School days and Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal translates to red kidney beans with rice and so much of the aroma seems to lost in transit. I discovered the popular and nutritious meal while spending time at my friend’s home during school days.

My friend used to stay in the Teacher’s quarter as his mother was a social science teacher. He was not much interested in studies though – mechanically minded he wanted to escape the burden of putting his nose to the grindstone everyday. He loved the automobiles and it was his dream to own an automobile workshop. 

Collection: E+ Courtesy: Getty Images

Collection: E+
Courtesy: Getty Images

Innocent days, full of mindless fun, was the way we lived when we were in our High School while our parents fretted themselves that we were for not taking studies seriously and being aimless with scant regard for our future. Good grades and a degree in Engineering or Medicine was the nirvana that our parents wished us to pursue. It was an intense desire with little understanding of either our proficiencies or inclinations. They wanted to re-live their dreams and ambitions through us and hard work was their panacea for all ills in life.

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Want to learn more about your blog’s web traffic? Join Clicky.

Unlike a commercial website, often bloggers are more interested in writing and reading blogs than spending time on doing web analytics and SEO related activities. And yet curiosity does get the better of you and even a novice takes steps to learn about who is visiting his blog and why.

A cursory interest is poked by the Stats page available on your blog itself. Savvier people get around to studying Webmaster tools offered by Google, Bing et al. But once you are really hooked, serious web analytics options interest you – Clicky is one such cool service that I am just discovering as we speak.

Collection: E+ Courtesy; Getty Images

Collection: E+
Courtesy; Getty Images

So what are things that would be interesting to know about people who visit your blogs. Guess the basics are known to most of us – their location, whether they are repeat visitors, an insight into the search tags that brought them to your blog, and how they managed to reach your blog. Using WordPress stats page gives you a hang of this fairly early on.

Then one hankers to know more, particularly about how is your presence on the popular search engines like Google, Bing et al as usually they drive the traffic to most of our blogs. Then you discover Webmaster tools and being an amateur SEO hand, making small tweaks and experiments to your blog’s appearance to check its impact of the website traffic you are able to generate. However again there is only a limited amount of data that can be gleaned from these tools.

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My first credit card …

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend,And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Soliloquy by Polonius in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Being credit averse was inherent in my father’s nature and he wanted to inculcate the same habit in me as well. My father worked all his life as a Government Servant as it was rather quaintly termed in those days. And till he reached the final decade of his service, the Credit Card did not even exist in the Indian market. And even if had been offered one at that time when it was meant for the elites and was not a mass retail finance product, I doubt he would have signed for it.

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The romance of the Bandra-Worli Sealink …

One had heard of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, USA and of course of the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata nearer to home. So there was a lot of excitement and expectation when the sea link project was announced in Mumbai. An added advantage was the time that one would save moving from the Business district to the western suburbs within 20-30 minutes.

The project got financially stretched and was delayed but eventually the dream was realized in the summer of 2009.

Collection:Moment Open Courtesy: Getty Images

Collection:Moment Open
Courtesy: Getty Images

It was our latest landmark in the city and the symmetrical design was something to really savour. The sea link’s travel appeal as a joyride was at its peak at night-time when the evening rush hour was over and the lights provided a great ambience for the trip.

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Dial M for Mother …

Veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah has published his autobiography. He has spoken about the troubled relationship he shared with his father while growing up that took a turn for the worse and created a lot of bitterness. The clash is on account of typical reasons like the father being the authority figure who tries to determine his son’s life and/or tries to discipline him for rebelling. Shah is honest enough to admit that even he made similar mistakes with his children.

Now that is one stereotype that is true to life and we have seen enough of it in our movies. Father’s are shown to bear the ‘stiff upper lip’ while enacting what they think is ‘tough love’ that will help their sons. Even genuine admiration or praise is not given directly lest it spoil them. Typically mothers are seen to bridge the communication gap and play the role of peace makers. Fortunately in most relationships this is only a phase that passes over once the son becomes an adult and takes charge of his own life.

By: Andrew Penner Collection:E+ Courtesy: Getty Images

By: Andrew Penner
Courtesy: Getty Images

I and my elder brother grew up in a traditional middle class Tamil brahmin family. There was no ambiguity about how our lives were to be run – my mother was a home maker while my father was the bread earner. To our eyes, he had the most important job in the Government office and everything related to him was priority. A hush would fall by the time he returned home and we would quietly pretend to study our books. My mother was adept at using him as the ultimate threat, ‘Do this or Don’t do this or I will tell appa once he comes home.’

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Kamal and Rajni Movies

Any comparison is meaningless and provokes endless debates. The two have not appeared together in movies for several decades now – a decision that makes a lot of commercial sense and has enabled them to portray their own vision of cinema, accumulating millions of fans along the way.

It is interesting to see the few movies they did together in the late 70s and the fruitful collaboration has provided us great entertainment and cinema.

Together they have appeared in about 18 films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi cinema. Typically Kamal starred as the protagonist while Rajni played the antagonist. Eventually Rajni emerged as a popular hero in his own right and, given that twin heroes subjects are rare in Tamil cinema, it made little sense for them to star together any longer.

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Angst Ridden Youth ?

Am still to enter proper Middle Age and my daughter is only about 7 years old now. But one is always interested to hear about the parental blues faced by ones colleagues and friends, and learn from their experience. ‘Angst ridden youth’ is an age-old stereotype but it resonates today like never before.

And apparently there is a twist to it as many in today’s generation seem to feel that they have a ‘right to happiness’ and carry on with a chip on the shoulder whenever they face a setback in their professional or personal lives.

By Fanatic Studio Courtesy: Getty Images

By Fanatic Studio
Courtesy: Getty Images

My friend is in his early 50s and is a jovial Punjabi who has spent over three decades in managing frontline sales. He is an expert in assessing his young executive’s personalities and tweaks his approach to them to optimize their performance. He feels confident in his approach in handling a team having dozens of youngsters but he finds it awkward to manage the issues he sees in the lives of his kids who are just out of college and struggling to establish themselves in professional and personal domains.

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