Saturday, May 31, 2008

Temple elephant

This is the real thing unlike the green elephants at Ramoji Studios. This was taken outside the temple in Pondicherry. I think the elephant was kinda cute but I always have the fear of getting close to an elephant as one never knows when they would stomp on you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Unique looking Church

This photo was taken in Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu.

This church has really a unique façade and it looks like the "gopuram" of a hindu temple. I was driving through and got my driver to stop so that I can take a snap shot of it.

Life after 40

Has it ever occurred to you that time just passes you by before you realize it and you are whizzing away to that half century mark in your life. But being in that zone, you don't realize that you have aged. I still haven't slowed down yet, but over the years I know I have lost a couple of parts in my body. I took my appendix out when I was 22 or 23 years old and at 46 I took out my gall bladder as I had a 10 mm stone in it. It's like a car, the older it gets, you have to repair or replace the part, but in my case, it has been taking out the defective parts.

I look at life with a positive attitude and I know whatever that happens, it always happen for a reason. But the funny part is that I don't know the reasons, but eventually it has a happy ending and also I really don't have a choice in this matter.

Next year would be my 25th Wedding Anniversary and I am looking forward for that, my first boy would be leaving for Russia for his medical studies and I would also be back working in Malaysia after being 6 years in India.

So I guess, life after 40 is a phase that things get settled down and you can say, wow I have come a long way.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Firefox 3 RC 1

Well I just downloaded Firefox 3 RC 1 and I am on a test drive now. The browser is cool but my blogger site looks a bit handicapped. Some of the widgets cannot be displayed properly. But overall I think it is a cool browser as it is quite fast in loading the pages and maybe it would take some time for all the features to be displayed as this is not the full version.

Anyone with FF RC 1 having any problems? Do let me know what you are doing to rectify it. I find the themes and add on are meant for the older version, it must be a matter of time for the switch over.

I am blogging now with Fire Fox and I think I have a lot of tweaking to do.

Just in case if you want to test drive FFRC 1, here is the link:

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

This is a snap shot taken during one of my visits back home for my holidays. I had my relatives from US and they wanted to see Kuala Lumpur and I had the privilege to show them Sultan Abdul Samad Building and "the building has long been a landmark for Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. Its predominantly Moorish appearance suitably reflects the cultural background of Malaysia".
The Sultan Abdul Samad building was constructed in 1897 and has long been a landmark for Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. The unique Moorish-style building has a 41m clock tower, dubbed 'Big Ben'.
The design of this building was undertaken by a British architect, A.C Norman, who worked for the Public Works Department at that time. In designing this building, he took into consideration some of the features of buildings in several Islamic countries. The predominantly Moorish appearance of the building suitably reflects the cultural background of Malaysia.
The site of this beautiful building was carefully chosen. It is conveniently located at the centre of the old mining town of Kuala Lumpur. It once served as the Colonial Secretariat offices, but now houses the Supreme and High Courts.

Anecdotes from Hyderabad

There are many incidences that I can recall to have a good laugh at times and I still remember an incidence with my driver.

We stopped under a fly over and I realized that we are waiting for the lights to change colour. I also noticed that my driver had the emergency light indicator switched on. So I asked him, is there anything wrong with the car for you to have the lights on. He said to me, “ No Sir” and then I asked him, why are you having the emergency indicator on. To which he replied, when both indicators are flashing, it means the car is not turning left or right, just going straight. So I asked him, how did you get your license, to which he replied, Sir, I sat for the exam and then went for the driving classes and then passed my driving test for the license, little did he realize that I was being sarcastic with him.

The other incident occurred with my secretary, both us went out looking for a laptop for the office and we were at a complex waiting for the lift. I knew the lift was on the upper floor and we had go to the upper floor too. I pressed the lift button up and shortly I found my secretary pressing the down button. I asked her, why are you pressing the down button as the computer shop is on the 5th floor and down is only car park and basement. She gave me an answer that I won't forget, she told me that since the lift is on top, she pressed the down button for the lift to come down for us. It really shocked me with her concept and are the lifts in Hyderabad really that intelligent. Anyway I can't blame her as I had noticed most of them do that here and some press the buttons very hard hoping that the lift would arrive faster.

I hope to share some more in my next postings.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

David Cook won the American Idol

After months of competition and elimination… after 96++ million votes… America voted DAVID COOK to win this year’s season of ‘American Idol’! David Cook got 56% of the votes, while Achuleta got 44%. Quite a close fight! Oh, he cried after the announcement!

Very happy that Cook won and not the little Archie. Although Archie was also good, Cook showed more maturity in his performances, which I think made the audience love him more than Archie. Nevertheless, Archie too will definitely have a lot of recording proposals and contracts wowing him in the next days to come.

Well this news is what I got from a blog in the net and it was a spoiler as I was eagerly waiting for the show tonight in India. Guess it has come to an end and I am happy with the result as I believe David Cook has the personality to carry himself.

The Road Not Taken

I would like to share this poem with you and would like to know whether you have any regrets in life for not taking that road or do you feel that you should have taken it.

The Road Not Taken (1920)
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

For me, I guess I have always taken the road less travelled by others and I have a mixed feeling regarding the choices that I had made. I did my engineering studies in India and I did get married to my girlfriend from India, It was against the wishes of my family and I have no regrets on this matter as I believe I was destined to do so but it was a lonely road for both of us.

I also took the road that most family man would not take by opting to work overseas and I am away from my family for the past 6 years(I am going back home for good next month). The salary was good, but what I had missed out is being there with my children when they were growing up as now they are in their teens and pretty soon they would be leaving abroad for their further studies. I can only justify myself by saying that it is a tradeoff that I had to do for a better standard of living.

If I had my chance to turn back time, would I have not taken the road, then how would things unfold. Because time lost I know I cannot regain back. Are we destined or guided to take the Road Not Taken by some unknown force?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Paddy fields

It's always nice to see a green background and I stopped at the paddy fields at Mahabalipuram, we were from Pondicherry and on the way to the rock-cut and monolithic temple by the seaside. I took the photo of my ex-colleague taking snap shots of the paddy field, little did she realise that I was taking her taking the shots.
Here is what wikipedia has to say about this little South Indian town:

After the storm

It had been a hectic weekend for me, power cut the whole night on Saturday until Sunday morning, and busy with company officials from Sunday midnight until last night. And the fate of my stay in India was decided on Monday exactly at 4.00 p.m. and as they say all good things must come to an end, my stay here in Hyderabad has indeed come to an end. It's been almost six long years working in this country and I am looking forward in getting back home for my new posting. I am leaving next week for home on a vacation for 10 days and would be back here in Hyderabad by the 1st week of June for my final few weeks.

There are a lot of things that I have to do, to relocate myself, lots of things to dispose, documents to be kept for further reference and there are so many questions already in my head. I know this morning I woke up with a purpose, knowing my next course of action, not like how I woke up on Monday morning, it's the same morning but with a different attitude. It's how a decision can change our perspective.

I can reflect on my journey which I had spent in Hyderabad and in many ways than one, it has enriched me I guess spiritually. Because I went through trying times here and being in solitude I guess it makes one a stronger individual. Because I have seen the worst time in my life and I can always use that as my benchmark as I know nothing can get even near it except death.

As they say, we have to move on and pick up the pieces from you had left. My storm had just passed me and I have to embrace myself for many more storms along my way in my next journey or phase of life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lotus Temple

This was taken when I was in New Delhi, it is an unique temple shaped like a Lotus and it is a Bahai' temple. It is a tourist destination in Delhi and it was packed with visitors, I had some extra time to spare before I caught my plane to Hyderabad and asked my driver to show me a famous tourist spot which was close to were I was and the driver took me to this temple and I was impressed with the Architecture of the temple.

The link to this temple by wikipedia

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Well this photo was taken at Golconda Fort at Hyderabad. It's a beautiful fort but the photo that I loved most was the one where there were I guess hundreds or maybe more of bats on the ceiling and you can hear the buzz and see all that bat droppings on the ground, which by the way has a very peculiar smell. You might feel scared being under them after watching a lot of dracula movies, one never knows which bat is going bite you for it's dinner and turn you into a vampire. Anyway I enjoyed taking the photo and it turned out pretty well and the white dots are the bat's eyes. Hope you like the photo.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This photo was taken at Shilparam cultural village at Madhapur, Hyderabad. It was evening and a Rajastani folk dance was going on and what I liked about it was the colour and the energy from the dancers.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Firefox 3 Beta 5

I have been contemplating on installing Firefox 3 Beta 5 for quite sometime. When my fingers reach for the DVD from the latest PC magazine which has this software for free, something in me tells me to stop. Not that I haven't used Firefox before, but it was the older version and that too when IE 7 wasn't out yet. Beta's are usually buggy, correct me if I am wrong and it is for testers.

