The Coffee Post – 2


So now we get to The Great Coffee Crisis of 2017. In Part 1, I had introduced you to the lovely ladies who were so instrumental in driving me mental. Yes, these ladies created the crisis, consigned me to the consomme and a fate worse than death – instant coffee. They watched in stony silence as I was reduced to a drooling, slobbering, drowsy semi-comatose le mort vivant over a period of 3 weeks. Telle est la femme, comment? C’est la vie, ooh la la, tiens! Tres comatose! Yes, well, almost.

Hey listen, I survived 2.5 weeks in La Belle France ( the real one, not the fake one they have up here in Canada ) on my ability to speak Franglaise like a badly educated peach tree. I practiced before going. I spent about 15 whole minutes in front of the mirror holding up 2 fingers and mouthing “oon cafay no aar. oon cafay olay”. We must have coffee! I’m sure you understand by now that coffee plays no mean part in keeping me from being a mean and nasty person. Oh ok! Meaner and nastier. Happy? Actually, I didn’t, being rather more pre-occupied about baby-pink shorts, to take or not, decision of.

Well, anyway, back to the crisis. (Digression Alert #1: Why do you let me digress so much? Really! You need to exercise greater control. Which, I realize, as I write this, is hard to do, because you get to see this only after I have digressed handsomely in all directions. )

Well, in mid-winter of 2016-2017, viz, January, I was deserted by My Beloved Bangalan, probably the most beauteous of all the ladies in my household. So for a period of 3 whole months, I was left to my own devices amongst whom exists the boxy Syntia, with whom you became acquainted in Part 1. Usually Syntia is the epitome of efficiency. Her main idiosyncrasy is a distaste for oily beans, such as Starbucks seems to manufacture. She can also sometimes get into a “mood”. When in such a mood she starts showing orange error messages on her little screen. Most of these messages are of the nature “Decalcify me NOW!”, or “For god’s sake, change the filter!!”. Sometimes she wants me to take apart her inner unit and give it a bath followed by an oily application to the joints.

In late January, she thew up a bunch of errors and then proceeded to go on strike. I took the inner brew circuit out and gave it a lovely bath and let it air dry for a day. However, when I tried fitting it back again, Syntia refused pointblank to allow the brew circuit back in. I pushed, prodded, patted, peered, posed and peeked. Syntia refused to accept the brewing mechanism.

Brow furrowed, I turned to Mlle Presse and pressed her into action. She was willing enough. Until, 2 weeks in, I ran out of coffee powder. Then I realized that Mlle Presse is a bit too big for a single person and thus guzzling coffee powder in a rather wasteful manner. Also, she was slow and ponderous and needed support staff in the form of The Whistling Frenchman. She expected, nay, demanded, that The Whistling Frenchman did his whistling act before she was ready to initiate her work. All in all, a lot of fuss and a lot of waste.

Time, therefore, to whip out the shapely Italian, the steamy one. La Signorina Caffettiera a Filtro was  rescued from the confines of the cupboard and put to work. I paired her with Illy, the swarthy Swiss; he providing the flavour, she providing the steam. It worked well that first day. The Swiss’ flavour is among the best in the coffee business and La Signorina is efficient when she puts her mind to it.

The next day, however, I realized that I had to strip La Signorina down and give her a bath before she could perform her pas de deaux with Illy. Resignedly, I did and was rewarded with another great cup of coffee, thickly dark with a strong flavour. The third day and every day after, I went through the ritual of stripping and showering her. It quickly became tiresome.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or rather, the GO Transit Station, things were getting even more annoying. Usually, My Beloved Bangalan drives me to the station dropping me 3 metres from the transit card reader at the top of the tunnel to the platform. Normally, this is performed even as the train pulls into the station and a steady walk down the stairs, through the tunnel and up the stairs to the platform gets me to the train just before it comes to a halt, the door turned towards my hand. However, remember I told you that She Who was not in town. This meant that I had to drive myself to the station, find a parking slot, then zip up the jacket, push the toque on my head lower, pick up my bag, lock the door and start the long 800 metre walk to the card reader at the top of the stairs.

