All-time Fantasy Grammys


This photograph has absolutely no relevance to the post. I just want to know if anyone notices these captions that I so carefully put up.

So the Grammy’s were on the other day. I did not watch. I find they refuse to nominate me or give me awards. Clearly this is discrimination against the talentless unknowns. As Supreme Peon and Idiotic Twit (SPIT) of the Council for Recognition of Atonal Performers (CRAP), I therefore called for a boycott from my basement office. This was met with universal and unanimous approval across the Council, whose current membership is somewhat higher than 0 peaking as high as 1.

Actually the past Grammies were a few months ago. But as we come to the end of the year, it’s time when a new set rolls around soon. So, CRAP has decided to conduct it’s own ceremony, using a redesigned set of … erm… what’s the word I’m looking for, cats come into it, .. catacombs? No. Categories! Nominees are then nominated ( well, what else would they be?) and the winner selected by a selection of select selectors selected from residents of my basement office. Each category will consist of  between 1 and 4 nominees, possibly 6 or maybe eight. It may be higher. We don’t know yet, we haven’t written that far yet.

Votes will be counted online without the use of any accountants, who, to the best of my knowledge cannot count, tending, as they are wont to do, towards making the difference between the left and right side equal to zero. This is how they make a difference, actually. By making the difference zero. One of the reasons I failed at my accounting career, was due to my failing to make a difference = 0. The other reason was apathy, ennui, laziness and general interest in other things, such as wine, women and song. And cricket. But enough about me. Onwards to the awards! First, however, we need categories.

If you’ve read SloWord at all you will know that I don’t mean the boring ( and arbitrary ) categorizations they use at the actual Grammies. I mean categories, real categories, you know, like “Most Warbly”, “Best Falsetto”, “Most Screechy”.

That sorta thing… let your imagine go. Break those shackles that limit your creativity at work and let your mind run free.

Categories selected will receive due credit on the blog. Think of the sheer magnificence of it – your name on SloWord!!

Once categories have been categorized, we will move on to step 2. The Nomination. ( Or Abomination, if you have a cold… )

So there you have it! Bring it on.

SloWord is an equal opportunity pretentiousness prodder! Caste no bar! Language no bar! Age no bar! We accept blondes, brunettes, long hair, short hair, no hair! Shirt and shoes no bar! Barre chords no bar!

Here are some categories I came up with, with some sample nominations

  • Weirdly Falsetto Vocals
  • Song of Hate
  • Pearls Among Disco
  • Tree-hugger Hippie
  • College Life
  • A Beatle or a Rolling Stone
  • Psychedelic Mindbend aka The Great Trip
  • Calcutta Sunday Afternoon
  • What the heck?
  • Emotionally Weird

The game then, is to send in your nominations for every category that excites you. If you wish to create your own category, write in and let me know.

Get on it!

The Great Festive Okra Recipe


A very dear friend, who really should have known better, asked me for an okra recipe, because I’m the greatest bhindi lover she knows, she says. She’s having guests over next weekend and rashly decided to make bhindi and recklessly appealed to me for a suitable recipe. I, being the kind of helpful chap I am, will give her two. This is the first of them. Tomorrow, ( yes, I promise! ) you get the other one! Remind me to tell you about her, some day…

A word about this recipe. This ain’t your normal run-of-the-mill okra recipe; the kind I whip together from a frozen pack of pre-cut okra. The kind that goes from freezer to plate in about 19.89655 minutes. Approximately. I don’t actually time these things. But I straddle Leo and Virgo, so some attempt at precision is indicated. Just to keep the Virgo half happy.

Well, then… Actually, I have a story about “Well then.” Umpteen million years ago when I was pretending to study for my university degree course, I joined some dramatic people. Theatrical types. No, no, they didn’t walk around declaiming, exclaiming and emoting. I meant folks involved in the dramatic arts. My acting career actually ended in an under-rehearsed, under-produced commercial rendition of “Spring Awakening”, by Franke Wedekind. One of the characters was called Wendla. Accents being strange things, one of the other actors always pronounced it as “Vendla”. Ever since then, I have always, in my head, said “Vell then, Vendla!”, when confronted with the need to say “Well, then.” Not much of a story. Not much of a role, my role in this play. A bit part, with one line at the funeral, which was effectively the requiem for my thespianism.

