Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Convention

Early, one cold Sunday morning, a commotion of a large number of crows, brought me to the window showing the grand Gulmohar tree with its branches trimmed. I was surprised to see so many crows sitting on one tree and caw-cawing away with their gaze upon a common thing of interest.

At first, I hardly noticed what they were looking at, for all crows are known to care for their kindred and it is believed that cawing crow means the arrival of a guest. But surely a large number of crows were in no mood to tell me something. They were here wit some purpose of their own; probably a meeting to sort out some issue or mourn another crow's death.

Then I noticed something else, they would all fly from one tree to another, together and come back to the same tree which showed their common point of interest. I thought maybe a snake would be going back and forth and was attracting the crow's attention. I noticed a peculiar brown dotted object on one of the branches. "Oh! so this snake is a reason for the whole discussion", so I thought. But, the snake would not move. "Maybe its dead".

By now, all people in the vicinity were getting curious and looking towards the crows. My inquisitiveness into the matter started gaining ground when my daughter came with her binoculars. At the same time, one of the crows mustered enough courage to check on the confusing object and it started to peck on it. And then it realized that it was nothing more than a piece of cloth. The other crows also saw the futility of the discussion once the whole mystery was solved.

All the crows who were till now cawing suddenly lost interest and flew away ! It appeared as though a decision to a common problem was reached and corrective measures taken. If a bird such as a crow can understand this then I am sure most people who involve themselves in conventions should also see the logic behind it and act accordingly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Indian Chinese (for Lavanya)

The Chinese cuisine has become such an integral part of Indian food; though I wonder whether a Chinese would find the same food actually Chinese food, for it has become Indian-ised Chinese food. Visit any state and the distinct flavor is quite apparent. Prepare the recipe at home and you will find something missing.

Ask any college going student of his favorite food joints and you are sure to hear at least one Chinese hangout. The Chinese joint is quite varied in the ambiance, cost, preparations; higher the price, lesser the hot chilly and lesser the crowd and vice versa. Most of the upmarket Chinese food joints are frequented by IT Professionals or those rich brat types. Such joints keep the kitchen quite away from the customer's eyes, so what goes on inside is any body's guess. Most of the college students would prefer a low cost Chinese hand cart where the unhygienic conditions are before the customer ! This makes the whole experience of eating at such a place even more adventurous and exciting. Youngsters shout over the din with care a damn attitude.

Once I visited with my family an expensive Chinese restaurant with those prop ah attendants and dim lighting and greenery and all fashionable. Sitting there sipping on the Chinese soup, I recalled my college days where finding a place to sit and eat was next to impossible. But surely the food that I had tasted before was more tasty and spicy and best of all we all friends had enjoyed the food together, had cried for water together and had checked our purses for Rs 10s and 20s !

I can still vividly remember our whole class debating on which place to visit; was it Fatehgunj, Race Course circle or Sama Road ? All our girls' only parties happened near Race Course Circle, the sole reason being it near to our homes, but when it came to the class party, the unanimous decision would always be either Fatehgunj or Sama Road. As an exception, just for having 'Dry Manchurian', we would all go to Waghodia and eat as much as would take care of another month of craving for Chinese food.

Any venue, any menu, the discussion amongst the different groups at different times would always be of varied nature. Right from the exchange of ignorance to the suggestion of being in step, our class enjoyed the discussion with friends and classmates. No wonder the food tasted so good with added spices of discussion.

The delicious chinese food before me, brought me back to my present and I started to search for the mysterious ingredient that made chinese food so tasty. Now the discussion between friends has been replaced by a talk by my child and though there may not be the tangy taste; there sure is a likeness for the noodles and rice.

The Test

To get a certificate issued by any government organization, requires patience, pertinence and most important a very strong will to tide over whatever hurdles come your way. Right from starting with finding the location of the office to finding the officer in charge, one must exhaust all energy to finally hear of some errors or problems in one's case.

I had a similar such experience of wanting to get a certificate for which I had to take my daughter. So off we went together after the school hours and thankfully ! my daughter still had her 2 pony tails in proper condition. The rickshaw took us quickly to an old looking building and an even older looking office with just enough space for the person in charge to sit and handle the applicants' forms through an even smaller window.

Both, mother daughter duo enjoyed the discussion on the location and when our turn came, handed over the application and were expecting the receipt when lo and behold ! out came the error bug and so off we went to solve the problem. The nearest bank to solve the problem proved to be another platform for a new story. We took the elevator to the first floor and I waited for the door to open. But strange, it was taking quite some time. I was suddenly jolted from my concern when my daughter pointed to the open door behind us ! It was an elevator which had doors on the opposite side. What a fool we must have looked with our backs to the door !

On going inside, we found our waiting number was even larger than could be imagined and so we waited patiently to get our things done. As soon as our turn came the lady at the counter closed down for lunch and all that we two could do was have our lunch too ! But hats off to the punctual lady who really did not take more than 12 minutes, was attending to our request and in a jiffy, we were off to do our first work; which hardly took another 15 minutes or so.

The whole experience lasted for 3 hours and by the time we were seated in the rickshaw for the ride home, I was happy that we had managed to overcome the hurdles that were put forth before us by Almighty Himself and jokingly I mentioned to my daughter, "Hey, we finished the test !" This brought a smile on my otherwise tired daughter and who was more excited about the completion of test rather than the procedure of government application.

On and on we went about the whole experience of crossing over all hurdles and finishing the race. God had indeed tested her patience. But once the 'test of patience' had turned to a race, things suddenly looked bright for my daughter, she was more happy to have won the race and come out victorious. This made me wonder 'How nice it is to look at things from another angle altogether ?' This race suddenly made problems in life more easy to deal with. Its not the difficulties that bother you down for another view is that they are the same difficulties that gave you the tide of victory.