This was now early February, the coldest month of the winter in the Tundra, where I live. Temperatures are pretty cavalier about getting into the negative teens. The walk from the car to the train usually meant watery eyes and a pronounced sniff. Added to this was a move to a different workplace. So far, my workplace had been a shortish 5 minute walk up the street from the station. But in February, it was decided to move the whole team out near the CN Tower, the needle that shapes the Toronto skyline. Let me draw you a map.

Notice the duration. 11 minutes. Remember also that you have to walk down the platform at Union, then down a precariously steep set of stairs just to get to the concourse. Note also that, while an extensive underground PATH system exists, it is of no earthly use to a commuter bent on getting to office efficiently. This means that the only way to get to work is walk for 11 or 12 minutes. In temperatures hovering in the negative 10s or single digits. Along slippery, icy, slushy sidewalks. Amongst other commuters, some going the other way. Carrying a bag. 

That’s when I discovered that my winter boots were split wide open.

< to be continued >

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Dunkirk Review – Part 2


Well, it’s like dBaseII, there never really was a dBaseI and look how successful it was in destroying the sanctity of the concept of 3rd-normal data. This review, Part 2, will likely destroy the sanctity of the concept of the film review. The reasons are simple. I have no idea how to review a movie, or a book, or a play. Did I tell you that I am the proud playwright of a 3-Act play? I did? Ok, that was a digressive plug for when I finally pluck up the courage to submit it to Amazon.

But now to the movie, the one I did not get to reviewing in Dunkirk Review – Part 1.

It started well, with chest-thumping action with a point-of-view feel to it. It broke down the action from Land, Sea and Air. There were no German soldiers to be seen anywhere. Except for the air action, we did not get to see any enemy action. Yes, we saw the torpedoes and shells causing damage and we heard German soldiers shoot at a boat where some British soldiers were hiding. Given the scale of the BEF forces lined up dutifully, one wonders why the soldiers were idling their time shooting at a beached boat. I, who famously failed to decipher on screen action once as a hormone-overloaded teenager ( click here to read that horrible date story ), now failed to understand that piece of action as a middle-aged dimwit. I searched the web, and interestingly, I’m not the only one mystified by that. Uh, yay?

For a while I thought it would become a story of that duo trying everything to get off the beach to safety. It didn’t. I thought we’d see the scale of the operation. We didn’t. I thought the sky would be filled with German planes and the few planes that Churchill allowed. It wasn’t. We didn’t get the feel of the Blenheims and Battles being outclassed by the Me109s. We barely saw the Hurricanes who did so much and focused instead on the lone Spit. Dramatic for people born in the 2000s, not so for those born less than 20 years after the end of the war and fed a steady diet of the heroics of the Hurricanes and Spitfires against the Me 109s and FW-190s. And where the hell were the Stukas? ( ok – don’t write in… there were no FW-109s at Dunquerque, I know that!)

The film focused on focused tales of a few soldiers among the thousands that were there, scared, defiant, angry, hopeful and resigned. From a film makers, perspective, not a bad way to dramatize. But we didn’t get any background on them, and they played their parts as pieces in Nolan’s chessboard, never really moving the game forward, never really standing out as defining moments in the film.

The Spitfire pilots, focused on their fuel, while holding off the 109s and shooting down torpedo bombers were  amongst the  most compelling actions of the film. We knew he’d be running out of fuel though. We knew he’d fight on, regardless. We knew, but it was watchable.

We didn’t see the scale I was expecting to see. For example, we didn’t see the hundreds of “Little Ships” that sailed across the choppy Channel. We didn’t see scale in the Air. We didn’t see scale in the Sea. We sort of got a glimpse of the scale on the ground with the BEF men lined up in long snakes.

