Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reflections from the Delhi Metro

Travelling alone on the New Delhi Metro Rail? Short trips are fine but an hour-long commute in a jam-packed compartment can be deathly boring.

Wondering how to pass your time? Eavesdropping helps.

Woman 1: My boyfriend says I don't provide him enough intellectual conversation
Woman 2: Really?
Woman 1: So I said we could talk about derivatives
Woman 2: Derivatives?
Woman 1: There was this programme on the stock market on NDTV Profit and I learned a bit about derivatives.
Woman 2: And?
Woman 1: Raj said he was impressed
Woman 2: He must have hoped that would make you very happy
Woman 1: Yeah, I said I am very much obliged (Laughs)
Woman 2: Men are all the same

An Ode to the Delhi Metro

Surviving Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Part I
Surviving Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Part II
Surviving Delhi's Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Part III

Friday, August 28, 2009

A House for Mr. Bobby

Bobby the toad entered our lives this monsoon season. One unusually rainy day in New Delhi, he leaped his way into our ground floor flat and has stayed ever since.

Believe me, it's not that easy trying to get rid of a toad. Bobby has the attributes of a master criminal -- he's nimble, silent and low-key.

We didn't like him one bit. Until we spotted him pouncing on a stray cockroach and eating it whole.

For Mom, that's a feat worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.

She and cockroaches go way back.

As a college student, Mom once ran out of her house into traffic, chased by someone dangling live cockroaches in his fingers. Her brother.

She never forgave my uncle for that prank and talking about it still gives her the creeps.

But I digress.

Ever since he polished off the cockroach, Bobby has lost his pariah status and is welcome to stay at home as long as he wants.

Dad is not amused.

(For more snippets from Toe Knee's life, keep reading his blog )

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do blueberry muffins ring a bell?

It's quite late by the time I get back from office. And dark too.

In not-so-safe New Delhi, it's a good idea to know who you are opening your doors to -- especially at night.

So when someone rings the doorbell, and all Mom can see through the grill door is the silhouette of a person standing outside, she asks "Who is it?"

And I answer 'blueberry muffin'.

That's the cue for her to open the door.

Yes, we have a password system that's safer than most burglar alarms, vicious dogs and electric fences.

This month, the magic word is 'blueberry muffin'.

Last month, it was 'chocolate chip icecream'.

"But why only food?" says Mom. "Why can't we have sensible passwords?"

Well, that's because I set the passwords and I have a sweet tooth. It's a diet that has seen me go from 'thin' to 'no-longer-thin' on my blog profile in just five years.

And if cutting back on desserts (I swear I am) is a good thing, I can at least relive those sweet memories at night -- when I utter the calorie-filled syllables that gain me access to my home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why the water scares me

Nearly 20 years ago, a little boy ran down a rocky stretch of Kovalam beach in Kerala, thrilled with his first look at the sea. He stepped into the water gingerly, allowing the gentle waves to lap at his tiny feet.

The boy then ventured further – and further – into the inviting arms of the sea. But he slipped and fell and the waves, no longer gentle, carried him away. As he bobbed up and down, his gaze turned to the shore where his mother stood, gesturing wildly and shouting for help -- ironically in Hindi and not in her native Malayalam.

As he flailed his arms in a desperate attempt to keep afloat, sea water found its way up his nose and he panicked. The little boy had never experienced such helplessness before.

Suddenly, he felt someone grab him. A group of men playing beach volleyball had seen the little boy struggle and rushed to save him. He didn't look at their faces, he had eyes only for his mother as the Good Samaritans bore him back to her -- safe and unscathed.

That little boy was me. And I am still scared of drowning.

Suicide Blues

Monday, August 24, 2009

True Love -- 34 years on

So I was reading the Remembrance page in 'The Times of India' (FYI, I do not have a morbid fascination for death) and I chanced upon a message for Sayta Rani.
Who left 34 years ago this day in 1975
Fragrance of your love surrounds me always
Deeply missed by K.K.
Now, I found that interesting -- the other messages in the Times Obituary were all for people who died in the last five years. And there's this person who is mourning the passing away of his spouse (or mother maybe) 34 years after her death. Now that's true love.

And has K.K. been publishing a Remembrance message on August 22 each year? That's one thing I really want to know.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sona Mohapatra back with 'Diljale'

Remember Sona Mohapatra. The Indian pop/folk sensation sort of disappeared off the radar after her debut album "Sona" in 2006. But the 'Bolo Na' and 'Aaja Ve' singer is now back with 'Diljale'.

Her new video single will be officially released on September 1, 2009. But you can catch a preview here.

From the looks of it, this one is going to match the popularity of her first album, which remains one of my favourites.

In a blog interview in 2007, Sona told Toe Knee Unplugged her main objective was to create 'soul music', music that moves you. Her new album will carry forward that objective.

TV viewers have already heard the 'Paas Aao' number from the album -- it's the popular Close-Up song, one of the many jingles Sona has sung for television commercials.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vote for Delhi's best FM radio station

It's time you voted for Delhi's favourite FM radio station -- again.

Two years ago, the newly launched Meow 104.8 FM was the surprise winner with 28 percent of the votes cast on this blog. Hit 95 FM finished in second place with 20 percent, finishing just a vote ahead of Fever 104 FM. Full results

Will we see the same results this time around? Vote for your favourite FM radio station. Polling ends August 31, 2009 and results will be announced soon after.

Adam moos better than Amit Varma's cows
Delhi's "all talk" radio station
Getting high on Fever 104
Ten hits in a row, anyone?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

India Blog Mela - July 2009

Sorry for the delay but here's the July Blog Mela -- finally.

HawkEye is part of the Diaper generation.

Great Bong identifies the dying traits of the Bangali.

Silverine is stuck with a knotty problem.

Ramesh Srivats envisages Modi & Modi united.

Jamshed V. Rajan is telling the untold story of the Taj Mahal.

The Daily Tamasha finds Baba Ramdev going the family way.

Krish Ashok is reading stuff on Rediff.

IdeaSmith on the Advocate and Other Married Men.

Dilip D'Souza is a Lemoterian playing tennis.

Jabberwock is ranting against Facebook birthday wishes.

That's all for now. The August 2009 Blog Mela returns early next month. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the July 2009 Blog Mela.

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the August 2009 Blog Mela being hosted here on September 2.

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-31 August 2009 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on September 2 stand a chance to be featured in the Top 10 list
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
January, February, March, April, May, June

Monday, August 10, 2009

Writing a novel? Just tweet it

When Matt Stewart's agent submitted his debut novel to publishing houses, he didn't quite get the response he wanted.

"Many of them loved it, but none were willing to buy what they viewed as a 'risky' novel — vivid language, elements of fantasy and farce, raunchy humor," the San Francisco resident wrote on his website.

But Stewart didn't lose heart. On July 14, he started posting "The French Revolution" on Twitter.

More here

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