Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kolar District

I've just returned from three days spent in and around Kolar district visiting various farms. The stand out feature has been the glut in tomato and carrot harvests this year. Of course, this is really nothing surprising as it is pretty much an annual event. So much so that there are food processing companies that count on this excess production such that they run their factories only between January and April. This year, the 'normal' harvest was upgraded to a 'bumper harvest' owing to the above-average monsoon last year and the fact that the lakes and tanks have held much of their inflow due to new rules prohibiting use of the water on wasteful activities, which has also made for some fabulous swimming holes.

Now, the government in all its wisdom, has announced a minimum support price of Rs. 2/kg of tomato, which might be laudable if it weren't for the fact that anyone who brings tomatoes can avail of this generous offer and not just farmers. Which has led to middle-men buying produce, at fire-sale prices ranging from Rs. 0.25 to Rs. 1.25, from interior farms (also from outside the State) where news hasn't trickled in as yet, bringing the produce to the Kolar APMC yard and flogging it to the government. And others are loading their vehicles with stones to add weight, and still more, recycling the discarded tomatoes to collect reimbursement a second time. Oh, and what is the government doing with the tomatoes? The pictures will attest. So much has been discarded that even the cattle and sheep in the district refuse to eat it anymore. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The happiest people are the weigh bridge owners in and around Kolar as they have been nominated to weigh all the incoming produce. The net result is that Kolar District pretty much smells like a ketchup bottle or a rotting mound of vegetable waste, depending on the freshness of the tomatoes of course. Chamique's suggestion, La Tomatina of course!

I also visited a nearby temple popularly called Dakshina Kashi. It's one of those adverts for the myth of Indian communal harmony what with it being sandwiched between two Dargahs. It's a very long climb to the top all the while being pestered by monkeys and the occasional deer. The stand-out feature of the Nandi Temple at the peak is that it has a perennial water source irrespective of the aridity of the countryside. Of course, the ASI might be having a good laugh what with the ill-diguised masonry work behind the spout, a maze of pipes and the too many intricate valves for something that is apparently divine! Skeptic? Me?

Why do we treat our cultural heritage so shoddily? If it isn't the ASI making half-witted attempts at preservation/renewal, it's half-assed tourists/pilgrims making half-witted comments of the Dinku *hearts* Tinku variety.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chinese Chef

Yang Jiayu. Remember that name the next time you dine at the Shanghai Club. It was an honour to have him cook for us. And it was impossible to review dinner while in a state of rapture. Suffice to say, I'm going back as soon as I can muster enough to pay for the next meal.


I've been asked to, at the least, include the menu. So here goes:

  1. Stir fried lotus stem with honey and chilly.
  2. Dim sum filled with bay scallops and baby ginger.
  3. Crab meat and tofu soup.
  4. Prawn wonton soup.
  5. Scampi steamed with garlic.
  6. Tossed crab meat with ginger and spring onion.
  7. Double cooked pork with Sichuan peppers.
  8. Stir fried chinese greens with black and shitake mushroom.
  9. Cantonese noodles with 100 year old soy sauce and assorted seafood.
  10. Chef's special rice with butter and cheese.
Without any doubt, this was the finest meal I have ever eaten in Bangalore. Aleph, you need to go and if you call in advance he will even do a special Peking Duck.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kannada Pride

In chaste Japanese.

It says Yamaha RX135, or is it RX125? Don't know, can't read numerals.

Update: It's Yamaha RX135. Thank yew Chamique.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Sorta Fairytale

This has been playing in my head, when not on Winamp. Constantly.

On My Way Up North
Up On The Ventura
I Pulled Back The Hood
And I Was Talking To You
And I Knew Then It Would Be
A Life Long Thing
But I Didn't Know That We
We Could Break A Silver Lining

And I'm So Sad
Like A Good Book
I Can't Put This
Day Back
A Sorta Fairytale
With You
A Sorta Fairytale
With You

Things You Said That Day
Up On The 101
The Girl Had Come Undone
I Tried To Downplay It
With A Bet About Us
You Said That-
You'd Take It
As Long As I Could
I Could Not Erase It

And I'm So Sad
Like A Good Book
I Can't Put This
Day Back
A Sorta Fairytale
With You
A Sorta Fairytale
With You

And I Ride Along Side
And I Rode Along Side
You Then
And I Rode Along Side
Till You Lost Me There
In The Open Road
And I Rode Along Side
Till The Honey Spread
Itself So Thin
For Me To Break Your Bread
For Me To Take Your Word
I Had To Steal It

And I'm So Sad
Like A Good Book
I Can't Put This
Day Back
A Sorta Fairytale
With You
A Sorta Fairytale
With You
I Could Pick Back Up
Whenever I Feel

Way Up North I Took My Day
All In All Was A Pretty Nice
Day And I Put The Hood
Right Back Where
You Could Taste Heaven
Feel Out The Summer Breeze
Didn't Know When We'd Be Back
And I - I Don't -
Didn't Think
We'd End Up Like
Like This

- Tori Amos (2002)

Friday, March 24, 2006


My man, Mohayana, is blogging regularly now.

