Ugly legs, a man’s crotch and a lovely blue jacket : The hazards of reading People magazine at work.

For some reason, the clinic was exceptionally light today. Just a small trickle of patients compared to the daily deluge. I don’t know whether it was the Royal wedding that kept people away, it couldn’t be, I’d like to believe it was the heat.

So anyway, I just received the latest People magazine, so I thought I’d flip through a few pages. And before you wonder, I DON’T subscribe to people magazine, it must be one of the girls in the house.

As I’m flipping around, I catch a glimpse of Rani Mukherjee’s legs. Fat and blotchy with ugly knees (it’s all about the knees for me). For people not familiar with bollywood stars, she’s as big as they come. And after seeing her legs, I mean that literally.

Then, I come face to face with a male underwear ad. To all advertising gurus out there, seeing a picture of another man’s sock-enhanced crotch isn’t going to make me run out and buy a pair. Maybe if you had an in-built iPod, I’d think about it.

As I flip some more, I come across a picture of Sonam Kapoor, she’s the daughter of Anil Kapoor, the hairy ‘Mill-a-naaaaiiiirrr’ guy from Slumdog. I confess, I haven’t seen any of her movies, nada. But I’ve sort of become a fan ever since I saw her taking the mickey out her colleagues on a certain talk show. Plus, I believe she has a very avant garde style of dressing. Very Valentino meets McQueen. Look at her in the picture below, who’d wear ridiculously puffed sleeves like that? She has fashion courage. And now, my respect.

Then I come across this lovely blue jacket in raw silk. It’s been designed by Masaba Gupta, the love child of Vivian Richards and Neena Gupta. It’s very well fitted. Plus, I’m pretty partial to anything raw silk, especially trousers. If I had to design something for my wife, it would be a white, completely beaded, chinese collared shirt, with 3/4th sleeves, very structured and rigid, ending at the waist. The trousers would be straight legged in gold raw silk, ending at the ankles. Sky high heels of course. The thing is, those clothes would end up spending more time on the floor of the bedroom than on my wife. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blimey! (In the royal wedding spirit, I shall use english exclamations), this blog entry started off as vaguely mean and condescending and has ended on a mildly horny note. Oh well.

Horrible, splotchy, knobby knees

Horrible, splotchy, knobby knees

I didnt subscribe to see this.

I didnt subscribe to see this.

Avant garde

Avant garde

Killing time

Killing time

Blue, raw silk jacket by Masaba Gupta

Blue, raw silk jacket by Masaba Gupta

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“Fride” rice and the poor man’s Hermes.

The affordable Indian Hermes.

The affordable Indian Hermes.

Spot the mistakes...

Spot the mistakes…

Lovely view of the lake palace, Udaipur.

Lovely view of the lake palace, Udaipur.

We went to Udaipur recently. It’s a lovely little city, ‘the city of lakes’, in Rajasthan, India.

We went for lunch to this wonderful restaurant by the lake, with stunning views of the lake palace and the jag mandir palace. Everything was perfect except the spelling on the menus. I felt like leaving them a Wren and Martin as a tip. It’s ridiculous how many spelling mistakes are there in one snapshot.
Fride = Fried, Panner = Paneer, Gralik = Garlic and Mashroom = Mushroom.

On a side note, someone sent me this pic recently. Hermes dry fruits. I wonder if the dry fruits come in an ostrich leather pouch with an ‘H’ clasp. What’s next? A Louis Vuitton lassi outlet?

Anyway, found this funny. Thought I’d share.

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The ketchup chronicles.

I understand that most people would find ketchup a pretty weird subject to write on. Ketchup, the bane of chefs all over the world. Ask for ketchup at a pizzeria in Italy and you risk getting thrown out, maybe I’m exaggerating, but at the very least, you risk getting a really nasty look from the chef.

The problem with ketchup is that it’s often thought of as a masking agent. A panacea for all tasteless fare. It really isn’t. Let me tell you about how my relationship with ketchup has evolved over the years.