By Stavros1 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9944300

The best part of the movie from a dramatic point of view, was the story of “Mr Dawson”, the dramatized version of Charles Lightoller story. It was human, it was brave, it was sad, tragic and an ultimate triumph of the human spirit over adversity, cowardice and personal tragedy.

You may now be wondering how many stars I’m going to give this. I’m not handing out any. In two separate articles that I have written before, I have discussed the issue of reviews, critics and their place in society. It is one of the reasons why I don’t offer written reviews of anything. A rule that I have now broken. If you’re interested in reading those views ( or if you are a glutton for punishment ), here is the first one and the other one.

Enjoy.

Hint: I like bhindi ( okra, if American ). You may not. Neither of us is right or wrong. We just have different tastes. If you still wish to judge, may I suggest reading this riveting and caustic article about judgement?

Thank you! Over and out!

Dunkirk – Review Part 1


This is a first ever. A review on SloWord. A review of a movie. So lets get started. With some preliminary chatter in this Part 1 of The Great New World of Reviews.

On a Friday evening in September, with the eminently unwelcome autumn imminent, I arrived at Streetsville GO station after another week of toil and trials. As I stepped off the train, I had thoughts only of the Friday staple of junk food,  time in front of the tv and a late and welcome bed. As I got into the car, She Who Will Never Be Tamed  said “I was thinking, we could see a movie. You know, go to the theatre-hall. There are a couple of things that are a possibility.”

Ever ready for a date night, I accepted with the grace for which I am world-famous in my basement. First, however, we went home so I could dump my laptop, water the flowers at the back and the lawn in front, which I accomplished with Kronenbourg 1664 in one hand, my first alcoholic beverage in 2 months. ( And it was good.)  We  checked out what was playing and narrowed it down to Baby Driver and Dunkirk.

Dinner, it was decided, would be at Scaddabush. I called to make a reservation and was told they don’t take reservations. I asked about the wait and was told ten minutes. I drove there, dropped her off to book a table while I parked the car, to make sure we wouldn’t have too long to wait. She gave in her number and was told by the young girl that she would get a text in the next 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, we went back in to check on the status and were told that they had nothing available for at least another 45 minutes. The girls at the front could have cared less about two middleaged people. This was my second such experience at this particular Scaddabush. I am never going to attempt going there again.

So we went next to Jack Astors, where the music’s loud and the lights are low. The food is usually forgettable and so it proved. The Feisty Bird Sandwich didn’t live up to its name, arriving as it did in a large hot dog bun. Still it did have some sharp sauce, pickled banana peppers and french fries on the side. Having already had my regulation one beer for the evening ( see above, flowers, yard, lawn, watering of ), I had Coke. We got through the meal, chatted with the server who sported a rather large piece of yellow fauna in her hair, which matched her large persona, but provided a slightly lopsided look, like a ship listing home from a severe storm.

Talking of ships, but hang on a second, we still had tickets to buy. We drove across the street to the theatre and walked in prepared to visit the counter and buy our tickets to the show. We were greeted by a large sign where the ticket counter used to be, that said, “Counter Closed – Go Away and figure out how to use the internet or those ticket machines on either side of you. Behind you! On either side! Pick anyone of them!” or words to that effect. So we walked over to the ticket machine and touched the screen where it said “Dunkirk”. Baby Driver was not playing, even though the internet site we had checked before leaving had said so. I resolved, then and there, never to trust the internet again. Of my profound loss of trust in an institution into which I had placed my soul, my mind, and to which I had entrusted my news, my opinions, my facts, I shall speak no more. Suffice it to say, faith was broken.

So the machine said, “Ok, what kind of human are you? Child upto the age of 12? The usual sort between 13 and 65? or Senior 65+?” Resisting the urgings of She Who to pick pretend I was 65+, I picked “Usual type”. It then asked me how many of this type. I pressed the + sign and it said “Forward two! Bring forth your wallet! Now pick what kind of payment method you want to use?”

