Sunday, December 26, 2004


I am shaken and horrified at the earthquakes in south-east Asia. Why lord, why?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

You aint going nowhere and random mom story

Happy Holidays people, except that I just have one day's holiday tomorrow. Still, that makes a longish weekend and one that I am determined to make use of completely. So, I have booked myself in the spa for a Thai massage, mani-pedi and a hair treatment session. I am already happy in anticipation.

I am spending the new year in a tropical place where I can shop till I drop and party like there's no tomorrow. I can't wait to leave and now I'm counting the days.

Few months ago, I visited my parents. Before setting out for shopping, mom wanted to pop in to the school she teaches in and asked me to come along with her. Last weekend, while I and mom were at dinner she told me, "Many people asked me who that beautiful girl was, who accompanied me to school that day." My heart leapt up because usually I am referred to as "that plump girl". Then just as my joy was expanding to cover the universe, mom says, "It must be the kurta you were wearing plumpie, can I borrow it once you are bored with it?"

50 things to eat before you die

Hmmm... I got this from HERE. This list comes from the BBC from polls they held midyear. There are just 8 on the list that I have not eaten, mostly Australian. There are just 2 things that I am not game enough to try - Guinea pig and haggis. Now, this puts me in the mood for paella. There goes my diet again....

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Now what did you say has been stolen?

Yesterday I came across a classic case of the technological divide in India. Quark, India wanted to register a case of stolen software and the local police refused to do so because they could not comprehend WHAT was stolen.

This is from the Times of India, dated 21/12/2004:

Quark officials, the SSP alleged, had threatened him that they would close down operations if the police didn't heed their request. The Quark facility is part of an IT park in Mohali. "I told them how can I register an FIR if I don't know what has been stolen. I think they wanted to register false cases," the SSP said. Senior officials of Quark India are now seeking an appointment with the chief minister Amarinder Singh.

I do not know the details of the case, but it illuminates the inability of a non-technical person to comprehend that the classical definition of physical property does not hold in the case of software or digital media.

India has passed the Information Technology Act in the year 2000 but like other laws/ Acts, I find that the implementation is hardly there. The Act does not provide any ground rules for implementation. The local law enforcers, the police are not at all technologically savvy and this is where the problem lies. Sure, cyber crime cells have been set up in Mumbai and I think, Delhi, but what about the rest of the country? The Information Technology Act, 2000 gives almost draconian powers to the Police to enter and search, without any warrant, any public place for the purpose of nabbing cyber criminals and preventing cyber crime. BUT, the police is not educated or trained to spot actual evidence of cyber crime.

I think it is time that the Indian Government does a rethink and makes amendments on the IT Act. The recent case of the Baazee CEO being arrested has suddenly made everyone sit up and take notice of this urgency, mostly Indian IT firms who have suddenly realised that they too could suffer as a result of insufficient definitions in the IT Act 2000. In my opinion, implementation and definitions in the Indian IT Act need urgent amendments before any other aspects are looked into.

Chicken curry - Bengali Style

I believe that Indians are remarkably bad at making good home-cooked Indian food popular. When you talk of "Indian" food, any paleface would think "Tandoori Chicken". The slightly adventurous one would think "saag aloo" or "saag paneer". How many would think (or even know) of a "Dhansak" or a "Hilsa in mustard"? Very few, I guess. How many would know Dhansak comes from the Parsis and Hilsa is to Bengal what caviar is to Russia? India is a large country with totally different cultures and food. Bengali cuisine is a lesser known entity but highly addictive. Seafood, freshwater fish, different kinds of greens, rice and mutton are the staples on a Bengali dining table.

The Bengal Cookbook by Minakshie Dasgupta is the best Bengali cookbook I have come across. What I like best are her descriptions with every recipe and the introductions to every chapter. Each chapter consists of recipes for every course that makes up a traditional Bengali meal. Whats more, her recipes are wonderfully accurate. I have never gone wrong following her recipes. I cook myself a Bengali meal once every month. As much as I enjoy Bengali food, my waistline and diet does not permit me the indulgence more than once.

