Messed up Google News robots

19 04 2007

Google News is a staple website for me, for the aggregated content. Of late there have been too many mess ups with the way the items are grouped. Two totally unrelated news often get grouped together. But today I checked out the entertainment section at Google news, and I see news about the Virginia Tech massacre as the first item. I’m sure nobody would classify it under entertainment, but the grouping robots need some serious tuning.


The aroma of poli

14 04 2007

Summer afternoons, after a hearty breakfast of dadpe pohe topped with freshly grated coconut, were spend royally lazing around, fighting with sister, making clay utensils in the balcony of the unoccupied house next door, playing and reading loads and loads of books bought especially for the summer vacation. Half an hour before lunch time, aajji(grandma) would start making polis(chapatis). Not fulkas, the Maharashtrian style polis, the bigger and layered big sister of fulkas. As she would bake one poli after another and neatly stack them up in a steel dubba, the sweet smell of baking would fill up the entire house. Sometimes it would even reach the playground.The smell had the capacity to make me start imagining of what all aajji would’ve cooked for lunch. It used to be a very simple meal so to say. But that aroma used to make me look forward to the delicious bhaji, koshimbir, golya sambar and polis, that she used to prepare unhurried. Sometimes when the game or the book could not hold our attention from the hunger inducing aroma, we would start hovering around the kitchen. And then she would wash her hands, wipe her hands with her saree and then apply some toop(ghee) on the polis, sprinke an even layer of peethi saakar(powdered sugar) and roll them up for us. That used to feel like pure bliss.

I am missing that smell today, right now. The smell of polis getting baked on a iron griddle under the soft, careful hands of my aajji. There is something very comforting about food cooked by *any* housewife. Even on weekends, when I dont rush through my cooking, that calm, seasoned touch always seems to be missing.

Was that a dream?

9 04 2007

Life feels a little surreal sometimes. For instance, I met Udit Narayn some ten years ago at the Bangalore airport when I was about to board my first flight. That flight by the way, has been the most turbulent flights so far. After a 3 hour flight that felt like a lifetime, the torture seemed to be coming to an end as the familiar glowing signboards of the city started to appear below. I was partly relieved as we landed on the airport. Or so I thought. The wheels must’ve been millimeters away from the ground when the flight took off again and thus began a never ending sequence of turbulent circling around the city. I really thought my time had come. I tried to entertain myself by taking guesses at whether it would be a plane crash or a heart attack. I did land in one piece but now whenever I am on board, my philosophical and spiritual tendencies shoot up sharply. As the flight takes off, a constant stream of “taking account of years gone by” and “the vanity of it all” thoughts run in my mind. Thankfully, this is restricted to the flight time only. As soon as I land, these thoughts disappear or get put on hold for the next flight.

Getting back to Udit Narayan after this huge digression, that day on the last bus that carries pax from the terminal to the aircraft, as I ran all the way to the bus, the *only* other passenger in the bus was the singer. Dressed in a heavily coloured printed shirt. Pretty unbelievable, eh? I had never gotten anywhere close to any celebrity before and though I was all excited at this turn of events, I didn’t know how to respond. I sat opposite him quietly for half a minute. I wasn’t really a fan, but I did like his music. So, like a good fan I went to him and asked for an autograph and like a good celeb, he obliged. I told him that I really liked some of his songs or something. He asked “Which one?”. After 10 seconds, I couldn’t come up with any song sung by him, given the fact that practically every other movie song is sung by him in the last 15 years or so, barring the recent few years. God knows from where I muttered “Satrangi Re” from Dil Se. I like that song, but again it hasn’t been my favourite. And then, we talked about some other arbit stuff that I don’t remember now.

Anyway, the point is now, ten years later, I sometimes find the whole thing a little unbelievable. Sometimes, I doubt if it was for real. A dream, perhaps? It can’t be! That’s the only celeb encounter I’ve ever had.  It was not at all a “dream come true” moment for me, but I still refuse to part with it.


5 04 2007

If you asked me if I am sexist, I would say – “No way!”.
If you asked me if I am secular, I would say – “Absolutely!”.
If you asked me if I judge people by their looks/clothes/economic or social status, I would shake my head in disagreement.

But at times, I also pass immediate judgements which are clearly based on caste/religion/language/region. After all, what is the point in being politically correct when one *thinks* or *believes* otherwise. I am not really proud of this, but I also don’t understand what’s wrong with having an opinion formed based on one’s own experiences and inferences?

Fails me. For time being, my answer to the above questions would be “Mostly/Sometimes”. Peace.