Currently I am using IE 7 and Opera 9.27, I tried Safari 3.1 but I uninstalled it as I can't view most of the web pages and I have to download some plug ins (why go through the hassle?).

So I thought to myself, what better way, then to solicit some views from the users themselves who are reading this blog and you can pass me some pointers and advice me whether I should or shouldn't install it. Should I wait for the final version?

Let me know, how many browsers do you have installed in your pc and which do you rate as the best.


View from my hotel room

I hope I didn't scare you with my posting on summer, the picture above was taken from the Hotel Taj Krishna that I stayed on my first trip to Hyderabad (6 years ago) during the winter. As you can see the lawn is well maintainted and it is a sight for sore eyes and I am sure even now in summer, it would be the same except for the hot breeze.


Power cuts

Summer without power cuts is not summer in Hyderabad. I guess it's God's way of punishing us and maybe let us feel what it is like in hell. Yesterday I was in my room for 2 hours in the evening without power and decided to play some games on my HTC phone(pocket pc phone) and what happened after that was I screwed up my vision, couldn't read the letters on my computer when the power came back. Got scared though, so I placed an ice pack on both my eyes, now it's okay.

This morning I woke up with a power cut for an hour, without A/C and the room was getting unbearably hot. I keep telling myself, why doesn't the public here take any action against the utility company. I mean electricity is not a free commodity, you are paying for a service and if you don't pay, the board would be more then eager to cut your supply.

Just look at the consequences of the consequential losses that one would suffer due to this frequent power cuts, productivity comes down and life comes to a grinding halt. Last week, I wanted to buy chicken at a shop close to my place, the guy told me, no power and hence he couldn't sell his chicken as he is using an electronic weighing machine, since he can't weigh the chicken, he had to wait for the power. So much for technology, and what use it is if you can't use it, he might as well revert to the good old days of weighing by using a balance with the weights.

Sometimes I feel, people in India are being polite and maybe think that it's their Karma to be without power, you see strikes for every other thing just about every other day here, but basic consumer needs are never really addressed. In a city, I think water and electricity should be considered as basic necessities, and if you can't deliver it, then you should privatize their services.

The only thing I can do is grumble regarding power cuts on my blog and at least I have registered some sort of complaint.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The photo that I had posted was taken at our site a couple of years ago during summer(in Hyderabad) and it was a small pond which had cracked up due to the heat. So I guess it is easy for you to visualize what I am writing below.

It is 10 in the morning and the temperature is already 30 degrees Celsius in my room and I can't imagine how it is outside. But I guess life goes on and I do empathize with the manual laborers toiling away irrespective of the scorching heat, after all they have to earn a living.

On my way back yesterday I had seen a boy lying on the roadside and I guess it must be been sun stroke that he was suffering. I can't blame him for walking under the sun as he has no other option. Sometimes we complain about the seasons, but can you imagine if there weren't any season and everyday throughout the year is the same. Life then becomes monotonous and there wouldn't be any excitement in the waiting for what is in store every season for us.

I am sure summer brings joy to the kids, as this is the time for them to have a long summer break and also a time for them to indulge in their favorite ice creams or have long cool baths in the swimming pools. Now for the wealthy ones, it's a time for them to escape the summer heat by traveling abroad.

As for me, I guess it's a time to stay indoors and maybe enjoy the occasional beer(oh what a good reason). I remember last summer I was in Gujarat on a business trip, we had gone to a couple sites and it was really hot. We came to our hotels and thought we could cool ourself by the bar with a chilled beer. But that wasn't the case. Ahmedabad, the city that we were in is part of the dry State (meaning no alcohol is served anywhere in the State). But there is always an option to this, since we are foreigners, we were allowed to buy the liquor(including beer) at the permit room. Yes we got ourselves beers and it was warm as hell and we had to drink beer with ice-cubes and it really took the fun out of it.

This is a time that our clothings get lighter but the only drawback in Hyderabad is that the society here does not approve of bermuda shorts in public places, what a drag. Even the cheerleaders at the local IPL cricket games, I see they are covered up in this heat.
Now the very thought of leaving my safe haven and going outside for some shopping is exciting as I somehow like the heat. I like to see how people adjust to the heat, some like ninja's, all covered up with only their eyes left open with a sunglass(I am talking about the girls) and for the guys, they don't give a damn.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meditation centre?

Take a guess? What in heaven's is that structure! (Sri Aurobindo ashram's latest addition). History says that Pondicherry originated as a French trade centre in 1674, when it was purchased from a local ruler. Now a seaside tourist resort, Pondicherry(close to Chennai) contains the Hindu ashram (religious retreat) of Sri Aurobindo, now an international study centre, and several colleges affiliated with the University of Madras. This shot was taken in 2006 and the meditation centre was under construction, I guess by now it should have been completed. I had my lunch at the ashram, run by a white lady at the canteen, (maybe a devotee) it wasn't expensive, I guess I had chicken roast with the organically grown salads(in the ashram). It was an experience for me, and the town itself was more of a french colony with buildings which looks like it was taken right out a page in history.
This is a nice place to visit and relax your mind as it has that magic in the air.


Blessing in disguise

I would like to share with you an incident that happened at my work place in Gebeng, Kuantan at a Petrochemical plant that we were building about ten years back. Well this place is in the interiors and it is quite far from the town. Getting a secretary for me was quite hard as no one would really want to travel that far and also to a male dominated construction site. But somehow I managed to get a secretary, a young Malay girl even though her knowledge of English was pretty bad, but then I thought to myself, half a secretary is better then none. I needed the secretary to sort out my paper work for filing as I had to be on the site most of the time either making my rounds or attending a never ending stream of meetings.

At the site office, I had briefed my secretary on using the word processor in the computer and to check for the red marks for spelling mistakes and to make sure it is corrected accordingly.

So I wrote a draft for the letter for my secretary to type it on the computer so that I can forward it to the Project Director regarding some complaint that I had on site. So typing what was already drafted I guess should not be a problem, even if you are not good in English. But that's where I was wrong, After signing the letter and thank god, I decided to glance through it again. And to my surprise , I found that there was this word “panties” on the contents of my letter. Can you imagine what an embarrassment it would be?

I asked my secretary, why didn't you check on the spelling, little did I realize that panties is a correctly spelled word. Instead of all parties, my secretary typed it as “all panties”. So I asked her why can't she make out the difference between parties and panties, she just smiled and told me that English is like Greek and Latin to her and besides that there was no red mark on the typed letter.

From that day onwards, all my letters were typed by me and that's when I decided to get my own laptop.

Maybe a blessing in disguise as I don't depend on anyone to do the typing and also I write as I think and my flow of thoughts are not altered by correcting the mistakes that my secretary makes on my handwritten drafts.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Green elephants?

This photo was taken at Ramoji Film City at Hyderabad. I was at the restaurant above and saw the green elephants at the garden and decided to capture it on my camera. Ramoji Film City is I guess the biggest outdoor studio(spread over 2,500 acres) for shooting and maybe, the largest in Asia. I guess if you are in Hyderabad, then you shouldn't miss this.


Where do you generate your ideas?

Everybody has a favourite spot on where they put their thinking cap and generate those wonderful ideas for their blogs or life issues. Some would be inspired after a nap (or during one), others while they are eating or drinking (make sure you don't get drunk). Some might think when they are travelling in a car, train or maybe on a flight (expensive way to generate ideas).

I have a spot where I normally generate my ideas and it is on the "commode". That's when I am deep in my thoughts going about doing my business but great ideas do come out from there. It may sound a bit corny though, but it is a good spot and a quiet time for the mind to stop wondering and to concentrate and generate ideas like this one. I hope it is not a stinky idea!

Do let me know where you spend your time to generate ideas?


