Dearest Microwave,

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Happy 50th birthday!

I sincerely apologize that it took me more than a year of your arrival into my kitchen to thaw my paranoid mind to tapping into your efficiency and speed. But ever since I have dared to try my hand at baking, your convectional abilities have empowered me to surprise family and friends with my baking fantasies, but I wonder if the latest wheat, rye and oat cake has something to do with family members and friends doing disappearing acts from their homes when I plan to surprise them.

Last week when my cooking range failed me, I cannot thank you enough for standing by me. That morning I discovered that your radiating warmth is enough to cook up a breakfast of fluffy rice cakes and cups of hot tea under ten minutes. You are forgiven for altering the molecular structure of food in the heating process, as for a generation of humans like us who are thriving on chemically-treated vegetables and fruits, hormone-addled poultry and meat, hyper processed salty snacks – a few changes at the molecular level means nothing at all.

When President Donald Trump’s smartest advisers, Ms. Kellyanne Conway, raised concerns about microwaves spying on us, I made sure that I dressed up (at least gave up faded nightdresses that has seen better days) and sang English songs while I eyed you ( the dishwasher and the food processor) suspiciously. But the husband reassured me that no one would dare spy on our kitchen (through the microwave at least) as they would be risking their lives to ‘yeast’ poisoning and that my efforts in singing will cause them to give up spying altogether.

On your special year, I wish you more power to fill the hungry stomachs of busy women, lazy men and smart children across the world with your radiating warmth. Just in case you also spy, I also hope that your owner has the voice of a golden hen.

Yours Sincerely,

Owner

PS: I sincerely hope that no Greeting Card Giants get to read this post for that could result in ‘Microwaves Day’. This addition to the calendar might cause the companies to unanimously elect Kellyanne Conway as their brand ambassador for the ‘Microwave’ line of greeting cards! 

 

Flying ‘Desi’ on a German Airline #MoreIndianThanYouThink

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Namaste!

Are you on your first trip abroad?

Does the need to eat spicy Indian lunch during your flight worry you more than mid-flight turbulence?

Are you losing sleep over the worry that the German air hostess’s flight safety instruction in her accented English might leave you fumbling around in case of a flight emergency?

Just in case you have chosen to fly Lufthansa, then all you need to do is pack your bags and get your much-deserved sleep, for Lufthansa Airways is #MoreIndianThanYouThink and their new TV commercial will vouch for that.

India is one of the oldest nations of the world. Geographically, this nation spans from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, however, this great nation has never limited its definition to sameness; for this is a country that can boast of diverse cultures, faith, languages, color and about 333 million Gods.

As an expatriate myself, living and respecting diverse cultures, languages and religious faith up until the time that I have relocated has helped me adapt to living and respecting the beliefs and culture in a new country with absolute ease.

This could shed some light as to why you would (not surprisingly) find an Indian selling hot tea at subzero temperatures in Antarctica!

During our last trip abroad, the husband and I (in all our exuberance) decided to treat our taste buds to the cuisines of Europe. However, our exuberance faded out the very next day as our hungry Indian taste buds craved just about one cup of rice and the humble dal (a dish made from steamed lentils) for lunch.

Luckily, we managed to find an Indian restaurant that did treat our starved taste buds to satisfaction but left us digging deeper into our pockets. To the Indian owner’s delight, the fulfillment of eating a simple Indian meal outdid the weight of the bill, for we turned out to be his regular customer in the days that followed.

Since Indians (by rule) almost always prefer Indian food irrespective of the part of the world they are in, it is not surprising that New York street food has the humble ‘dosa’ dressed up in varieties as their popular delicacy.

With India’s growing influence on the world, Lufthansa, a leading carrier of Indians across the world, has stood true to its word of being #MoreIndianThanYouThink, right from air hostesses welcoming you with a ‘Namaste’ to flight safety instructions repeated in Hindi to smiling air hostesses serving hot Indian meals while you treat yourself to your favorite Bollywood hero dancing to the tunes of a popular Hindi number on the in-flight entertainment system.

So if you wish to travel across the seas the Indian way on a German airline, fly Lufthansa!

This is an Early bird entry for #Indiblogger’s Lufthansa’s #MoreIndianThanYouThink contest. For details please log on to www.indiblogger.in/drive/more-indian-than-you-think-apr-2017

Eye on the Sky

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Lately, the turbulent skies have become media’s very own playground.

First, there was the ban on electronic devices onto flight cabins in flights bound to US and UK from ten Middle Eastern airports that caused passengers ( who usually spent their journey treating themselves to the in-flight entertainment  while indulging their taste buds to mouthwatering hot food cooked by gourmet chefs about a day and a half before) to panic.

