Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The thing about falling ill is that there's a constant feeling of being underfoot, and that you're probably annoying your mother by just being there. And of course, you don't want to EVER go back to work because let's face it, what's so wrong about never going back?

On the upside, however, I got waited on hand and foot at all times, and there was one memorable night when the fever kept rising and my head kept pounding and both parents and the hubby were at my beck and call. Hee!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kahan hai mera phone?

September 17, 2008

h/l: Mumbai, Bengaluru will decide for entire country

While cell phone companies may become more stringent about screening terrorists' text messages


Mumbai: Even as mobile phones increasingly become part of our lives, providing everything from accessibility to entertainment, the Centre may take the fun out of cell phone usage by imposing some rules.

Strangely enough, the entire country may come under the ambit of these rules though views have been canvassed only from Mumbai and Bengaluru.

"A Rajya Sabha committee on petitions, headed by BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu and six others, concluded their tour of Bengaluru, followed by Mumbai on Wednesday. The Committee was seeking opinions from concerned stakeholders after a Patiala resident, advocate Gurjit Singh, filed a petition seeking an "imposition of reasonable restrictions on the use of mobile phones" in certain places in the country.

As per Singh's petition, "mobile phones are being misused by the rank and file. There is a grave and urgent need to impose certain restrictions on the use of mobile phones, in such places as schools, colleges, vehicles when driving, places of worship, public offices and cremation grounds." He also contends that mobile phone cameras should be barred from use as some people take photographs of others without consent and 'waste time' watching video clips.

Naidu said, "We have taken meetings with students, parents, educators, cell phone operators, religious leaders and state government officials. The almost unanimous request from them has been that there should not be a complete ban on mobile phone usage in these places, but there may be reasonable restrictions."

However, Naidu conceded that some recommendations in the petitioner's plea may not be feasible. For example, Singh demands that jammers or decoders should be installed in educational institutions. Naidu said, "It becomes very expensive to fit every classroom with jammers. Also, it is not possible to bar networks in the entire building since such a system might hamper other buildings in the vicinity as well." Along with this and other points such as enacting laws barring the sale of phones with in-built cameras, increasing the penalties for talking on the phone while driving et al, Naidu said, would be deliberated on before compiling the report for submission to the Parliament.

However, the committee has made specific observations for cellular operators. "We have asked them to submit in writing if they have any mechanism to bar unwanted calls or obscene messages on the consumer's end. Also, in the wake of rising terrorism in the country, is it possible to screen messages sent from terrorists to pinpoint exact location?" Naidu said.

He also mentioned that with a lower spectrum use and lack of too many phone towers, cellular operators must not indiscriminately give out new connections to meet demand. The committee is scheduled to meet the health ministry for inputs on the harmful effects of cell phone radiation before taking a decision on towers' location vis-à-vis residential places.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mr Gandhi, Mr Gandhi

September 8, 2008

H/l: Help clear the Gandhi trail
Intro: Panel compiling information on places associated with Gandhi needs your help
Vrushali Lad

Mumbai: Even as West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi stepped in to facilitate talks on the Tata Nano crisis in Singur, the youngest grandson of Mahatma Gandhi is busily looking for inputs of a different kind – a panel that he heads is documenting all the sites in the country associated with Gandhi.

Constituted in 2006 by the Centre, the Gandhi Heritage Sites (GHS) panel has painstakingly compiled a list of places that Gandhi visited or stayed in during his numerous travels for the freedom movement from 1920s onwards, but it requires help from historians and knowledgable members of the public to provide the specifics wherever the panel lacks sufficient data.

In an email reply sent to this reporter, in which Sakaal Times had asked for a list of places that the Mahatma had been associated with in Maharashtra, governor Gandhi sent a 288-page document containing such sites in the State. “We would like to have knowledgable persons’ response to the list,” he said.

As per the data provided by him, Gandhi visited Pune and Wardha the most, followed by Bombay, all between 1915 to 1946. He seemed to have covered all of Maharashtra, travelling often to Nashik, Yavatmal, Amravati, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Panvel, Thane, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Chiplun and Karjat.