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anecdotes from my life

I would like to share with you an incident that took place about 4 years ago when I recruited a servant for my office and residence. Based on the company policy, he had to fill up the application form and I was surprised to see that he applied for the position of a “cooker”, now that really caught me by surprise. What am I going to do with a cooker? When I asked him what he meant by it, he told me that he wants to apply as a cook and since he knows how to cook, well that makes him a cooker. Anyway I employed him as my servant and I didn't want the “cooker” to cook.

Just a couple of days back on NDTV( a news channel in India) I was watching the newscasters from various states reading the newspaper highlights of the day. What caught my attention was about a man found dead in a park with his throat slit by the residences in the park bench. And the news caster was saying that (in the past tense) that a man's throat was “slut”, oops....a blunder here and she corrected herself gracefully. It made me laugh a little with the blunders you see on air.

Another incident that happened was when my eldest boy was traveling to his kindergarden by his kindergarden bus, and he told us that there is this girl who is staying in our neighbourhood and she is very 'touchy”. We as parents jumped out of our seats as we were wondering, such a young age for him to have girlfriends or to fall in love, and when he explained what he meant by “touchy” we had a good laugh. It so happened that the girl touches him when she speaks to him, what a relief!

One classic incident that I would like to share is about my second son, when he was in Standard one, he had dropped his twenty cents in the drain and it was quite deep and he didn't want to dirty himself. So what he did was he offered another boy ten cents to pick up his twenty cents from the drain. When he told us this at home, I thought to myself, like father like son, you see I think he would make a good manager.

I hope that you had enjoyed my anecdotes and I would be posting some more later when I have the time to write it down.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Moods and music

What sort of music do you listen to? Does mood affects your listening choice? Well let me tell you about my preference as I find that my choice of music changes with seasons and also with moods. Right now I am into heavy Rock like Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant (solo albums). I also like Pink Floyd and my favourite album of theirs is Division Bell. Even Scorpions are pretty good with their kind of Rock. Bad Company is also a pretty sleek Rock group with pretty good vocals and not forgetting Deep Purple with their Highway Star, Smoke on the water and Soldier of Fortune.
Depending on my moods like I had said, Gypsy King with their Spanish style which is always nice to listen and it perks you up. When I am in a melancholic mood, I like Enya and also Enigma as there is some kind of magic in their music. Lobo and Neil Diamond is good for easy listening along with Lionel Ritchie.

I feel that the loss of Freddy Mercury of Queen is definitely a tragic loss to the music industry, Queen without him is not the same and as he has a very powerful vocal chord and it is always a pleasure to listen to him. Bohemian Rhapsody is one of my all time favourite and I guess you don’t find songs like that anymore as the magic died with him. And here is my top ten favourite (randomly numbered) at the moment based on my current moods:

1.I’m in a mood for melody – Robert Plant
2.Twenty nine palms – Robert Plant
3.Ballroom blitz – Sweet
4.Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac
5.Last train to London – ELO
6.The Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
7.Kashmir – Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
8.Snow (Hey Oh) – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
9.Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
10.Coming back to life – Pink Floyd

I am sure, you too would have a list of your all time favourite and I narrowed my list to 10 (my list is about 200) even though I keep changing my list depending on my moods and to me I feel music is the window to our soul even if it is heavy rock/metal as music is a universal language and it binds us together, irrespective of our colour, creed, religion and region.

Let me know what your Top Ten favourite is so that I can broaden my repertoire of music. Mind you, it's never easy to narrow down your choice to only 10.


Another day in paradise

Yes I was listening that song by Phil Collins this morning and I thought to it really paradise? If this is paradise then what is hell? Been checking on the comments on my blogs and there were just a couple of it. Now why so? Beats me! Maybe I am not doing the right thing here, maybe and why analyse the maybes...and take away my know the mind is a funny has the little voice which dictates how I should feel. Do you have that same feeling?

I thought I told that little fella to shut up and let me be the boss but he won't listen...he wants to plant a seed of doubt in me and says that I am expecting too much. People are not interested in reading your blogs and they want to read something which is more interesting. Well who wants to read about your haircut and making raita as they are not hip. But I tell the little fella to be patient, someone out there would want to. I would be able to connect with someone!

So I am waiting and the clock is ticking away and my fingers are worn out clicking the keyboard waiting for a comment. When will it arrive?

Friday, May 9, 2008


This is a very simple recipe and raita is usually eaten as a side dish with chicken curry, mutton curry, sambar or just have it as a dessert. A dish by it's own, if you are on diet!
I will list down the ingredients for you below:

1. Yogurt or curd - 100 grammes or more
2. Onion - medium or large
3. Capsicum - small
4. Green chilly - one
5. Tomato -one red small
6. Cucumber
7. Black salt/salt
8. Chat masala (optional)
9. Corriander leaves


Cut the onion into tiny bits (lengthwise and then perpendicular)
Mince a small green chilly(seedless)
Half a capsicum would do for the amount of yogurt I mentioned above, cut it to tiny pieces
Use quarter a cucumber, peel the skin and deseed it and cut into tiny pieces
Place all of the above in a small bowl and mix with the yogurt. Add the Black salt/salt according to your taste. To make it healthy, you can also add a teaspoon of virgin green olive oil.
Top it with the fresh cut corriander leaves( a small bunch minced finely) and finally sprinkle the chat masala over the raita and refrigerate it until it is ready to be served.

Bon Appétit.


It's my favourite time of the month, a visit to the hair dressing saloon. Not that I love to spend my time there but it's just an occasion for me to celebrate my little pleasures in life with what I still have left off it(my hair).

As you get older, the density of the mop at the top gets thinner/lesser and maybe I should be paying the barber extra for him to search for the "hair" when he is cutting it. He has to be extra careful in not snipping away as he pleases otherwise he would create a landing strip for maybe an Airbus 380.
I have given up hope in getting the darn thing to grow and I have my greys at my sideburns too. I let nature takes it own course and I believe that one should get old gracefully.

So what if I am losing my hair and I am not going to transplant hair from some other part to increase the density. I have seen people with hair transplant and it looks kind of vulgar and just to look 10 years younger? So what is in the hair that men are willing to spend a fortune. Don't you think what is inside the head is more valuable then what is outside!

Getting back to my point, I love going to the hairdresser because I know that after some years, it is going to be a thing of the past.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rasam (Indian soup)

It’s defined in the web dictionary as “Thin soup made out of tamarind and spices”. And today I was looking at the web for an easy rasam recipe but I somehow found that it was rather complicated. I made rasam for lunch and have enough of it for a couple of meals. Rasam is very easy to make and I guess you can say that it is a “bachelor’s soup or broth”. You can have this soup with plain steamed rice and maybe with some fried papads. I like it with omelette or “ikan bilis” (anchovies) and maybe some cucumbers.
I took the photo of the rasam as it was boiling and I would like to share my version of the rasam recipe for you to try it.

1. A stalk of curry leaves
2. A handful of sambar dal (tavur dal)
3. 5 red dried chillies
4. 3 green chillies
5. 4 pods of garlic
6. 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn
7. 1 teaspoon of mustard
8. A pinch of asafoetida
9. 3 large ripe tomatoes
10. A bunch of coriander leaves cut into tiny pieces
11. ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
12. 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
13. 2 teaspoon of coriander powder
14. 2 teaspoon of rasam powder (MTR)
15. Tamarind paste (1 teaspoon) or a ball size soaked in hot water.
16. Cooking oil 3 tablespoon
17. Salt to taste

I am going to divide this preparation into 3 parts.

1st part

Boil the tomatoes in a pot of water, say about 1 litre until the tomatoes are soft and the skin can be peeled off. Now remove the skin and place the tomatoes in a blender, with 2 pods of garlic, the green chillies and blend it to a paste. Alternatively if you are not going to put in the blender, then smash the tomatoes until they become a paste.

2nd part

With the water that you used to boil the tomatoes, add the following powders listed from item 11 to 14 and mix the solution well and then add the paste from the 1st part into the pot to the solution. Don’t forget to mix the tamarind paste into this solution.

3rd part

Take a handful of tavur dal (sambar dal) in a pressure cooker, after washing it well; add a few drops of oil, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (optional) and a pinch of asafoetida. Put in 1 cup of water and then pressure cook until you hear about 4 whistles or until the dal is totally cooked into a pulp.

