hounds on the masochist streak that makes the Pakistani generals offer themselves up as bait repeatedly.

So, it is assumed the money must be good. But since Arnab insists that Pakistan is the way it is only because the generals have sold their country cheap, it is unlikely he is blowing his budget for this routine cross-border target practice. Of course, left to Arnab Pakistan would have existed only as the largest crater on earth since the meteors wiped out all life on the planet. Yes, he would have nuked it many times over by now.

The Times of India, the country’s oldest English newspaper and the mother brand from the Times Now stable runs Aman Ki Aasha (Hope for Peace), the widely-acclaimed campaign for ending India-Pakistan hostilities.

Just as Arnab doesn’t seem to know of this campaign, the Times of India seems quite oblivious of the fact that the last time there was absolute peace on the LoC was when Arnab took a two-week holiday in early September. It could be the marketing genius of the Times group to milk the issue from both ends or it could also be that their internal boundaries are not as porous as our LoC.

Apart from conducting war exercises against Pakistan, Arnab land is eyeball-to-eyeball with China, exposes the double standards of America in almost anything it does and highlights the hypocrisy of racist Australia which loves the education dollars from India but not the brown students who come along with.

His blood boils so much when an old Sikh is roughed up by a bunch of racist women in the UK that he almost gets the whole of Punjab to rise in revolt against the Indian government’s inaction–even though there is nothing it can do as the gentleman is a citizen of the said country–or builds a tide of emotional revulsion against “inhuman” Norway for snatching an infant from his Indian mother’s custody for alleged physical abuse.

I can go on and on, Sharada, but everything good must come to an end and so must my Arnab eulogy.


So, in short and in conclusion, here’s what I have to say: Arnab is not just the editor-in-chief of Times Now. He’s India’s protector-in-chief. He is the guy who is keeping India safe while you are away on selfish pursuits. You are lucky you can get away by not knowing him.

For a billion-plus Indians,minus of course his maths teacher, that is not even a distant option. Because, truth told, Arnab is the best we have got!

B.V. Rao

Get board!

We walk down the book-lined aisles at our favourite week-end rendezvous. Ever since the bookstore opened next door to us, it’s been tough to resist the lure. Even now I inhale deeply from the whiff of ink and paper. I tread the usual path – first through the fiction and fantasy rows. Then down the more sombre motivational stuff. I stop at the humour section when my eye catches “World’s Funniest Insults” on a fat spine. I pull it out and flip through it. Truly funny! Like all good things in life, I want to share a guffaw with my other half. I look up from the book and run my eyes up and down the aisles for his silver head. He is not amidst the books. I quickly fit the book back in its position and go searching. I finally find him in the Toy section.

I have never understood why they have toy sections in bookstores! Maybe to keep the young ones engaged while the elders nose through books.

I am amused as I make my way through the stuffed bears and monkeys and past the angry birds. With a 20 year-old son zipping through town in his car, it is many years since we dropped by at any toy store!

I stop short. Sunil is reading from a large box he holds in his hand. My eyes dart to the huge label above the shelves. Board Games. He turns when he hears my footsteps. By the way, matrimony builds this uncanny ability to recognise your spouse’s footsteps.

“Feel like playing some board games,” he says looking up from the box. “Let’s pick up something.”

“Oh!” I exclaim. “Why not?”

And thus starts our nostalgic jaunt into those wonder years of board games. I don’t think there was ever a household that did not own a set of board games. The Ludo and Snakes and Ladders were permanent fixtures. The family would sit around and the dice would roll. The luckiest member would keep climbing up the ladder while the others quietly hoped that a snake would bring him back to the bottom and serve him right for flying so high! And of course, how can we forget the anguish of sliding down the serpent at 98, just two short of a finish!