Vell, zen, zis is a recipe for a party, one that includes guests you want to impress a bit. It is likely, that telling them you read my blog is not going to be enough. There is, to be fair, always the chance that they may not be impressed by okra, ( bhindi, if Indian ). But if you tell them that this recipe is complicated and that you had to not just follow a complicated recipe but also had to read this blog at the same time, you should see their eyes widen and new respect dawn over their faces. Especially, if they have experienced this blog. ( If not, ask them why not? )

So here goes:

Ingredients

1 kg of fresh bhindi ( “okra” if North American, “ladies finger”, if English speaking Indian ). This recipe is really hard to do with the frozen variety.

2 medium onions

1 ( or 2 ) ( or more ) green chillies ( Thai chillies )

The masala paste from a jar of Indian pickle ( achar, if Indian ) of your choice

Salt to taste

Turmeric – a quarter teaspoon

Garam masala ( melange of Indian spices – coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom etc) < Digression Alert: Why so many spices starting with “C”? Write in and tell me why; I want to know. Please? >

Oil – vegetable oil of your choice.

Equipment

A food processor. One that pulverizes vegetables into pulp.

Something to stir with. I find the best bet is one of those flat things the Bengalis call khunti. It’s like a small ice-breaker, the kind we in the frozen Tundra need of a winter ( 9 months in a year ) to break down the sheet of ice on the walkways and driveways.

Method

Wash the okra. Pat dry. Set aside to dry some more.

Set up the food processor.

Peel the onions and cut into half, then quarter. First cut this way and then cut that way to do so.

Chuck the onions into the food processor. Bung in the green chilli ( or chillies ).

Whiz the thing together till you get an onion paste. Drain it well.

Now take each okra one by one and make an incision in the side of each. Try, very hard, not to slit it from end to end. Watch your palm! Take your time and use a sharp knife. I would suggest start early in the morning around 6am, if guests are expected to arrive at 6pm. But, look at it this way, you can recount the extra effort and gain the admiration of those of your guests who are easily impressed. Think positive.

Now have a look at the onion paste. Drain again.

To the onion paste add the pickle paste making an onion pickle paste. Now stuff it. I mean, stuff this mixture into each incision of each okra. When done, sigh under your breath and wonder why you ever started this.

Heat oil in a pan, kadhai. Let it heat up nice and hot.

To the oil, add the okra. Let fry a bit. Then add salt, garam masala in turmeric. Sometimes to make things exciting I switch the order in which I add the salt and spices. You can too. Be adventurous.

Now use the khunti, and gently, turn over. The bhindi! Not you!

Turn the heat way, way down. Let it simmer gently. Turn sparingly. Occasionally.

Serve

Serve with parathas, my preference, or any Indian bread of your choice. Sprinkling with fresh coriander leaves is superfluous. Besides, you just spent about 3 hours painstakingly slitting and stuffing. Forget the coriander.

If you let me know in advance, I will fly out for the taste test. Anything, for a friend, really. I’m very friendly and helpful that way.

Copyright as shown. I didn’t have pics of my own and time is of the essence. This is sort of what it will look like when done.

A Couple of Choices


I’m still here. Been busy as a bee. And I need your help. But before we get to that… we have to digress a bit.

<Digression Alert: But why are bees always represented as being busy? Why not busy as an ant? Have you ever seen an ant lying around goofing off? No, right? But bees get all the credit for being busy, when, in fact, all they do is buzz around, pollinating flowers. Well, I guess they give us honey for my toasted English muffins. And of course, the thought that if we get rid of the bees, we’d have only twenty years to live before we die of starvation and cannibalism gives us pause.>

I know, you love those Digression Alerts! Nobody else alerts you like SloWord does. How absolutely darling we are here at SloWord. But now folks, we have to tell you why we’ve been busy. Busier than a hibernating bear. Busier than a Punjabi Pasta. Busier than a Bollywood dream sequence. Busier than… you get the idea, right? I’ve been busy.

Why have I been busy? Let’s consider the facts.

  1. I wake up at the crack of dawn.
  2. I undergo the usual morning ablutions plus additional special ceremonies to maintain the facade.
  3. I climb up and down flights of stairs carrying a bag.
  4. I catch commuter trains by the skin of my teeth, throwing them this way and that. ( Yes. I’m kidding. )
  5. I climb up and down steep, dangerous stairs among a crowd of other death marchers.
  6. I walk 12.785647 minutes to work.
  7. I drag a wheeled bag behind me as I cross streets, dodge other pedestrians.
  8. I undergo severe stress testing all day surviving on a single cup of dark roast coffee.
  9. I walk 12.785647 minutes to the station.
  10. I climb the steepest, narrowest stairs to the train platform.
  11. I ride home on the train.
  12. I stare at the ceiling for 3.986643 hours
  13. I repeat steps 1-10 the next day.
  14. I teach for 4.4637 hours on Saturday afternoons.
  15. I stare at chores for 12.5857 hours on Sunday.
  16. I go back to step 1.