As a kid in small town India, ketchup was synonymous with the locally available ‘Kissan’ ketchup. It was India’s answer to Heinz. Same color, same consistency and came in a distinctive glass bottle which needed a good whack or two before dollops of the crimson goop splattered your plate. The taste was timeless. It went perfectly with traditional Indian snacks like samosas, replacing the tamarind or coriander chutneys which found pride of place in old Indian homes. The western revolution had begun on the dining table.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of India’s early globalization years. So, then came Maggi. Ads on TV played often, showing the new Maggi ketchup being ladled on beautifully crafted burgers, pizzas, samosas, french fries and I even remember an ad where a kid just licked ketchup off his plate. But, Maggi never entered our house. We are a family which does not take kindly to change. There was never any need felt to replace the old faithful Kissan.

Then came the boarding school years. Maggi, in a stroke of unparalleled genius launched a new ‘Hot and Sweet’ tomato-chilly sauce. Launched with much fanfare starring a ‘then’ popular tv star called Javed Jaffrey, their tagline was “It’s different”. What I believe they tried to do was to bring in the slightly old Indians who stayed away from ketchup, deeming it too sweet. We Indians do like a bit of a kick in our food.

I first tried ‘Hot and Sweet’ in my boarding school. And not in the conventional way. Every wednesday, saturday and sunday, my school served it’s version of Pulao. Pulao is a fragrant Indian rice preparation with peas, carrots and french beans. My school’s pulao on the other hand was brown in color with scattered peppercorns and cloves, devoid of any veggies. They served it with a watery, insipid version of mutton rogan josh. A friend of mine suggested we add a little bit of the ‘hot and sweet’ to rice, suspicious at first, I followed. The result was magic. My mouth burst alive, my palate was tingling. It was sensational. Thereafter I cannot recall ever eating that stupid pulao without a generous helping of the magic sauce. (Don’t judge me. I was 9. And hungry).

Maggi subsequently launched plenty more versions, there was an onion and garlic one, a tamarind one and a chilly garlic one. But none came close to the original. So when I think of Maggi ketchups, I don’t think of it as just another product. It changed my life (and my waistline), at a time in my life when I was young, homesick and hungry for a palatable meal. It was a friend in a bottle.

As time passed, Heinz came to India, it was the same as Kissan to me. Pretty ‘meh’. When we go eating at fancy places now, the chef usually has his own homemade version. So I make do with that.

But at home, nothing replaces ‘Hot and Sweet’, the bright red sauce with small crimson specks, flowing effortlessly out of the bottle (no whacking required). I still get pretty upset if it’s the bottle’s empty and hasn’t been replaced. Eaten with a grilled cheese sandwich, trust me, nothing comes close, pretty indescribable. Maybe that’s why Maggi came up with the ‘It’s different’ tagline. Because, well, it is.

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Hate Math. Love Art.

I love drawing. Especially cartoons. It all started when I was in the 5th grade, my first year at a boarding school. I was in Scindia, by the way. I hated math and had a terrible math teacher. Also, did I mention that I was a stubborn little critter? My way of protesting was to doodle in my math book.

The very first comic strip I drew was called ‘Big Mac’. It was about a guy who wanted to become a boxer against his father’s wishes. He’d get beat up every night and come home with a few teeth missing. One day, after some 70+ episodes, I got caught and ‘Big Mac’ got confiscated. And that’s all I have to say about that.

In 8th grade, I had an art teacher called Mr. Jojo Jacob, who I really liked, mainly because he encouraged me to bunk classes and hang out in the art room. He was a pothead which I learnt much later on. He was never really liked by the other teachers for his very anti-establishment outlook. In his head, the poor guy was still in woodstock. He made me start a cartoon strip mocking every teacher, one a week. All to be taken in jest of course, but it was petrifying. The teachers took it well though mainly because I kept the humor a little above the belt.

As with all Indian students, the years from 10th to the 12th grade were a blur. Periods of intense studying and even more intense praying. Getting into a medical school was not easy. Whilst in 11th, I met this bunch of really fun people, all of whom wanted to pursue engineering abroad. We had a blast and it was very sad when they left after 12th. So my third attempt at a comic strip was starring this odd bunch called ‘God Save Us’, chronicling all the good and not so good times we shared. It was the most finished product I had ever come up with, inked with special rotring pens and india ink, it looked professional. And very well received, remembered to this day.

So, when I came across Marjane Satrapi’s work, namely Persepolis and Embroideries, I was taken back to what was my beloved hobby. I want to crack open my pens and dust off the cartridge paper sketch books and start doodling again. This stupid doctor profession keeps getting in the way.

The only question is, who’ll be my muse? My wife? The mother-in-law (that would be a funny strip)? Or the kids in the house?

