Blame this on coffee

My consciousness is yet to be raised enough to enjoy the 'experience' of roaming the malls and cinemas during the weekends, I am kind of crowd allergic. But I think my allergy is restricted towards pointless congregations of people; I feel much at home when I attend a concert for example. This is exactly why I prefer waking up atop some mountain on a Sunday morning.

When you are in the city, one nice way to start the day is to walk up to a coffee shop early in the morning, sit there sipping hot coffee, watch the world pass by in a hurry. My Sundays were never like this. So last week, when I walked into 'Matteo Coffea', the new coffee shop at Church Street, I never expected it to be such a great experience. They have some nice comfortable seats where you can relax and look into the street, watching the commotion slowly build up as the day progresses. They wont mind you sitting there the whole day, reading, talking, working or whatever, as long as you order something to drink. Trust me, this is THE best thing you can do on Sundays if you too are 'activity challenged' like me. I agree that a slightly better experience would be a visit to the church where you can also compare clothes, donate to rebuild a church in the quake-hit Haiti and thereby earn some brownie points which you can encash once you reach up there.

Thanks to the morning church service, the shop was pretty much empty.. a rare opportunity for the children of the devil to have a quiet coffee, without getting annoyed by the pious and chosen ones. So as I waited there for my friend, I started reading the coffee trivia written on the walls. I knew from Morgan Freeman in the 'Bucket List' that coffee was first discovered by some shepherds in Guatemala. Seeing their sheep getting excited after nibbling on some wild berries, they took some berries to a monastery nearby. The monks roasted the beans and then made a stew out of it. I had no reason to disbelieve the pre-Wikipedia knowledge of Mr. carter. But I never knew that it was legal in Turkey once upon a time for the wife to divorce her husband, if he fails to provide her the daily quota of coffee (So easy to get rid of a troublesome And it seems, in the sixteen hundreds, a pound of coffee used to cost as much as four acres of land in New York... wish my forefathers bartered all the coffee for some land in New York, than selling it for a roll of linen or the wisdom of a few linen clad priests.

Coffee is intoxicating, it even made me write a blog post on almost nothing.

Ultimate Relationship...

Every man has a unique relationship with his bank.. one that transcends all the mediocrity and suffering that routine life brings. It is pretty much like being part of a religion or following a faith... one that is easily introduced but difficult to get out of. 'You can walk in any time of the year, but you can never leave'.

Like what happens in the case of religion, Once you are initiated into the experience by the holy ceremony of opening an account, you can blissfully stand aside and watch in awe as the machinery takes over 'rest-o-ya-life'. A belief in the all powerful deities like Fund Manager, Relationship Manager and Investment Manager can make your life a lot easier. The moment you accept the fact that they are more knowledgeable to make decisions on your life for you, and that they will do the same with the sole intention of 'your prosperity' in mind, the initiation is almost complete. The only difference with religion is that here you don't have to believe in sacred underwear or purgatory. A little trust in the power of 'Estimated Monthly Installments' can help though!

How many of your friends or relatives have offered you money, without you asking for it, just so that you can live comfortably? Unlike them, the bank constantly worries about your need to buy a new car or a house or that big screen television and lends you a helping hand. They call upon you often to make sure that the quality of your life is not suffering, just because you do not have any liquid cash in hand. The bank lets you choose the pay back conditions as well. That is what I call 'real' concern. If you ever feel lonely in life or think that nobody cares about you, try missing one of those monthly installments. The bank will make you feel like the most sought after person in this entire world. These EMIs are like your Sunday trips to the church, an essential ritual that keeps the relationship intact and binding.

Though marriage is often cited as the epitome of all relationships, I beg to differ. In this world, if there is one relationship that can stand all the ups and downs, storms and showers, it is the one between you and your bank.

New Year Resolutions

New Year brings in new hopes and promises. Not that the days are going to be drastically different or life is going to take a U-turn, but the notion of a new beginning always brings in some fresh hopes. That is probably why we always wait for New Year day or Birthday to take/renew resolutions, make decisions to become a better person and stuff like that.

Its altogether a different fact that I don't keep these resolutions for long, but hey, at least I had the courage to come up with things like 'I will wash clothes every weekend' or 'I will keep track of my expenses and borrow money starting the third week of the month instead of second'. And after all resolutions are meant to be broken, how else can you renew them the year after? I don't think we can afford to take 'new' resolutions every year. It is the age of recycling and optimal usage. And as a responsible citizen of a country with a billion people, I cannot have everything for me...let others also take some of the resolutions.

Right on top of my list this year was to stop living like a rat. For long, the place I live was actually just a place to sleep, dump my clothes, it never assumed the role of 'home'. I thought of giving it some character by re-arranging things and cleaning those corners which I last visited in 2007, during a mouse hunt. What helped most was the decision to cook at home. So before the idea got cold and developed mold, I went out and bought everything required to prepare food - true to my other resolution of doing things 'right now'. And after five long years, I got back to the business of 'spoiling the broth'. My friend who has come to stay with me for a while, has proved to be the perfect partner in crime, never saying 'yuk' to the stuff I prepare - even if the egg curry tastes like marinated plastic or the rotis look more like leopard skin. A little support is all that's required to keep the devil-chef inside me happy and innovation-oriented, and I go on making delicacies like wine-omlette!