Check out his blog, Makyo Verandah. It's pretty cool for most parts, just like him.


I'm at Bangalore University's Registrar of Evaluations to apply for a set of duplicate marks cards (I lost them. Yes, the entire set.)

I ask for directions to the right counter to submit the forms and a gentleman on the ground floor says
"Upstairu, dead-endu."

Of course that turned out to be the wrong counter. Some serious walking and an adventure with an ice-pick going through the entire sheaf of application forms later, I submit them and go home feeling happier that I'm done with some very overdue paperwork.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Competition, they said

Look at this
Hyderabad International Airport

Now look at this
Bangalore International Airport

Such a pity.

Update: New website up and running and blogged about here.

The 'Saturday Shirt'

I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

gapingvoid t-shirts


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Daily Fix

A minumum of 20 cups a day. Make you strong!

Organic green tea from the Korakundah Estate.

Monday, March 20, 2006


It's a sad day. It truly is.

Power can be intoxicating. Money more so. Like he said, all he now has is his legacy.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

What Is Stupidity?

U.S. Navy vs. Somalian Pirates.

"The battle started after the USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez, which were patrolling as part of a Dutch-led task force, spotted a 30-foot fishing boat towing smaller skiffs and prepared to board and inspect the vessels. The suspected pirates were holding what appeared to be rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the navy said. When the suspects began shooting, naval gunners returned fire with mounted machine guns. One suspect was killed and five others were wounded, the navy said."

Navy Exchanges Fire With Suspected Pirates

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Second Coming

"Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds."
He is coming. I must prepare. (With due apologies to Yeats.)

I'm not one to pimp a random website, but if you are a gossip junkie, more occidental than oriental, take a look at this site. Absolutely fabulous. Be sure to click on the Preference button at the top right and select all of the available options as it makes for much easier reading.

We Smirch

Headlines du Jour include, "Jake Black Elopes With Tanya Haden", "Kate Moss Is Horny" and my personal favourite, "Pamela Uses Breast As A Black Book?"


Where does Rediff copy their HTML code from? And why do they not cite or even acknowledge the source? Or fix the code? Netflix in India, yeah right! Not cool.

Here is a link to the offending page.

And this link is especially for you dear loyal reader. Music.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I've been following this story for a while now and it has all the makings of a great discovery. Or one big disappointment.

Apparently, a rain drenched southern Kerala over several weeks in July 2001 and the oddity was that the rain was red. There has been no convinving explanation as to the origin and nature of this red rain but Mr. Louis, a scientist in Kottayam, collected samples and subjected them to scrunity under a very powerful microscope. Which was when things started to go very strange. The red particles seemed to consist of organic material and looked like a unicellular organism with a distinct cell wall. How do you spell panspermia?

Pictures from his paper can be seen here. His full paper is availabe here. Wikipedia has a balanced article up as well.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Dhoni walks to the middle in the first innings.

David Gower and Javagal Srinath are ooh-ing and aah-ing about the wonderful young talent and that sort of thing.

Srinath: Very dangerous batsman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Gower: Every bowler must dread bowling to him.
Srinath: Yes, he is a dreadful batsman.

Long silence

Gower: Dreadful for the bowlers, you mean?
Srinath: Yes, yes. Bowlers are dreadful when they bowl to him.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Recluse now has a blog of his own. Head on over there for posts that are definitely more cerebral than what we have to offer. And he has comments enabled too!

The Doctor Operates

His first post compares Crash to Rang de Basanti.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Overheard last night

At Temptation, one ABCD chap in his thickest American accent,
"Y'know, like, in Rajasthan and in Haryana, it's a crime to marry outside your gotra."


Could you win an Oscar?

Well, could you?

I'm a "Gallant nominee. You clearly know your way around the Oscar minefield and have launched your campaign on the back of a prestige project. That said, you're still too wet behind the ears, and too much of an unknown quantity for the Academy voters. Prepare to smile and clap graciously when another name is called."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Nobody Reads Our Blog

Get your own!

Women's Day

Prosecution in cases of sexual harassment will never be successful, especially where there is no physical evidence to show proof, if only because of the design of the current legal and law enforcement systems which are archaic and hence patriarchal to the extreme. Case in point, under current Indian law, there can be no rape of a woman by a husband within the arrangement of marriage (Exception to S. 375 of the Indian Penal Code reads that "Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape."]. Or vice-versa. The only exception is when they are judicially separated and it is without her consent. This logic stemming from a pronouncement made in 1778 that "The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband, which she cannot retract."

