Sunday, July 30, 2006

Who am I ?

I suddenly found myself in the midst of martians from Mars (how dumb.. now wasn't that self explanatory.. like Martians have ever been discovered on any other planet other than Mars..). Ok I'm digressing. As I was saying I found myself in the midst of familiar faces, buzzing around in my house, with these yellow 'post it' sticky thingies on their forehead. As I moved closer there seemed to be some famous person's name written on the paper. My analytical mind deduced that they were playing some game which employed simple physics principles in ingenious ways, proving that energy in the universe remains constant. I was witness to this phenomenon as the people moved around in an excited state of Brownian motion bumping into each other, releasing energy that would take them through the proceedings of the evening, hopefully with a little bit of that transformed energy spilling into the days to come. As they bumped into each other they seemed to be mumbling a few sentences, asking the other person questions about the 'famous' personality that was written on the paper pasted on their forehead. The other person seemed to be replying in monosyllables, 'Yes', 'No' or 'Maybe'. Well 'Maybe' has two syllables but that was to be used only in situations where you wanted to declare to the world how ignorant you are. Most people stuck to monosyllables, even the ignorant ones :-)

There were names like Bill Gates, Kofi Annan, Zinedine Zidane, Saddam Hussein, Lalu Prasad Yadav etc. One amongst the populace had by random sticking of 'post its' the name 'Alistair D'souza'. That person happened to be Deepa. And in her perpetual state of brownian motion she bumped into me. So the questions began.

Deepa> Is the person a girl ?
Alice> No

Deepa > Dead ?
Alice> No

Deepa > Bad guy ?
Alice> Nope!!!

Deepa > Is he a terrorist ?
Alice > Pardon moi....
Deepa > What ?
Alice > NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!.... (At that point I felt like slapping her. But I didn't cause she wasn't french!!)

Deepa > An actor ?
I then decided to break the rules of monosyllablic answers. I mean rules are mean't to be broken right.
Alice> Well... (tilting my head to one side, with one eyebrow up) he can act.... but errr....

Deepa > Is he famous?
Alice> Well... hmmm... not famous as such.... but well he has come in the newspapers sometimes... and then on TV too... cable TV and then BBC where he was almost famous, for 3 seconds. Well for 2 of those seconds he had flowers covering his face. Mother nature can be so cruel sometimes. Why couldn't she have wilted those flowers but never mind. Sob Sob...

At this point Deepa looked totally confused. She realised that the atomic composition of this piece of mass was err... loose in places. She then decided to bump into other people to clear her doubts. I think she was one of the last people to get the name of the so called 'famous' personality on her forehead. I also have doubts that she cheated by slipping into another room and then took a look at the paper.

Well after that I had two written games. I was almost beaten/kicked to death after the Jumbled Names game, cause people felt it was too tough. I mean what can I do if you don't watch movies!!! Then we had another 'How sweet are you?' game after which people were kinder to me.

After that we cut my mom's home made cake. There were these reigniting candles which made me blow air through my mouth so hard, that I think I might have just added to the ingredients... I mean icing/other ingredients... whats the difference... right... We all had fun :-)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate cake.
This is my mom's chocolate cake recipe.... A lot of ppl ask me for the recipe so thats why I have it with me.

Chocolate Cake
500 gms butter
430 gms maida
70 gms cocoa powder
500 gms eggs (Weigh the eggs ,add 1 extra egg)
500 gms ground sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla essence

Method: Sieve the maida, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Keep aside. Cream the butter, ground sugar and vanilla essence with two eggs until light and fluffy. When done gradually beat in the seive maida and alternately two eggs. In the same way add the remaining eggs and maida until done. The batter should be light. Spoon batter into a cake tin that has been lined with grease-proof paper (butter paper). Bake at 180 C

Chocolate Icing
400 gms icing sugar
80 gms cocoa powder
50 gms butter
2 tsp. Vanilla essence
2 ½ or 3 tablespoons boiling water .

Method: Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder. Make a well in the centre of sifted ingredients and add boiling water and mix well. Gradually add butter and vanilla essence. If necessary , add tablespoon of boiling water. Stir gradually until icing is smooth. Pour on top of the cake and spread evenly with a knife dipped in boiling water.

If you want to add a number of layers of icing use a thread to cut the cake into layers.