As if not satisfied by this, I have decided to do some backward integration and grow some vegetables at home. There is an attic kind of space accessible from the kitchen, where I am planning to set up my mini-farm. Ironically this is the only spot at home, that receives direct sunlight! So I went out this weekend and bought two big plastic tubs and some vegetable seeds. The tubs will act as beds for the tomatoes and the lettuce, the first two crops I am going to experiment with. With all the cooking happening, there is a lot of organic waste available now, which I am planning to convert to compost and use in my vegetable beds. I hope I could do this without driving my neighbors mad with the stink. I know I am talking like some big farmer, when I am actually yet to collect some dirt to plant the seeds!

I just realized that I have broken one of my resolutions already; the one about Writing sensible blog posts, than talking about 'My new polka dotted pajama' or 'The crow on the lamp post across the road'. But something tells me fun times are ahead!

Vote For Change !

If one of your new year resolutions was about using Facebook to do something other than caring for orphan rabbits you find on Farmville, read on. Here is a unique opportunity to reach out and impact thousands of lives, sitting at your desk. Yes, you can help educate 40,000 young Indians all over our country and I am not joking or drunk.

One of India’s most trusted and credible NGOs, GiveIndia is taking part in a competition on Facebook to win a US$1 million grant. The winner will be the NGO that gets the highest number of votes from Facebook users. The prize of $1 million will help put or keep 40,000 children across India in school for one year. Imagine we all coming together to spread the word and help the underprivileged children of India. The impact would be tremendous.

Voting in the competition is for one week only, from Friday, January 15 – Friday, January 22, 2010. Can we make a difference in the next 5 days? You always felt there should be a better way to start a day than waking up in the morning? Here is what to do:

There’s been lots of talk about how social media can bring change and make an impact on the world we live in. Well, here is one tangible way for us to take a small action that could have a HUGE outcome.

In case you have questions, write to for details or try this link:

In Mittu I trust !

Mittu was sitting quietly inside her cage. The man who was carrying her in the cage almost looked like her bigger cousin, with all the pearls around his neck, colorful headgear, ash on his forehead and the long shawl. As soon as he spread the fortune cards on the floor and kept the cage on the ground, Mittu came out of the cage on to the pavement. I was walking around the Hussain Sagar lake at Hyderabad last Sunday morning, when I bumped into Mittu and her master Shasank. They are one among the many fortune tellers - parrot astrologer to be precise - who roam around the lake, and tell you few good things about your future in exchange for a little money.

I had my cousins with me and we decided to ask Mittu what is in store for us in the near future. So we sat on one of the stone benches as Shasank carefully laid out the cards on the floor. Unlike what I have heard, Shasank had just 12 cards instead of the usual 27 or so. These cards look much like the tarot cards, with a picture and some writing enclosed in a small red velvet pouch. So as I told Mittu my name, she went ahead and picked a card from the bunch and quietly walked back to the comfort of her cage. She had the looks of a judge in the court who just passed her verdict, relaxing on a chair watching the agony or ecstacy of the crowd. Before opening the pouch, Shasank wanted to take a look at my hands and exclaimed that I got a beautiful hand. What he meant was not the texture of the skin or proportion of the fingers, but the lines on my palm. According to him I will eventually have a lot of money and other comforts in ife... in his own words 'Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity, is literally dancing on my hand'. I never knew!

There was a picture of lord Ganesha inside the pouch Mittu picked for me. Shasank looked at the picture and the text and went on explaining how I am going to make it big in life. He had only good things to tell except that I should listen more to my life partner. As he spoke, Mittu made a clicking noise and occasionally said her name loud, as if claiming that she picked the perfect card for me. He said that my bad times are coming to an end and good times will start from the 12th of January 2010. Mittu looked trustworthy with her cute voice, green attire and friendly mannerisms and I believed all that Shasank told me. So when I slept on the 11th night, my mind was filled with joy and expectation.. after all, Mittu had told me fortunes are going to change!

I am an early riser. When I opened my eyes on 12th morning, I couldn't beleive my eyes.. my room was filled with some kind of bright light. I was aghast and could not make out for a moment what is happening. Then all that Shasank said the other day flashed across my mind... the change of fortune from 12th January! I closed my eyes and opened it again to make sure I am not dreaming, and the white light was still there. Then I looked at the watch and realised that it is already 7:30 in the morning. Just that I slept late. The light was nothing but the sunlight seeping in through the open windows.

But probably it is an indication of the change. I prefer to wait and watch than pass a harsh judgment on Mittu so soon.

A new year..

All the wrong paths I took, at life's every turn
Indeed were roads to you

All the dreams I saw, in sleep and my wakefulness
were indeed shadows of you

All the pain I ever felt, in the heart and in my soul
were beckoning calls to you

Stand with me, let's sail the world
Stopping, gazing and wondering, not just growing old

What is life worth, if all you do is waste it
Leave it for the whims of the crowd and not taste it

By hook or by crook we're gonna make it
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