I picked, at the urging of the elbow to the left of the solar plexus, “Gift Card”. The machine, said “Pay up $25.86. “. The card mewed “I have just $25 on me”. I expected the gentlemanly response of “It’s ok. I’ll take $25 off the gift card, but you still owe me 86 cents. So handover a credit or debit card”.

Well, machines are not gentlemen. This one was most certainly not a gentleman. It denied the transaction. Proving yet again that computer programmers are morons and their bosses are imbeciles. She who walked away to find someone, went to the popcorn counter and bought tickets. ‘Oh yeah, those ticket machines do that…”.

Muttering darkly under my breath about Business Analysts, Programmers, and business leads who I’d have fired forthwith if they had been under my command, I was dragged off by the good lady before I had a chance to let a few people know my  true feelings. Then we were seated in well lit, but bedraggled theatre, with seats that were quite the worse for wear, spilled water in the aisle. There was another middle aged couple already seated, speaking in strong East European accents. We sat in silence for about 10 minutes, before an interminable series of advertisements, app-based trivia games that you could play along with the big screen did not enthrall us. More people trickled in, the trivia game kept coming on, ending in “Demo Mode” because no one was signing on to play.

Eventually, the movie started.

In Part 2, yet to be written, we shall actually review the movie. Patience is a virtue, remember!

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.

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!

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?

The Second Annual Birthmonth Festival


As you may remember, most of you very carefully and diligently ignored the First Annual Birthmonth Festival. Now here is your chance to do so again. Yes, there is a difference. The last time around your indifference lasted a whole month. This time around, given that the world’s collective attention span is shorter than Trump’s fingers, I’ve decided that you get a week ( or 3 – well, maybe 4 ) to celebrate this August moment.

August, the month of hot summer days and cooling summer nights. August, the month of early leaves on the ground. August, the month of the last few school-free days. August, the month that should have been October ( don’t get it? Send me an email. See Contact Page for email form.) August, the month of Mother Teresa, who I met a couple of times. August, the month of days on the deck. August, the month of waiting for the advent of cool autumn. August, the start of the month of the Virgin. August, the end of the month of the Lion. August, the month in which I was born straddling The Lion and The Virgin. I’m told the earth itself shuddered the day after I was born. Possibly, the shock of it all was too much for Ma Earth.

I don't think it was my birthday... but what the hell, I thought
I don’t think it was my birthday… but what the hell, I thought

26th, next Friday is the day when a few decades earlier a child was born to a family meek and mild. Wait! No! I mean, yes a child was born, but not into a meek and mild family. We saw it in action during the recent wedding. Not mild. Not meek. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I suppose family is the friends we didn’t choose.

I must have chosen my mother wisely, for she was born the same day I was. This does not mean that she and I were born on the exact same day. I mean, we were born on the same annual day but were separated by 39 years. By which I mean she was born 39 years before I was. I was born on her birthday as a birthday present, I suppose. In fact, my first first words on appearing out into the world were “Happy birthday, mum!”. I remember, cake was served too, with a dollop of Haywards Gripe Water for me in addition.

It was many years ago, so my famed memory may be failing me. So maybe, it didn’t quite happen that way. In any case, the fact of the matter is, I was born. You knew that already, because you are reading this. I must have written this, so I am alive. To be alive now, I must have been born then. At least, that part is clear.

So here we are then. I’m here. You are there. I know I am here. Do I know you are there? Possibly, you are. You can prove it to me. Right in! I mean, write in! This is the part where the rite of writing can be performed even as you exercise your right of writing. Tell me about you, tell me stories, made up or real, about me. About me and you. About you.

Go ahead. Get ahead of the crowds. Apply early. Get your stories in. The first 500 stories will win spots number 1-500! Don’t wait! Do it now.