BTW: I haven't tried baking myself. However have played the role of being the taster/mixer. The good part about it is that you get to clean/lick the dishes/instruments afterwards (and sometimes during the process) :-)

Enjoy maadi!!! And if you live in Bangalore you can always call me over to taste.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Strangers in the Night

I heard some voices mumbling in the background as I swayed between reality and never never land. As I was following the white rabbit, I heard my mom trying to open the front door. In my groggy state of affairs I vaguely heard her mutter some words, "Someone's at the door. I don't know who they are but they said they are your friends.", and she continued to struggle with the door without much light on the subject. Wait!!! Just the other day I had read in the papers that Bangalore had just been crowned as the crime capital of India. My biological clock, which is never wrong, told me it was about 3-4 AM in the morning, only to be proved wrong later. The incidents of robbery and murder having increased over the past few months. As I persuaded gravity to rush the required quantity of blood to my legs, I attempted to levitate myself and managed to assert in slow motion, "Don't open it!!". In those subsequent moments as my words seemed to be delayed towards its destination due to multipath effects, I saw the light from outside engulf the passageway to the entrance as I stopped in my tracks, the silhouettes taking shape out of thin air............

There were three of them and they had a cake with them. OK... errr... come inside please. It was after 1AM and Saurabh, Namita and Mani had decided that they wanted me to eat cake. Happy B'day :-) Well I decided not to beat them up as it was a nice thing to do. I mean a nice thing to get cake for me at 1AM in the morning!!!!

My mom and sis had decided to come down to bangalore inspite of me telling them that I'm a big grown up boy now... and that they didn't need to come and visit me on my b'day. But they did anyways.. which was what I wanted :-) Also Janelle, my younger sister couldn't come as she had school. So I started worrying her about it as I knew she would have loved to come here. I kept on worrying her about what all she would miss and she tried to pretend that it didn't bother her even a teenie weenie bit. She then sent me this nice power point slide on a CD, wishing me for my b'day.

Saurabh and Namita also gave me this present with a nice letter explaining the gift. Just thought of putting it up.

Dear Alistair,

Wish you a very Happy Birthday, we wanted to give you a very special gift. After a lot of hunting, we are happy to give you gift coupons from Landmark. You love reading, so a book shop coupon is the best thing to give you. However, we didn't want your choice to be limited by Landmark. That is why we specially ordered for coupons that would work in other major bookstores, such as Crosswords and Gangarams. These coupons do not have an expiry date either.

Just one more thing. You've been reading a bit too much of Che in the recent past. Please don't use these coupons for buying more of Che. After all, one doesn't want one's friend roaming through South America, following the footsteps of a revolutoinary, making out with all those hot Latinos. Not when we haven't had the chance to do that ourselves. We are sure you'll understand.

Namita & Saurabh

About Che, well whatever the doctor prescribes for asthma I say... and then again doctor knows whats best. Regarding that other comment, now now you decide.... what kind of friends would want to stop you from making out with some hot Latinos... Nope ... me no comprende ma man....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The bad hair day

err.. week... well lets make that month.... so here it is 'The bad hair month'.

My sis Sonali who lives in Gurgoan, decided that she had to look more beautiful by manoeuvering the hair on her head in ways that would only seem innovative to the common mind. Mind you this is a very touchy subject so pay attention please. She then decided to pick a hairdresser by the age old process of elimination, "Well if they charge 300 they must be better than those who charge less than that." However you always have to check if the person who has been nominated to give you a makeover, is also not in a state of transition i.e. learning the ropes. Finally after battling it out for a few hours in the ring, the moment of truth. Lights.... Camera.... Reaction!!!!

Sonali walks out of the salon with a fringe that requires a little bit of gel to put things in perspective. Later on she had to use this baby clip on the right side of her head, to keep me from smiling. Well the baby clip did keep me from smiling but it couldn't stop me from laughing when I saw her down in bangalore :-) I mean, like I always get the same bad haircuts for 30 bucks... you don't need 300 bucks to do that.

PS: I only know for a fact that she had a bad haircut and uses a baby's clip to look better. The other part of the story is a pigment of my motley palate (read palette). Its not that good at painiting and thats why a thousand words are sometimes required to paint the picture. However the story I believe is very close to the real one, this presumption being based on another fact that I can put myself into her shoes and then walk around in them a little bit.... and when I'm a bit far away from her, damn I have her shoes so RUN..... hehehehehehe

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The good, the bad and the err... terrorists

"It's GOD's responsibility to forgive the terrorists. Its our responsibiltiy to arrange the meeting between them and GOD."

