Archive for August, 2013

I’m still laughing!

August 31, 2013

Do watch till the end….I just couldn’t believe it!

, I’m sending the friend who gave me this link, my gastro-enterologist’s bill for the tummy-ache.

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Originality…

August 30, 2013

If you think you’ve thought of it
Someone’s thought of it before;
Someone’s thought, and said, and written it
Earlier…nothing’s new anymore!

So…just go ahead, and say what you want.
Go ahead and have some fun.
You’ll vw counted in the long line of thinkers
When humanity’s day is done.

Cars in India…my memories

August 29, 2013

A very enjoyable chat with a friend in Sweden set me thinking about the various cars that I’ve seen and used during my life.

My father, who rose from the lowest to the highest executive postition in the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC), had all his cars provided by the company, so we went through a wide variety of cars.

It is usual of think of India of the 60’s and 70’s having only the Ambassador and Fiat…but in reality, there were certainly a lot more cars around.

In the beginning, I saw a lot of cars of British make in Calcutta (probably imported from Britain; I don’t think they were manufactured in India.) There were Austin (the chrome letters actually announced, “Austin of England”, Humber, Studebakers, and Raleighs. There were all the American cars that were status symbols…”Shevorley” (Chevrolet) which had the famous “Impala” and the other large-fin “kappal cars” (cars like ships!) that floated their lengths along the roads.

Standard was a car company that had the small cars of that era….the Standard 8 and the Standard 10 were tiny little cars. I have no idea about the performance of these cars…they were just cars that I saw around.

Hindustan Motors manufactured the ubiquitous rhinos of the Indian roads….Ambassador cars (and still do, even now) and their predecessors, the Landmaster. For some reason, I always thought of cars with rounded boots as female, and those with even small tail fins as male. Don’t ask me why! I remember the Fiat (before it became Premier Motors) 800 with a rounded boot, and the 1000 with slight fins (nothing like the kappal cars!). One Fiat model was one of the last cars I’ve seen where the front door hinge was the reverse of the usual near-the-dashboard.I feel this must be quite convenient, and still don’t know why this kind of front door was phased out.

The Fords could sometimes be huge mammoths, in which I felt lost once I got in. I do not remember air-conditioned cars in my childhood, at all. Window seats were eagerly looked forward to, and captured, after pleadings to parents and fights with siblings!

It took a while for the realization to sink in that we Indians were getting the reject cars and designs…at some point, yes, I did realize it.

Standard also had that ever-present car, the Herald. This car, too, came in two models, I remember the engine cowl of one opening the other way (not hinged near the windshield)…the only car engine cowling I’ve seen opening like that. These cars would stop in just a few inches of water, and so they were called the Stranded Herald! They were two-door cars…I’ve always detested two-door cars.

I never thought of the company and the model name as different…such was my ignorance. I had heard, as in a dream, of the Rolls Royce, and seen some photos…but I don’t recall ever seeing one, or having one pointed out to me. Daimlers and Bentleys were simply not in my ken.

I do recall several Volkswagens, yes, the Beetles, running around the city, but they, too, were not very frequent.

I think it was in the 80’s that Standard introduced the Rover. Even I, with my lack of knowledge, realized that it was an uneconomical, unreliable vehicle…I remember calling it the Sub-standard Rover, and said that it had enough fuel range to get from petrol pump to petrol pump.Apparently, the sleek-looking design of the car made it a great attraction to many people.

At some point of time (mid 80’s?) there was a Karnataka-manufactured clunker called the Badal, the only 3-wheeler passenger car that I have seen. Does anyone remember this?

Premier, too, introduced a lemon called the 118 NE, which had some fuel-pump problems. I remember having to abandon our car in the Western ghats once, and coming home by bus!

The arrival of the Maruti 800 truly galvanized mass car ownership in India…it’s amazing to think of the revolution! Everyone who had a Lambretta or a Vespa or a Bajaj scooter now had a Maruti….a major change, indeed. It was tiny, convenient, and one of the most useful cars that I’ve seen. Another useful car was the Maruti Esteem…we used to joke that it would be even more cost-friendly if it would run on e-“steam”.

Now the variety and number of cars manufactured in India is mind-boggling, and the roads are clogged with drivers wishing that the other cars and their owners had stayed home….driving in our cities, with the lack of enforcement of traffic rules, is no longer a pleasure. I have started using buses, and own no car now….and am pretty happy about that!

I do wonder how car designers are doing, hunting around for new car names…it must be getting more and more difficult.

Ah, felt good to set down my memories of cars on Indian roads….if any of you have additions..you are welcome to put them in!

Little Booda

August 28, 2013

Our little fellow is now 7 months old; he is our very own creepy-crawly at home, starting to get around to *near* where he wants to go.

