Thursday, May 05, 2016

390

What was good about yesterday:

1. A warm, delicious spicy egg and chicken sausage yesterday at Moshe's.

2. A very nice walk home. The breeze was cool and sweet. There were plenty of stars on the road and just all-around gorgeous stuff.

3. A great chat with my mother.

4. A really nice bowl of masala rice for breakfast.

5. A glass of refreshing kokum drink (the one by Paperboat).


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

391

Stuff that made yesterday a nice day:

1. The rickshaw rides to and from Koregaon Park. On both counts, it was really easy to get auto-rickshaws and it felt so good to simply sit in, not drive, and look out at the world go by or stay stranded in traffic.

2. Bought three pairs of ear-rings from a street hawker on Kregaon Park. One is a kind-of-mother of pearl ear-rings (very fake of course since it was for fifty rupees only). Another one is a basic, simple hoops. The third one, that I like, is a totally out there pair of chrome-shiny owl. I love that! I tried it on at home and given my short hairstyle, etc., it looked really dramatic. But I want to wear it to work some day. So I'll probably have to hunt for some very plain, dark clothes so as not to given an impression to my office colleagues that I'm going to Broadway - to star in a show!

3. Went to French Creperie again! I love that place. I love it! I had a warm tuna salad with some boiled eggs that was delicious! The proprietor is so sweet! They were playing French songs and the proprietor was singing out loud as he flipped his crepes. A happy cook is such a joy to watch!

4. Last night, I was waiting at the Veritas signal on Baner to cross the road. (I was walking back from Aundh at that point.) A lady was driving by. She waved at me and asked me if I wanted a lift. I declined because summer nights are great to walk in. It was very sweet of her though.

5. Slept really well last night. Not too much. But really well.


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

The living of it

A fitful night
A restless sun
A waking of an uncertain land;
I clawed to scrape the morning light
Yet curled up when the light scraped too bright.
A listless day
A hopeless way
A today boiled hard and jaded
I wiped the ache 
And sweated out blue
And clipped the nails from where the light had faded.
The night came as it always does
Certain and silent and strong
And despite the perpetuity it promises
It still wouldn't last too long.
When the moon is glum
And the stars keep mum
And I trace the destiny fissures on my hand
I wonder if my promised paradise
Is a simple rented home
In a lost and uncertain land.

392

Some good things I came across today:

1. Saw a spray of beautiful white-almost bluish flowers by the roadside. It was a lovely shade and it so happened that, at work today, I came across a website that calls this shade 'Alice Blue'. (http://www.flatuicolorpicker.com/?utm_content=buffer442f1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

2. I tried the Paneer Wrap from Mac Donald's. It was tasty and spicy. Loved the wrap itself, though. It was quite soft and not at all doughy.

3. The car has stalled since the last few days. So, I've been taking the auto since the last few days. The rickshaw stand at Balewadi Faata is working out pretty well! They go by meter. They, so far, have been polite. Yes, they will decline to give back change. But most will smile as they will tell you that it's okay to forego eight rupees.

4. Really funny episodes of Stephen Colbert's Late Night show. I enjoy those a lot.

5. My pretty black and white striped skirt from Mango which I thought I'd misplaced a while ago.



Monday, May 02, 2016

393

Things to be grateful for:

1. Had a lovely time at the play reading of Dicken's Christmas Carol. It was light and fun and it was really interesting to see people really get into the narration.

2. I went to Model Colony for the first time. Checked out Model Cafe there which was quite charming.

3. After the meetup, a couple of us tried out a new place called Tien. This is again in Model Colony. It's small, chic, with black decor and stuff. It's known for good and affordable sushi. They were out of sushi when we landed up there. I had an iced tea that had been freshly brewed and didn't come out of the box. I also had a red quince and mushroom dish that was tasty.

4. My car has stalled so I got a ride back home. On a bike. Which is always thrilling once I get past the initial fright of me falling down and having my head split open.

5. I wore my white smock dress with sailor striped. I hadn't been able to find it in my cupboards. But found it, wore it, enjoyed it.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

394: Fashion Sense...equal importance on both words

As published on LinkedIn

A friend of mine is a freelance journalist. She is astute, articulate, and fearless. She has been to the interiors of Maharashtra and Gujurat by herself to cover stories. In crowded places, she has taken a stance that is unpopular with the mob. In short, she has a spine and is not afraid to use it. Incidentally, she also dresses up fancy and covers fashion weeks.

And when she dresses nicely, in sharp, tailored clothes, she's seen as fluff. "Fashion journalist?", she gets asked. "Journalist", she replies.