Well I got this SMS from a relation who makes a living in the city of dreams, in the aftermath of the terror that had gripped the hearts of anyone who knows faces residing in that city. I went through the SMS, as the words took shape on my little lcd screen. And as new words replaced the old ones that had served their purpose, new thoughts replaced the old ones, following a similar pattern. At first a smile adorned my face which emanated from an anticipated thought that had formed in my head, wherein the sender wanted to be like those few who have it in themselves to forgive another, or maybe wherein the sender seemed like those many others who make use of such situations as a public show of empathy. Which category the sender fell into was already decided a few seconds before that. But only when I reached the ending did the irony and intention of it all unfold in front of me. Come to think of it the intention was still ambiguous as it was not stated if the meeting place was in heaven or on earth :-)

We come across a lot of people in our lifetime, some we like and some we don't, and then there are those that we hate. But those very same people that we detest are liked by others, which we sometimes find really hard to understand. Maybe its cause we all need mirrors to remind ourselves of who we are, and in the process we choose certain mirrors from amongst the populace that reflect our good side and certain that reflect our bad. And then there are those mirrors in which we would like to see our good side but due to lack of reciprocity/understanding, we sometimes end up seeing the reverse. So in a way there are terrorists all around us and we could so easily be branded as one too. Coming to the question of playing GOD's secretary for setting up meetings in heaven, can we really judge a person by quantifying how good they are to us. Or do we need to judge them by how bad they are to others, those unknown others who followed the white rabbit down the rabbit hole, never to return, even with red ruby slippers.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Born on the 3rd of July

There are those who would love to be born on the fourth of July and then there are those who would detest it, and then again there are those who really don't care.

Two of my colleagues just became proud dads. Sandeep has gone to Mumbai where the baby was delivered. Kausik's little one was born right here in bangalore. Infact when I first called him up to congratulate him I told him that I couldn't picture him as a father. The next day he told all of us with his characteristic sense of humor, "Yeah they are all saying that the baby looks like me. And I'm saying to myself... another smart kid in the family :-)". Well, still can't picture him as a dad. I then inquired about the ceremonies that would follow to compare notes with those followed by Catholics. A little more than a month back my cousin gave birth to a baby girl in the US. She sent me some very cute photos. My sister who migrated to Australia is expecting in Oct-Nov. A lot of babies will be born in different parts of the world. I had also been to Goa recently, for another cousin's child's baptism. Met his little daughter Shania who wears these thick soda glasses. She is so so so so cute. She is just 6 but thinks she is an adult and tries to talk like one. In a group she is real shy but you can have some very intelligent one on one conversations with her. Some of her words echoed more rational than those coming from other kids her age.

On the eve of my return journey riots broke out in Goa as a mosque was damaged. Shops were shut and tension was in the air. The hindu and muslim areas were under high alert. That night for a brief moment I was given charge to rock the little one to sleep. His hands and legs were so tiny as he slept calmly in my arms unaware of the religious tensions around him. I returned safetly to Bangalore only to hear about some bomb blasts that that had rocked the capital.... religious tensions agains. I called up my sister and some friends to apprise myself of the situation. Actually it was to make sure that things were ok with them.

When I look back to that moment when i magically rocked the little chap to sleep in my make shift cradle, I wonder whether after his baptism his faith was sealed. As in, does he now belong to one particular religion. I mean he really didn't choose his religion, his parents did, as their parents would have done for them. But as he grows up his thoughts who be moulded to reflect his religion, by looking and emulating family around him. Slowly it would become a way of life, a way of life that he would get used to, a way of life that he would come to believe is the righteous way and no other. And in his interactions with people of other faiths how would he act. Will he question their faiths, will he question his own. Will his beliefs metamorphise through time... will his religion. So will his religion become his beliefs or will his beliefs become his religion. I wonder.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Superman Returns

To save the world ? To fight against evil ? To give us hope for a better future ?

Err... is it a bird, is it a plane. Well neither of those, and neither does he wear his underwear on the outside. Its the fifa world cup 2006 and its Zinedine Zidane. I mean he came out of international retirement and after a lacklustre beginning he seems to have found his majestic form again. He sure moves around the field like a master tactician, always maintaining that super cool composure of his. The way he caresses the ball, his balance, his passing ability, whilst always being on the lookout for openings, combined with the confidence that he exudes from his eyes can sure intimidate the fiercest of adversaries. I'm sure most of us tuned into the brazil-france match expecting the samba boys to beat the crap out of france. But Zidane at 34, after the end of his international career sure seems to have looked deep down within to find that little child inside. The child that knows no fear, who knows that he can take on the world no matter how big the obstacle or what others think of him. France have being playing with superman on their side for the past two matches. I'm sure Luiz Felipe Scolari must be on the lookout for some kryptonite.

It sure is a treat to see people at their best, be it in football, other sports, music, the arts or whatever their profession. We enjoy seeing them attain this state of mind cause it reminds us that we can do the same. I guess, in a way, we all need mirrors to remind us of who we are. But as we grow up, most of us tend to strike up an acquaintance with the hard reality that envelopes us, as we settle for mediocre dreams. However every now and then some of us find that courage to look deep down inside, to find that little child within, armed wih pure skill and a lions heart. The little superman that can save the world, that can fight against our evils, that gives us hope for a better future. That little child within, who is not afraid to fly around in his underwear.

PS: I'll be cheering for portugal. So I hope that they find the right costume, if you know what I mean.