This aside, the point I seek to make is regards a better method to punish sexual harassment and deterrence. What I propose is to shift the onus of proof over any alleged act of sexual harassment, defined as may be appropriate, to the accused. A reverse onus clause, that "shifts the burden of proof on to the individual specified to disprove an element of the of the offence." This along with an economic disincentive (The idea of imprisonment is sufficiently delayed from the commencement of trial for it not be a credible deterrent. This is not to suggest that a fine be the only detterant. Just the preliminary one. Imprionment is still an option), specifically a fine (calculated on the severity of the offense so alleged) that will be placed, at the outset, in State escrow pending the outcome of the trial, might prove to be a better way to tackle the problem. Of course, the Malimath Report of 2003 goes so far as to advocate the negation of the presumption of innocence in certain instances, POTA being one. That may be going too far in changing the basic structure of our criminal justice delivery system.

Dilettante favours an amendment to S. 375 of the IPC and special fast-track courts to judge cases of spousal abuse [and sexual harrasment].

Technorati tag: The Blank Noise Project blogathon

BLANK NOISE PROJECT: bangalore mumbai delhi: Blank Noise Presents....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bush's Dinner At Rashrapati Bhavan

A little creativity wouldn't have hurt the menu.

British Humour

True story from WWII:

The Germans set up a number of fake wooden factories in the hope the British (or other Allied Forces) would waste a good amount of ammunition and sortie flying-time and all that. The British Intelligence then got to know about this (since they were doing the exact same thing) and decided to send a lone plane to drop a wooden "bomb" on one of the wooden "factories".

The guts/foolhardiness that would take to pull off such a stunt, I tell you!

Read the Economist's Best Pranks Ever.

Tell Me How You Sleep...

...and I'll tell you who you really are. In the comments please.

As for me, I'm supposedly "...often gregarious and brash, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don't like criticism, or extreme situations."

See for yourself.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

India Coffee House. 3.60/5.00

Dilettante and I went to India Coffee House for breakfast this morning. Given that it’s as much an institution as Koshy’s and Imperial, this is a review where I will tread softly.

We started with a glass of limejuice each, lime, sugar, salt and water, seeds and all. Certainly was refreshing, even if it is pretty basic. Please do note the completely retro 70’s glasses. Then Dilettante had an omelet with buttered toast. Truthfully, the toast is more fried in butter than toasted and buttered. I had their famous scrambled eggs (two portions to a plate.), the secret of which I only recently learned. These are absolutely fabulous, as I have previously stated. We shared a masala dosa, it’s mandatory to have at least one, and it isn’t like any other masala dosa you’ll have anywhere else. It isn’t served with sambar, you are expected to eat it with a fork and knife and has a peculiar appeal. This being ICH, no tea was available to satiate Dilettante’s fetish and I enjoyed a cup of great coffee.

Fishland. 4.10/5.00

Dilettante and I drove to Gandhinagar for dinner, Fishland being our destination. Truth be told, this is a very difficult review to write, I'll run out of adjectives and superlatives way too soon. Instead, I will describe the meal and state that this is quite possibly the best seafood you can get in Bangalore, although you'd have to like the Manglorean style of cooking to fully appreciate this.

The entrance has a chart of everything you could possibly order. Or not.
We started with some Rawa Fried Kane. I like that they use a very fine grade of rava, much more flavour and texture, needless to say the fish had pretty much jumped from sea to pan.

Our main course, if you can call it that, was a Prawn Biriyani, served with a wonderful kokum based coconut milk infused curry.

I can do no better than to quote Aleph who said that the prawns are like finding little jewels amongst perfectly cooked and spiced rice. Or something to that effect.

Since gluttony is something I do well, we also ordered a Masala Fried Prawn, which was perfect in every way...

...and a Masala Fried Slice Of Seer Fish, which was also fabulous. (See, I told you this was a difficult review.)

Aren't these the cutest lotas?

McDonald's @ Sigma Mall

No review. Just a picture. Dilettante, Recluse and I met over a Fillet-O-Fish and fries. We lost most of the fries to the wind. Fish wasn't too bad. Also tried a few other "items", all of which were uniformly disastrous. Stick with the Fish, you can't go wrong.

They have an open kitchen that can be viewed from outside, this is what it looked like, controlled chaos.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Glass Houses

Fourth Umpire, that awful pre and post-match show on DD is a lot of fun to watch for the wonderful chemistry (for want of a better word) between the show's 4 hosts.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth in his most annoying tone to Charu Sharma "Tch. Tch. Tch. Wait Charu, let me speak. You are talking tooooo much."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Bush In Hand...

I stand corrected over a previous post where I stated Bush would not visit Rajghat due to a clash of religious ideology over cremations. He did visit and he wrote thus:

"I am grateful for the opportunity to honour Mahatma Gandhi at this sacred site. His life was an inspiration to people around the world and his contributions to all mankind place him among the great leaders of history."
The luncheon menu for the Prime Minister's lunch today features Mushroom Soup made from extracts of mushroom, Seafood Platter with sea bass, crab meat and spiced prawns, Lamb Curry, Spinach and Corn Curry, Tomatoes Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Urlai Roast Potatoes, Kalonji Gobhi, Yellow Dal, Tandoori Salmon served with Mango Chutney, Alphonso Mangoes with Kulfi and Masala Chai Crème Brulee. Presumably there will be rice and rotis too.