However, certain data require more information before it is included in the final list. For instance, when Gandhi visited Kopargaon on February 18, 1927 to address a gathering of Marwaris at Rashtriya Pathshala, the GHS seeks to know if the Pathshala functions from the same venue today.

In Pune, Gandhi unveiled the bust of Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar on September 4, 1924. The GHS requirement is: what is the site of the bust and is there a plaque marking Gandhiji’s unveiling of it? (See box for other Pune requirements.)

It was also in Pune that Gandhi started studying Marathi on February 27, 1915, so that he could access the political literature in that language. On May 20, 1933, he began taking Sinhagad spring water mixed with soda bicarbonate to relieve nausea and acidity. And it was in Pune that he helped set up a nature cure centre in 1944 and subsequently shut it down.

The details that the panel has compiled so far reveal the enigma that was Gandhi – always forthright and sometimes plain humourous. Interestingly, he made some significant statements on Maharashtra’s soil. For instance, when Kasturba and he were travelling in a third class compartment to Pune from Shantiniketan in 1915, Kasturba used the toilet in the second-class coach. He wrote, “I knew that my wife had no right to avail herself of the second class bathroom, but I ultimately connived at the impropriety. This, I know, does not become a votary of truth.

Not that my wife was eager to use the bathroom, but a husband’s partiality for his wife got the better of his partiality for truth. The face of truth is hidden behind the golden veil of maya, says the Upanishad.”

Very few would know that Gandhi desired to work at the Bombay High Court and that he tried very hard via a recommendation from a white judge, as was required in those days. Also, he unwillingly underwent a ‘cleansing ritual’ after coming back from England as demanded by elders of his community, who felt that going to England and mixing with the meat-eating and alcohol-drinking Europeans was a sin.

In a most interesting reply that Gandhi gave to a press reporter who wanted to know if the test-tube method of having babies was not ideal since it eliminated lust and carnality from procreation, at Wardha in 1940, Gandhi said, “Your method, as far as I can see, can only result in multiplying idiots or monsters, not human beings, thrown into the sea of passions.”

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Geet gaata chal...

Hindi filmdom has songs for every situation. While other cultures faff about love and war and such immaterial things, our songs have drama, action and in some cases, even humanitarian appeals. Check these out:

World's only Worst Listener song:
She: Hi re, hi!
He: Neend nahin aaye.
She: Hi!
He: Chain nahin aaye.
She: Hi!
He: Dil mein tu samaye.
She: Hi!
He: Aaya pyar bhara mausam deewana. Deewana.

World's best Teach Your Kids Wrong Spellings song:
Krazzy with a K, that's the way,
Say K-R-A-Z-Z-Y.
Do it anyway, just put the K,
in K-R-A-Z-Z-Y.

World's best What Is He Effing Talking About song:
You gotta rule,
yeh na tu bhool…
Ki tu hai cool oh yaaron.
Zara dil khol ke mujhko bol…
What’s in your soul bata do.
So if you wanna… yeah…yeah…
Dil hai deewana…yeah… yeah
One and two and three and four
Swing it with me doston…

World's best Lost in Translation song:
Yeh kya hua...kaise hua...
kab hua...kyun hua...jab hua,
oh chhodo, yeh na socho.
Hmm hmm hmm, yeh kya hua...?

World's best Doormat song:
Kitne bhi tu kar le situm,
Has has ke sahenge hum.
Yeh pyar na hoga kum,
sanam teri kasam.

World's best Learning By Rote Song:
Jhalak dikhla jaa,
jhalak dikhla jaa,
jhalak dikhla jaa,
jhalak dikhla jaa.
Ek baar aaja aaja aaja aaja aa ja.
Ek baar aaja aaja aaja aaja aa ja.
Ek baar aaja aaja aaja aaja aa ja.
Ek baar aaja aaja aaja aaja aa ja.

World's best 'Ab Tak 13' song:
Dil ki surkh deewaron pe
deewaron pe...
Naam hai 13 13...
naam hai 13 13
naam hai 13 13
naam hai 13 13.

World's most Simple Dance Number:
Disco 82.
Disco 82.
Disco 82.
La la la.

