Thursday, July 31, 2008

Can't fathom!

As is to be expected, the suddenly-tightened security checks are slowly getting relaxed and things are back to normal. The so-called 'low-intensity' bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmadabad will be remembered just as another of those incidents that we have now come to expect every once in a while. But the lives of people who lost their dear ones and the "lucky" ones who managed to escape with injuries, will never be the same again. And for no fault of theirs. Above, a snap of one of the sites, couple of days after the event; a ramshackle bus-stand near Madiwala.

I really wonder, what is the motivation for bomb blasts, terrorist attacks or for that matter, any of these intentional acts of violence on the public? What do the perpetrators gain by creating panic among the general public and stealing a life or two in the process? See who lost her life in the Bangalore blast! A poor lady who was escorting her husband to Bangalore for his medical check-up. It is learnt, doctor advised immediate admission but they did not have enough money to get admitted in the hospital, so they were waiting for a bus to go back to their home town to borrow some money. Alas!!!

I just hope, who ever is behind this act of violence and those that are planning future ones, will stop, think for a moment and realize the futility of all these. Let there not be another such sad event!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Go Nuclear!

Things are hotting up for the vote of confidence on the current Indian government. Though it seemed incredible when Congress and Left initially announced their plans to gobble together a government after the last general elections, it worked and in hindsight it was a good thing for India. We had a decent government run by Dr. Manmohan Singh. Singh meant business every single day of his government in office and the stability his government provided was something India definitely benefitted from.

And I don't like it when a good government is willing to risk it's life on a single issue, this time signing of the nuclear deal; I just love it. I love it because it shows the Govt has a strong opinion (i have trust in the checks and balances in place with the Indian government machinery and if this has come to this level in a government headed by Dr. Singh i would take for granted the minimum due diligence required to be done) about something that matters and are willing to pay a price for it. And I am sure on an issue and on a topic, that is really worth it. Which other government in India's 60 years of democarcy has staked it's existence on a policy/issue that is worth it? Very rarely we see people in India take a position. We seriously lack conviction (about anything). And less said about people in public polity, the better. All matters of public interest are always discussed to death and eventually conveniently forgotten when a new hot topic emerges on the scene. All Talking, No Doing. So kudos to Dr. Singh, Ms. Sonia and the Congress Party for taking a position on something and willing to go the whole hog with it. And I think, it will be sad if the Govt. falls on this issue.

Where I think the present government failed miserably is sharing with the people of India, it's reasoning for the going-ahead with the deal. Inspite of having the whole government PR in it's control and in today's world of ultra-communications, the government really messed up with a golden opportunity to connect and communicate with the people of India. And if properly done, it could have also been a great way to cheer the average Indian who is otherwise caught up in the
'high inflation-high interest rates-slowing growth' morass. Because, when today is really screwed-up, the best bet is to talk about tomorrow. And the nuclear deal is about paying a price/sacrificing today, for tomorrow.

Two good links that I came across, on the deal. While the one from Mr. V.R. Krishna Iyer raises some good questions (otherwise I think the article is un-favourably biased against the deal as we should expect!), the one from Mr. N. Ravi is a very practical piece (very important since it comes from the The Hindu whose left leanings even my little daughter knows). For me, I agree with Mr. Ravi while I would have liked to have answers for the all questions Mr. Krishna Iyer and others are raising.

A betrayal of India’s constitutional vision: V.R. Krishna Iyer

Missing the wood for the trees: N. Ravi

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kerala-Style-Chinese-Chilli Chicken!

It was when my friend, Vimal, asked me to get the recipe of chilli chicken from my wife, that I pondered over her more-than-average culinary skills. She is a reasonably good 'multi-cuisine' cook and and chilli chicken one of her specialities. Among other things, Vimal is also my lunch-buddy at HP and he seems to have really liked the chilli chicken I shared with him sometime back. So (primarily) for Vimal and anyone else who might want to dabble in a bit of 'kerala-style-chinese-chillichicken-cooking', here it goes ...

Don't forget, I am ever ready to sample what you come up with, following the below recipe.

Cut chicken into thin, long slices (~2 inches in length). Marinate with chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, pepper and salt (all quantities to taste, wife says). Leave it for 30 minutes. Cut Onion, Ginger, Garlic & Capsicum into cube shapes. Fry the now-marinated chicken pieces in cooking oil. Use ~ 3/4 of a cup of cooking oil for a kg of chicken (chicken should not be deep-fried). Now to the oil remaining after frying chicken, add the cut Onion, Ginger, Garlic & Capsicum cubes. Once these are cooked, add soya sauce, turmeric powder (1/4 of a teaspoon), green chilli sauce, pepper, salt and a pinch of sugar (all quantities again left to the cook's imagination!) to get a mixture. Add 3-4 teaspoons of cornfour in one glass of water and mix it with the mixture above. Once the mixture boils, add fried chicken and cook it for 10 minutes.

Now taste for yourself and see how it has turned out. Tasting good?, declare it to the world and you will never see a trace of it, again. Not that good?, still declare to the world, but the world will turn around and tell you, 'it is all yours'. And that I think is what the world told Vimal last time.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Who says "a sport is just a sport"?

Yesterday's match between Federer and Nadal was an awesome commentary of the mental dynamics at play in sports. I thought, the real game was entirely being played in the minds of the two players.

Federer is a tennis legend and somebody who played like God, till recently. He is past his 'God-days' but obviously has not come to terms with it yet. But somewhere in his mind, he knows he is past his prime, Nadal is the new kid on the block and the closest to usurping the numero-uno position he held so majestically over the last few years. But he was so ahead of the other fellow-players in others' mind and in his own mind that he still does not want to give it away. Yesterday, Federer was doing just that; trying to somehow hold on to the crown that he thinks is (was) so much his.

On the other hand, Nadal had a worthy goal to pursue; defeat Federer, the legend, in his backyard. Being the underdog really helped him. He is not a bit distracted, just had to prove to himself and others that he can be a Federer-beater. Still, when he gets so close to the goal he is pursing, he seems to get a bit nerved thinking about what he is going to accomplish. He should have immese respect for Federer and needed several 'preparatory' championship-points before really clinching it.

Once Federer is unseated, Nadal may not have really anything to go after in his mind vis-a-vis tennis. When Federer was at his best, the guy in the opposite court seemed to be only an excuse for the match to be played. So with Federer slowing going away, Nadal may cease to matter!