Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monday morning, mid-week

Some people stay far away from the door / if there’s a chance of it opening up …

And some people break the damn door down. I thought I belonged to the latter category, but now I’m Snoopy waiting for his dinner bowl. Which will arrive a little too late to be savoured fully. Hellfire and wormwood assail all the penny-pinching Baal-worshipping cash-flow-managing misbegotten sons of free-thinkers in tight underwear who plumped their own bottom-lines and screwed MY balance-sheet by deferring MY dues till April.

Meanwhile …

A stroll down a wooded ride on a cloudy morning. Any walk is much improved by company. Preferrably good-natured, silent company. In other words, a dog. This one is 4 months old and was out in the Wide Wide World for the first time ever. While I mused on the perfect perspective of the trees smalling towards the end of the ride, Zippo discovered dry leaves, tree bark, random pebbles and one stoic toad.

As we passed the sunken paddock, dust stirred between the shadows. A pair of pebbles became the dark tips of two pricked ears. A jackal snoozing in the morning sun. Two more formed a triangle. They raised their heads and regarded us in the manner of a sleepy householder peering at his morning tea-tray, then dropped their noses back onto their paws and curled up again. I gripped the lead tighter, but Zippo was too engrossed in hunting leaves to notice these new playmates.

The sun broke through at the end of the glade. Columns of sunlight slanted through a huge oak. The fairway looked impossibly green, the one patch of sky between the clouds was unrealistically blue and gold. Where every prospect pleases … a boorish shout of “Fore” interrupted my reverie. I started back, first untangling the cat’s-cradle that Zippo had woven round my leg with his leash.

On the way back, a huge bronze drongo fluttered from a bamboo clump to a babul tree. Zippo’s man sauntered up. As he took the leash from me, something rustled in the leaves by the wall. A snake at least five feet long. I’m not too good at identifying snakes, but the head was the wrong shape for a viper. Probably a cobra. As we watched, it moved through a leaf-pile with hardly any sound, then over a little mound and disappeared into a hole in the bank. If only I’d had my camera.

For once, the papers had good news. Sunil More has been tried and sentenced in less than a year. Twenty-seven witnesses have given evidence against him and their anonymity has been protected. More could theoretically have been convicted even if some of the 27 had turned tail; the Supreme Court has ruled that the original testimony of hostile witnesses may be used for prosecution. This follows on the ruling that witnesses who change their statements shall be liable to prosecution for perjury. Who says the law is an ass?!

Not that there’s any shortage of asses (pun not intended). The Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, no doubt at great personal cost and privation, will leave no stone unturned to investigate whether the wardrobe malfunctions during the Fashion Week were intentional. Testing times, gentlemen. Will he set up a Task Force to tug at Carol Gracias’ top and Gauhar Khan’s skirt? Will he (oh joy) perchance try them on himself, and twirl to see whether they come off? Will he do a time-and-motion study of 15 girls changing into 35 dresses in 20 minutes? The possibilities are endless. And of course so much more important than farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha.

For me, the story of the week appeared on Saturday. Sadly enough, only the Telegraph covered it in detail. Sarath Babu went through school with a teacher’s help and through BITS Pilani on scholarships. Now that he’s graduated from business school, he’ll run his own catering business. Like his mother, only on a different scale. Good man.

I have mixed feelings about Gaurav Dagaonkar, though. Surely he doesn’t need a PGDM to make music? Or is he setting up his own music production company? Not clear from the story (and I won’t buy his CD to check the label, either). This is a variation on a theme that I’ve encountered ever since I started this job. Is it a waste when qualified engineers or doctors or managers join the civil service? True, they can use on the job whatever they have learnt in their professional courses. Sadly enough, they may not get the opportunity in their first few years in the field. I don’t see much scope for a chemical engineer to use his expertise as a Sub-Divisional Officer. On the other hand, there’s the popular view that most B-School graduates end up “selling soap”. Vindi Banga, after all, used to be the pin-up boy for our young hot-shots.

The fact remains that these bright young people take up a scarce resource – specialized education. Now that the IIMs are hiking their fees, we have little cause for complaint if B-School graduates do their own thing. (Sing louder, Gaurav.) What about doctors? The state spends Rs. 800,000, on an average, to produce one doctor. If s/he acquires a post-doc degree, the cost doubles. The reasoning is that this learning will then be used to heal people. Is the trained professional then justified in taking up a different kind of job altogether? Does s/he have a debt to the state? And what about home-makers? Is it fair to take up a seat in a medical college for which 350,000 young people compete, to use the state’s resources for four years at least, then sit at home and not use that learning? A similar argument could be applied to engineers graduating from state-run institutions. Should there be a bond for a certain period of public service after graduation? (Is this the Chicago school of reasoning? Digression, courtesy Urmea: how many Chicago school economists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer - none, if it needs changing the market will take care of it.)

Opinions solicited.

Doesn’t apply to me, of course. Forget about a professional degree, I couldn’t even complete a Master’s degree. Despite two attempts. I remain happily semi-literate. Time to play some Floyd. Yes, that track.