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But more often than not, he ends up under the drawing-room table:

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He then kicks hard enough to bring up the plank (which rests on four pieces), and yell for attention as he wants to get away from there!

He’s taken to blowing loud, spitty raspberries, sometimes when I’m feeding him his cereal. And just when I am feeling exasperated and exhausted, those little almond eyes look at me with that wonderful innocence, and that happy, toothless grin appears…and I am his slave again.

His sister has become “Boodi”…and he’s “Booda”…terrible nicknames, I know…but that’s how it is!

Vatsalyam, 240813

August 28, 2013

DSDSC06569 kiss  purina farms 240813 bw dm bdiC06568 2

Love is a kiss

purina farms 240813

In the doorway of life…

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A moment of bliss

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Amidst all the strife.

At Purina Farms, Grey Summit, Mo., 240813.

Lone Elk Park, 240813, Fenton, Mo.

August 26, 2013

…And here’s the Lone Elk!

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After spending a day at the

Purina Farms Family Day

a paid event to which we went (the pictures are

here on my FB album

I asked if we could drive through

Lone Elk Park

(click on the name above for the post of my first visit there)

Click on the name of each animal, or bird, to get to the Wiki entry and info about it.

DSC06608 road 240813 Lone Elk Park

and so we did…we were not supposed to get out of the car, but it was a very productive “car safari”.

This sign kept me in the car more effectively than tigers or lions could have done!

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I’m still digging tick heads out of my skin after each foray into Forest Park, so I had no wish to do more excavation.

Here are the prairie grasses….

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We started with some

EASTERN BOX TURTLES

sunning themselves on rocks in the water…

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We then saw a

WHITE-TAILED DEER

doe:

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Then we saw herd of

ELK :

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Some of them had been ear-tagged (for safety and tracking, one assumes)

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You can see the ear tag and the lovely liquid eye:

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Others sat around in the grass, not bothered about the passing cars, in much the way our mammals do in Bandipur…

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In fact, some of them did not even raise their heads!

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They were clearly telling us not to come back 🙂

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Such beautiful animals!

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We then entered the Bison area, with repeated warnings not to get out of the car:

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A group of

WILD TURKEYS

delighted me.

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We were lucky to come upon a herd of

AMERICAN BISON :

45 240813 Lone Elk Park

During the summer, with food plentifully available, they don’t always come up near the road, so we were lucky! (Yes, I ‘ve gone through the ride sometimes without sighting a single animal.)

I find it hilarious that the scientific name of the American Bison is Bison bison, and that of the the Plains Bison is…Bison bison bison!

Apart from the massive adults, there was a little calf, too:

DSC06646 240813 Lone Elk Park

The

Lone Elk Park website

says this little bull calf was born on Jan 3, 2013!

Why do young ones always look so adorable?

DSC06647 240813 Lone Elk Park

“Come along, come along!” the mother said….

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They continued grazing.

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The sheer size of these animals is awesome.

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Here’s a short video of the American Bison:

We then went on, not really hoping for much more…but a marvellous surprise awaited us, as we saw the magnificient antlers of this

Elk Stag:

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He wandered across the road:

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On he went, slowly:

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He stopped to have a good scratching session….

We left Lone Elk Park, very happy with what we’d seen in the short time we’d been there, particularly since I’d not expected to see anything at all in the lush foliage!

ShEr

August 23, 2013

The piquant and witty observations of “shEr”

here the Wiki entry on “shAyarI”

bring home truths wrapped in small, elegant packages. The rhyme scheme is generally abab, but there may often be no rhyme at all. Here are some I received from a friend:

Har Baat ka Koi Jawab Nahi Hota…
Har Ishq ka Naam Kharab Nahi Hotaaa..
Yun to Jhoom Lete Hai Nashe me Pine Wale
Magar Har Nashe ka Naam Sharab Nahi Hota…

Not every question has an answer.
Not every love is maligned
Those drink soar in intoxication
But not every intoxicant is liquor.

Hasti Aankhon Me Bhi Zakham Gehre Hote Hain ..
Jinse Aksar Rooth Jaate Hain Hum
Asal Me Unse Hi Rishte Gehre Hote Hain ..

There are deep wounds even in laughing eyes.
Those with whom we get most often angry
They are, really, the ones we have
The deepest relationships with.

Kisi ne khuda se dua mangi,
Dua mein usne khud ki maut mangi,
Khuda ne kaha, maut to tuje de du magar
Usse kya kahu jisne teri zindagi ki dua mangi?

Someone asked God for a boon,
Asking for his own death
God said, I can give you death…
But what do I say to the one who asked for the boon of life for you?

Har insaan ka dil bura nahi hota
Har ek insaan bewafa nahi hota..,
Bujh jate hain diye kabhi tel ki kami se..,
Har baar kusoor hawa ka nahin hota..