Notice, what’s missing from that list? Exactly! No writing time. No time for you. No time for pandering to the polity that politely passes-up the possible pleasure of perusing posts such as this. In the interest of fairness and full disclosure I should mention that I have exaggerated a bit. It doesn’t actually take 12.785647 to walk between the station and work. It’s only 11.9863 minutes.

I’m hoping that my disarming honesty will charm you into wastin… I mean, indulging me a little.

For I have an announcement to make. Very soon now, you will be able to look for this on Amazon.

(c) Ajesh Sharma

Yes. True fact! I cannot tell a lie. I wrote a play and it will be available on Amazon as an e-book very soon.

How soon, you ask? Soon. As soon as I can read each stage direction and edit and re-edit for the 45th time.

What’s it about?

Ok. This is how it goes. Alex and Phyllis are estranged, middle-aged couple, who have never divorced. He moved away to the other end of the country. Ten years have gone by. They have two children. Mark is now married. Andrea is engaged and is planning her wedding. Phyllis calls Alex to say she is coming to visit him. The curtain goes up as he prepares for her arrival. What happens next? Do they resolve their differences? What do the kids think of all this? What about Linda, Alex’s agent?

And what happens at the end? You can help me decide. Vote below and tell me what you think happens when the curtain falls. Gives me your best guesses and wildest endings!

#ACoupleofChoices

Socks


Not the cat….

You know this, already. No cats allowed at SloWord. This one is dedicated to actual socks, the things you wear on your feet. Like this one.20160620_183944.jpg

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I am perfectly sane. Socks are mysterious creatures. They are prone to a half-life without the means of radioactivity. They are excellent at camouflage, merging into the texture of life without any provocation. And they do that with only half of a pair, which is a wond’rous feat. All other animals have to either disappear 100% or not at all. Socks are the only creatures on this planet that can lose exactly half of themselves. There is no point in looking for the other half, believe you me. When a sock half goes amok, it goes AWOL for good.

Socks are an essential, but much maligned and much neglected component of our daily lives. People blame socks for many of the ills in our society, such as body odor, poor elasticity and an over-dependence on function over aestheticism. With this article, I shall give socks the place they deserve in society. By the time this goes viral, socks will have been raised to the level they deserve, somewhere between marmalade on toast and purple floppy hats.20161116_090218.jpg

See, socks are important, that’s why we have so many idioms that are built around socks. To quote Brave Sir Launcelot, socks are “right for my um, ah,  idiom”. One bright and regular correspondent remarked that there is an idiom for every idiot. It may well be that she was calling me an idiot. I haven’t had time to investigate that yet. In any case, the fact is that socks feature in many idiotic idioms, for all idioms are somewhat idiotic. {Digression Alert: What does “handsome is as handsome does?” mean??? The grammar just does not work for me. Nounifying an adjective is even worse in my book than verbifying a noun. Remind me to let the Peeved Punjabi rant about these horrendously horrifying verbal and grammatical monstrosities created by otherwise bright MBAs. And yes, I do know that I just made up shit like nounifying and verbifying… It was meant ironically. }

So then let’s look at these idiomatic idiocies using the idiom of socks. I mean, what else do you have to do? You’re here, because you don’t have anything better to do, don’t you? So here we go then.

Keep your socks on.

It could well be that you are a prudent and calm person, at peace with your neighbors and colleagues at work and you wish them well. You, therefore, keep your socks on, and keep your socks, too, calm and boring. Like these boring, all grey socks.img-20160426-wa0050.jpeg

Yaaaawwwwn.

Maybe, you let yourself go once in a while and you indulge your wilder side and slip into something like this next one, or the first two sober-tending-to-rebellion ones.

img-20161015-wa0012.jpeg

Pull your socks up!

You’ve heard this saying, right? It’s meant to pep you up. It’s a multi-vitamin of sorts. It’s a threat and encouragment rolled into one. This demonstrates broad appeal and versatility. Rather like this example.20160826_073329.jpg

When you put these on, you will get going. Your socks will be pulled up, man! Actually, these are pretty long socks, going well up my shin, so they are pulled up quite normally. Slip into these socks when you have that big presentation to make and you will slay ’em. How can they possibly resist the strength, the sheer magnetism,  the brilliant reflection of blues emanating from your feet? The correct answer is, they cannot. These socks exude uncompromising power. If they don’t keel over and curl into a fetal position at this, you know you have a tough crowd to deal with and you better initiate Plan B. (Plan B is also known as “Bamboozle with Bullshit”. Thus, Plan B. See? Now you know. You’re welcome.)