I am not a journalist. However, I have written fashion-related articles, content for luxury websites, and really, really liked Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir "Eat, Pray, Love." So, I am that chick - you know, the kind who will not know math or understand how to change a gas cylinder and stuff like that. (All correct estimations in my case, by the way.) The corollary then, is that anyone interested in fashion is a bit flaky and unsubstantial.

My journalist friend was once telling me how fashion may be looked down on because it's a woman thing, even though it's a proper bona fide industry, with proper bona fide industry problems. Implications of textile being available, implications of markets and labour being wiped out, implications of new technology changing consumer behaviour - all of these are serious aspects. But the same issues in an automobile industry is seen as more important than if confronted in a fashion industry. Could gender stereotyping play a part?

Usually, fashion is seen to be superficial and facile. Unnecessary. A distraction for a flippant society that does not want to focus on core, important issues. But like my friend pointed out, that in the late 70s and through 80s (or some decade round-about there), the fashion industry rallied around gay rights and participated strongly in AIDS awareness and prevention. (This was around the time when research suggested that a lot of people in the fashion industry were afflicted by it.)

What really has the automobile industry done for accident victims or what have banks done for the homeless or compulsive gamblers, etc.? (Maybe they have done stuff but one wonders about initiatives that go beyond the mandates of CSR.)

But fashion...that can't be serious stuff, can it? It better look for gloss and glitter and step into the scathing spotlight.

Friday, April 29, 2016

400, 399, 398, 397, 396, 395

Just some updates:

1. Went for a moonlight trek from Katraj to Sinhagadh. It was arduous, humbling, beautiful.

2. Tried out the new German diner, Mahlzeit. Had a vegetarian wurst- curried (as opposed to a variation, bratwurst). It was quite tasty. The place specializes in German street good and is located at Koregaon Park. (But of course.)

3. Parents had come over and they got me the first mangoes of the season. Those were sliced, chilled, and had with soft parathas for breakfast.

4. A couple of my close friends shifted out from Delhi to Ambala. I feel sad. It feels like the end of an era.

5. I finished reading the book, The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time. Loved it. A tender, strong book with a rather original narrative.

6. Flirted with a few books here and there before committing to buy the book, Name of the rose by Umberto Eco. It seems to be a thrilling side.

Friday, April 22, 2016

401

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/some-days-message-mukta-raut?trk=mp-author-card


Thursday, April 21, 2016

403, 402

Coming up with the concept of truth...maybe that is the triumph of the imagination.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

404

The last few days I was feeling a little unwell and really weak. I was madly craving fish so I had some. After 7 years of being vegetarian, had fish. It felt really good.

So far, here are the nice fish dishes I've had:

1. The tandoori pomfret from Salt. It is spectacular! It is just so beautifully charred with a kick in the marination - it's superb.

2. The butter-lemon prawns and the red snapper at Malaka Spice. The prawns were lovely. The snapper was a little rubbery.

3. The bhekti fish-fry at my home in Bombay. Superlative, but of course.

4. The roasted surmai from Food Court - very, very tasty.

5. The schezwan-stir fried fish from Kimling - totallly avoidable unless you want lightly fish flavored batter.

407, 406, 405

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fiction for You

Source: www.pexels.com

Here's something I would like to propose.

If you'd like to read a short, fictional story, please write to me at mukta.raut@gmail.com. Between 10 to 20 days, I'll write one and share it with you. If you like it, you could pay me whatever you see fit for it.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

408: First Impressions: My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik

When you start reading the book, you wonder about an interesting 'What-if' situation. What if Krishna had recited the Gita to Arjuna in the way Pattanaik has described it here? Chances are that there would have been no war. Everybody would have dozed off or Arjuna would have shot himself in the foot due to sheer exasperation.

But none of that happened. So I'll move on with my thoughts on the book.

The book begins with Pattanaik giving a brief overview of what the Gita is. (It's a song sermon, if you will, that Krishna gave Arjuna when Arjuna lost nerve while battling his family. It's an important text because it condenses some of the most important concepts of Hinduism and outlines a framework in which you can apply it.) Pattanaik then goes on to specify, rather elaborately, why the book is called 'My Gita' and not 'Gita'. It's his interpretation and therefore personal. He sees Gita as a treatise on how we interact with the world. This social dimension is as important as the commonly understood theme of 'self' development. Basically, 'My Gita' tells us what it is to be with others instead of the spiritual navel-gazing that other variations of the book may proffer.

But for all the democracy that the author wants to infuse, he sure pushes forth his ideas rather autocratically. So much so, that 'gita' becomes 'Gita' and that becomes 'My Gita' in the latter parts of the book. The capitalization is an interesting indicator of just how close Pattanaik is to his ideas and just how much he wants us to be on his side. (Or that may be my understanding of the book.)