Cooking process

In a wok heat some oil of 3 tablespoon (preferably gingerly oil) and when the oil is hot, throw in the red dried chillies and let it cook for a 1 minute, then add in the mustard seeds, and after awhile add the remainder of the garlic(which is minced) and the curry leaves. Add the ground peppercorn now.
As the aroma rises, pour the 1 litre solution (part 1) into the wok and also add the dal (part 3) which was made to a pulp and diluted with a cup of water into this broth. Add salt (2 teaspoon) and add another cup of water and let the broth boil for 15 minutes or more. If you find that the water had evaporated, add in another cup or more. Let it boil again.

Then simmer for 5 minutes and add the chopped coriander leaves into the broth.

Keep aside the rasam for 10 minutes.

Serve this rasam with steamed white rice and papads. Or you can drink the broth for good health.

I hope that I have explained this in a very simple manner for you try it out. Do let me know about your feedback on this recipe or any queries.

Bon Appétit.

Writing a blog

I was reading an article on this subject and I was prompted to write about it based on my experience in writing my blogs. I think what you post depends on the subject matter and how much thought that you have put on it.
The simplest blog would be a cut and paste job from the internet or from the other blog sites. Now that would make you a copycat and after sometime I guess the readers would be able to spot a rat and maybe your visitors would start dwindling.
I write what is in my head and correct it as I go along and I follow this tip that I had read from a book by Lindsay Camp aptly titled " Can I change your mind? -The craft and art of persuasive writing.
Remember the reader and the result (RRR) is a good point to keep in mind and also to visualize your piece as an advertisement, now if you were to place an advert on the newspaper on what you had composed, does it have the impact to pull the buyer(reader) and be swayed by it. An ad (in our case our blog) that doesn't persuade is like a fish that doesn't swim: dead in the water.
I also believe that " Good persuasive writer's don't tell their readers what to think or feel; they say something that makes their readers feel or think it for themselves."(quoted from the book)
It is also very important in knowing the result that you want from your reader/blog beacause if you don't know what you are trying to achieve in a piece of writing(blog), it's impossible to judge how far you have succeeded.
I would be happy if I had imparted some of my thoughts on writing a blog based on my experience and I would have done justice to this piece by taking away your precious time(in reading this blog).
Another piece of advice that I read on a blog was that don't feel ashamed in asking for a response or a comment from the readers. I am just doing that now.

Sibal trashes Bush’s ‘eating more’ accusation

New Delhi: Unimpressed by US President George W Bush's hypothesis of a better eating India causing woes for the US, the UPA government dished out figures to claim that American cereal consumption had gone up substantially despite a significant decline in food production in North America. Quoting Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures, minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said cereal intake in India was projected to have grown by a mere 2.17% from 193.1 million tonnes in 2006-07 to 197.3 million tonnes in 2007-08. Around the same time, the Americans had eaten a lot more, Sibal claimed. "In the same period, consumption of cereals in the US has been projected to have grown from 277.6 million tonnes to 310.4 million tonnes," the minister said. In fact, the Chinese -- another people accused by Bush of gluttony -- actually ate moderately. According to the FAO figures quoted by Sibal, cereal consumption in China had gone up by just 1.8%. The Americans have indeed eaten much more than the rest of world. While the world average of increased cereal intake for the past year was 2.06%, that for the US was a whopping 11.81%. Pointing to India and China, Bush had said, "When you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food, and so demand is high, and that causes the price (in the US) to go up." Statistics released by the UN body also suggest that the rising level of cereal consumption in the US has occurred in the backdrop of a sharp decline in production in North America. When continents like Asia and Africa are set to register rise in cereal production, North America is the only area of concern where the output has declined from 462.1 million tonnes in 2007 to 435.5 million tonnes in 2008. All major political parties lashed out at the US President for blaming the growing demand in India for the spiralling global food prices. Reacting sharply to the remark coming from George Bush, most parties said a major reason for spiralling global food prices was diversion of land producing foodcrops in the US to bio-fuel production. US has no right to blame India for rising prices, they said.

What does it take for visitors to comment on my blogs?

A very long title indeed but I really want to know what does it take to get the visitors to say a few words as common courtesy. Is it window shopping at the blog sites, look see and disappear. Why can't you make your presence felt. I have my polls for you to click for instance but no one even bothers to click on it. The least you can do is let me know whether what I am doing is ok or not.
I always leave a comment on other peoples site and if there is a poll, my curiosity won't leave me until I click and find out the statistics.
So visitors, do me favour and be a little generous. I am not asking you to donate any money, but just your kindness. Be a good sport.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Funny photo

This photo was taken way back in 2003 when my family made a trip to Chennai. I was in Marina Beach with them and a food stall caught my attention. Why can't the owner of the stall at least get someone to do a spell check before he gets it painted.
My guess is that this stall would have been washed away after the Tsunami hit Chennai beach in 2004 or did it survive that?

US now says India fuelling oil prices

Washington: Close on the heels of President George W Bush’s remarks linking Indians’ food habits to rising global prices of commodities, the US has now partly attributed the surge in oil futures to the increased demand in India and China. “There are a lot of different ways that we can reduce our dependence, but we have more to do and it’s just — and also I would point out that, obviously, the demand for oil is growing around the world,” White House deputy spokesman Scott Stanzel said in a briefing. “Many developing nations like India or China are having greatly increased demand, which obviously is having an impact on price,” the senior White House official said responding to a question on the crude oil price crossing $120-mark. The White House official stressed that it was important for the US to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Stanzel spoke regarding Bush’s remarks, which have drawn a lot of flak from India, saying the US saw “higher living standards” of people there as a “good thing”. “We think that it is a good thing that countries are developing; that more and more people have higher and higher standards of living,” he said. “The point that I think was to be made is that as you increase your standard of living, the food that you eat can venture more into meats that require more commodities to feed the livestock which, you know, uses more of those commodities, whether it’s corn, or wheat, or other commodities and it drives up the price. So that is just a function of how those food prices that we’ve seen spike around the world,” Stanzel said. Recently, Bush took the case of Indian middle-class to argue that its demand for better nutrition was a factor in pushing the global food prices up. PTI EU too says Indians eating too much The European Union too jumped into the US bandwagon on Tuesday to target India and China for driving food prices worldwide, saying the huge increase in demand in these two countries was like an “elephant”. European Union commissioner for agriculture and rural development Mariann Fischer Boel said change in dietary habits in India and China was responsible for spiralling global food prices. “Those who see biofuels as the driving force behind food price increases overlooked not just one elephant standing right in front of them, but two,” she said. “The first elephant is the huge increase in demand from emerging countries like China and India. These countries are eating more meat,” she said. PTI
Is this the price that you have to pay for development?

The state that we are in.

Oil prices are up! Prices of essential commodities are up thanks to inflation. World economy looks bleak and share markets are not doing well either. So what else is new? Look at the state that we are in after so much that we have learned from our past experiences. What does the future really holds for us? Is there a way out here? When are we going to see happier times?


It's nice to be in that mood, just letting life cruise by at it's own speed. You take things as it comes. You reflect on the good things as well as the unpleasant incidences and see what went wrong but not being bogged down by it. Life is nothing but a summation of the moments or experiences that have brought you to this very present state that you are in. And what is in store for me in the future as I guess is very much determined by my choices that I took to be here where I am.
So sit back and spend some time reflecting where you are heading and make the necessary corrections if you find that something is not right. Only you know what is right for you.

Snake in my kitchen

It all started when my driver informed me that he saw a snake in the garden and he told me that it was a huge king cobra. So I informed my neighbour and she called up "friends of the snake society", they came over and checked my garden and there was no sign of the snake and they left after that.
Meanwhile I told my servant to close the back door in the kitchen and after that I made my tea and jokingly told my servant to clean up the area where I kept the plastic bags which I normally save from the supermarket trips so that I can use it as my garbage plastic bags. When I was in the study room, suddenly I heard her screaming and I knew that she must have seen a snake or the worst case was that she would have been bitten by one. She came running out of the kitchen and I told her to close the kitchen door connecting to my living room immediately and I can see her shivering. Then I asked my neighbour to call the snake catchers, they came back after 10 minutes and they caught the slimmy creature, it was a rat snake and not a giant size cobra as my driver had informed me. Thank God!

