The Doctor Operates...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

TATA SKY

As the Bawa behemoth continues acquiring thriving businesses abroad, BB draws my attention to its Satellite Television initiative.

Just as elsewhere, you can now view all your favourite channels (and PPV movies) directly from home without worrying about your Cable Guy. The cost is 4k for the installation of the box and its activation.



Their introductory offer is a monthly charge of 200 bucks per month. But that's only for the first 4 months, after which you will be charged on usage - payment for which can be made by buying top-up cards. Like so.



CAUTION: It is of course moot as to what your monthly costs are after that inaugural period.

The channels that they offer are here.



Anyway, its an option worth exploring, what?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Anything to declare, Sir?

The recent paranoia prevailing at airports across the world has brought a flood of reactions. BB directed me to the one I like best. This is what Ryanair believes security checks will be like in the near future.



Something to look forward to, eh? Remember the rule, though - ONLY ONE LAPTOP allowed.

It is good to know that at least a sense of humour survives. Notwithstanding attempts to make it a casualty.

Friday, August 25, 2006

LV (ii)

This week's 55 - in response to Chamique and BB. Am pasting them all here in order so you don't have to go to and fro.

========
I’m healed, an old man proclaimed to the curious cameras.

She elbowed her way through the crowd and stepped gingerly into the murky water.
Maybe it would go away. Maybe what medicine couldn’t cure, a miracle would.
She pushed stray polythene aside and closed her eyes, praying softly as she sipped at the fleeting sweetness.

========
Neptune was tired of these hairy biped mammals invading his world, raping his children and pillaging his garden. And now this; they’d found the source of his everlasting youth and of Amphitrite’s beauty.

“No more!” he thundered.

As he sent Carcharodon onwards and upwards to do his bidding; she gently lowered herself into the water…

========
As the mammoth carnivore eased through the depths, she had something on her mind.

The well had sprung a leak three thousand miles away, off the Indian coast.

It was all very well for Neptune to set her to the task, as he sat frolicking with dolphins and damsels.

She should have brought a book.

========

Saturday, August 19, 2006

LV

For a while now, BB and Chamique have been indulging in very imaginative 55 word stories that they post on their respective blogs every Friday. One of them begins by posting a 55 word narrative, to which the other responds with an equally worded effort taking the thread forward. A few weeks ago, the latter chose to abandon her legions of readers by callously not responding to BB's weekly initiative. At this point, armed with a degree in altruism and half a dozen exercisable fingers, I leaped in the breach to carry the baton for that week.

Other 55s have followed (all with Chamique back at her post), but I have found myself haplessly drawn towards adding my own modest efforts to that of the pioneers. Earlier today, BB suggested that instead of hiding my contributions away in the Comments on his blog, I should post them here. As a result, here is my response to the Fifty.Five. by BB and the Fifty five by Chamique (to be read in that order).

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A bit of the viscid mixture was still on her fingers as she opened the door. She quickly massaged it into her full, round lips. Salty.

A kafir watched her and smiled appreciatively.

Bastard.

-----------

Somewhere, Akram sat staring at the bottle in his hand.

Fuck.

He'd given her the cyanide paste instead of the vaseline.

-----------

Update: Dibyo carries it on from here. Anybody else?

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Update 2: Its good to see that there are others. Dhoomketu and The Invisible Man have taken it forward. Taking a leaf out of the former's book, the story as it stands is below:

************
The airplane had been airborne an hour when she entered the toilet. She looked into the mirror and hated the girl of twenty going on sixty that she saw. The horrors she had seen and the family she had lost….

She mixed lip-gloss with Vaseline, stuck her mobile in the goo and walked out.

Slowly…

*****

Between the clothes, she tucked in small surprises. Moisturising lotion for her grandmother. Seaweed hair gel for her grandfather. The cologne her brother had been hinting at...

Later, she realised her lip-gloss had been checked in as well.Maybe she’d ask the girl next to her for some when she got back from the toilet.

*****

A bit of the viscid mixture was still on her fingers as she opened the door. She quickly massaged it into her full, round lips. Salty.

A kafir watched her and smiled appreciatively.

Bastard.

Somewhere, Akram sat staring at the bottle in his hand.

Fuck.

He'd given her the cyanide paste instead of the vaseline.

