Friday, November 14, 2014

Being proudly Indian

I have always been very proud of being an Indian to the core. Despite a lifetime in the Far East, my father, a proud media man in the INA (Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose), never gave up his Indian passport. In college, I even won a Femina Best Letter award for a letter in which I wrote that I felt truly Indian because few people recognized me as a Sindhi. Most took me for Punjabi, Maharashtrian, Bengali, even Muslim, depending on the clothes I was wearing when I met them.

Then I became even more Indian:  a Sindhi  married a Punjabi,  children born and bred in Gujarat,  a Sindhi-Parsi son in law, a Sindhi-Gujarati daughter in law and another Kashmiri.   Sara Hindustan Hamara!!

I was born in Singapore and brought up in Jakarta, Indonesia.  That made for an Overseas Indian mentality which looks back at India with a romantic attitude, enhanced memories of a happy childhood and detailed ones of India’s drawbacks.  Fortunately I returned to India at age 13, an impressionable pre-teen and proceeded to fall in love with India and absorb her astonishing values and variety.

The reason for the early return to India was my father contracting Parkinson’s and being advised to return home. Before coming back, my father took my mother on an extended Far East tour to meet her brothers at Phom Penh, Saigon, Manila, Hong Kong and Japan; also obviously the hope of finding some cure for his then little-known ailment.

My three sisters and I set off for Bombay from Singapore in a liner. One the first day in the Indian dining room, the waiters piled our plates with rice and topped it with dal, vegetables and curd quite indiscriminately. We turned up our noses and declared haughtily, “This is not how food should be served.” Before we reached his table, the Captain had been apprised of our complaint. Thenceforth, we supped at the Captain’s table and partook of excellent meals served in all the style that bespeaks A Captain’s Table.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My post on SheWrites

I just lost a response I was giving Elizabeth on her post about the unnerved feelings during promotions of her book. Perhaps because I'm new to the SheWrites system.
Sorry haven't posted since joining as I was going through several upheavals. Just about balancing out to start the process of marketing my new anthology of hope for Women traumatized by a host of issues, from domestic violence, widowhood and divorce to rape and inheritance.

Writing was exciting, giving twists and unexpected turns to each story. But the new onerous task of marketing here, there and everywhere is frightening to say the least.
I'm looking back at my adventures with my protagonists in the anthology titled Nirbhaya & Others Who Dared and those of my next novel which is partly written with quite bit of nostalgia, as I unravel the intricacies of modern day marketing of a book that tells the tales of a gang rape survivor, a stalked woman, a lady army officer, different attitudes to divorce and to incest,and daring widows grasping their slices of life.

While I grasp Marketing?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

What's in a name?

What is in a name? asked the Bard centuries ago.
Today…. plenty.
Apart from the numerological implications of a name, surname and nickname…. 

Look at it this way:

The name plate is a signature of Male Ego.  
His name is there is bold letters.  May be his father’s too, or sometimes his mother’s.
If the wife’s is there, it becomes a big issue. That is even in times when men are often forced to buys homes in their wives’ names to escape a chunk of tax.

Then there are the emergent double barreled names:   wife and husband, both names.   Otherwise the wife with double surname, her maiden one and her marital one.  
In the case of Muslim ones, the names of her father and her maiden surname.  Where’s the room for one more?

Guess where all these thoughts come from?

LOL ….. lounging in the tender sun and just looking around.  
The name plates were a reminder of neighbors.  
Otherwise the sights were pretty, flowering trees and shrubs ringing in the change of season. 

The wintry sun warming the cockles of one grey haired lady and any number of maids wandering in and out of a housing complex; they enjoy more of the scene than most residents too caught in life to have time to enjoy  their comfort zone.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Kutchi King ready to cross ocean

If music be the food of love, play on!   Said the Bard.
In our times, he would say
IF food be the music of blogs, Blog On..
Ha Ha!!
Bloggers and foodies got together to admire a new generation evolution in fast foods that is happening in  right in Ahmedabad.

Imagine, taking apart the economic models of MacDonalds and KFC, central purchase, central kitchen et all, perked up with a minimal franchise fee and putting them together in a desi model to dish out economy priced yet filling Desi Fast Foods, from desi looking premises rather than fancy Restaurants with their overheads pricing them out of your daily pocket,
All this from KUTCHI KING  outlets reaching out from Ahmedabad to out of Gujarat…may be soon Dubai ………….Here comes KK for your desi palates!

Kutchi King is evolving all the time.  After the urges for hygienic bataka vadas, dhabeli, vada pau, bread pakoras et all,  now come the ground breaking Chinese Burger with fried noodles,  Aallu Tikka Burger and an onion-capsicum-cheese one for European palates.
And a cosy corner for bloggers to vent in the real world before venturing into the virtual one.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


I blinked at his question “How many countries have you travelled through in your life?”
A young blogger at a blogger’s meet.  Scratching memory, I counted one short of a bare handful.  His mouth almost fell open.
Obviously memories would raise their heads. How do I manage to sound so well travelled, when in fact I am about the laziest person I know?
Two types of input surfaced:  Reading and… Reading.

Today, the Net is a treasure trove of facts for those who care to dig for them; but the older generation reading carried us on magic carpets into distant lands that never failed to emote and evolve into treasured memories.
Regina Pacis School, Jakarta in the 1950s taught geography and architectural appreciation from Std. 1. Obviously they did a very good job for me to remember my first standard geography lessons on the rain forest lands of Brazil, Congo and Indonesia itself; plus architectural wonders of early England and Europe.
The library at Hutchings High School, Pune had perhaps most of the travel collection known as the Young Traveller Series, most of which I read, travelling through all continents and dozens of countries across the globe.  Each book had a couple of youngsters landing up in a new country and going on to hand hold the reader through a graphic geography, city and rural scapes, plus individuals and interesting features of the country before flying out…from Argentina, Peru and Mexico to Nigeria, Fiji and Australia, and everywhere in between. …essentially wherever the white man went.

The second great travelogue is one which even today’s young readers may be familiar with: Mills & Boon novels. Hundreds of those must have been consumed between high school, college and a couple of years later too…. practically until motherhood overtook reading time.
Every Mills & Boon author in those times used to specialize in writing stories set in a particular country or a particular county of England.  The places and settings of each episode would be vividly described, along with local highlights and notaries, along with ordinary sights and people.  It was almost like visiting that place!  With tiny interesting nuggets of information stored in the brain forever more.   Bingo! I travelled around the globe, touching down on key cities as well as out of the way places few even knew off.
A far-ranging habit of reading anything and everything that fell into my hands must have fed that travelogue too; from Frangipani set in Tahiti, the death of Napoleon in forsaken St. Helena, Desiree` from France to Sweden and so many other countries and islands in between.
Today, born in Singapore, brought up in Jakarta and Pune, an adult life in Ahmedabad, wide ranging travels as a political journalist across Gujarat, across M.P. in search of the elusive Mastani and two visits to Dubai, I was reckoned a seasoned traveller by a young Traveller! 

Sounds great, doesn’t it!