Put a sock in it!

I know, you’ve often felt like saying it when you read this blog. I wish, you’ve said to yourself, when you’ve been busy reading my recipes, that he would get on and get to the recip
e already! Which proves one thing. You talk to yourself, just as I do. Which, by the way, apparently makes you a genius. I wrote an article about that once. Read it here. See how reading SloWord makes you feel better? No self-help and motivational book can bring you the peace SloWord can. No Deepak can bring you the light this next pair of socks can.

( Ask a Hindi speaking friend about that last sentence. It’s brilliant, really. Not because I wrote it, which I did, and therefore, it is, but because it’s cross-lingual in it’s flamboyance. Also, look up “modesty” in the dictionary.)

20161204_185754.jpgThis beauty of a pair that will make your pulse rate pulsate. Feast your eyes on it. Savour the richness of the contrasts. Orange, blazing bright, overshadowing the bright blue. One glance at these little beauties and they’ll be putty in your hands. Though why anyone would want that greasy putty in their hands, I have no idea.

Sock it to me!

Without further ado.img-20160828-wa0002.jpeg

If that didn’t sock it to ya, you’re probably the type that chews broken bottles for breakfast. These are bombastic, bright, brilliant, bright, colorful and bright. In short, they’re bright. In pink shorts and these socks, you will make a statement. “Look at me”, you will effectively scream, nay, shriek. But, pause and think, when you do look at them, the world becomes brighter and isn’t a brighter world what we all desire? Countless saints, sadhus and meditative specialists have sought a world that was devoid of darkness and have tried to inflict their teachings on to you. Many of them have made millions of dollars in the process. I may be onto something here…..

Knock your socks off.

Now we’re getting into the really top of the line stuff, not for the faint of heart. Readers discretion advised. Readers with sensitive eyes are advised to use sunglasses, or look through photonegative paper. I’m not quite sure where you would find such paper nowadays. I suppose you could try looking at it through the viewfinder or preview screen of your digital camera.

(SloWord, its writer, its writer’s family and descendants are not liable for any retinal damage, nervous tics and disorders or any medical conditions arising out of the viewing of such imagery as may be found here. Proceed with caution.)

img-20160827-wa0000.jpeg

img-20161016-wa0005.jpegPaired with navy blue sneakers with lime green accents, these really bring out the, uh, er, hmm, aah. Well. You come up with something…

I suggest a stiff drink to calm your nerves.

All socks portrayed here are the property of the writer and no socks were harmed in the photographic process.

An Anthology of Personal Poetry


cropped-dsc02915.jpg
I hear sunsets go well with poetry so I took this photograph from my collection. Just so we could test that theory.

Since I hear no clamor from publishers wanting to publish anything written by me, I have decided to publish my “poetry” here. I suspect it will make them look quite silly. That is, if this blog is on their reading list.

Most of these lines appeared as throwaways on assorted Facebook groups. When you read them you will know why they were thrown away. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“Oh Alright,” you say, “Let me read them, stop talking!”

“What? Me talk? Heavens! I’m the quietest, shyest person you ever did meet. I don’t like to talk too much. I prefer to let you get on with it. Action, you know! That’s the ticket. Stop the nattering and get going. Yes sir, ( or madam ), you won’t find Ajesh B going on and on longer than necessary to get the point across. Brevity! Simplicity! Brevity! I said that twice didn’t I? Hmm. It goes to show the value of brevity. And I only want to say one last thing… uh… what? Stop? Stop what? Oh talking. You wish to read? Ok. Go on then. Do let me know how it goes, won’t you?”

Lamentary

The post was not a pome
It was a lament, no more.
Poetry is not my home.
I shall write it no more.

There was a time when
Words I wrote were in rhyme
Curs’t it was, my pen
But I’m cured just in time.

How lovely is my prose
How amusing and funny!
This ditty I must close
For I hear the call “Bunny!”

Blues #1

The old man who played the blues
on his guitar while everyone did snooze
was beaten for his pain
and for raising cain
“it’s not the playing but the singng, you goose!”

Orange Juice Blues 

The old man who played the blues
One morning while he drank his juice
remarked to no one
I wonder if anyone
Drank coffee as if it was booze

Ghostly Roast

A lady who hunted ghosts
Travelled to both of the coasts
Of ghosts she found none
She had tea with a bun
with some potatoes, pickles and roasts

Ode to Cats

Violets are blue,
my nose is red,
what cats do,
is fill me with dread.

Zero to Six in Five and a Bit Minutes.


cropped-dsc04108.jpg
Note teeth…. ( count two )

You already know that I was born.