Contest open while blog lasts. See blog for details. There are no details. May cause nausea, fatigue, drowsiness. Especially, drowsiness. Also, headaches, bloating and excessive uncontrollable yawning. Do not forget to wish The SloMan, the PeevedPunjabi and LeggieLefty too. Unclejee too, though, we fear Unclejee is in a coma and not expected to recover.

Little Red Writer – 1


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A cute doggie to draw the readers in….

One day, Little Red Writer decided to write poetry. Now, poetry is very hard to do. Little Red Writer was little and unschooled. He had some words in his bag and he wanted to show his words to his granny, Facebook. Little Red Writer knew that poetry has rules. These are to be followed and sometimes broken. LRW, as he was called by his dog, knew just enough rules to think he could hack it.

LRW knew that poetry often uses metre. A metre in poetry is not the same as a beam of light in some laboratory in Europe. Metre is a measure of sounds in a line. There are names given to the poetry that follows different metres. LRW did not know all these. LRW was uneducated. LRW had not read much poetry. Poetry also uses rhymes. Rhymes are words used to end a line to make similar sounds. For example, June and Moon are rhymes. LRW knew rhymes.

Most importantly, Little Red Writer knew that poetry expressed feelings. He had often written letters to Granny Facebook. He had felt things. He had told Granny F everything he felt. What he felt most often was a sense of wonder. Gran was a very social being. She always had people over, partying and yelling and taking pictures and posting cat videos and puppies and posters about the importance of gods and goddesses with big butts and lots of cleavage and ministers and tv hosts and communist propaganda and faith. Granny F also had salons where poets and poetesses of all strengths, convictions, skills and ideas met and denigrated each other’s poetry.

Poetry, Little Red Writer learned, was a big thing for Granny F. Poetry produced many likers, a type of wonderful insect that tickled every pore of the poet, thrilling him/her as they drilled deep into his/her very core. The Little Red Writer also wanted to feel these lovely creatures and so he resolved to write his own poetry and mail them to Granny Facebook.

Little did Little Red Writer know that he knew very little. He little knew that to attract those little insects, Likers, he had to write words that meant little but gave much. So he put on his thinking cap, the one with the yellow tassels, the colour clashing beautifully with the scarlet of the cap itself. His white hair, poking through under the brim of the cap, his glasses aligned on his well-manicured nose, he set to work.

Granny Facebook is still waiting for the poetry that Little Red Writer is trying to write. The word on the street is that Little Red W is not really trying. Rumours abound that he has been busy planning weddings instead of writing. There are those who are rejoicing at the thought of a blog less clogged with poetry. These people are known cat-fanciers, however, and cannot be trusted to understand the Power of Poetry. There are some, a rare breed of dog-lovers, okra-eaters, lotus-worshippers and yoga practitioners, who do expect a bit of verse at regular intervals.

For them, unfortunately, the wait continues. The Little Red Writer has no poetry to offer. Granny F has given up waiting, even stopped clicking her teeth in frustration.

Granny F is waiting for poetry no more.
Little Red Writer is back being a bore.
He has no poetry to offer.
But a few words from his coffer,
no gore or sweaty pore, just tales of yore.

Time away


I’ve been busy. Had a wedding to run. Wedding now over. Got some sleep today. Not enough. Need more. But have to go back to work tomorrow. Must sleep.

Still way too much food in the fridges. Have to eat it all. Lots of food. Giving it away takes effort and time. Shall freeze some of it. Must sleep.

The deck and backyard are cleared. The main floor is also habitable. Took 20 bags of garbage to the dump. Basement still needs to be cleaned up. Must sleep.

Evil Eyed Cherry


A pair of cherries from the same stalk. Prunus...
A pair of cherries from the same stalk. Prunus avium ‘Stella’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I bought some cherries. Sunday, it was, yes, I remember well. I bought the cherries home and washed them and ate them and they were good. I also had occasion to visit a Bengali sweet shop and The Good Lady bought some kaancha chena. Literally translated it means “raw cottage cheese”. With some sugar added it is a traditional Bengali sweet.