On Monday, work was more than usually stressful and all I wanted at the end of the day was a hot curry to perk me up and fragrant steamed rice. I also craved rich Bengali food and so pulled out The Bengal Cookbook, my reliable guide to Bengali cuisine.

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When I checked my refridgerator for ingredients, I found that all I had was chicken. I was hoping for shrimps, but I lost the enthusiasm to go and get them once I reached home. So, I searched for a recipe for chicken curry. I finally zeroed on this one, mostly because I had all the ingredients and because it was simple and uncomplicated to make.

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The main differences between a Bengali meat curry and a North Indian one is that Bengali curries often are sweetened and add potatoes to meat. I don't find that happening in North Indian food at all. This one too required potatoes. It took me 40 minutes from beginning to end, inclusive of preparations like mincing onions and reducing the tomatoes to a paste. That is my secret to make a really smooth curry, reduce the tomatoes to a paste instead of chopping them fine.

It was a simple and standard procedure of browning minced and sliced onions, garlic and ginger paste, adding tomatoes, then the chicken and then cooking until done. The difference was in adding some sugar to the masala before adding tomatoes. I was apprehensive and added half the amount mentioned in a book and in my opinion it prevented the curry from being over-sweet. I made a huge blunder though. The recipe requires 1.5 teaspoons of red chilli powder and I added 1.5 tablespoons, wondering why it was so much. I attribute my idiot quotient to stress that day. Heh! The curry as expected was hot, really hot. This is the end result.

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I had this with steamed rice and a cucumber, tomato salad. It was all I needed - hot, comforting and tasty. The chicken was cooked perfectly and despite not marinating the meat, it was succulent and full of flavour.

Shoe-of-the-day Day 16

This is a not pretty pair, but its comfortable and it matched my maroon block-printed Churidaar Kurta today.

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 15

I think I should call this series the comfort series. This pair is turquoise, strappy and very comfortable. Its good for summers, but Calcutta has been surprisingly pleasant this winter and its actually warm here.

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 14

Thank you Francis, Thank you Heather. I just thought it was stupid getting upset over an idiotic comment made to me. Taking pics of my shoes is fun, so here we go again...

This pair is actually not so brown. I think using the flash was not a brilliant idea. I wore stockings with this pair, but when I reach home, I can't stand the torture, so this is sans pantyhose.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Standard Chartered rants

I was invited to a party thing by Standard Chartered Bank today from work. So far so good. The food sucked. The wine sucked. The guest list consisted of horrors. Then a young fellow from Stanchart started chatting me up. I tried really hard to be pleasant. The fellow asked me if I liked classical music. I said, "yes." Then the fellow asked me if I liked Rabindra Sangeet and I said, "No." Then he proceeded to lecture me on how even Yeats liked Tagore. At which point my patience wore thin and I pointed out that we were discussing music and not poetry, and tastes in music are personal choices.

Then the fellow told me how much he loved classical music, both Indian and western. Then he told me how Beethoven composed his last symphony even though he was deaf. I suppressed a yawn. Then he could not identify a Strauss waltz being played in the gallery. At that point, I told him that he should go and network and leave me to the sucky wine and cheese. He said as he was leaving, "You really should attend more classical music concerts." I replied, "If I did, young man, I'd be working at Stanchart and not with my current employer." I like to shut up obnoxious young men.

Shoe-of-the-day shelved

I shelved the shoe-of-the-day project because:
i. Too many people I know in real life know this blog. What I think of as fun ways to kill boredom is met with sarcasm, hurting remarks in public about the kind of person I am etc. etc. I dont want to shut down this blog, because I dont have the time to set up a new one, at the same time I am not prepared to have bile thrown at me time and again.
ii. Lack of any interest by any visitor. Heh.
iii. The energy required to take good pics of feet is just too much to summon everyday.

Biryani - Just look hard, ok?

Lunches at work are filling, healthy, nutritious and very tasty. This is my favourite menu - Pea Soup, Salad, Biryani, Boondi raita and Pineapple.

