Friday, December 14, 2007

India bad for Jaguar - really?

Disclaimer: I borrowed the title of this blog from the following article in TIME magazine (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1694653,00.html).

Gotta love the hypocrisy in today's world. The world was okay with Jaguar being owned by Ford (which had extensive experience in dealing with luxury cars??) but not Tata or Mahindra. Sure, one could always argue that this viewpoint is strictly from a business point of view but isnt that underestimating the business sense of the buyer of the brand. If Tata or Mahindra wants to make a statement and buy Jaguar, why should anyone belittle them on their ability to run a business. Wouldn't they have independently figured out their chances of owning and profiting from a luxury brand?

As each day goes by, I see many examples of such cases, where the ├╝ber elite in the US are in denial about the upstarts from the Asian continent. From the self-appointed defenders of democracy and free trade, I expected to see a better response - a more worldly response.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Life is good in the womb ...

We just got back from another ultrasonic womb inspection and I am happy to report that Junior is doing well and is bigger than expected :). For anyone who knows me, why would that surprise you :). Listening to the loud thumping that is Junior's beating heart, I could not but reflect upon the life that Junior is currently leading. Intravenous feeding, large living room, well insulated walls - whats not to like :).

The Mrs on the other hand is not happy. She had to imbibe 10 ounces of some sickeningly sweet dextrose so that she can be tested for gestational diabetes (GD). If a mom-to-be is diagnosed with GD, the baby is at high risk for Type 2 diabetes early in its childhood if the mother is not treated for GD. The Mrs has excellent health and so we are not worried.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The glorious four day weekend ..

It is day three in the four day weekend and it has been a fun filled three days so far. On Thanksgiving day, we partook in a vegetarian thanksgiving potluck feast with some old German friends, and some new German friends and family (brother and his wife). A fabulous thick and creamy pumpkin soup was followed by a piece of a very traditional German quiche. This was accompanied by some potatoes, spinach and feta cheese all stuffed inside a red bell pepper. And this was just the German part of the course. For the Indian part of the thanksgiving feast, we brought two curries (malai mattar panner and aloo dumwale) while the brother prepared the vegetable pulao and raitha. Entertainment was provided by the three German kids who enthralled the guests with their diction and language skills (and eating skills :)).

Day two started with some general house cleaning and a round of tasks for the resident handy-man (yours truly). This of course led to the mandatory Home Depot visits and the purchase of things that I may never use in the future. End result - closet doors fixed, tub spout replaced, new door handles for all bathrooms. To round off the day, Grean Sleeves called and we arranged to meet Grean Sleeves & family along the immediate family of a good friend of mine who also just became a mother to a bonny little boy. We met at the very south indian Tirupathi Bhima's restaurant and in between mouthfuls of sambar vadai and onion & chilli oothapam, we managed to get updated with the latest news about the newborn.

Day three held the prospect of more house cleaning. Those of the Cancer persuasion like yours truly often see value in holding on to old boxes :). For some reason, we believe these old boxes may be useful in the future. While this might be true for a couple of the boxes, the vast majority of the boxes only collect dust and occupy space. Anyway, long story short, we started spring cleaning early and hauled out dozens of boxes out to the recycling bin. The high light of this morning is that we are baby-sitting the youngest blogger that I know. She is Mr. Grean Sleeves's first born and she is very talented. She is currently sitting in our den downing her second Maggi Noodles packet :).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby names - trials and tribulations ...

A certain world traveling friend of mine requested my thoughts on pre and post fatherhood. Since I am still in the pre-fatherhood phase, I shall enlighten my friend with some words of wisdom as someone who is actively making all the wrong choices and the right mistakes :)

Choosing baby names can be an interesting experience. First time parents-to-be like yours truly and the wonderfully rotund mrs are often perplexed with the myriad choices for baby names. Now throw in the rigors of Indian names and you are looking at several zillion permutations and combinations that is likely to cause the parents-to-be run screaming for the exits. Thanks to my mother, I am blessed with a _long_ name. While it does inconvenience me from time to time, I have always looked upon my long name as a blessing since it pretty much guaranteed that I will never suffer from identity theft or fraud. One look at my name and most people just give up :).
So given that the baby will have at least one long name (the father's name), the mrs and I are currently sifting through several thousand names to find that perfect (and short) first name for our baby.

Do we pick a Sanskrit name which seems to be the current fashion trend? Or do we pick a traditional south indian name like Balamuralikrishna? Okay - two south indian names is probably a punishment for the little one especially in the US of A. I am guessing that we will still be looking at names when the time arrives to deliver the baby and we will end up picking something convenient like "Bob".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An ode to the chicken dish ...

It is a sleepy Sunday morning here in the bay area. The mrs is watching an assortment of cooking shows on HGTV that is making my mouth water for the glorious chicken. Of course, it doesn't help that next week is Thanksgiving and all the cooking shows are showing how to cook that perfect succulent bird (turkey or Cornish game hen or the regular full chicken).

I had to swear off eating meat (chicken being the only meat that I would have liked to consume) as one of the preconditions for marriage with the mrs :). She feels quite strongly about this and so I have had to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up eating chicken. If I was a member of AA, I would have been given a platinum medal because it has been approximately 5 years since I last consumed a good chicken dish.