Now, you know, I live in Canada, right? Right. So cherries in summer is not unusual. The other thing is. Unusual, I mean. I like cherries. I wish someone would pit them for me, but until they invent unpitted cherries, I’ll have to make do with these. Unpitted cherries will probably be GMO labelled, anyway, so I guess I’d better just enjoy these. Not that these cherries are completely blameless. I mean, not the cherries, but the cherry growers. How can an inanimate object have the attribute of blame associated with it?

Ok, I think I hear the vegetarians clamouring that cherries are not inanimate objects. But then, if they’re not we can blame them, right? No? Hmm, well, anyway, moving on. I like blueberries too, and kiwi is ok, too. Strawberries, yes, bananas, too. Even raspberries are ok, but no blackberries for me. That gritty feeling is not very pleasant. A ripe papaya liberally sprinkled with salt, pepper and lime juice is pretty  good. Try not to judge! At least try it before you wrinkle your nose.. Of course, mangoes win hands down as the king of fruits. Unfortunately, I live in Canada, so the delicious mango varieties of my past life are but a fast receding memory.

What has all this to do with Evil Eyes, Cherries and an Angel’s Kiss in Spring? Nothing. First of all, it’s summer, full blown, not spring. Angels, winged or otherwise, I have never met, so they can’t possibly be handing out kisses to all and sundry. Ah, but you see, that sweet raw cottage cheese we talked about earlier? Yes, that thing, it enters the story at this point. We bought some and I reminded people that even though I lived where I did ( Canada, in case you missed it ), I still had access to kaancha chhena. Their reply was basically “pffttt!”. I reminded them also that I was eating lovely cherries. This, for some reason, gave rise to a cold and odd reception. Clearly, they must have had something on their mind, because their speech became odd and slurry. I prudently decided to leave them alone to get over their ailment.

You may further be aware that I work. Yes, I know, you find it hard to fathom, but apply your mind. Some people do have to earn a living. No, it does not matter what I actually do. Many people have asked me that and to explain what I do would not be very interesting to you, unless you had severe insomnia and wished to find a cure, dear God, give me a cure! Suffice it say that work consists of waking up at ungodly hours and donning a suit. Trains, commuter trains, are involved. Focus on the suit and tie. Yes, the tie. Next recall, that I did not tell you that on Monday mornings I have to attend a session at 8:15am. On a Monday. This Monday morning, I was running late, so I put on my jacket, forgot about the tie and left for work.

I was wearing a freshly laundered white shirt. I wear a freshly laundered shirt ever day. I’m quirky like that. So there we have it at long last, the scene is set.

Characters:

Me, dressed in pristine white dress shirt, no tie.

Cherries, in a ziplock bag.

Work. With a very important meeting in the afternoon, after lunch ( for which I had to walk in the glare of the hot sun for 15 minutes, one way. )

Sandwich dressed in aluminium foil.

As the sun blazes away outside, I am observed, chewing contentedly through the sandwich. I work at the laptop as I eat. Soon the sandwich is done and I pull the bag of cherries closer and with my left hand pick one cherrie and bite into it. Nibbling around the outside, I delicately put the pit in a bowl created by the aluminium foil. With two cherries left, the Evil Eye strikes.

Those people who had gone off surly at the thought of kaancha chhena and cherries, must have been busy lighting incense sticks and pushing red hot skewers into plastic models of cherries and I. For with one cherry left in the bag, I bit into the last but one and it exploded into a splatter of purple juice all over the front of my pristine white, freshly laundered white shirt. White, except for large splotches of purple covering an area of 5-6 inches in the middle of my chest.

I went for the meeting in the afternoon. I wore the purple splotches as a badge of honour.

I wonder what the people I met, for the first time in my life, thought about it.

We’ll never know.

I hope.

On the positive side…. I wasn’t wearing a tie. 🙂