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Things to do in 2005, or before I die

The end of the year makes me make lists. Lists that once made, are never read or referred to, EVER. Still, introspection at the end of the year seems to be a given, so here I go again.

1. Lose weight - An eternal favourite and one that I suspect will top my list forever.
2. Send my applications this year for that MBA and not get frightened by rejection and sit on them like this year.
3. Visit England. I think I am going to Manchester this year, though it could be Edinburgh too. By England I mean the UK, for those of you who like to nitpick.
4. Buy my dream home and not wait for the non-existent prince to do the ground work. I am scouting for houses and can't decide on apartments or houses. Apartments mean less maintenance, which is good for a on-the-move person like moi, but houses have gardens. Gardens have soil. Things grow in soil. Ah the dilemma!
5. Go to Egypt.
6. See the Louvre.
7. Go to a Bob Dylan concert.
8. Get my driving licence.
9. Join music classes.
10. Buy more paintings.
11. Paint the masterpiece.
12. Learn to bake my own bread.
13. Take up one case that really challenges ze grey cells.
14. Snorkel in the Lakshwadeep.
15. Ride more roller coasters, all the ones that go 360 degrees atleast.
16. Relax and not feel guilty about it.
17. Walk on the Golden Gate Bridge.
18. Name a race-horse.
19. Have a dessert named after me, actually a cocktail would be better.
20. Meet the professor who flunked me in one crummy course and thank him. Had it not been for him, my life would have never been such a series of adventures and I would have never seen or taken other opportunities.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Shoe-of-the-day Day 13

To be honest, none of the pics I've taken have done this pair any justice. Despite the heels, this pair is surprisingly comfortable.

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 12

This is how I paint the town red.

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 11

How can anyone not love these???

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 10

Utilitarian and another comfy pair and they add an inch to my height.

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Monday, December 13, 2004

Temporary like achilles

I have to submit my assignments (6 of them) by the 15th. I am not shelving the projects and blogging, I will just upload everything, once I finish mailing the assignments. I really miss this.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I'm desolated!!!

Shall my sorrow never end?

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Shoe-of-the-day Day 9 - Comfort

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Shoe-of-the-day Day 8

Does anyone realise how tough it is to take nice pics of one's own feet? No? I thought so. It is enough to make me want to abandon this crazy project. Anyhow, I promised I'd do it, so here I am...

These are a very comfortable pair of slippers. They don't look it, but they are, and the pastel colours go really well with any blue outfit. The manufacturers claimed they were made in Brazil. I don't know. I didn't know Brazil had a thriving shoe industry! I wore mules for work, but I wore these for dinner today.

On Flickr, someone's asked me if I was from France. Whats wrong with people? Can they not see my very brown skin?

Who me?

My marriage plans have always been a hoot. I have been serious about getting blissfully wedded thrice and all three times, I've developed cold feet and dumped the poor sod midway (which sort of shows how serious I was - not very). Well, ok, I got dumped once, but thats the general idea.

So did I feel repentant when dad's friend (who I took out for dinner) asks me, "weren't you getting married? Whatever happened to that?" Umm... Not at all. I just grin and say, "I changed my plans." I love seeing the reaction on people's faces when I say that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A very satisfying evening

I went to take another look at THE painting. Actually, maybe I shouldn't have gone. The gallery owner now knows I am interested and is not showing any signs of negotiating. I couldn't help it. The painting draws me to it. I just have to have it. It reminds me of my first love. The colours, the joy, the beauty and the abandon of first discovering my body and what could be achieved by it. The come hither looks, the warm autumn colours and the sharing of secrets, looking across a room with secret eyes, the raised eyebrows and naughty smiles.

I am wondering how to begin the bargaining. Should I start by quoting a price much, much lower than I plan to go or do I quote my price and stick to it no matter what? Do I show an interest in other canvases and casually mention this one in the middle or should I be upfront about what I want? I love moving in for the kill. I love the games played. I know this one will be mine, and I love the game I will have to play to make it mine.

Just for the record, the shoe-of-the-day pic was taken right after swimming, which is why my toes look wrinkly. Heh.

Shoe-of-the-day Day 7 Posted by Hello