1. Gather around the ingredients – 1 onion, 1 tomato, 6 pearls of garlic, 1 inch ginger, 1 tbsp corriander leaves+ mint leaves and grind everything. Separately wash and slice 250 gms chicken. Wash and soak 250 gms of basmati rice (or what you think looks closest to basmati rice in your kitchen)
2. Heat 5 tbps oil + ghee combo in cooker. Decide to fry long-sliced onions in them to use for garnishing later on.
3. Get impatient and remove half fried onions. Put it in a separate pan for frying
4. To the oil in the cooker, add 1 inch cinnamon stick and 2 cloves. Watch it splatter onto your hand.
5. Jump around and wash hands. Notice long-sliced onions are burning. Dispose off into bin and begin to focus on the main biriyani itself.
6. Add the vegetable paste to the oil in the cooker. Add 1 tsp chilli powder, ¼ tsp coriander powder, pinch of turmeric and necessary salt.
7. Fry till oil separates
8. Add chicken. Fry for a couple of minutes
9. Add rice. Fry for a minute
10. Add water = 2.5x rice quantity
11. Close cooker. Put whistle.
12. Chill out and watch tv
13. After 1 whistle, put stove on sim for 4 minutes
14. Turn off stove.
15. Chill out and watch tv for ten minutes
16. Open cooker. Notice rice is soggy and has expanded to enormous size and looking like Kerala rice. Realise maybe it was not basmati rice after all.
17. Put lid back again. Struggle to get handles on top and bottom of cooker to meet. Give up. Light stove again
18. Chill out and watch tv till you hear a blast
19. Run to kitchen to notice cooker lid is near the fridge and half the biriyani is on the ceiling
20. Eat the remaining biriyani. Yummmm….
21. Burn off calories by cleaning the kitchen ceiling for the next hour
Which is probably why all the brochures I have seen so far are along these lines
1. The property invariably seems to be located in so much greenery that you can’t be blamed for mistaking it is going to built in the middle of Hyde Park or Central Park.
2. The road in front of the house is usually a three lane highway, with a modest two cars going in either direction.
3. The building is gleaming from far like a spaceship freshly landed on earth
4. All the residents, not one or two but all, are white. As if mysteriously a whole village in Scandinavia decided to move to the spaceship located in the middle of Hyde Park.
The building insides don’t disappoint either. Breathtaking lobby, lifts that you would want to be trapped in forever, glossy stairwells, classy interiors.
It is the kind of brochure that makes the reader want to whip out the chequebook and sign the dotted line and wait for the weekend to roll in, so that one can make the journey to buy a part of Valhalla.
The weekend jaunt unfortunately is always a reality (or should I say realty..har har) check. One takes in the unpaved approach road, the noisy slum nearby and immediately thinks 'God-knows-what-else-was-imagined-in-the-brochure'
At this point one would expect that the eager brochure-reader cum Valhalla-buyer must be crying tears of agony at being so cheated by an illusion more powerful than the ones that appear in Indian myths.
Usually, the real estate agent has also mentioned the expected price per square foot, a number which is even more in the realm of imagination than the brochure itself.
Personally, I usually reach out for the brochure and toss it into a bin with more satisfaction than the artist must have got designing it.
Then I go back and hit the net for my next brochure.
Last weekend I watched The King’s Speech, a movie which would have been truly enjoyable had I actually watched it. A sizeable portion was unfortunately lost in the added chatter that was religiously provided by the mother-daughter duo sitting next to me.
The daughter must have been about seven or eight years old. As soon as the movie title appeared on screen, she began her questions.
Mama, what movie is this?
Mama, who is this?
Mama, why is the king stammering?
Mama, why is the lady upset?
In the first five minutes, I fully expected Mama to tell the daughter that they would discuss the movie once they left the movie hall since it was not polite to talk during a movie.
Expectation turned to hope and then desperation. Mama was actually providing detailed answers to each of these questions.
By the time Colin Firth’s speech therapy began, I was seriously in need of some therapy too, with a headache from trying to tune out the conversation that was happening by my side.