When good fortune smiled upon the family, Monopoly was proudly added to the collection. The family sharpened its business acumen buying and selling property across the country through fake currency notes! I fondly recall how jubilant I was when I bought Ooty – the queen of the Nilgiris. Not just that. What heightened the pleasure was when my brother would land in Ooty and he had to pay me a hefty rent!
Chinese Checkers with the glazed marbles was a little more demanding than Ludo. You had to strategise. Then Scrabble arrived on the scene! It ushered in the era of Educational Games! “Oh, we don’t play Ludo, we play Scrabble” was a style statement. Scrabble was synonymous with word power, vocabulary, command over the language and of course the fact that the family was well versed in English! The English Vinglish types stayed away. Scrabble was a snob among games. The board itself had stars on it with differing values!

Then came a host of games – Pictionary, Picnic, Taboo, Life…the list can go on.

Come vacations, and the board games would come out of hiding. Drop-in visitors, cousins, friends….just anybody and any occasion was good enough to pull out a board game.

And if nothing else, there was the ubiquitous carom board!

Board games and Indians go a long way…an entire mythological epic revolves around a tactless wager during a board game. I remember an entire movie based on Chess – Shatranj ke khiladi!

Swish to the present.  It’s vacation time. Kids lounge around the house or lie curled up on the couch watching TV, while their fingers punch on the cell phone. Then they get bored and take up position in front of the computer, while their fingers punch on the cell phone. Then they get bored and talk on the cell phone nestled between the shoulder and chin, while their fingers punch on the computer. Then they get bored and go back to the couch and the TV…and the punching cycle goes on.

Sigh…C’mon let’s get board!

P.S.: Write in about your favourite board games and the memories associated with each!

Alive is Awesome!

Alive is Awesome!


 I have always been a risk-taker. I learnt it early on in life. It stems from my basic restlessness and my dying interest in everything. I tire easily with routine. I evade monotony like the plague. If I am doing the same thing three days in a row, I know that on the fourth, I am going to lose it! I keep craving for something new, something different.


Through my school and college years, my appetite was suitably satiated. Language, art, sports, drama, speech, horse-riding, travel, reading (including a sermon in church!), TV appearances…I have done all of it. Some I didn’t pursue, some come visiting once in a while.


Matrimony, I feared, would be too safe. But, thankfully my partner had a bigger appetite for risk and threw challenges at me like he threw darts on a dartboard. And he hit bulls-eye each time. 


The risk-taking virus kept bugging us. We threw caution to the winds when we threw away our plush jobs and conceived two things almost simultaneously – our son and our own business outfit. Both are young adults now, strong and independent.


Then 40 closed in on us stealthily. And, the inevitable happened. The ‘what if’ question slowly crept on us and started gnawing at our insides. We started fearing insecurity. And soon, the fear of what might be grew to panic proportions. We started looking at anything out-of-the-ordinary as potential threat. Anything and everything became ‘too risky’ to venture into. The world became suspect in our jaundiced eyes.


The only way to breathe easy was to bring life a couple of notches lower.  We tamed our life.  Life fell back to a lazy, no, lethargic pace. EMIs (which were always a part of our growing up life) suddenly started occupying too much mind space. Family roles suddenly became responsibilities too heavy to handle. We staggered through the day carrying the cross of concerns, chores and more concerns. Guilt menacingly shadowed our every longing. Fear of the unknown numbed us. Monotony came calling and quickly called melancholy over for company.


Near and dear ones brushed off the emotional upheaval as normal, mid-life, hormone-imbalanced existence. Everyone goes through it, they said.


Even if it were normal, we were not prepared to sacrifice our life at the altar of fluctuating estrogens and testosterones.


We decided to stoke the embers of our risk-taking appetite. We rekindled the spark. We embraced nostalgia as we took a walk down memory lane, and we emerged only when we were sure we could do it again.

It is taking us a while to peel off the complacency, layer by layer. But, we are at it… and already the process is rejuvenating.