Luckily, social media came to the aid of this catastrophe with a few zillion tips on facing a journey through the skies with gadgets sitting in the cargo. One of them suggested writing poems about your husband (while he sat beside you chewing on rubbery chicken tikka, headphones in place).

Social media had a field day lambasting an Indian lawmaker following a flying ban (after he succumbed to a rare case of unapologetic power-drunk air rage) having repeatedly hit a steward with his footwear (25 times exactly). The unfortunate MP was forced to take to the roads and trains struggling to effectively discharge his duties and responsibilities. Finally, a delayed idea of regret expressed in a letter to the Civil Aviation Ministry called off the ban and the MP was relieved to use washrooms without having cameras zooming after him.

When a popular American airline turned into a flying hellscape after they demonstrated to the world that ‘drag and drop’ of customers was their idea of re-accommodation, the inhumane video seized media attention with users zealously overworking their creative abilities to outdo one another’s ‘drag’ cartoons.

A hefty lawsuit , an apologetic CEO and some happy ‘Gulf’ airlines paying back their pending dues – social media has finally run out of ‘drag’ jokes and is back to discussing an adorable cat interrupting Mr. Mayor’s interview and if a musically-inclined chicken is the next musical prodigy.

Yet, hungry news mongers have their eye on the sky for the storms in the turbulent skies are just about a flight away!

 

Creativity Rebooted

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A long time ago, about a few years after the dinosaurs were wiped out from the face of the earth, owning a telephone was a luxury.

Six months after father made a booking for one, our very own shiny green phone arrived along with two directories (that doubled as pillows when our relatives visited us). My brother and I set out to make brief calls, under father’s watchful eyes, to our school friends whom we otherwise never bothered speaking to.

Wonder what an ancient Roman would say if you told him that he could watch Gladiator while riding to Athens in climate-controlled comfort or how your great grandparents would react if they looked down from their heavenly abode and saw their great grandchildren holding onto tiny slabs to listen to ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ before they have uttered their first words.

Artificial Intelligence experts claim that robots will take up most of the physical and rote jobs for humans leaving man free to focus his intellect on creative tasks, subsequently creating a few million jobs in entirely new fields.

Quality of life would be at its prime with robots babysitting autopilots in the cockpit, take up long-haul trucking routes on highways, clean up the city while we get our much-needed night’s rest and may be even take up to doing your morning jogs or attempt yoga postures that you had given up trying, with not as much as a frown, while you are just too busy fanning your creative side and unleashing your inner artist.

Statistics for obesity will never fail to disappoint with its increasing figures, but not to worry, there are robots to nurse you, feed you and take care of you while you recuperate after your Dr. Bot’s liposuction procedure.

In the first, Japanese venture capital firm Deep Knowledge added a robot named Vital to its board of directors.

I wonder if Vital will be held accountable for its executive decisions as is in the case with its human counterparts or if Vital will evolve enough to become the first robot to get into a corruption scandal.

Now that Artificial Intelligence has found its way into the board room, a little more creativity can empower robots to run the world, while we intelligent species of human beings can blissfully just work or even pretend on keeping our creative juices flowing!

 

 

Organically Perplexed!

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'Enjoy your meal! We grow everything ourselves!'

During a visit to the supermarket, I spotted bunches of fresh green palak leaves stacked to perfection on one side with its equally-fresh ‘organic’ counterpart stacked on the next. I was left in a dilemma as to whether it was healthier to feed my family to cubes of cottage cheese simmered in blanched and pureed palak leaves that have been treated to a good healthy dose of pesticides or a crisp green batch of the same that have been treated to manure (or dung) from organic-fed cows and generously watered with fresh treated sewage water.

As my not-so-green fingers and pathetic gardening abilities forbade me from growing  my own batch of herbs, I thought that my family will be better off on a diet minus the delicious ‘palak paneer’. I instead chose a batch of perfectly-rounded, red ‘hydroponic’ variety of tomatoes. I have not bothered snooping around at Google’s doorstep trying to find fault with the ‘hydroponic’ technique of farming, as ignorance (in this case at least) is bliss.

As I glanced upon the white glistening crystals of ‘organic’ sugar, I willed my mind not to think of the unusual ‘organic’ techniques employed to give it its beautiful white sheen.

At the poultry section, I came across a variety of eggs, priced exorbitantly, that had a picture of a fat, healthy and happy hen that appeared to be smiling. Upon checking, I learnt that the ‘smiling’ hen had actually been put on a ‘vegetarian diet’ as the owner had decided to go on a mission to improve humanity’s brain function and immunity with this brand of eggs. We must applaud the owner for this creative marketing strategy and forgive the fact that this person is just by the way earning some extra bucks in the process.