“Well, duh!”, you say, “how else would you be writing this rubbish?”

Yes, your head is screwed on right and all those wires and things are mostly connected right. However, the mere fact that you’re still continuing to read this means that all is not well. I mean, come on, would any right thinking person actually read this? They would? You insist you’re completely sane and normal? Well, you’d say that, wouldn’t you? Only the sanest people are insane and only the insane call themselves totally sane. To be normal is to be insane. Personally, I worry about those who call themselves normal.  They really don’t know what you and I know. It’s so much more fun being abnormal, like me ….

Now, you’re wondering what that title means. Zero to Six in Five and a Bit Minutes means just that. I will give you a summary of my years from from Age of Zero to the Age of Six in Ten Minutes of Writing. ( Not Zorro, Zero! )  It may take you longer to read, but hell, that’s not my problem. You should have paid attention in English class, read more books, improved your comprehension and generally been a model student. Alas, I should talk, for I did none of the above and remained an average-to-slightly-below-average student. I have the marks to prove it, so there.

Anyway, I was born. This happened at 11:11:11 AM in an hospital on Ajmal Khan Road, in Karol Bagh, New Delhi, India, on my mother’s 39th birthday, and I well remember the party got a little out of hand. Mother Earth came knocking the next day and as the walls shook and the ground moved, my mother, so she said, made sure I wasn’t switched with another baby, an event that is distressingly common in India, if Bollywood movies are to be believed. ( I know, I know it’s a run on and on and on sentence…. )

I then ran around the neighbourhood, snotty, sometimes barefoot, in itchy wool pants in winter. Fought other little boys in ditches, had my head split open, managed to spill cement & lime dust from the construction site next door into my eyes, burned my little hand on a hot iron and generally made a nuisance of myself.

The family already had 7 kids. Yes, I counted and there were indeed 7 kids already in the house when I arrived. When I first started going to school in Kindergarten at the Frank Anthony Public School, my parents proudly boasted representation in every other class all the way up the school. We walked to school together. Older ones leading younger ones and so on down the line, until all of us were across the Ring Road and safely into school.

All this happened in Delhi. When I was six we moved to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India on the western bulge of India. This was a completely different kettle of gathia and will be covered in another post, possibly titled “Six to Nine in Seven and a Half Minutes”.

Until then, or until my autobiography, titled “One Bluish Egg – A Faded Memory” comes out, ( RSN… ) I shall have to leave you with this short read. Disclaimer:This post is a plug. It is an advertisement, a commercial, if American.

It is short, isn’t it?

By the standards of this blog, it certainly is.

We may be turning over a new leaf. It is a new year after all.

Well, you never know.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Tarun and Kavita


1-tarun-kavita
On my deck, with my neighbour’s trees in the background..

When Tarun announced he was getting married, we were living in Lake Gardens, in the flat made famous by The Cantankerous Cat. This was the ground floor apartment where we dealt with Nosy Neighbours, Peeping Toms and performed Midnight Cooking Rituals to the consternation of our neighbours. Yes, that one.

Tarun was in school with me. Then Tarun was in college with me. He wasn’t what you would call a high-jinker. Nicknamed “Jaws”, after Richard Kiel’s iconic character in the James Bond movie, he displayed a dry and subversive brand of rebellion. Not for him were quips and wise cracks. His was a more subtle brand of weirdness. Let me illustrate.

In Grade 12 the signs of teenage rebellion in us took various forms. I took to deliberately and causally (at some other time, I may explain that. No, I did not mean “casually”. ), not adhering to the strict uniform policy in school. My grey trousers weren’t quite the requisite shade of grey, my maroon tie had a white pattern in the middle of it, which I successfully hid every morning by carrying my bag over one shoulder with my fist and forearm covering the pattern. This had the happy effect of also concealing the fact that my white shirt pocket did not have the requisite monogram expected by the school authorities. Others grew their hair long or had their trousers cut with ever widening flares. Flares were all the rage in the late 1970s. Eric Clapton even recorded a song called Bell Bottom Blues.

But Tarun? Tarun decided to bring in khaini for us all to eat in class.

Khaini is tobacco crushed and mixed with lime. A deadly and potent unifier of people. If you are ever in India and you see someone, it could be anyone, grinding their thumb into the palm of their hand, all you have to do is wait till they are finished and hold your hand out, palm upwards. You will be rewarded with a pinch of this lovely gum-rotting carcinogenic. It matters not a jot that you have never seen the generous person before in your life and will never, ever see him again, but for that one brief moment you are brothers-in-instant-gingivitis. Hygiene? Pshaw!