The daughter was clearly quite precocious given how well she followed the movie. She was also not shy to ask questions on points she did not understand. In any other context, I would have probably praised the mom for taking the effort to explain everything patiently and which had clearly helped her daughter be more involved, observant and curious about everything.
Isn’t being considerate to the general public no longer part of a good upbringing?
Here is an extract of a conversation exchange I saw on my 14 year old cousin’s Facebook page
“its cool n i accept it..!! but fr ur info wats der in dis to put as a DP sir ?!? its an osm pic.. but nt fr a DP.. n i guess i said dat to my bro.. so..”
I read the statement.
Then read it again.
I read a lot and can proudly say I can get through different styles of writing quite well. However, the spellings compressed into half their original lengths and their strange acronyms were clearly beyond me.
Eventually I guessed that ‘osm’ perhaps stood for ‘awesome’
Then I did a Google and landed on a link for internet slangs and figured out that DP meant ‘Display Picture’
Mystery solved but the link has opened up a whole new world of internet lingo. Looks like there is a completely new language out there.
English is so passé.
p.s. Obviously I have been learning some acronyms.
Yesterday, there was news about a proposed revision in the new Companies Bill which states that in case of any board having 5 or more independent directors, atleast one director should be a woman.
This was dolled out on Women’s Day as spectacular progress in the march towards male-female equality.
Frankly I am all for quotas. I appreciate the fact that certain sections of the society just don’t have the same kind of access and privileges that other parts of the society has on account of legacy issues that have existed for centuries. I am quite ok with college seats reserved for backward communities. I am ok with panchayat seats reserved for women. I am also ok with women progressively getting higher representation in the parliament (The way politics works in our country, it is not like there are too many well qualified, honest, deserving male politicians who will be replaced by female novices).
However, in this case it is a whole new ball game. Will this reservation actually achieve much?
Which brings me to the question, what do independent directors actually do? I remember reading the annual report of an Indian airline company a few years ago. It listed movie luminaries among its independent directors. I nearly fell off my chair wondering exactly how they contributed to the running of an airline. Sure, they were brilliant in their own fields, but seriously!
If they really don’t do much, then perhaps this would amount to mere tokenism. And that won’t do us much good.
If, hypothetically, the quota were extended to actual executive board members, then would it still make much sense?
An entry level job is a fairly equal opportunity role. At that level, it does not matter if a slightly less qualified person gets the job.
On the other hand, an executive role in the board is a job that requires someone who has experience and exposure. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions it will be difficult for a company to work with an executive board, some of whose members may not really yet be ready for the job. We simply don’t have enough women to go around today.
More women at the top level is not a problem that can be solved overnight by legislation. It is a long term issue that requires recognition of the fact that women are intelligent and capable; however they need support to get to the top. The support is needed on account of the simple fact that we live in a world that is biased and tuned towards men.
The good news is women in my generation and the following ones are already making strides. More women are passing out of colleges. More women are entering the workforce. So perhaps it is not that women are losing out by not entering the race at all. It is more what happens during the course of a working career.
In the last ten years of working, I have noticed that women are the ones who are considered as the primary stakeholders in bringing up kids and running a home. Legislation cannot change society’s attitudes in one day, but legislation can certainly help.
Especially during the crucial child bearing years when a lot of women drop out from too little support at home and too much pressure at work. Not to mention the usual overwhelming male work culture that treats women who attend PTAs or stay home to look after a sick child as corporate world's greatest evil.
Effective child support systems, especially by offices themselves would help. Flexible hours, part time work and work-from-home would help. Sure a couple of years will be lost from handling too little responsibility but atleast women are still in the race.
A bit more radically - maybe legislation to start changing men’s roles in society could help. If men were given three months childcare leave, same as women, then perhaps they would be more engaged at home as well? (Am assuming at some point enough men will take up the offer to ensure that is not odd that men take time off to look after their own kids)
Will these change the ratio at the top? I can’t see so far into the future where there will be more women than men at the top but I can atleast see a reasonable dent being made in the balance.