World's best What To Tell Your Kidnapper song:
She: Jaane do na...
He: Paas aao na...
She: Chhuo na chhuo na mujhe
chhuo na chhuo na mujhe
chhuo na, chhuo na, chhuo na...

World's best Alarmist song:
baaton baaton mein pyar ho jayega.

World's best Voices In My Head song:
Bhooli hui yaadon,
mujhe itna na satao...
ab chain se rehne do,
mere paas na aao.

Worlds' best Half Information song:
Humein tumse pyar kitna
yeh hum nahin jaante.
Magar jee nahin sakte
tumhare bina.

World's best I Am Foolish song:
Na na karte pyar tumhi se kar baithe.
karna tha inkaar, magar iqraar
tumhi se kar baithe.

World's only Hindi SPCA theme song:
So ja, nindiya ki bela hai...
Aa ja panchhi akela hai.

World's best Security Vault song:
Tere dil mein main apne armaan rakh doon...
aa meri jaan...main tujh mein apni jaan rakh doon.

World's best In Praise of Drool song:
Saathiya saathiya,
maddham maddham teri geeli hansi.

World's best Drunk To The Eyeballs song:
Chhalke teri aankhon se,
sharab aur zyada,
khilte rahe hothon ke
gulab aur zyada.

World's best Trust A Guy To Bungle Up song:
Aadmi jo kehta hai, aadmi jo sunta hai,
zindagi bhar woh sadayein peechha karti hain.
Aadmi jo deta hai, aadmi jo leta hai,
zindagi bhar woh duwaein peechha karti hain.

World's first Solitary Confinement song:
Chal akela, chal akela, chal akela.
Tera mela peechhe chhoota rahi, chal akela.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Our royal fatness

h/l: Fat state of affairs in Maharashtra
Pune doc offers conclusive proof that younger populations are at higher risk of cardiac and other lifestyle disorders

Mumbai: In a first for the state, a Pune-based doctor has devised a scientific model to prevent the occurrence of heart diseases and obesity, simply by checking one's Body-Mass-Index (BMI).

A painstakingly compiled survey from September 2006 to January 2008 across four cities in the State - Pune, Mumbai, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad - at shopping malls, schools, lower and higher end corporate houses, the Pune Municipal Corporation, jogging parks, multiplexes and medicine OPDs in civic hospitals, Dr Shashank Shah of the Laparo Obese Centre, along with the Rotary Club of Pune, Pashan, the Grant Medical Foundation and the Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune have just released the findings exclusively to Sakaal Times.

The results bring bad news across all age groups. Speaking to Sakaal Times, Dr Shah said, "The findings are compiled through readings taken from 1,969 people who volunteered to undergo the BMI test. Of the results we have compiled, we find that more women than men in the age groups 21-30 and 31-40 are in the mild obese to very obese range."

A BMI of 23, which is a ratio compiled by comparing the height and weight of a person, is an ideal number at any age. "Given a plus or minus two, a person above 25 BMI can be categorised as mildly obese. As per our findings, in the age group 21-30, men averaged a BMI of 35, while women averaged at 39.

Also, in the age group 31-40, men and women averaged at 30 and 32.5 BMI respectively."

Interestingly, though, as men cross the 50-year barrier, their BMI is above women in the same age group. "This can be attributed to the fact that after retirement, men's activity patterns change while women's remain the same. Even when they're old, most women continue taking care of the house while men become sedentary. This leads to a higher BMI," Dr Shah said.

Dr Shah has a word of caution for the 40-and above age groups. "This generation is unhealthy because most people are settled in life and rarely exercise. They want to enjoy their lives at the expense of being healthy. This generation generally has a BMI higher by 10."

Meanwhile, young women in the age group of 21-30 tend to physiologically put on more weight than men. "This is the age group that eats more outside and has hardly any time to exercise," Dr Shah says.


The BMI is calculated using a machine that matches a person's height and weight

35 highest BMI for 21-30 year-old men

39 highest BMI for 21-30 year-old women

33 BMI for men above 60, 29 for women

The survey team suggests that places of work or colleges must incorporate exercise equipment and an hour of mandatory exercise daily

So easy being a columnist, no?