When the, mercifully very brief, khaini-gate was over, he moved on to those tiny blue-berry sized plums. This was more fun than the khaini and we would sit there, berry in mouth, placed there behind the teachers back, waiting for him to turn again so we could spit the stone out.

Tarun had a brief fling with the stage. The world of theatre lost a true master of deadpan dialogue delivery. My first play was written in Grade 12 as a tribute to the teachers for Teachers Day. ( It sounds very grandiose, but it was a rotten and highly plagiarized set of jokey and controversial one-liners. ) Tarun played the role of a teacher shooting the breeze with his colleagues. He had one line in that terrible play, which he delivered in a masterpiece of understated acting.

“Hot! You don’t know what heat it is!”, he said in a staccato monotone.

We, ( all of us directed… ) urged him to put more disdain and sneer into his line. He responded with a more forceful “Hot” before the monotone took over again.

Tarun, Suzy ( it’s a contraction of a boy’s name. Suzy is a middle-aged man, like me. ) and I all attended Ratan’s sister’s wedding in Allahabad; a winter wedding in north India. The nights in the plains of North India are cold, with temperatures in the low single digits, and even during the day there is more than a nip in the air. Late at night from a visit to a friend’s hotel, we hailed the only rickshaw we could find. There were, four of us, but only three could sit squished in as the rickshaw driver pedalled away in front. Tarun declined the offer of a seat. With encouraging cries from Suzy, snorts of laughter from Ratan and bemused amazement from me, he jogged along beside the rickshaw all the 2-3 miles home.

With long lines for bathrooms, it was his idea that we young guys bathe in the open with a bucket of water pumped from the handpump in the bottom of the yard. Cold water with an air temperature of around 4c is not the greatest way to have a bath. But we did it and lived to tell the tale! The trick is pour the bucket over your head in one fell swoop… Count 1,2,3, under your breath, lift and whoosh. Simple.

He moved to Delhi after qualifying as an accountant and we saw less of him. He then came to town to tell us he was getting married to Kavita, a girl we didn’t know at the time. It was a classic Indian affair. Lots of booze, lots of partying, spread over many days.

My Beloved Bangalan ( or to give her her real name, Rita) and I have many wonderful memories of the wedding and the late nights we spent in celebration. A few moments stand out. Around 6 am, Rita and I were at our front door fiddling with the keys when the milkman appeared on his morning rounds.

“Ah!”, he said, beaming from ear to ear, “Been out for a morning walk?”

Given the fact that I was in a tie and dress shoes and Rita was in a sari and jewellery, I wonder now whether he was being deeply sarcastic or profoundly unobservant.

One other memory really, really stands out. This was the night we almost got killed. Its a miracle we didn’t. We were, obviously, all very soaked in alcohol. Packed into 2 cars we decided to go for a drive. The two guys driving had pretensions of being race car drivers. Late at night, Calcutta in the late 1980’s slept the sleep of the just. Traffic was non-existent. The two cars raced down the street oblivious to the fact that Calcutta was in the middle of the Twenty Year Dig for the subway. Our car hit a mound of mud, jumped clear over on the other side and landed with a crunching, shuddering crash on the other side, in the best tradition of the Bluesmobile. In the shocked silence, we heard the quiet voice of Tarun’s quiet friend from Delhi, the guy with the quiet wife.

“Well, looks like my heart surgery has worked.”

We drove home at a snails pace.

For the big night after the wedding, someone found out where the newly-married couple were going. To a hotel. Of course, we all headed there before the couple could arrive, all dressed in our best clothes. It was thought that Rita and I stood the best chance of posing as the newly-wed couple, so we checked into the bridal suite. The rest of the crowd followed and we hid around the room waiting for the newly weds to arrive. We jumped out to surprise them and spent some time teasing them before heading down to the coffee shop. A quick headcount revealed we were one short ! Frantic calls were made to extricate Prasad from under the bridal bed before it was too late. We have not yet been able to get him to relate his tale.

Kavita, we found, was a bright and lovely character. I realize now that I’ve never seen her glum-faced or gloomy. A stranger coming into a closed group of barely-grown-up schoolboys, who’d barely grown up together, she took it all in her stride. I never once saw her stressed out over the two daughters, even when they were young. I don’t see her stressing over them, living as they do now thousands of miles away from her. I’m sure she must have stressed over something, sometime. I certainly have seen no evidence of it.

Tarun also featured in one other episode, the one where we attempted to schmooze with the school authorities to pave the way for our kids into our old school. You can read that shameful story here.