A treacherous and gruelling run in the mighty mountains of Ladakh, defying logic. A whirlwind tour across the country to bring women of substance between the covers of a book under construction. A course in screenplay writing. A fitness regimen (sonny included) to lubricate muscle and sinew for a low-budget backpacking jaunt in Europe next year. A refresher course in French to brush off the cobwebs. At curtain call is a class in Kathak, a cycling expedition and an Everest Base Camp!


The best part of the story is that office work, professional calling and home keeping seem more enticing now with the renewed enthusiasm for life. Life couldn’t get more exciting! We are alive, once again! Alive is Awesome!







Ctrl F my life!

Ctrl F my life!


It is one of those regular mornings when I stand looking into my open closet. My ample forehead creases into a frown.  My hands glide over the clothes hanging sleeve to sleeve.


I am searching.


Just in case you are thinking how chaotic and disorganised I am, you have another think coming!  I take pride in my tidiness. My closet is neat.


But, some things are just beyond my control. You really can’t blame me if my closet has, for some strange reason, shrunk in size.


I admit I am a compulsive impulsive shopper. But, there’s nothing that I have bought that is useless. I only buy stuff that I can use…well…, maybe not right away…but yes, when I do shed some inches off my expansive waist, I know I will slip into that LBD…I just need another year, that’s it! I am well on my way. Big deal!


Or, even that purple laced shirt. I didn’t have the heart to turn away when it looked imploringly at me from the Mango rack. Are you faulting me on my keen sensitivity? It’s slightly over a year since it occupies pride of place in my closet. Insha allah, in a few months from today (I can feel it in my gut) I will be wearing it… and flaunting it! I trust my intuition.


As I said, my problem never was and never is a problem of plenty. I only want help in searching for stuff.


So, this morning as I stood looking into my open closet, an idea whooshed across my mind.


How great it would be if I could do a Ctrl F to find stuff in my closet, like I do on my word processor!!!


I mean, just think of the possibilities! I could do a Ctrl F and specify ‘white linen tops”. And, my entire collection of white linen tops (including the ones I have bought a while ago and…well…forgotten) would move ahead along the rack for me to pick and choose!


See? That would be the icing on my already oh-so-organised life!


If only! Sigh!


I have it all thought out. When I do a Ctrl F and, due to some error or bug, the system throws back an, “insufficient memory space”….well… no stress!


I can always choose the Replace All option…and get new stuff!!!


All That Glitters

Buying gold was always a big thing in my family. The yellow metal was always bestowed a sort of godly reverence. I could never fathom why. Maybe because of its scarcity in the family. So buying gold was a near-religious affair. These occasions are deeply etched in my memory only because they were few and far apart.


The event always had a prelude – almost ten days of discussion depending on how big the purchase was to be – over breakfast, over lunch, over tiffin and dinner, and all times in between. Hushed tones were exchanged as were meaningful glances. We, the kids, were allowed to partake in the conversation through our ears only.


Then the day would arrive. It was not just any day. A special day that Mother would have culled out of the almanac after much deliberation. Even before the cocks announced the break of dawn in their shrill and oh-so-un-mellifluous cries, mother would be at the altar chanting tuneless prayers. The lamp would be lit and the bell that she shook frantically in her hand would wake up the Gods and the household.


Father was very important on that day. Gold was never bought without him around. He was the clever guy with an eye for any misgivings. It always amazed me how a person who never wore any jewellery could be relied upon to pass a judgement on it. Mother relied on him totally, on that day.

We would all shuffle stealthily and noiselessly out of our own house. I always tip-toed, to be safer. Fewer people see you the better, according to mother.  The onward journey was by foot, while the return was in a taxi with the prized possession. I loved the taxi ride.


At the shop, my siblings and I would struggle to obey orders and remain seated in a corner. My parents would move solemnly from glass top to glass top of glittering display. Our necks craned, we shoved each other for the best view. A chain would come out, and mother would hold it against her neck and turn towards father for approval. The man behind the counter would calculate something on his calculator and turn it around for my father to see. My father in turn would punch some numbers himself and do his calculations. Father was always one for calculations. Then, he would bend his head and whisper something into mother’s ears. The man behind the counter would try to look away uninterested.