And just for that feeling of fresh enthusiasm, thanks Marjane.

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Breakfast.

The thing with watching food shows on tv (so many of them now) is that you get insanely tempted to eat things which you have no access to back home.

Like, what’s the point of watching top chef or masterchef and then getting a sudden craving for a really well crafted burger, which you can’t get rightaway?

What’s the point of watching shows like Man vs Food when you can’t get a nice fried chicken with gravy, apple butter, southern biscuits and good ol’ american diner coffee.

That’s why I made it a point to visit ‘Cracker Barrel’ the last time I was in US, for that authentic southern style, very high calorie breakfast.

So totally worth it.

Conversations with my sister…

20110423-114410.jpg

3rd dec ’08

An excerpt from a conversation I had with my little sister at lunch today :-

Me : What does ‘am’ and ‘pm’ stand for?
Manu : am=after mignight and pm=post morning.

Me : What about BC/AD?
Manu : BC=Before Christ and AD= After death (by now, i’m frustrated)

Me : Who is the new home minister?
Manu : Atal behari vajpayee?…. no no no …. that deshmukh guy…

Me : Who is the head of Al-Qaeda?
Manu : Obama… no no no … Osaka…. no no no … something like that….

Me : Who is RR Patil?
Manu : is he some constable who died?

Me : Who created facebook?
Manu : Bill Gates?

Me : What should Manmohan Singh tell the Pak PM/President?
Manu : He should tell them ” ‘s not fair”… and ignore their calls then…

Me : What is the capital of Pakistan?
Manu : this one i know…. Karachi … no… Lahore….

Me : Which country did the Bali bomb blasts occur in?
Manu : …. not sure…. China?

Me : Chinchpokhli is the capital of which country?
Manu : Bhutan? My GK has improved na…

05 dec ’08

another excerpt from a tiring lunch with my sister today:-

Me : Do you know who the new CM of Maharashtra is?
Manu : yeah… some Chauhan guy….
Harsh : Dude, it’s not Chauhan… it’s Chavan… like in chavanprash…
Me : but, what’s his first name?
Manu : ~giggling~…. Dabur??

Me : Raj Thakeray is the head of which party?
Manu : Shiv Sena
Me : and Uddhav?
Manu : BJP?… i dont know yaar… but not congress…
Me : how’re they related to bal thakeray?
Manu : they are his sons…
Me : you’re so dumb… how can you not know this…..
Manu : grandsons????

Me : Who is condeleeza rice?
Manu : …. you’re just making up names now… please dont put this on facebook!
Me : Pranab Mukherjee?
Manu : with an annoying laugh… rani mukherjee’s dad?…

by this time, i’ve lost my appetite, so i get up and leave. let’s see what future meals behold…

06 dec ’08

… and now both siblings are hell bent on dragging the good family name through dirt…

Me : Manu, obviously politics is not your forte…
Manu : you realized now?
Me : fair enough… what is amitabh bachchan’s daughter’s name?
Manu : i’m not good with names. can i tell you his daughter-in-law’s name?
Me : ok, what are dharmendra’s sons’ names?
Manu : i told you, i’m not good with names…
Harsh : dude, who cares about dharmendra…

Me : where is khalistan?
Manu : dude, i dont know much geography…
Harsh : in the middle east! (with an arrogant and overconfident tone)

Me : Who discovered fire? (this question was just to mess around with them)
Manu : GOD
Harsh : hahahahaha
Manu : i think the guys in the stone age… they rubbed those stones together and got fire.
Harsh : i think it was the mesopotamian civilization (in all sincerity)

Me : Why is the arabian sea called so?
Manu : because of the arabs?
Harsh : because it starts in saudi arabia

Me : baghdad is the capital of which country? (this question was answered with buzzer round quickness)
Harsh : Iraq
Manu : Dubai!!

Me : the taj group is owned by ?
Harsh and Manu : Ratan Tata
Me: and the oberoi?
Manu : Birla?
Harsh : some oberoi guy…

Me : who is Robert De Niro?
Manu : Robert the who?
Harsh : it’s a character like how james bond is a character…

Me : well done. can someone please pass me the poison.

I'm a Gynecologist by profession but an artist at heart. Forever trying to bridge the gap between Art and Science. I love good design, good food and open minds. I hope you enjoy my blog.