I took the photo of the snake with the snake catcher and you can see that it was quite a long snake (maybe 5 to 6 feet) and when I spoke to him, he informed me that there are quite a few cobras and vipers here in the area where I stay (kinda scary huh!). I paid for their services(friend's of snakes society) which was about USD 5 and they told me that they would release the snake about 200 km from here into the wilderness, I hope it doesn't have a homing device and decides to come back to my kitchen for revenge. By the way, the rat snake is a non-venomous variety(to me a snake is a snake) but I believe it does bite.
The article was posted on my Opera blog on 03.04.2008 and I just wanted to
share this creepy experience with you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

3 column blogger template

This afternoon I tried my hands on changing my 2 column template into a 3 column template that I seem to have a fancy for as it looks great. I saved my old settings and ventured into the unknown territory as I am not an IT geek (maybe a dinosaur). I was refering to a blog site which shows you how to go about doing it. And I messed it up. I wish there was a simpler way to go about doing this (anyone to help me on this).
So what I did was change my previous template (minima)to the current one which is "minima blue" and it looks cool. Don't you think so?
Maybe I should just keep my fingers to myself and be satisfied with what I have. It's the contents that matters, and not the appearance. The sad thing though, there are not many hits on my blogs and that seem to be a wee bit depressing (not that I am contemplating suicide).
Unlike my blogs in Opera, where I had a lot of hits and have many friends there, I wanted to venture in greener pastures but it doesn't seem to look that green yet (ah, it is summer here).
Patience, that's what I myself and maybe the traffic would flow this way (keeping my fingers and everything crossed).
I added a couple of widgets and wanted to add one on "no copying of this blog" but then some of my stuff is taken from the net and who am I kidding. I decided against it and if anybody wants to copy my stuff, just go ahead and leave a footnote on your blog thanking me for it.
If there is any other stuff that I can add to my blog template, please do me a favour and let me know about it and I would thank you for it in my blogs and maybe recommend you for the noble
bloggers award.

Being Alone

Some qoutes to cheer me up, to remind me that I am not alone.

To be alone is to be different, to be different is to be alone.
Suzanne Gordon, Lonely in America, 1976

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up.
Pearl Buck, US novelist in China (1892 - 1973)

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
Mark Twain

They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts.
Sir Philip Sidney English poet, politician, & soldier (1554 - 1586)

Stir fried vegetable

This post is for a very good friend of mine, Lynette who asked me over the phone for the chinese stir fried vegetable recipe as she had the pleasure of eating what I had cooked over dinner. So I am posting my recipe for her on this blog and also for others who would like to venture into some quick and healthy food.
1. Half a caulifower ( 150 grams)(cut the florets in to small pieces about 1 inch)
2. 1 carrot - sliced thinly
3. 3 Baby corn- cut lengthwise 1 inch
4. 1 capcicum- cut into lengthwise 1 inch
5. 4 pods garlic minced finely
6. 1 medium onion trimmed and cut into 4 wedges, layers separated
6. 1 inch ginger(optional)thinly sliced
7. Cooking oil (1 tablespoon) or more
8. Black Pepper either freshly grounded or use the standard black pepper powder, adding based on your preference, I sprinkle a couple of dash
9. Salt to taste
10. 2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with a cup of water(optional)
11. Maggie chicken stock 1 cube(optional) mix with little water
Cooking process
Heat up the wok first and then add the cooking oil of your choice. Then put in the ginger and after a minute, add the minced garlic, I usually like the garlic to burn a little, so the fragrant is strong, then add in the cauliflower and carrot, add salt and grounded pepper,stir fry and cover with the lid, let the steam from the wet cauliflower do the cooking for 4 minutes, if needed, add 1 tablespoon water, then add the baby corn,onions and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Now add the capcicum and stir for 1 minute and (you can add the chicken stock for 2 minutes - optional)immediately pour in the cornstarch and let the starch give you the texture. Lets say for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remember the chicken stock and the cornstarch is optional, as you can do without it.
And now you can remove the stir fried vegetable and serve it with steamed rice. By the way I use high flame for cooking as heat and timing is very important in stir fry dishes....
I would like to share this stir fry tips for chinese cuisine(this was taken from the internet) with you as I found that it was very informative:
1. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time.
2. Make sure all the food is cut according to directions before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.
3. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.
4. If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces.
5. Heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step if you have a nonstick pan - it can damage the coating.)
6. Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish; peanut, canola or other vegetable oils are good) drizzling it so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way.
7. Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).
8. If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked, and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.
9. Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the juices (individual recipes can differ).
10. Never add more than a cup of meat at a time to the wok. Lay the meat out flat to cook.
11. Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color - for example the redness in the beef is gone. At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.
12. Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables such as bok choy.
13. If you're uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them separately, one at a time.
14. If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.
15. Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.
17. When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin moving them immediately.
18. When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a "well" in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before combining with the other ingredients.
19. Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
20. Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures. Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don't. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.

Cool summer by the beach

Sitting under the coconut tree with the sounds of the waves and a cool breeze chilling me, while I am sip a nice cocktail, the name which I can't recall as I am already floating with it(it's out of this world). The waiter asks me how do I want my lobster prepared as they had just caught a couple of them from the sea. And I ask for the chef so that I can instruct him how to cook it, the way I want it.
And I see some pretty ladies/girls sun-bathing with their sun-tan lotions on their body and kids jumping into the water, not afraid of the waves. The sand in the beach is white and you can see the water so crystal clear. The sun is shining ever so bright but I can't feel the heat, only cool breeze with tiny droplets of moisture in the air.
What a setting, I can be here forever and don't have to worry or think about work. No phone calls, no internet to check on emails or to think what to write on my blog.
Then I wake up from my sleep, where are those lovely ladies, where is my lobster and I don't see any cocktails to cool me down. Where is that breeze and the sound of waves?
Oh my God, was it a dream but I have to tell you, it was paradise and I am thinking to myself, am I still in a dream world. But with the heat burning me now, I am thinking to myself whether I am dreaming about hell.
When am I going to wake up?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Driving in Hyderabad

This blog is my special tribute to the fearless road warriors in Hyderabad. It is a breath taking experience if by chance you had the honour of driving in Hyderabad or at least be a passenger in a Taxi, Auto or a hired car. I had my pleasure of driving around in Hyderabad (that is on Sundays and Public Holidays) and being driven around by my driver. Each time when I am on the road I get this strange feeling that I am going to knock someone or vice-versa. The safest way to drive here I guess is to drive on the opposite side of the road, whereby the drivers would give way to you.I had my drivers making U-turns wherever they please(sick of educating them), I see cars parked wherever they please and sometimes right in the middle of the road.
I had a funny experience with one of my drivers, whom I had the privilege of reliving him of his duties. He had stopped under a flyover, and I noticed that he had the hazard lights on, and I asked him if there was anything wrong with the car, he told me “No Sir” both the indicator lights switched on means that I am not turning left or right, going straight(maybe to heaven). So what more can I say, I asked him how did he get his license and he promptly informed me that he sat for a written exam and went through the classes....little did he realize that I was being rather sarcastic with regards to his driving skills.
Honking is a must in India otherwise you are at fault if you knock someone; I guess its ok after you honk (at least you did your part in informing the poor souls). It’s a free for all here on the roads but I am amazed at the lower accident rates compared to Kuala Lumpur or maybe any other part of the world, maybe the reason is that the maximum speed that you can travel in the city is about 40 kmph or less with a wide array of vehicular traffic.....which sometimes includes cows and buffaloes besides pedestrians......
Please click on the URL below to see for yourself what I am trying to say. You will feel dizzy after sometime watching the traffic at the intersection and tell me whether if you were given a chance would you be that fearless road warrior?.
This was posted at my blog in Opera on 09.10.2007, I guess nothing much has
changed except you find more warriors on the road now. I have a new driver who
likes to apply the brakes at the last moment thinking he is Karthik Narrayain
(the F1 driver).