Several such iterations later, mother would turn to look at us. Her smile marked the successful fruition of a long-term project. Her smile told stories of longing, of waiting, of saving, of disappointment, of anguish, and finally of contentment.


Back home, the stringed jewellery pouch would find its place of pride first at the feet of the Gods in the altar. A humble offering of gratitude, as mother put it. Promptly it would be stacked away in the built-in safe of the loyal Godrej almirah.


The event always ended with a celebratory payasam at lunch.


Today, I woke up as I would on any other morning. The papers screamed Akshaya Tritiya. Decided to buy jewellery. Went over to the jewellers. Bought a sleek white gold chain. Came home. Showed it off to the family.  Decent levels of euphoria. Suddenly had a change of heart. Went back and exchanged the chain for a bracelet.


And went off to office.


I have this funny feeling of being awkwardly suspended in the space between happiness and indifference. Something amiss?








Rape of the Gitanjali

Rape of the Gitanjali



Chitto jetha bhayashunyo (where the mind is without fear) was the first line that Rabindranath Tagore wrote in his 35th poem of the Gitanjali that carried his vision for our great country.  He read this out in the English version, (then titled Indian Prayer) at the Indian National Congress session in Calcutta in 1917.


Today, Tagore would be weeping inconsolably.


Where the mind is without fear


The gang-rape incident in Delhi has left women in India shrouded in a sense of hopelessness. Helplessness.


I am a woman and I am scared. I know there are many more women out there who feel the same.


If I am late at work, I am apprehensive about hailing a taxi or an auto.  Should I take this bus? Who are these other passengers? Are they men of morality or beasts in sheep’s skin? Should I walk down this lane? Who are these men standing at the corner of the road?


Are our daughters safe? Should we impose curfew time on our children?


When my child is delayed returning home, how should I console my heart and mind?  My heart beats in panic and my mouth runs dry…while my mind conjures up unwanted images. I do not want to tell my child to suspect everyone around. But, I am scared. How do I protect my child?


Earlier, I thought our daughters were safe if they were with friends. Today, I am not sure at all.


I cannot stop thinking about Nirbhaya’s mother.  The dreams she wove around her beautiful daughter – the apple of her eye.  She would have watched with glistening eyes her daughter grow into a beautiful young woman.    She would have whispered words of wisdom to her adolescent daughter, to gently caution her against the growing up pains of womanhood.  I am sure the growing up pains about which she forewarned her child did not definitely include the brutal invasion of her young, fragile body by six beasts.  The beasts mutilated her daughter’s body that she had so lovingly nurtured for 23 years. She had mildly warned her daughter of the perils of womanhood.  But, this?


Does Nirbhaya’s mother sleep? What is she thinking? Does she have questions? Will she find the answers?


Now on, will any mother tell her child, “live without fear”, “walk with your head held high”, “square your shoulders”?


Every mother will want to hold her child close to her bosom, away from the eyes of the world.  Because, who knows what is lurking along the path that her dainty feet walk on.


Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection


Can mothers breathe easy when their little princesses go down to play in the garden? What if deathly tentacles stretch out from behind the rose bushes towards their angels?


Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit


Can the dignity of a woman flourish in a society where self-proclaimed religious gurus propagate warped reasoning? Where so called leaders rape women in their minds? Where blasphemous tongues whiplash womanhood?


All this is happening in a nation that supposedly laments the dwindling population of women.


Into that abysmal hell, my Father, my country has awoken.



Chowmein and libido

Chowmein and libido



The sight of “Chaineej corner” shanties down the road leading to my home trigger panic in me. Thanks to the enlightenment from Haryana Khap leader Jitender Chhatar. “Chowmein leads to rape,” says the learned leader.


This finding is second only to the invention of the zero by Aryabhata.  Even Ming’s secrets were humbled by this disclosure. It is not for nothing that we proudly claim Mera Bharat Mahaan.