There is also much contrasting of the Eastern open, meandering philosophy to the rigid, structured Western philosophy. Which would all be well and good if they didn't also come with some very simple, crude diagrams which are funny and paradoxical. Oh, and the long, long treatise on paradox!

What I found disconcerting is the dismissiveness of the traditions that have propagated monastic principles - like Buddhism. What I got from the book is this notion that Hinduism is a superior religion because it shows you a path to God even if you're a householder. This is not something that Buddhism or Jainism propagate. (To digress a bit: Buddhism for me has been about the message that you alone are enough. A lot of traditions insist on relying on a guru or a teacher to take you further. The guru shows you the way and makes it easier for your spiritual growth to occur. But until you find your guru, you flounder and therefore, you must seek. Buddha didn't have a guru. He was driven. He sat and meditated and he got enlightened.)

And Hinduism, frankly, explained through this book seems endless - a desert you have to drag your feet through. I felt like flipping across pages to get to nuggets about the war. But no. 'My Gita' will slowly take you through every turn of thought in Devdutt Pattanaik's mind before you can lift your finger and flip a page. (The first 50 pages seriously feels like a work out.) A lot of the themes have already been covered in the author's earlier works. So the repetitiveness didn't help either. In all honesty, I started feeling like I was reading a printed 'Goodreads' compilation of all of Pattanaik's work.

If this is your first Devdutt Pattanaik book, then I'm guessing you'll be impressed with it. Because he is impressive in the cogent way he even gives timelessness (or the sense of eternity) a historical context. He's gifted like that.

However, the book comes together towards the end. The pace picks up. Things start getting more lucid. You start seeing a pattern. Then the pattern seems beautiful. And then the beauty sets you free.

Maybe that's the point...of the author, of the book, of our lives.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

409

1. I was almost attacked by a partially blind, mud-colored St. Bernard yesterday. I was walking back home from Aundh. It was around 10:15 p.m. or so. When I was walking past this open lot, I heard a growl and saw a large dog bounding across the street. But I screamed and ran a little ahead and then it stopped. Very grateful that I reached home safe.

2. I picked up a cup of badaam ice-cream from Havmor. It was not nice at all. But I had it while reading a few more pages of the novel, 'Snow Flower...'

3. Had the non-alcoholic beer at Peter Donuts which I loved! You can flavor it separately with ginger syrup or honey and that would invite snickering from people around. However, on its own, it's pretty nice too.

4. Mom had come over and she had brought me some kheer-kadams. I love them. I think I'll have one today.

5. I slept so damn well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

410

1. Lovely sliver of a moon, dull and ornate like antique silver.

2. Fit into a rather old skirt and it looked good, if slightly snug.

3. Finished the first draft of a proposal I was working on.

4. Got a lovely gift from a friend. It's a magic cup. So this cup has  A faint picture  of her dog and me. The picture emerges more clearly when you have some kind of a hot liquid in it.

5. Prettied up my armoire and tastefully aranged a few things...like a wooden button, a roll of thread, prayer needs, a fan made of sandalwood. That book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, seems to be influencing me.

Now, time for a late night cup of tea and some gazing around in the balcony.

Monday, April 11, 2016

411

1. Enjoyed the curd rice that was made yesterday.

2. I cooked potatoes with moong daal last night. First, sauteed the moong daal in ghee. Chopped up a potato in large cubes and added it to the daal. Added turmeric, salt, and a spoonful of thetcha. Added a glass of water and had it pressure cooked. It was quite tasty.

3. Watched a film last night, American Graffiti. It's a 1973 film directed by George Lucas and produced by Ford Coppola. The film was a sleeper hit and it launched the careers of a young Susan Sommers and a new Harrisson Ford who was then still a carpenter. Lucas could fund Star Wars because this film was a hit.

4. Met a pal last afternoon for coffee. He gave me two books- a murder mystery called The Alienist and another slim volume of history between a potential war between Russia and China. The second one is non-fiction.

5. Cleaned up my room some more.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

416, 415, 414, 413, 412

A slightly tough day so I will quickly jot down a few things that made me happy:

1. The film, Kung Fu Panda 3. I loved all those swirling animations of chi and the final sequence where Po vanishes to leave behind a yin and yang emblem made of pale pink petals.

2. Very good mango lassi at Bhagatsingh Tarachand.

3. Catching up with a friend who was visiting from Chicago.

4. Being able to retrieve a few e-books after mistakenly deleting them.

5. A beautiful white Salwar Kameez in chikan work that Ma got me as a birthday gift.

6. The beautiful passages describing a fragile world in the book 'Snow Flower and the secret fan.'

7. Revisiting pictures of the sea.

8. Getting more visible on LinkedIn

9. Winning a book as a consolation prize at work, Invisible Cities by Calvino.

(I think I will write about all the good things that happen to me. Even when I am being impossible and horrible.)