Everyone’s heart is not bad
Every human being is not untrue..
Sometimes lamps flicker out because of lack of oil..
It’s not the fault of the wind every time.

Thoughts on a feather

August 23, 2013

Whether it’s aground or on a wing

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A feather is a beautiful thing.

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So let me not think whether

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It’s good or bad..a feather

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Is a light, lovely song to sing!

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August 22, 2013

As I got it, spelling mistakes and all.

DEGREE COFFEE

Dear friends

Today while taking the morning coffee my thinking went about the
Kumbakonam degree coffee and about the degree associated. “Degree
coffee” is the certificate awarded to high standard of Kumbakonam
filer coffee.

Just because a coffee is prepared with Kumbakonam coffee powder, it
need not be the degree coffee. It has to be brewed in the special
manner, the method first started in Kumbakonam. We get Kumbakonam
degree coffee in a shop at Usman Road, T Nagar. We have to ask for it.

I had read elsewhere recently that the addition “degree” to the
Kumbakonam coffee was not only with the type of coffee seeds and
method of preparation, but also or more based on the DEGREE OF MILK.

I surfed for the details of Kumbakonam degree coffee. Today I thought
I will write about coffee.

1. Offering coffee

Coffee is something of a cultural icon in Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka
and Tamil Nadu today among all religions. It is customary to offer a
cup of coffee to any visitor.

2. Coffee brief history

Coffee was originally introduced by Baba Budan to South India in 17th
century and became very popular under the British Rule.

Until the middle of the 20th century traditional households would not
use granulated sugar but used jaggery or honey, instead in coffee.

3. Karupetti coffee and chakkara coffee
During my boyhood days we used to get what is called KARUPETTI to the
size of half the coconut and prepared in coconut shell using
PANAVELLAM. Chakkara coffee was the one using jagerry from sugarcane.
My father used to make a provision for karupetti- 4 numbers in the
provision list on those days. One by one karupetti will be broken to
bigger pieces and kept in tin for daily use near Kitchen Almirah

Now also in Chennai we get panam karupetti but very smaller but oval
in shape probably using bottom alone of the coconut shell. This is
sold mostly by street vendors near railway station like Tambaram,
Mambalam etc. It is sold in shops selling pooja items also. There one
can get it all the time.

Chukku coffee adding dry ginger, kurumulaku coffee adding pepper
powder is still common. These coffee use coffee powder, hot water and
either dried ginger or powdered pepper. While we are having cough,
kurumulaku coffee is felt very effective (even better than cough
syrups some times- The opinion could differ between persons)

4. Coffee powder.

On my boyhood days we used to get local coffee powder in tins and
brook bond in packets. The addition of chicory or anything about
chicory was never thought.

The sales man will pack ¼ kg or ½ kg in news paper from big tins and
in reaching home it was put in our small tin.

5. Coffee preparation

After well boiling about a litre of water in a copper pot, coffee
powder was added about three or four spoons. It was closed with a lid
for about five minutes.

Coffee water will be there at top, the sediments will remain at
bottom. The water at top was taken to other vessels with out stirring.
The sediments were some times used again pouring boiled water for 2nd
coffee. It had lesser taste comparing to first one.

Even now this method is followed in tea shops. In the sabarimala route
chukku coffee is served in this method getting coffee water.

In due course instead of karupetti we started using sugar. Probably
Karupetti would have come to the same price of sugar or its non
availability.

Filter coffee was something not much known in our houses in central
Kerala and coffee powder was something readily available in provision
shops till early 1955’s.

6. Coffee powder shops.

By 1955’s coffee powder shops started to appear in towns. Here
grinding machine was there, different type of coffee powders and still
nothing like FILTER TYPE GRINDING. The shop people will fry different
types of seeds to certain kilos, grind and keep ready in tins. It will
be packed in front of us by weighing.

7. Special grinding

Appearance of filter and special grinding started by 1960’s. The shop
people started asking whether for filter use. A coarse type grinding
was started for filter. Mostly it was Brahmins started using filter
coffee.

Having a coffee filter and consuming filter coffee was considered an
ELEVATED STATUS even among Brahmins.

8. Poti kappiyo filtero( Whether normal coffee or filter coffee?)

The Brahmin hotels started asking about the coffee type to the
customers. Filter consumed time, more powder of quality. Hence
charging was some 50% more than powder coffee.

9 . More on Kumbakonam coffee

Kumbakonam Degree Coffee is a coffee beverage associated with the town
of Kumbakonam, India. Its specialty is the usage of PURE COW’S MILK
WITHOUT ANY ADULTERANTS AND CHICORY.

South Indian Kumbakonam Filter Coffee, also known as Filter Coffee is
a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and
chicory (20%-30%), especially popular in the southern states of Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh.