Cost cutting measures

The prices of essential commodities are increasing day by day. So what do we do? Our salaries have not increased over the years and even if it did, inflation is at an all time high now. So that really leaves a huge hole in our pockets. There are a few steps that we can take to buffer the effect of rising cost of living. I have drawn out a list that can be used as a guideline:
1. Stop eating outside unless it is necessary. Fancy restaurant cost you fancy money.
2. Cook extra food so that you can refrigerate it for later use in the week (saves on gas, oil, time and labour).
3. Eat more raw vegetables (saves on cooking oil) and limit your intake of meat.
4. Switch to cheaper brand of rice/cooking oil.
5. Stay away from the bottled drinks and drink more water.
6. Switch off all unnecessary electrical appliances and lights.
7. Don’t buy extra clothes, more than required just because it is on sale.
8. If you need to shop, make a list and stick to it. Don’t be distracted by special offers.
9. Switch to a cheaper beer/drink.
10. If you need to drink, call your friends over and have your drink at home rather than sitting in a pub.
11. Rent a DVD instead of going for movies. It would be cheaper to rent VCD (if you really want to cut cost) or watch HBO.
12. Cut down on your unnecessary phone calls or SMS and keep your talk time to a minimum.
13. Use emails to communicate instead of long distance calls.
14. If you need to send a fax, scan the document as a Pdf file and sent it by email.
15. Read newspapers online.
16. Download free eBooks so that you can read them on your computer.
17. Instead of buying music CD’s, download them from the internet with Limewire or other p2p providers.
18. Make a list for yourself on what you can cut down and work on it.
The list above may not be comprehensive but it is a start towards your cost cutting measures. They may be simple but remember “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Journal

It 's a day where I get to relax to whole day and with the heat outside I guess I should stay indoors. My servant came at about 10 a.m. and I was busy with my laptop surfing the net. I made mutton curry for lunch which I would keep for tomorrow too, saves me fom cooking.

Had a short nap in the afternoon and back to the net again until 7.30 p.m. I started a new group at google at Then it's IPL cricket on the telly, I am watching Chennai vs Rajastan and it doesn't look good for Chennai. I guess cricket is not the same after the Australian players had left their respective teams to prepare for their tour against West Indies.

I guess it will be either back to my book or the net tonight. Not much of a choice.

Were the doomsayers right after all?

The future, of course, is never what it used to be. There was a time when predictions of global food shortages were rife in conventional wisdom. Writers like Paul Ehrlich and the "Limits to Growth" school of the 1960s and 1970s kept saying that the world's population was growing past the point at which the earth could sustain it. The burgeoning new environmentalist movement added their own concerns about the dramatic threats to our fragile ecosystems brought about by heedless development. And the new breed of futurologists spawned by the Cold War — whose ideas were given new currency by the accelerating pace of technological change in the era of man's first walk on the moon — kept issuing dire warnings that our planet was imminently going to run out of food as the global population grew and the land available for agriculture inevitably proved inadequate. By the early 1980s, the doomsayers began to look silly. They had not anticipated the Green Revolution, beginning in the late 1960s at the very time when their prognostications were at their gloomiest, when agricultural yields grew exponentially thanks to "miracle seeds" and better farming techniques. The global population doubled from 3 billion in the early 1960s to 6 billion by the end of the 20th century, but episodes of mass starvation were the exception rather than the rule, and if people didn't have enough to eat it was usually because of war, pestilence or other (usually man-made) calamity— not because there simply wasn't enough food to go around. Alas, the doomsayers are looking a lot less silly today. The global food crisis gripping the planet today was not anticipated even at this time last year, but, as our daily newspaper headlines testify, it is now an inescapable fact of life, and the portents are alarming. Food prices have been soaring almost everywhere, and it really does seem as if all the farmland in the world can't produce enough to feed the world. The UN's Rome-based food agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has announced that its food price index rose by 40 per cent last year. In fact the news is worse than that: the index is still rising. What's going on? Population growth is undeniably part of the problem, but it's by no means the only important factor. A world that could feed 6.6 billion people last year can't suddenly find itself unable to feed 6.7 billion this year. Western analysts have been pointing to the dramatic increase in the consumption habits of the "newly-emerging economies", pointing specifically to India and China. Again, that can only account for a portion of the increased demand: Indians and Chinese are still not consuming remotely as much as people in the developed West. Some technical factors have undoubtedly come in: higher production costs, resulting from various factors — including the astonishing increase in the price of fuel (with oil at $120 a barrel, everything using energy has become more expensive everywhere) — have been matched by shortfalls in agricultural supply. The world's wheat reserves have fallen from 18 to 12 weeks' supply, and reserves of corn around the planet have dropped from 11 to eight weeks' worth. Compounding this has been the understandable reaction of countries like India that actually grow their own grain but have huge domestic markets to nourish. Worried about the impact of possible shortages on their own populations, many wheat and rice-producing countries have banned or sharply curtailed exports. The result is that even if a food-deficient country has the money to buy the food it needs, none is available for sale. Western countries have been critical of decisions by many Asian countries to restrict grain exports; EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, for instance, argues that restrictions on trade mean that global food scarcity will compound existing problems of food shortages within specific countries. But whether the world is really coping with genuine food scarcity or merely uneven distribution of the food that's actually available, the problem isn't going to go away. One reason is the development of a new trend that didn't exist till a few years ago. It's caused by the most unlikely villain of all: the world's environmentalists. The Green Revolution in agriculture finds itself trumped by the Green Evolution in the world's thinking. Recent years of mounting concern about global warming, spurred by Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" and the alarming consensus amongst the globe's leading scientists that urgent action was needed to prevent catastrophe, led to a new enthusiasm for bio-fuels to replace hothouse-gas-producing fossil fuels. Large swathes of agricultural land, especially in the developed world, were turned over to grow crops that could be processed into ethanol, a less polluting fuel than petrol or diesel. The result has been that land that produced grain for human mouths is now being devoted to crops for car engines. This has finally begun to stir the consciences of the world's politicians. Finance minister Chidambaram has called environmentally-justified crop-substitution a "crime against humanity". Outgoing Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi recently declared that "something must be done to ensure [that] both the United States and Europe stop producing fuel in competition with food". Prodi was blunt about the political motivations for such heartless policies: "People can no longer be allowed to starve to death in Africa simply because some people in the United States or the European Union consider that the votes of farmers or landowners are worth more than the survival of millions of men and women." So the predictions about the future that emerged from the 1960s have suddenly come back to life in 2008. The doomsayers of that time said we'd run out of food; they said the environment was under threat. They were pooh-poohed on both counts. Now our attempts to solve one problem have made the other prediction come true.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My first trip abroad (Twilight Zone).

The surrounding was a little strange as the plane landed at the airport. I can glance from the window that the landscape looked very parched and the grass was brown. I can also see the mirage on the runway. As the pilot announced the local time at the airport that I was about to land, I changed the time at my watch and this was a brand new watch that I got as a gift for my overseas trip for my studies. I had to wind two and half hours back from the place where I was flying from.
To my surprise I saw some workers working at the airport, their skin tanned working under the blazing heat and they were wearing only loin cloths. They were doing manual work, just like a scene from a movie where you find jailbirds toiling away breaking rocks in some hill with a sledge hammer.
Now this was about thirty years ago, when I was a student in pursue of higher education to be a Doctor (now that I am an engineer). Sitting alone on the flight and looking at the scenes unfolding before me was a cultural shock to me. This is the very first time that I am ever leaving my home, my comfort zone not knowing what the outside world really looks like.
I enjoyed the flight though, I had my share of the free drinks and I had managed to smoke onboard too (those were the days). But reality hit me right at my face, what am I doing in a country which looked like it was still in the stone ages. Who am I to complain as I was seeking my higher education in this so called stone aged country?
The airport was run down and there were queues a mile long everywhere for the immigration clearance. I guess I was one the last to get my passport stamped from that flight. The custom clearance was a piece of cake as I looked at it, no queue and I carried my luggage to the counter to open it for the custom officer to check it. But it was a rather embarrassing moment for me. The officer shouted at me to take my place at the queue, I was thinking to myself, what queue? Little did I realise that there was actually a queue, the passengers were very tired standing for ages and they had decided to place the luggage in line and they were seating on the benches.
Who do I know in this strange land? My guardian was fixed by my uncle who was studying his engineering in the northern part of the country. Have I seen this so called guardian or do I have a clue how he looks like? The only description that I had of him was that he is short, dark and has big round eyes. When I looked at the stream of people who were waiting on the reception hall, almost all of them fit that description. Was I doomed?
I look at my watch for the local time and to my surprise; the watch had stopped at the precise moment when the plane landed at the airport. My hair on my back was standing and I had goose bumps just thinking about it. Am I alive or did the plane crash and I am in another world or dimension so to speak.
Just before I left for my overseas trip, I had watched twilight zone on the telly and there was this episode about how the passengers on a plane were flying and the plane had encountered some turbulence due to air pockets, and after that there was calm and the plane was still flying through with an eerie silence and when some of the passengers had looked at their watches, it had all stopped at the precise moment when the plane had crashed (due to bad weather) and they were all flying in a different dimension.
I woke up from that eerie moment or feeling as in front of me was that short, dark and those big round eyes man calling my name and he had my photograph with him.