Thankfully, extensive marketing techniques coupled with a drastic increase in the educated lot of customers opting for anything that claims to be produced organically, we have a new brand of bottled water that claims to be organic.

Yes, you heard it right – ORGANIC water.

There is already the Smart Water that improves brain function, Vitamin Water to boost your health and Diet Water to make you skinny.

What could be next, a new range of gluten-free water or Trans fat-free water?

Thank goodness that even in this world of ruthless industrialization and inhumane marketing strategies, somebody still cares about our health!

 

I See You

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“Smile Mommy,” screamed Little Princess as she struck a pose and gave her best smile, expecting me to follow suit. I did manage a weak smile hoping that the bored officer, who spends his day watching surveillance feeds, might have a reason to smile at this mother-daughter duo attempting to strike a pose for the surveillance camera at the aisle of a crowded metro station. Luckily, my daughter’s little eyes only spotted one of the several surveillance units installed across the station.

The American biographical political thriller movie, Snowden, and reports on Wikileaks in the newspapers had the husband securing cameras on laptops and tablets with duct tape, but we both wondered what could be done about the smart TV or the smart phones or our e-mails and Facebook accounts. When it came to light that the director of CIA had difficulty maintaining his privacy on the internet, we decided that we could rather sit back and enjoy the boon and bane of technology.

Did you know that Facebook correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline?

Or the fact that the dark circular globe installed in your neighborhood park has the ability to monitor every individual via facial recognition?

You could play smart in the smart world and delete your Facebook account, turn off your location on cell phone or use cash for all transactions but that would only take you as far as disappearing from your close circle of friends. The internet is a surveillance state and its efficiency is beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell, says Bruce Schneider in his article for the CNN.

Welcome to the world where Google knows you better than your spouse, where cell phone companies know that you are indulging your taste buds to a delicious lunch at your favorite restaurant on a busy workday afternoon and not that urgent client meeting you insisted you had to make, where leaving a digital footprint is easier than learning to make pasta, and where  Facebook can come in handy to track your maid’s whereabouts.

So the next time you click that bizarre selfie meant for your own eyes only, beware, you are being watched!

Inspiration from a ‘Famed’ Shortcut

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When the editor of a leading children’s magazine published my story, my joy (and the money order) caused my twelve-year-old instincts to believe that the storyteller in me has risen from the inner crevices of my being and is on its path to a ‘famed’ story writing spree.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad case of ‘Brains on Overdrive’, as upon embarking on the works of Rabindranath Tagore and William Shakespeare, I went into a literary shock that caused me to (sensibly) abandon my ‘famed’ dream.

More recently, I thought of driving myself to fame by attempting some dangerous car stunts, but the husband insists that the car and me together on a road is a catastrophe enough!

I wondered if I should challenge the Russian model, who soared to fame by cheating death and hanging off a 1000-feet tall skyscraper for a photo shoot, by updating my Twitter account with a video of pretending to write my next blog post dangling atop any one of the many skyscrapers that decorate the Dubai skyline.

The thought of my epitaph reading “Resting in Pieces’ or ‘A Fallen Blogger at Eternal Rest’ did not sound glamorous, so I thought that the safer way to put myself into cyberspace’s history book was to join the motor-mouthed, verbal-diarrhea stricken free-world Twitter force that go by the motto of ‘Tweet without Thought’. As a starter, I could tweet about the glaring lights bouncing off the bald pate of hotshot celebrities being one of the prime causes of global warming or blame Netherlands’s four-day workweek for population explosion!

My light-bulb moment came when I read that an overnight sensation is like a shooting star – a brief blaze that quickly burns out, in the book ‘All Groan Up’ by Paul Angone. Even in this fast-paced world where the fine line between fame and notoriety is fading out, the secret to overnight success is to work with such a passionate, tenacious consistency at something that you cannot NOT do that you lose all interest, anxiety and desire of becoming an overnight success.

As Indian Actor, Aamir Khan, says in his movie 3 idiots, “Do not run behind success, chase excellence, success will come running after you!”

Now if you will excuse me, I have a Twitter update to make.

It is a Man’s World..

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…but it takes a Woman to make life here worth living!

As a life giver, she stands an embodiment of strength, love, compassion and loyalty, bringing color to a stark bleak world. If this also means that she can talk for hours to end with a mute companion or unearth an event from a bygone era just to win an argument – so be it!

It takes a man to complement a woman and vice versa. Yet, it is this very equilibrium of the rule of nature that is under threat.

“Where the women are worshiped, there the Gods will dwell,” goes the saying from the golden era of the Vedic Culture in India, where a venerating regard for women formed the basis for a rich Indian history that included women who have risen to great heights of spirituality, education, science and even warriors in the battlefield.