The most commonly used coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta grown in
the hills of Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris District, Yercaud and Kodaikanal),
Karnataka (Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan), and Kerala (Malabar
region).

Outside India, a coffee drink prepared using a filter may be known as
DRIP COFFEE as the water passes through the grounds solely by gravity
and not under pressure or in longer-term contact.

The upper cup of the filter is loaded with fresh ground coffee mixed
with chicory (~2 tablespoons of mixture per serving). The grounds are
gently compressed with the stemmed disc into a uniform layer across
the cup’s pierced bottom. With the press disc left in place, the upper
cup is nested into the top of the tumbler and boiling water is poured
inside. The lid is placed on top, and the device is left to slowly
drip the brewed coffee into the bottom. The chicory sort of holds on
to the hot water a little longer, lets the water extract more flavour
from the coffee powder. The brew is generally stronger than western
“drip style” coffee.

The resulting brew is very potent, and is traditionally consumed by
adding 1–2 tablespoons to a cup of boiling milk with the preferred
amount of sugar.

The coffee is served in tumbler with a dabarah – Coffee is typically
served after pouring back and forth between the dabarah and the
tumbler in huge arc-like motions of the hand.

This serves several purposes: mixing the ingredients (including sugar)
thoroughly; cooling the hot coffee down to a sipping temperature; and
most importantly, aerating the mix without introducing extra water
An anecdote related to the distance between the pouring and receiving
cup leads to the coffee’s another name “METER COFFEE”.

10. Degree coffee

A term often heard for high-quality coffee is Filter coffee. Milk
certified as pure with a lactometer was called degree milk owing to a
mistaken association with the thermometer. Coffee prepared with degree
milk became known as degree coffee.

Another explanation for Filter coffee is that chicory beans were used
to make the coffee finally became degree.

Yet another explanation is that, when coffee is decocted for the first
time, it is called as the first degree or simply as the “Degree
Coffee”. This has the strongest flavour and the necessary strength to
mix with milk without watering down the taste.

In less affluent households, in earlier days, coffee was decocted for
a second or third time from the same initial load; this became the
second degree coffee and naturally, is not as strong. Affluent
households drank first degree or the famous “Degree Coffee” only.

11. Nescafe and Bru.

By early 1970’s instant coffee appear. It had more welcoming though
cost was more. For sudden coffee preparation these instants help. By
seeing the flavour many confuse also with filter coffee. Today all
houses will have a packet of instant coffee

12. Coffee powder shops.

Today coffee powder shops different qualities like pebery, plantation,
robusto, and home mix ready roasted. Grinding is always to filter
standard. At one time roasting was done while one asked for coffee
powder. Now roasted and kept. The hot grinded coffee powder is
purchased

13. Decoction.
Now having refrigerator in all houses, coffee decoction is prepared
for 2-3 days requirement in medium filters and kept in closed
containers in fridge. Every morning and evening, what is required is
taken from the container.

However freshly prepared decoction has more flavour. Second decoction
and all are things of past.

14. Brook bond coffee powder

There are many who use the packed coffee powder in filter of the
companies and make filter coffee rather than using powder from shops.
I think the companies too now a grind to filter stage and not very
nice.

While in Trivandrum having no coffee powder shops near, my wife was
using the packed powder in filter for coffee.

Writer- R. Gopala Krishnan, 69, retired AGM Telecom, Trivandrum now at Chennai.

Friend on FaceBook? No way!

August 22, 2013

I got a message from Flora Williams, and since I wasn’t able to guage whether it was “genwine” or not, I replied, and asked her for more details. Now…you evaluate, from her reply:

“I am Miss Flora William,24yrs old from Freetown Sierra-Leone,the only child of Late Dr.David William who was killed by rebels when war broke-out in my country but my friends used to call me Miss Hope and i really love the name because i have hope that one day, i will be free from this place.I lost my parent and relatives during the war, but through the help of the UNITED NATION (UN) I was rescued and brought to Dakar Senegal refugee camp together with other surviving people.
My hobbies are,Swimming,dancing,cooking, meeting people, going to social activities, and also i like listening to good musics .I Will like to know more about you,your likes and dislike,your hubbies and what you are doing Presently. I will tell you more about myself and the main reason why i contacted you in my next mail.
As i told you earlier I am staying in a refugee camp.Staying here is more like a prison because we are restricted from doing or having some certain things here in the camp. This Refugee Camp is headed by a Rev. Father peter Johnson. He likes me so much to the point he call me his daughter,I do make use of his office computer to send email and i only enter his office when he is less busy. i wait to hear from you soonest.
kisses Flora William”

I am not planning to have anything further to do with the Flora of this species….call me cynical, call me hard-hearted….I am, ofkose, busy with my many hubbies….