Now we’re on different continents and neither I nor Tarun are the world’s greatest keep-in-touchers. We know, though, that we can pick up where we left off when we do meet. ’tis enough. ’twill serve. It has all these years.

Happy 30th Anniversary, you two.

This was actually written for their 30th Anniversary, which was a few weeks (months? ) ago. Hey, my alter-ego is the SloMan, remember? 

My ( final) Thoughts on Elections 2016


English: Apple pie.
English: Apple pie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank the American God it’s over. What we have now is One Nation Under God. It says so, right there, see? United States. United. Capital U. How can it be anything but united? Small u.

Four years ago, I wrote an article about the US Elections. I said racism had a major part to play. I also said, that White America was caught napping the first time around. The second time, it figured that lightning wouldn’t strike twice and failed to deal with it. I posted a video from a major Republican strategist to bolster my theory. You can read that here.

Now, you’ll say, how does race come into it, this time around? It’s a woman candidate, an eminently qualified, experienced candidate, with real experience in dealing with world leaders and world problems. My birthday coincides with Women’s Equality Day and a couple of years ago, I’d wished myself Happy Birthday, and ranted a bit sarcastically about the fact that the US could not dream of electing a woman as President. You can read that post here.

So, on the one hand, you have a party that has championed a POC as it’s leader. That leader has served 8 years as President! Eight years!! A non-white leader! A non-white leader who has a Muslim father! A non-white leader whose middle name is “Hussein”! A non-white leader whose name is just one character from the most-feared, most-hated terrorist Americans know. How could Democrats do this to the people? And now, now they want a woman? White America was appalled.

Now, remember what I said about reading conspiracy theories? I’ve read many tales of the Clintons. There is one thread that talks about a trail of dead people behind them. Frankly, Benghazi was a bit of a non-issue. The email thing was a major error of judgement.

Why did she lose? Here is my considered and deeply analytical opinion. Let me tell you a story to illustrate. ( Stop groaning!! )

Once upon a time, I used to play cricket for the local club. We had some good players and me. Unfortunately, the good players were seldom all available all at the same time. Then, one fine day, we found ourselves faced with a very rag-taggy looking team. On that day, by some miracle of the sun, moon and other planetary bodies, ALL of our best stars ( and I ) were available. They had hardly any equipment, were dressed poorly and looked completely out of place on the cricket field. They batted first. Our star bowlers, all available, fit and fast, rolled the rag-tag team over for a total score of 18. Eighteen poor runs. It was all over bar the shouting. We started our innings, with smiles all around. Members low down the order settled down to chew sugar cane, smoke and lie around, secure in the knowledge that their work was over for the day.

Ten minutes later we had lost 5 out for about 8 runs. The mood didn’t change. We were relaxed. I was still in and there were 5 more to come. And 11 runs were not a challenge. We were smiled all the way as we lost all 10 men for 14 runs. I remember this game, it was on the old Behala airfield ground, behind the Calcutta Mint. I remember the barefoot batsman, getting his foot in the way of our fastest bowler. I remember the leather cap with flaps one of the others wore. Yet another played in leather dress shoes. 18 runs. We lost by 4. Our well-dressed, well-oiled style did not help.

There is a word for it. Complacency.

Bottom line as I read it: Ah.. what the hell. Wake me up in 3 years time, when this whole shitty thing starts all over again. Hopefully, the USA will wake up ( soon ) to the realization that

  1. The Two Party system is like shooting yourself in both feet with that automatic weapon you bought with your Second Amendment Rights and your Third World Mentality.
  2. A Major Overhaul may be in order for this Electoral College thing. Like, maybe distributing state electoral voles on a pro-rata basis on percentage of votes instead of winner takes all.
  3. The USA is just like every nation in the world. Racist. Bigoted. Hypocritical. You’re one of us.
  4. Elections in the US are now forever like elections everywhere else.
  5. Politicians are just that.

Welcome to the human race y’all. Watch for the pie in the face.

On the other hand if it’s apple pie, it’ll be alright, right?

A Post About ME


I started off by writing a major told-you-so post about #Trump and #Elections2016. Wanna read what I wrote? Head over to the bottom of this post. I’ll put it there in italics. Not that it matters. We can only look ahead now. No use, as no one in my family used to say, whining because there’s only soup and cheese toast for dinner.

No let’s talk about something interesting. Me.

I mean what could be more interesting to me, other than Me? I. Me. Mine. Yep. That’s all I want, I need, I wish to talk about. Me, moi and myself alone. And if you don’t want to talk about it with me, that’s fine too. I’m quite happy talking to myself. This is going to be one of those useless posts. You should be familiar with them by now. They do try to say something. However, as you know, by now, I say it in such a roundabout way that you get bored and turn to watch cute cat videos. Mind you, I wouldn’t watch a cat video. Cats are not cute. No. Never.