To be continued.....


The continuation of this story would depend on the response of the

Bill Gates' 11 Rules of Life

Netlore Archive: Circulating via email, the text of a speech allegedly given by Bill Gates in which he sets out 11 rules of life for today's high school students.

2003 Variant: Email example contributed by Sarah C., 12 July 2003:

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this!
To anyone with kids of any age, here's some advice. Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Thought these rules are pretty applicable to us and hence I wanted to share

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why blog?

That’s a very good question to ask? Do you know the reason why you blog? I can list down the reasons why I blog:

1. I blog therefore I exist! (lame excuse).
2. I know someone somewhere is reading my blog and he/she says “Hey that’s a pretty cool blog".Let me save this site(wishful thinking).
3. Pass down my experience (in other words I am older by the day).
4. Share a common interest with others if ever they decide to comment on my blogs.
5. A cheap way of publishing my thoughts on the internet.
6. Sharpens my mind and broadens my horizon.
7. Enlighten some souls along the way (so I can earn my brownie points).
8. Improve on my writing skills.
9. Pour out my frustration or joy on my blogs. Maybe tickle some of them too.
10. Killing my boredom

I guess ten reasons would be sufficient to keep me blogging. What are the reasons that make you a blogger? Feel like sharing it with me.

After oil, it’s an Asian rice cartel

SE Asia Ganging Up To Control Staple Crop Price Chidanand Rajghatta TNN
Washington: As if the world wasn’t coughing up a heavy enough price for the oil cartel, it now faces the frightful prospect of paying through its nose for one of mankind’s staples — rice. Shockwaves are rippling through the trade world following the announcement in Bangkok that the Thai government is considering forming a rice cartel in partnership with Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. Thailand is the world’s largest rice exporter (not grower), and the move is evidently aimed at using its dominant market position to influence the price of rice in the same way that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) tries to manipulate oil prices. The other four neighboring countries being roped in are also significant rice exporters. A cartel is a formal agreement among firms or countries aimed at coordinating on matters such as price fixing, total industry output, market shares, allocation of customers and territories, tender rigging, and division of profits. Typically, the aim of such collusion is to increase individual member’s profits by reducing competition. While China and India remain the world’s top two rice-growing countries, most of their production is consumed internally, leaving the five South Asian countries as the world’s key exporters. The news immediately invoked OPEC-inspired fears of cartel activity, but Thai leaders denied any price gouging motive. “We don’t aspire to be like OPEC, but we hope to be just a group of five to help each other in trading rice on the world market,” Thailand PM Samak Sundaravej told The Nation newspaper. The Thai move is evidently aimed at buttressing the fortunes of the ruling party, which depends on rural support, by hiking support price for farmers. Already, the price of the benchmark Thai rice has tripled in recent months to almost $ 1000 a ton, much to the delight of local farmers, but leading to a run on the grain in some parts of the world, including in US. The US exports much of its own home grown variety of rice but imports Thai Jasmine and Indian Basmati, mostly for its large immigrant population. While the Thai leader made light of the rise in prices, suggesting that a 100 gram service of rice going up from five cents to ten cents was nothing more than an inconvenience to customers, such a hike is seen as crippling for the poor in many countries. An editorial in the Bangkok Post condemned the proposal for an Orec of rice producers, saying it would have “painted a terrible image of Thailand as determined to profit by controlling food prices, even if hungry people starved worldwide.” “Most would see an Orec in even worse light than Opec, since rice is life-giving, not a luxury,” the paper observed, saying that after weekend talks with India’s commerce minister Kamal Nath, the Thailand government may now be more inclined towards international cooperation on raising rice production.

Reproduced from Times of India Hyderabad Edition dated 02.05.2008.

Where are we heading?


Location: Hyderabad
Date: 02.05.2008
Time: 10.00 a.m.

Well yesterday I told myself that I would start maintaining an online journal or a diary so to speak. I am posting this at Opera and also here.
Both my driver and servant still haven’t turned up and I guess I can do without the driver as I still can drive around by myself. But the servant is the tricky part, my kitchen sink is filled up with dirty dishes and the house needs sweeping and mopping. I thought that since yesterday was a holiday, both my employees had decided to take leave due to May Day, maybe they needed the break (hard labour). I can live with that, but today I hope they turn up otherwise I have to start cleaning up the dishes to restore some order to the house.
The heat is unbearable these days and the thermometer is rising to 42 degrees Celsius and it should pick up to higher readings and peak at maybe 45 or 47 degrees Celsius by mid May.
My lunch has not been cooked yet, as the chef is busy with this blog and also hoping for the servant to turn up to clean the dishes. Oh how I hate being dependent on others, could it be due to my laziness. prayers are answered! My servant just came in and yesterday she said was a good day for her to do a ceremony for her new house, they actually boil milk and let it overflow from the pot for prosperity. While she was busy doing that, my dirty pots and pans were accumulating in my kitchen sink longing to be cleaned. My driver had turned up too just now...little blessings in my mundane existence here.
What did I do on my holiday yesterday? I read my book by Jeffrey Archer “A prisoner of Birth” and was tweaking my blog’s template at blogger (the itchy hands and mind at work). Let me tell you about the book, it’s a fantastic book about a guy who is wrongly accused for a murder and he is sentenced to 22 years in jail. Like they say, there is one in every hundred cases, where an innocent man is sentenced. I am still at it and maybe I will pick up where I left today on the book.
The big question on my mind is whether I should attack the mango that I had kept in the fridge and it is really succulent and juicy (the mango). Maybe I will wait for the temperature to be at its peak before I relish on this king of fruits here.
The other thing that really gets on my nerve here is the ants. They seem to be everywhere and this morning they were feasting on my bread which I stored in the microwave, thinking that they would not dare get into the microwave. But these bunches of ants are a resilient lot and I am getting scared, what if they decide to have me for their food while I am sleeping?

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

It’s a tautology, of course. If you insist on doing everything yourself, your business will never grow beyond what you can personally handle.
People who run small businesses know this, but as Beth Schneider, president of Process Prodigy, which “helps business owners leverage the best business practices,” points out on there’s “something in us that fights against asking for help.” She added: “It’s almost like there’s some rite of passage in being able to do it all ourselves. But the reality is, you can’t do it all and focus on your strengths without stretching yourself in too many directions.”
And that means small-business owners need to delegate, if they wish to grow, a concept, she concedes, that can be difficult to accept.
“Delegation is about handing over authority, and for many small business owners, that’s a scary concept because you don’t know what will happen when you give up control,” she writes.
WHY NOT? Michele Hanson-O’Reggio, writing on, a Web site for business owners with no employees, agrees that fear is a major reason that entrepreneurs do not delegate.
By delegating, business owners are taking a risk because they do not know if the person to whom they are delegating will be up to the task. But, she says, entrepreneurs need to get past their fears, because “risks are necessary for business growth.”
What else keeps entrepreneurs from delegating? She lists these four other factors:
1. Worried the work will not be as good. They worry that the person they delegate to may get the job done but not as well as if they had done it themselves.
2. Clueless. “You may simply not be aware of the tasks that can be delegated because you have not invested time to examine your activities and learn about help that you can access.”
3. Egomaniacal.
4. “Confusing action with productivity. You may feel that if you delegate, there will be nothing left for you to do. Nothing could be farther from the truth!”
HOW TO DELEGATE If you want to delegate, Jeffrey Moses, writing on the Web site of the National Federal of Independent Business, a small business advocacy organization, suggests starting by acknowledging you “are not the only person who can do things exactly right.”
Then, since you are unlikely to turn into a hands-off manager overnight, “establish written descriptions of the tasks you are delegating, and be sure that your employees understand every detail,” he says. “Descriptions of tasks should include: methods, goals, means of accomplishment (finances, employees, equipment, etc.), quality of work done, means to define that quality and timelines for completion of each stage of work.”
And, for peace of mind, do not begin by delegating large or vital projects.
“Take things one step at a time by starting with smaller, less important tasks,” he writes. “As your experience with delegating progresses, you’ll feel more comfortable assigning larger projects, and you’ll be better at the delegation process.”
IF YOU DON’T The inability to delegate can literally lead to a life of regret, as an Inc. interview with Alfred Peet, founder of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, makes clear.
“I always had good personnel. I paid more than the going rate,” he told Jill Hecht Maxwell. “But I worked too hard, because I couldn’t delegate. I wanted to oversee everything. I said, ‘I know exactly where I want to go, but I can’t explain every thought, every idea I have for the future of this company.’ Many people left. I was burnt out, so I had to sell. Do you know what it’s like when you’ve given so much, and there’s nothing left?”
LAST CALL Here’s something to ponder when you are trapped with a screaming infant on a plane that is taking you to a meeting with a big prospect:
According to a poll conducted by Maritz Research, nearly three of four airline travelers (73 percent) believe that there should be “family sections” on planes.
Reproduced from New York Times dated 29.04.2008