As a die-hard fan of Chinese cuisine, I felt terribly let down by the Peter & Wangs, China Dragons, and Liu’s Kitchens of the world. I decided to plunge into some research. I swear by all the Manchurians and spring rolls I have devoured, I was aghast at my narrow escape, many times over.


Why, just the other day, I hosted a dinner for a client delegation. Chinese got the unanimous thumbs-up as we short-listed restaurants. While a delicious spread from the numerous provinces of China found their way to our table, I distinctly recall this gentleman, portly and well-groomed, and the leader of the delegation, order a generous portion of Chowmein.


A shiver goes down my spine as I think of all the things that could have happened that night.


“Chowmein creates hormonal imbalance,” Chhatar says.


No wonder then that Mr Chowmein stumbled as he rose from dinner that night! So what if he is 70 years old and could have a dysfunctional knee?


Aha! N.D Tewari must be one helluva Chowmein fan.


As I mentioned earlier, I plunged into research. I emerged with these conclusions.


Taken in moderate doses, Chowmein is a tastier and a more glamorous replacement for Shilajit.

China’s answer to America’s Viagra is Chowmein.  (Hush…China still doesn’t know. India knows.)

For longer libido, cut vegetables into thin long slices. For a quickie, use finely chopped veggies.

For sustained and slow pleasure, eat with chopsticks, noodle by noodle.

For a great performing c..k, toss the Chowmein in a wok.


A word of caution is imperative here.

Government should grant permits for the sale of Chowmein.

Only adults (18 years and above) should be allowed to indulge in the pleasures of the Chowmein. Cho mean say the minors.


I searched high and low for the effect of Chowmein on women. To my surprise, Google rudely said “no results found”.


Aha! What Google doesn’t have, we have, in the Khap leader.


I found myself at the doorstep of Mr Jitender Chhatar. I needed to know from the enlightened soul the effects of Chowmein on women.


“He is out for lunch,” replied the man who answered the door. “He’s close by, you can meet him at the restaurant,” he offered.


“Where?” I asked.


“Straight down the road at “Chaineej Corner. He is eating Chowmein,” he said.


I scooted.


















Memories from childhood

Remember what it was like to be a kid, running around without a care in the world? Well, stop reminiscing and start embracing your inner child! This Children’s Day, come with me on a journey into fav childhood memories.


When we were kids, we thought 10.00 was late bedtime, now I only wish I could go to bed at this kind of time!


Remember the time we used to get on the computer just for paint? The brighter kids played Solitaire.


When I was young and it rained, I used to watch two drops of water roll down the window and pretend they were racing.


When I was a kid, my social network was called ‘outside’.  We played with real friends, and not with weird machines on play stations.


Birthdays meant making cards at home with crayons and brushes.


Remember skipping home along with the postman to hear the good tidings he brought?


When I was a kid, I used to think the moon followed me everywhere.


Amar Chitra Kathas were the next best thing to Grandma’s stories.


Remember when getting high meant swinging on the playground? When protection meant a helmet? Dad’s shoulders were the highest place in on earth and mom was our hero? Your worst enemies were your siblings? Race issues were about who ran the fastest? Monopoly was only a card game? The only drug you knew was cough medicine? The only thing that hurt you were skinned knees from climbing trees? And goodbyes only meant for tomorrow?


I mean, remember when we were kids, and we couldn’t wait to grow up…what the hell were we thinking?


Remember waiting behind a door to scare someone, then leaving because they took too long to come out?


I miss the days when all it took to make me feel better was my teddy bear.


When I was little, I used to sing in the shower. Now? I make life decisions in there.



As Brian W Aldiss says, “When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names for hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them, they show us the state of our decay.”


But, you know what, it is never too late to have a happy childhood.  The truth is, if we carry our childhood with us, we will never become older.


So bring out the child in you. Happy Children’s Day!!!

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