Looking back through my life, I guess my infatuation with the chicken really started in boarding school when week after week, while most children enjoyed special Sunday lunch meals (which usually was different succulent (note that this is the second time I used the "s" word) chicken dishes, the vegetarian kids (like me) received the much overrated "omelet". I wonder how long you would last before you are itching to try what the other kids were obviously enjoying so much. Flash forward a couple years and I am living with my parents again and in a strict vegetarian household. I could hardly indulge my cravings when the penalty for such a deed was instant decapitation and/or a quick cremation.

Flash forward a few more years and I am living in the US of A away from the constraints of a vegetarian household and on a voyage of succulent (yes, that makes it thrice) discovery. Life in graduate school meant a _lot_ of chicken soft tacos and grilled cajun chicken breast sandwiches. Flash forward a few more years and I am living in a small town in the east coast surrounded by some very good friends who were incidentally also excellent cooks. A steady diet of chicken in various forms (grilled chicken, tandoori chicken, chicken curry and who could forget the Hyderbadi biryani) soon inflamed my chicken cravings. It didn't help that the local Chinese establishments also made some delicious chicken chowmein and I had some good buddies who shared my passion for spicy chicken dishes. Ahh, those were some good times and some good eating.

Flash forward a few more years and here I am reflecting on the good times. My only outlet for the chicken cravings these days are the occasional guffaws when the mrs calls me at work to ask me what I would like for dinner and I respond even without thinking, "chicken curry please" :). But on the positive side, the idea for this blog posting was originated by the mrs and I suppose she did save me from the big "avian" scare.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Om Shanti Om ...

Wow - It is Nov 17th already and it has been 16 days since my last post ... what hectic lives we lead - no wonder we all sooner or later succumb to some stress related disorder. But morbid thoughts aside, here is my "detailed" Om Shanti Om experience.

Kutti (those on a need to know basis know who I am referring to) and wife called us to go catch the Om Shanti Om flick at my brother's deserted theater - (begin footnote) it appears some of the local mainstream cinema halls have stumbled on the fact that screening Bollywood movies is a sure way of generating copious quantities of moolah given the zillion or so well-heeled fanatic Bollywood fans in the bay area but this is a topic best left for another blog (end footnote). Anyway, the rotund and 24 weeks pregnant mrs and I made our way to the "deserted" theatre 10 minutes before the agreed upon time. Turns out that the zillion fanatic Bollywood fans also decide that this was the movie to see on a Friday night at our "deserted" little theater (and therefore ignoring the other Bollywood blockbuster "Sawaria"). We buy our tickets and I send the mrs in to sit down and save some seats while I waited in the lobby for the rest of the tardy group. Boy, was that a mistake.

Unbeknownst to me, she was soon fighting for her life, beating back hordes of desperate and very rude country bumpkins (not from Arkansas as you might think but rather from the badlands of Mumbai and Delhi - prime breading ground for Bollywood junkies) who were ready to sell their souls for the nice seats that the mrs managed to acquire. But this attack was just the beginning. When I returned without the rest of the group (who were informed that the show was sold out over the phone and therefore never made it to the theater) and attempted to allow some folks to sit in the empty seats, I had to face the music from the people sitting in our row who apparently believed that some crime was committed. Apparently I should not have attempted to reserve the seats as long as I did - i guess I missed the fine print on the ticket where this was mentioned. Usually, I try and avoid confrontations as they are rarely worth the effort but given that the mrs was close to tears and these bumpkins just occupied the empty seats without so much as a thank you, I was itching for a no-holds-barred fight to the death. To make matters worse, the women in the bumpkin group wanted a apology from me. I kindly requested them to not hold their breaths waiting for my apology. Thankfully, before things could get any more acerbic, the movie started. The mrs wanted to leave right away, movie be damned but my cooler head prevailed and I managed to convince her to stay for the rest of the movie. I think we are both glad that we did regardless of the boorish behavior from our brethren.

I read somewhere that SRK was more popular outside the motherland than in it. Given the response in the theater and some of the posturing in the movie, I am inclined to agree. But the art of film making in Bollywood has improved considerably over the years. In fact, they have take the same song-and-dance-routine and made it funny and enjoyable. This movie is certainly testament to the fact that some well choreographed dance numbers and some witty dialog is well appreciated by the immigrant desis.

I dont want to let on too much about the movie here lest I spoil it for the folks who are waiting to see this movie but there are a couple of scenes in the movie that are hilarious because SRK attempts to mimic Rajni!! Mind it ... Of course, I am probably sleeping on the sofa for the next few days for writing the next few words but I have to say/write it. The $10 entrance is worth it just to see Deepika Padukone. Move over Aiswarya Rai, Deepika is now the most beautiful Indian actress in Bollywood. Deepika seems to have a little something extra over Aiswarya Rai - both are stunningly beautiful women but Deepika seems to have a little more grace and a sparkle in the eyes that stand out. Check out a real discussion on this topic at my good friend's blog.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against country bumpkins from Arkansas. In fact, I think they are quite funny. Also I have nothing against Bollywood junkies. I even know a couple of German ones. I am sure my experience with Bollywood junkies detailed here was the exception rather than the rule.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First day of November ...

Not a very original title, I must admit but hey, it is the first day of November, 2007. This is the day I resuscitated my blog on Blogger - of course, my old blog is gone, lost among the several zillion blogs that never got a post after the first initial post. I hope this one survives beyond this first initial post.