Gah, I give up. I tried - impartially at first, then with growing impatience - to see what all the fuss was about Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. I mean, Come On! Quite apart from the blog being not that great (okay, that's her business, but STILL), the lady has taken to writing columns in newspapers, and that I take serious objection to, because the lady wastes half a page every Monday in both HT Cafe and Mumbai Mirror. And also because she writes tripe.

Or putting it mildly, she writes a lot of tripe.

Ms Madhavan pens A Column On Being Single In The City, titled 'Ms Adventure' (Miss Adventure, geddit? *Poke in the ribs, poke poke*) and the very first one was good. Then the standards of writing (if any had been set in the beginning) fell with a crash before you could say Yawn.

In today's MM column, Ms Madhavan concludes a two-part advice column on Some Basic Guidelines for being Single in Mumbai. Must say by the time I reached para 4, I wanted to move on to better things, because a) I am not single, b) Being single is not a disease that requires intervention from self-proclaimed Single Prats who Know It All, and c) I had had enough.

Sample these:
Continuing the theme, this week I'm going to go on with the Single Guidelines-making not being in a relationship as hassle-free as possible.
What a GRIPPING start! Can't wait to read more because I LOVE free advice. Also did not know that there were only two dimensions to living in Mumbai - Being Single and Being in a Relationship. And here I was, thinking having a good job and loads of laughs everyday actually mattered. My eyes have finally opened, but only for two minutes.

But two Bloody Marys on a Sunday afternoon down, and I'm filled with sentimentality for my women friends who have seen me boyfriend after boyfriend, have never judged -- at least not within earshot -- and who are the perfect wingwomen.
Two Bloody Marys on a Sunday afternoon fills her with sentimentality for her women friends. On my weekly off, all I think about on my Saturday afternoon after a good lunch and two glasses of water, is whether I should head straight to bed or go for a pedicure. Not once do I think of my women friends (not that I have very many). I am so shallow.

As you get older though, and more foolish, and loneliness and alcohol and late night drives enter the picture and there is a special guy friend or many special guy friends (get on with it, already) who are people who make you laugh till you cry or who look out for you as you look out for them, it's harder to keep the boundaries clear.
At this point, harder also to not tear the paper and jump on the remains. Does this lady live in a beer keg kept in a car? Almost every thing she writes deals with the drink-and-long-drive motif. She has successfully put me off both. Well, but at least she realises that the F-word applies to her, as in line 1 of this piece.

How to drive a car is the third thing I'm dealing with...of course, in our awesome city (which she calls Bombay, the prat) we can take public transport pretty much whenever. Then why drive, I hear you ask. Easy, because that way, you don't have to trudge down a flooded road for a rickshaw ruining your new shoes and also, let's face it, girls who can drive are very sexy.
Kay sangtay kay? Probably as a result of not being single in this awesome city and having some modicum of common sense, I do not wear new shoes in the rains and I don't need to sit behind a steering wheel to look sexy. But then, I come from the old school that thinks Sexy is in the mind and hence in the body. Also, my mum would have something to say if I ruined new shoes and the boyfriend would die laughing if I demanded a car because I wanted to look sexy. Besides, one needs something in one's nut, apart from all the booze and boy-thoughts floating around, to know how to use public transport in Mumbai. One cannot use new shoes well in public transport and there's no need to be sexy all the time, we're not Sophia Loren.

If you're the shy and retiring type, you can make yourself look mysterious and enigmatic by just smiling a little bit at introduction and then sitting somewhere in a room or at a table, crossing your legs and not saying very much.
Note to readers: Do the above also if you want to look slightly demented. All the women I've seen smiling a little and not saying much have always seemed like they were thinking with pleasure of their next hatchet job. But of course, lil ole unimaginative me equates enigmatic with Smita Patil or J K Rowling. Stupid only.

When you do decide to participate in a conversation, make sure it's something you have an informed opinion about or you'll just be dismissed out of hand.
No wonder I always dismiss Ms Madhavan.

Gawrsh, I need to lie down.