Post-Script: Chicken (a little less than half a kilo) marinated in curd, chilli paste and some salt and grated onions. Separately, heat a couple of tablespoonfuls of oil (NOT coconut oil, unless you're from Kairrlla). Drop in some dark mustard seeds, a handful of peppercorns, some "curry-leaves" (is there a word for them in English?), one clove of shaved garlic, two chopped green chillis and three chopped onions.. Stir till the onions turn golden-brown. Add the marinated chicken, turn up the heat, keep stirring till almost dry. Add a cup of milk (sugar or aspartame to taste) and repeat till the chicken starts to disintegrate.

Best eaten with appams, but fine rice should also do. What should I name it?

**** ****


Tom Pinkerton said...

Should there be a bond for a certain period of public service after graduation?

In the case of state-run institutions, yes.

Is it fair to...then sit at home and not use that learning?

This baffles me completely. How...how do they get through the blood and sweat and tears of five years (and mostly more) of med school without being passionate about medicine? And then switch to house-wifery??

Disservice to the state, yes. And an even greater one to themselves.

Priya said...

Talk about stream(s) of consciousness! Or is it plain freewheeling? Whatever, an interesting pot pourrie.
Call it fuddy-duddy chicken or Chicken jubba the hutt?

Gamesmaster G9 said...

A little more Economics jargon - if you believe Spence, then the education youobtain doesn't really count for squat anyway - its just a signalling mechanism to show you're good enough. Which then begs the question - should the state be spending so much money on them at all?

And on an interesting side note - a Pakistani friend informs me that the brightest girls in her class in one of the best schools in Lahore went on to medical school, and proceeded to land the richest husbands as a result, so that they ended up not having to work.

Tom Pinkerton said...


Was the *objective* of med school (for these bright, young women), to land rich husbands??

I am quite horrified.

And 'having to work' is not generally the kind of goal that drives people to study medicine, is it? I mean, you don't go to med school because you need the money?

Sue said...

You could call your dish Kairrlla Chicken. Since it's to be eaten with appams and all.

And I do agree about people being more aware of what their education is costing the government. Your career is your choice, but your line of education is supposed to be motivated by the vocation you eventually wish to follow, isn't it? Maybe things will change when kids have greater freedom to choose their own fields of study. You can't tell me they do now, because they don't and I'm a witness.

Robert C Ramsey said...


I have read all the forum responses. It is much like most forums, full of hate, impending dome, anxiety, etc. All signs of imbalance of the human body. We like to lash out at people for some reason, instead of trying to be understanding.
One thing is for sure, we are facing a lot of stress everyday. I was almost killed on June 07, 1995, at an extreme industrial chemical processing plant. For some unknown reason I was given some vision about people and what they think. I’m also able to see the spirit or energy that leaves the body when so called death occurs. I realized this in 1979. I also can see that I have had this since birth. It is either genetic or was taught to me by my mother, who died May 29th, 1979. I was 23 at that time.
It is interesting to me that most people are afraid of what they don’t understand. Obviously the environment is affecting everyone. The human body is amazing in fact that it can feel minute changes in measurements of energy and matter all around us. I believe this is the key. The energy that is released from our bodies at death is measured in scientific research to be 28 grams. That is the exact weight we lose at the time of death.
I can see the energy released when people’s spirits are wrenched from there bodies.
It is translucent and passes through matter. The color seems to be white and truly moves amazingly fast.
It is a reward for our struggles we endure in our body’s life. Our chemical make ups are
also a key for the things we would like to see and to understand. Everything we need is in our immeasurable spirit, or energy we all possess. I have had an experience where a six inch needle was passed through two large nerves in my back. The seemingly electrical
energy we have is amazingly strong. It is real.
The Earth’s energy fields are changing. I actually feel it. I believe we all feel it, but choose to ignore it.
I have lived overseas where the pollution is so bad you will become quite ill breathing the air. Your body wants to reject it. It is as if you are suffocating. It is unbelievable, and everyone should experience this.
Radiation is a huge part of this pollution. My personal experience allows me to see and feel these things. The industrial world of India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Korea, Japan, and more are truly unchecked. I believe that if this continues,
it is our apocalypse. The Earth will have to clean itself soon. That is what we are experiencing now.
There is way too much synergy of unbelievable amounts of concentrated chemicals in the atmosphere.
The human race is capable of solving this. We must stop ignoring it immediately! When the uneducated and impoverished exceed the majority of the people on Earth, that will start the collapse. This started a long time ago, and is gaining speed.
Money, power, and control seem to be inherent in all of us. The haves and have not,
is the most powerful influence in all societies?
I believe everyone should experience having nothing, including hope. It very remarkably enlightens. A skill we all need if we are to survive.
Something third world countries have refined to a high degree.
Caring for others and helping others, WOW!



Robert C Ramsey

panu said...

Hmmm... What should You NAME this DIVINE CHICKEN DISH????