The Indian Gods went a step ahead in their reverence for their women and had their names after their wives names – ‘Sita-Ram’, ‘Gowri-Shankar’, ‘Janaki-Vallabh’, ‘Radha-Krishna’, ‘Uma-Maheshwar’.

Is there a need for the women’s liberation association if we can simply follow the ancient Vedic culture, questions vocalist – Vishaka Hari.  She rightly points out that the present world is in need of a balance where the man and woman must respect and complement, rather than compete, with one another’s existence, as real beauty lies in dignity and decorum – not in ridicule and derision.

So, dear women, celebrate all that you represent – celebrate your emotional strengths and weaknesses, celebrate your capacity to love and be loved, accept your vulnerabilities for you are human too!

Salute the patient mother, loyal employee, shrewd entrepreneur, the dedicated teacher for it is she who can nurture and restore the balance and harmony back into this world through her sons and daughters.

As for the men, they are well aware, but just have a funny way of showing it!

It was another man, William Golding, who once quoted ‘I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and have always been.’

Related Articles : https://wordpress.com/post/thewritewomanblog.wordpress.com/464

 

 

Eating Write

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A weekend afternoon saw us amoung a crowd of hungry human beings at the waiting area of a popular restaurant. The irresistible aroma of delicious food wafting in from the restaurant caused my salivary glands to drool and stomach to rumble embarrassingly as my hunger-fatigued mind transported me to my mother’s kitchen, my grandmother’s modest kitchen, and shockingly even my own kitchen.

The husband, who had to distract Sid from ogling at the happy people enjoying their meal on the other side of the glass window, looked dazed as he reminisced on a ‘tasty’ chunk of nostalgia – the ‘pani-puri’ man who skillfully dipped crispy stuffed puffs of ‘puri’ into spiced tamarind water and served a crowd of children with skillful deftness that kept none of his ‘little’ customers waiting but leaving them hungry for more. These street vendors – our childhood stars – got us literally eating out of their bare hands and often made a comeback into our thoughts when hunger pangs caused mental bloating and hallucinations.

After a long wait, we were finally showed into the restaurant and even offered a table with a view.

We are what we eat, says actor, R. Madhavan, in his talk at Radiant Wellness Conclave. Mr. Madhavan, who enrolled himself at an Austrian Wellness Institute that practiced techniques learned and used in India, explains that our stomach is our second brain. Eating healthy is much more than incorporating fruits and vegetables; eating right means ‘drinking’ your food and ‘chewing’ your water. Conditioning the lifestyle that you lead while you eat your food determines what aspect of food is absorbed into your body, as your emotions, success, and your relationships are all dependent on what you eat.

So the next time you indulge in your favorite food and worry about your widening waistline, please remind yourself to chew your food 40 times until your brain short circuits with the exercise and signals you to stop eating or simply make sure that the next time you are at your favorite restaurant, you are given a table with a view – a view of hungry humans ogling at you treating your taste buds to the culinary best.

Spaced Out!

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ISRO’s record launch of 104 satellites, UAE’s ‘Mars 2117 project’ that aims to set up the first inhabitable human settlement on the red planet and Mars One launching its official worldwide search for astronauts who will qualify for a one-way ticket to Mars in the year 2023 are some of the greatest ‘out-of-this-world’ advancements in Space Science .

When I heard that Leonardo DiCaprio has signed up for a trip to Mars, I wondered aloud if I could sign up too. But I was quick to abort my mission plans when I caught the husband and Sid engaged in a discussion about the fast foods that they could indulge in my absence. The thought of my family indulging in flour-coated chicken while I floated around in an uncomfortable spacesuit with an Earthly superstar suddenly did not seem very glamorous.

However, this made me wonder if the future of parenting would involve bedtime stories to children about a bygone era of Earthlings and the normalcies of Earthly life – flowing fresh water, free oxygen and naturally grown fruits and vegetables.

Or, will the future see humans divided as Earthly Patriots and The Gen Z Martians?

Will there be curbs on Earthlings visiting Mars with exceptions to those possessing the ‘red card’?

Will there be campaigns on ‘Make on Earth’ or ‘Make on Mars’?

As I sit ruminating on the future of humans sharing two planets, I read that NASA had finally revealed that it was not dust on the telescopic lens of the Kepler Space Telescope but seven Earth-like planets (TRAPPIST -1) orbiting in the ‘habitable’ zone (or the Goldilocks Zone) of a Sun-like star – some or all of which harbor water and possibly life.

I then decided that the future of Earth is best left in the able hands of scientists and astronomers, while I should better focus on going about my Earthly duties!