*****

She looked sort of hot (in an Asian way), though not friendly. That made him think. In the end he decided to give it a go, anyhow.

"May I borrow your vaseline, please? It's dry in here"

He added a friendly but restrained smile for effect. She looked around uncomfortably. He tried to look cool.

*****

She handed him the empty tube."It's not mine, it's available in the restroom. Go get one for yourself."

It was the friendliest she could be with kafirs.

She licked her lips again while sitting down. Salty.

Somewhere in her bag, the vaseline bottle had leaked open. Akram didn’t know that and pulled the trigger.

*****
First, cyanide for Vaseline, and now, a jammed trigger. Akram wasn’t having a great day.

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Empty tube in hand, Grober made a beeline for the restroom. I should have killed the bitch. Oh well, there’s still an hour to go before we land. He smiled cruelly. And saw the phone. The phone of his dreams.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Aw.

Thanks to Dilettante, I now know why the Hutch network signal has been weak for the last few days -

P.S We're praying for Shah Rukh to be careful.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Poached.

On 9th August,2006 the Times of India on its front page said this:

"Imbali Jose is the new Veerappan. The forest police are now seeking him in the Nilgiris, where his predecessor had made a name killing tuskers and men."

On 11th August, 2006, the Times of India on its front page says he's dead. Here:

"Forest officials said Jose was suffering from kidney failure apart from a few other ailments. He was cremated on Thursday at his village, Pulpally, in Waynad district of Kerala."

That is funny.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Welcome to the Jihad

Yes. Another terror plot. This time with liquids.
Funky, arent they?

Question is, if they are so cutting edge with everything, where are they getting the money from? How is it being routed? Through whom? Where? Obviously there are legitimate means being adopted for illegitimate ends.

When will political correctness stop - at both a national and community level? And when will our leaders realize that if somebody just came out and called a spade a Pakistani Muslim, then we might actually be on our way towards combatting this. I'm not saying that all Pakistani Muslims are guilty mind you, but we need to acknowledge that if we are going to trace terror, we can't start looking under a rock in the Amazon. We have to start in Pakistan. Not Iran. Not Iraq. Not North Korea. And no, not with the Shiv Sena or the RSS.

We have to start with our neighbour. Our undemocratic neighbour. Our theocratic neighbour.

There are only one of two situations now prevailing in Pakistan:

1. The Government finds that the terror groups are too formidable to break. That they have control over large portions of Pakistan's territory that the Government cannot recover, despite its recent weapons purchases. If this is so, we must help our neighbours. And so must the US, the UK and the other sanctimonious souls who run to each others aid when WMDs are feared.

2. The Government controls, finances and accommodates the terror groups. Which makes Pakistan a terrorist state. It wont do to depose Musharraf by force and put a farcical democratic system in place - Afghanistan and Iraq are still bleeding examples of why that does not work.

It is high time the international community took Pakistan to task and asked the simple question - "Will you handle it, or shall we?".

It wont be long before one of those new fangled weapons makes it through a security check somewhere and rips apart the insides of a modern aircraft. As pieces of machinery, flesh and equipment come plummeting out of the sky onto our front pages, we might still be waiting for the answer to that question.

P.S. The Beeb says there are Pakistani links to what happened earlier today in the UK.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

For all Bachelors!!!

A few weeks ago, I received a mail from a friend. She was actually writing to her brother who had left the city recently to advise him on how to set himself up in his new environs. The brother and I share initials, and so she wound up allowing autocomplete to make an error on the addressee. (Technology, I tell you.)

Happily, I ran my eye through the elaborate epistle, full of admiration for the sibling affection that could give birth to such painstaking effort.

I think it a crime to deprive all males (particularly South Indian ones) the knowledge of how to prepare oneself in strange lands (which includes Delhi).

So, here goes:


hi g.....* -

Looooong list – exhaustive and exhausting – chapters one to gazillion of 'how to move to d....* for dummies' . mummy seems to think you have the IQ of a slow camel .
These are the things you have to buy for the kitchen – beginning with food things , going on to kitchen aids , then things for the house .

Food chain –

- 1 kg rice – I say high fibre brown , but remember , needs about an hour extra soaking before cooking in order to cook well .
- 2 kg atta – should look slightly brown , that tells you it hasn't been too refined .
- 1 kg sugar – I say brown demerar , but whatever .