So let me be direct. I can’t write.

There! I said it. I can’t. I haven’t. I finished the play and it is just sitting there, unused, unwanted, unpromoted. I’ve been told I’m too shy to shop it around. I’m not marketing it well. I think I’m not marketing it at all. I got to the point of setting up a Kindle Direct account. I tried various draft book covers and rejected them all. A friend offered to help. She did and did a pretty good job of it. I asked for some changes. I’m supposed to send stuff to her. I haven’t.

The truth is. I’m scared. What if it is a total piece of crap? The 3 people who have read it seem not to think it is utter crap. Which means it may be a little crappy, but not totally crappy. I’m really, really wondering about what I should do. In this situation all I can do is sit around, worrying. I’ve done precisely that. It hasn’t helped. What it has done is turn off the Tap of Words completely. The Well is dry. No words come welling up. Barren. Arid. The written word eludes me. I think I may have been deluded into thinking I should write. I used to have so much fun here. Now even this blog has become a chore.

HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently, from what I can tell, I don’t seem to have any promoters. Thus my NPS ( Net Promoter Score ) is = zero. Now, NPS is the latest, greatest thing to hit the market when you are trying to market something into your intended market. The fact that my NPS = 0 is trying. I’m trying to explain how trying it is. It’s a trial. I’m a trial… so my Beloved Bangalan says. On the happier side of this trial by promoter, the NPS runs in a range from -100 to +100. Zero really means I have no detractors. No promoters, either, as we’ve already established. Apathy runs deep here at SloWord. I mean, my readership is apathetic, not me. I’m not at all apathetic. Pathetic, maybe, but not Apathetic. I’m told I’m also not empathetic or even sympathetic.

What it means is this. I’m perfectly balanced. I suppose I should feel proud of being so well-balanced.

But I’m not. Therefore, here are some cute puppies. ( No. Cats not allowed! ).

A Maltese puppy.
A Maltese puppy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

English: Golden retriever puppy, three months ...
English: Golden retriever puppy, three months old. (Daisy Parker) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to be happy – like that cute Golden Retriever! Make me happy! Say nice things! Tell your friends ( or enemies ) to come over and say stuff at me! Tell me it’s ok! The world hasn’t gone completely bonkers! Reassure me!

Remember, though: it’s “there, there, there”. Not: “They’re, their, there”. ( Ever a grammar nut.. )

Would you like to read an excerpt from Ye Famouse Playe? To kinda help you make up your mind? Do let me know.

Please.

Thank you.

< I said I would post the election post here. Post the writing of this post, I’ve decided not to post it here. Instead, I shall post it as it’s own post. Post my posting it as it’s own post, feel free to read it. And post your comments on the post. > 

Gas Toast – Part 2


Please read Gas Toast – Part 1 first. This is the easy part of the recipe. I kid you not. Completely true. We’re getting into the really hard part of the recipe.

Equipment:

Gas – If you don’t have a gas line and a stove that uses the gas coming from the gas line, you’ll have to move houses. Sell this one and move to one that has a gas line and a gas stove.

Told ya it was difficult.

 

The Gizmo
The Gizmo

Next: get this gizmo. Very useful piece of equipment. Very useful indeed if you want to seko rotis….. Not that I use it for that purpose. No, I use it to make Gas Toast.

 

Here is how. Once you’ve gone through all the steps listed in Gas Toast – Part 1, find a long bread knife. Flip loaf over head down and slice off as many slices as you wish to eat. Wrap the rest of the bread in plastic wrap and set aside.

Now take one slice and place on gizmo. Light up the gas burner. Turn on the exhaust. Especially, if you have a smoke sensor….. 🙂 Now hold gizmo exactly between 2.3578214 and 2.89423 inches above the flame. In about 55.5685 seconds the toast will be completely charred. Throw it away and try another slice. This time watch it like a hawk, inspecting to make sure it gets toasted to the desired level. (You can adjust the flame too, you know. There is that knob there. It’s there for a reason.) Hold it off the flame and flip slice over. Toast the other side. Remove to plate. Apply butter as per taste.

Bite. Chew. Repeat.

I will say this. When you ( read “You” as “I”) have an upset stomach, this is the ultimate comfort food. When down and feeling blue, this is the #2 ranked comfort food.

No prizes are being awarded for knowing what the #1 ranked comfort food is.

Did you solve the 176-671 reference quiz question I gave you in Gas Toast – Part 1? Lazy bones!