Rules of life

Cherie Carter-Scott PhD is a very modern guru. Her theories explain our attitudes and behaviour with a special clarity, and provide a practical guide to behaviour and self development. Dr. Carter-Scott achieved her PhD in human and organisational development and for the nearly 30 years has been an international lecturer, consultant and author. She founded the MMS (Motivation Management Service) Institute and has been called a guardian angel to CEO's. Carter-Scott's book 'If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules' is essential reading if you are interested in behaviour, relationships, communications, and human personality. Cherie Carter-Scott's rules for life - also known as 'The Ten Rules For Being Human' and referenced in her book with Jack Canfield: 'Chicken Soup For The Soul' - are a map for understanding and pursuing personal development, and for helping others to understand and develop too. 'If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules' is also commonly referenced book in the life-coaching industry. Here is a brief summary and explanation of Cherie Carter-Scott's 'rules of life'.
-"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood." (Helen Keller)
Rule One - You will receive a body. Whether you love it or hate it, it's yours for life, so accept it. What counts is what's inside.
Rule Two - You will be presented with lessons. Life is a constant learning experience, which every day provides opportunities for you to learn more. These lessons specific to you, and learning them 'is the key to discovering and fulfilling the meaning and relevance of your own life'.
Rule Three - There are no mistakes, only lessons. Your development towards wisdom is a process of experimentation, trial and error, so it's inevitable things will not always go to plan or turn out how you'd want. Compassion is the remedy for harsh judgement - of ourselves and others. Forgiveness is not only divine - it's also 'the act of erasing an emotional debt'. Behaving ethically, with integrity, and with humour - especially the ability to laugh at yourself and your own mishaps - are central to the perspective that 'mistakes' are simply lessons we must learn.
Rule Four - The lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons repeat until learned. What manifest as problems and challenges, irritations and frustrations are more lessons - they will repeat until you see them as such and learn from them. Your own awareness and your ability to change are requisites of executing this rule. Also fundamental is the acceptance that you are not a victim of fate or circumstance - 'causality' must be acknowledged; that is to say: things happen to you because of how you are and what you do. To blame anyone or anything else for your misfortunes is an escape and a denial; you yourself are responsible for you, and what happens to you. Patience is required - change doesn't happen overnight, so give change time to happen.
Rule Five - Learning does not end. While you are alive there are always lessons to be learned. Surrender to the 'rhythm of life', don't struggle against it. Commit to the process of constant learning and change - be humble enough to always acknowledge your own weaknesses, and be flexible enough to adapt from what you may be accustomed to, because rigidity will deny you the freedom of new possibilities.
Rule Six - "There" is no better than "here". The other side of the hill may be greener than your own, but being there is not the key to endless happiness. Be grateful for and enjoy what you have, and where you are on your journey. Appreciate the abundance of what's good in your life, rather than measure and amass things that do not actually lead to happiness. Living in the present helps you attain peace.
Rule Seven - Others are only mirrors of you. You love or hate something about another person according to what love or hate about yourself. Be tolerant; accept others as they are, and strive for clarity of self-awareness; strive to truly understand and have an objective perception of your own self, your thoughts and feelings. Negative experiences are opportunities to heal the wounds that you carry. Support others, and by doing so you support yourself. Where you are unable to support others it is a sign that you are not adequately attending to your own needs.
Rule Eight - What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. Take responsibility for yourself. Learn to let go when you cannot change things. Don't get angry about things - bitter memories clutter your mind. Courage resides in all of us - use it when you need to do what's right for you. We all possess a strong natural power and adventurous spirit, which you should draw on to embrace what lies ahead.
Rule Nine - Your answers lie inside of you. Trust your instincts and your innermost feelings, whether you hear them as a little voice or a flash of inspiration. Listen to feelings as well as sounds. Look, listen, and trust. Draw on your natural inspiration.
Rule Ten - You will forget all this at birth. We are all born with all of these capabilities - our early experiences lead us into a physical world, away from our spiritual selves, so that we become doubtful, cynical and lacking belief and confidence. The ten Rules are not commandments, they are universal truths that apply to us all. When you lose your way, call upon them. Have faith in the strength of your spirit. Aspire to be wise - wisdom the ultimate path of your life, and it knows no limits other than those you impose on yourself. This summary is merely a brief outline and simply does not do the book justice, nor the wisdom within it. If you are interested in making the most of your life, and helping others do the same, buy Cherie Carter-Scott's book 'If Life Is A Game, These Are The Rules'.
I have read this book and I sure would like to recommend it to you and
believe me, you won't regret it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Location: Hyderabad
Date: 01.05.08
Time: 3.50 p.m.

Yes I am going to start my personal journal on this blog on a daily basis, if the time permits. I believe a journal would be an appropriate heading for my diary, like photos we taken to capture the moments in our life, a diary would be apt to capture my mind, thoughts and feelings. Something which I can look back in years to come and maybe learn a thing or two from it (in not repeating any same mistakes).

Where do I start? Well I guess today is a good day to start as it's a holiday in most part of the world due to Labour day. My servant didn't turn this morning and my driver called up to say that he would be delayed and its already 4.20 p.m. and still no sign of him(seems like a long delay). Now where does that leave me, I had to dry my own clothes today as I had expected the servant to do that, I washed it in the washing machine last night, thinking that she would be here this morning. My kitchen sink is filled up with all the unwashed dishes and guess I have to wash a couple of dishes this evening, otherwise I won't have any to use to prepare my dinner.

My lunch was a simple affair as I made instant noodles with chicken and some cabbage. Didn't want to eat anything heavy as I had some whiskey last night and maybe I have the hangover this morning.

Without the driver, looks like I have to drive myself to the supermarket as I am out drinking water and also bread. I hate driving in Hyderabad as it could be pretty rough and the law of the jungle prevails here (if you're driving).

Dinner is already set as I have rasam and rice in the fridge, maybe an omelette would do just fine to go along with it along with some cucumbers.

This evening is results day for American Idol and after that it's IPL cricket until I hit the sack. You see what an interesting day.

On being unhappy

No one should ever ask themselves why they are feeling unhappy. The moment they ask themselves: Why am I unhappy?

The question carries within a virus that will destroy everything. If we ask that question it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.

Extracted from the book “The Zahir” by Paulo Coelho

Food for thoughts

Well my two postings this morning was on my simple recipes that I had to improvise while I am in Hyderabad so that I get a Malaysianised dish and I am sure there are a lot Malaysians who are abroad and sometimes they do get homesick and want to try their hand in cooking some home style dishes. Believe me I know how the feeling is as I have spent a great deal of my life outside Malaysia. And there is nothing more a Malaysian loves then his curry and in Malaysia we have this habit of greeting each other as :

"Hi, How are you? Have you eaten?" so I think culturally food plays a major part in our life, I know of instances where we used to drive from one corner of the city to the other, maybe just for that famous Curry fish head or some other exotic dishes.

But then there are those Malaysians who live by Maggie noodles or any other brand of instant noodles. I am not a great fan of instant noodles as I know the detrimental effects that it has on our health if we eat it every day. Having said that, my kids love Maggie Mee Goreng and I can't stop them from ordering it in a mamak restaurant(maybe they have grown out of it now).

My only hope is that if you have tried out these recipes, do let me what you feel and is there any suggestions that you have for me in improving these dishes.