I know, how 'bout Chicken Gracias??

another creature who was 'plucked' and disintegrated....

personally, I would chuck the curry leaves and add a little kasundi if I were you.

Urmea said...

Kari pata eh? Ami o rosh-e bonchito unfortunately. One of those things that makes me screech silently in my head, like scratching my nails on whitewashed walls... The recipe sounds amazing though.

Patient Portnoy said...

Could we call it Forgotten-Flu Chicken?

Patient Portnoy said...

BTW, could you this once a week please? This taking us on a morning walk, and then a breezy round-up of the news-of-the-world? It's so much better and more interesting than the papers/TV/www.
Loved the walk. Was almost let down when you said "Any walk is much improved by company", then realised :-)

HutumpaNcha said...

I'm not sure of the economics of changing a bulb..however continuing the civil services argument: does it require an engineer, IIMA grad to be a collector, a PHD in IT to be a Jt Comm(RR), an IIT chem engnr to be a Jt Comm(DM)? Probably not, but all that matters is that they are doing their job and doing it well!!

"Should there be a bond for a certain period of public service after graduation?" Sure why not? If some can do it, the others can in the least be forced to do it.

Inkblot said...

Too much onion if you ask me.

Call it 'passion run dry'?

tony said...

Call it Murg Japwalla..
Didn't know you have this hidden talent Japda.. ( BTW I agree "with the too much onion")

Where in Kolkata does one get to see Jackals?

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Tom P., you’re on dangerous ground there. Though I wonder too. As for your second comment, if I really needed money I’d rather go to ... umm, you don’t want to know!

Priya, J-A-bba the Hutt, please. And free-wheeling yes, s of c no.

Ani, thanks for introducing me to signalling. On the other hand, the Spence model reveals that I’m worth next to nothing on the job-market, so no thanks.

Sue, in our country basic education is a scarce resource, higher education is a pre-requisite for the job market – the Spence theory taken to ridiculous extremes. Very few people study a particular subject because they have any liking for it, they study what they can get or what they think will improve their employability.

Robert C. Ramsey – yes dear, and I also love those little green men and their black albino midget porn. While you’re at it, get a life. Preferrably not on my blog.

Panu, Chicken Gracias is a very good suggestion. Wait for my recipe for keema with shorshey and doi.

Urmi, see above. And I don’t much like lemon grass.

Patient P, NO we may NOT. Glad you liked the post, but (a) I walk / jog only when I can’t get a squash partner and (b) every walk may not be so interesting. Why were you disappointed by that line ("Any walk is much improved by company")?

Madam Hutum, we agree.

Inkblot, also garlic. It’s MEANT to be spicy. Especially the crunch of the peppercorns!

Tony, NOT Japwalla please, this is a faux Chettinad recipe. The wildlife ramble was in the Tollygunge Club. The jackals sing four-part harmonies at night.


Tom Pinkerton said...

Re: Dangerous ground


I need clarification, there seem to be two points of debate here:
1. Is it a - working in the public sector vs. private sector, issue? Or

2. Specialising in a field and then not putting that knowledge to use vs. not working (for money re: the housewife issue) at all?

In case of the first, I don't think public service is the sole method of compensating the state. Does the state not benefit (not directly, but in the larger picture?) from private sector enterprises as well?

In case of the second, I think that shifting tracks professionally is, well...acceptable, though not perhaps the best solution. Giving it up completely, however is criminal (although who the victim is, is slightly debatable).

Re: Wanting to know where you'd rather if you really needed money.

Oh but we *do*! :D

Tom Pinkerton said...

Re: Wanting to know where you'd rather GO if you really needed THE money.

Damn all typos!

Patient Portnoy said...

I was looking for an email ID, but you haven't provided one.

If I was disappointed with "Any walk is much improved by company" that was so totally me and my love for silent rides and lonely walks. Can't explain myself very well, I guess...
I have been lucky to find a friend who I can share my silence with when I trudge up to the mountains with my urban burden. But comforatble silence is so hard to come by. Maybe you're luckier, and I'm sorry if I've disturbed you in your walk

Patient Portnoy said...

BTW, ice-creams for dinner? You sinful, sinful man :-)

HutumpaNcha said...

Can I blogroll you?

Priya said...

Patient Portnoy, JFYI, he eats icecreams for lunch too, that too KFC swirls! Sinful, therefore, I'd say is an understatement! May you grow fatttterr Mr JAP...grrrrrr.

ichatteralot said...

Down south chicken made by sadoldbong could be chicken lotpoti?
Maharashtra ministers are rather interesting to observe - ranging from hilarious to obnoxious

Tabula Rasa said...

how about murg japsody

thanks, btw. sounds good.

A fool on the hill said...

Murgh JAPani.

Kele Panchu said...

Murg chaar pyaJA(P)?

Rohini said...

Hmmmmm. Does this apply to women who have kids and decide to become stay at home moms? Because those of us who did this would surely waste whatever professional qualifications (technical/ medical/ managament) that we might have acquired...