- 1 ltr refined vegetable oil – remember cholesterol runs in the family – so go in for something low in trans-fat , low HDL , high LDL . read the labels if none of that made sense . never use peanut oil , coconut oil . if you like , some extra virgin olive oil for dressings .
- Arhar dal ½ kg – apparently it is yellow in colour .
- Masoor dal ¼ kg – apparently orange when raw .
- Chilli powder – red – 100 gms .
- Dhania powder 100 gms .
- Haldi 50 gms .
- Mustard seeds whole / Rai – 50 gms .
- Jeera seeds 50 gms.
- Salt – to taste – ha ha ha!
- Pepper – whole black peppercorns 50 gms , powder I pkt . I say also get a pepper mill to get fresh ground pepper , and a salt 'n 'pepper set for the dining table .
- Chaat masala – don't worry , contains black salt , so will be able to stink up whole apartment complex .
- Aamchur , Tamarind paste packet – to add 'khatta' to select dishes .
- Ginger paste packet
- Garlic paste packet
- Tomato puree – look for one without additives and preservatives .

- 25 gms cloves
- 25 gms cinnamon
- 25 gms cardamom
- 'masala cubes' – I think means those lumps of artificial flavours and salt and ajinomoto that are powdered over food to mask blandness . wish had magic cubes for people . would sprinkle over many .
- Garam masala powder

- Veggies and almost food – potatoes , tomatoes , onions , eggs , bread , cheese (hard , low fat) , butter ( I say table margarine low fat) , green chillies ( ruuuuuun foooooor yooouuuuur liiiives ) , fresh green coriander , any two green veggies, e.g bhindi or beans , or leafy green veg like palak ( but need to know how to cook the leafy ones ) .
- Milk cartons – don't boil the damn things everytime like the way they do it here – BREAK FREE !

- Cornflakes – not sugared , try to get vitamin fortified ones without added flavourings , maybe buy drinking chocolate ( powder ) separately .
- Sooji rava
- Noodles – the plain ones . some ramen for emergencies .
- Peanuts ( plain ones , for chutney )
- Ready to use idli / dosa mix – if available , otherwise kidnap a passing mallu and get it made .
- Fruit

For the house :

- 1 ltr rice cooker
- 1 iron
- bath mat

- water bottles to keep in fridge and use on table , maybe unbreakable jug
- aluminium foil
- roll of kitchen wipes (looks like large tissue roll) only if you have a holder in kitchen .

Am very tired with all the typing - why not email the list to Choithrams and have them deliver all this ? will tell you all the super bizarre goings on here later when hand is no longer vulture like claw .
me

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* Changed to protect identity.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Adventurous Scribe (6)

I happened to read the entire Tintin collection all over again last month courtesy my 7 year old Nephew's collection. As an adult, having learnt a little more than when I was 7, I was drawn once more into the beautiful worlds that Herge had made his own. The waterfalls in Latin America, the snows of Tibet and the sands of the Middle East came to life in his hands, but within historical and cultural contexts of which I had hitherto remained ignorant.

The sight of the Delhi street (with cow) and the carefully distinguished portrayals of the Japanese and Chinese characters display an attention to detail that imbibed the nuances of each foreign land. That such magic could be conjured for readers across the globe by a little known Belgian is a credit to the far-sighted publishers of the time.

It is thus only appropriate that Micheal Farr's painstakingly researched work "Tintin: The Complete Companion" should have made its way to our shores. Reviewer Dinoj Surendran notes another interesting facet of Herge's bilingual efforts:
"I also used to think that translating the books into different languages was just a matter of changing the stuff written in the balloons. Hell, no! For example, in the original French version of Tintin in Africa, a rhino gets blown up. In a Scandinavian edition, the Scand editors refused to print such gratuitous violence to animals and several frames had to be changed so the rhino runs away, terrified but alive."

The book contextualises every Tintin story with historical backgrounds, photographs (many of which formed the basis for Herge's panels), trivia and even a narrative on how Herge's life and work progressed with each work. A 205 page hardcover edition priced at between Rs.700 and Rs.895, this is a coffee table book which might be dog-eared in a week. Available here.
The front cover (below) is a delicate confluence of photograph and drawing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

# 2 - The Proposition