Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pregnant pause


'That afternoon she got a call from the doctor while at work. "We have a firm diagnosis. You've not contacted anything contagious, nor are you suffering from any reaction.'
'What's it then?' Lucky asked.
'You're pregnant. Congratulations!" ( P.192-193)

You, dear reader, must be as shocked as Lucky was when she found out that she was pregnant! After all , one of the main reasons for her failed marriage was the fact that she was barren (p.112). Her mother-in-law insisted that the marriage be annulled because the Singhs needed an heir that Lucky was unable to provide.

Finding out that you are pregnant always comes as a shock whether you plan for a baby or not. Those who are planning are shocked that their efforts have paid off while those who aren't are shocked that things have turned out differently.

Around ten years ago, I was travelling down South I decided to visit to my friend Gita who lived on a remote tea estate. We were old school friends and I was looking forward to some peace and quiet from my own hectic life in Mumbai. As the car drove up to the rambling bungalow, I could see Gita's kids playing around.

I got out and asked them where their mother was. They pointed to the inside of the house so I climbed up the steps to the verandah.

Then I saw her, my tiny little Gita, pregnant and ready to pop lugging a tiny tote in her hand.

"Gosh Bapsy!" she said clutching on to her huge belly. "Thank God you've come. The pains are just beginning and there's no one to leave the kids with. Please look after them while I just go down to the hospital ."

I was simply aghast! I had no idea that Gita was even remotely pregnant. After all her youngest was all of ten and I was sure she was done with having babies.

Looking at my shock, Gita began to shake. I was getting even more worried and quickly grabbed her before she fell.

"Don't, don't," she said with tears streaming down her face." I must sit down" as she eased herself into a chair.

"Gosh Bapsy," she said, " that was simply fantastic! I will never forget the look on your face," and she whipped out the pillow from under her dress.

For a moment I got another shock. And then I kicked myself ; how could I forget Gita the Class Prankster? I gave her a big hug and began to laugh myself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Uncle Jal and the Air Gun Incident

'He insisted on taking her to a gun club. There he explained to her how the pistol worked. It was a .40 Smith and Wesson semi-automatic with a four inch barrel. Since Lucky couldn't hold it and chamber a shell at the same time, Mike said she should carry it 'hot', that is with a shell already loaded.' (p189)

Since Lucky's assailant was untraceable and her cottage had been broken into, Mike thought she should protect herself. Hence takes her to a shooting range to learn how to wield a pistol.But how safe is it really to use a pistol in self defence?

My Uncle Jal was extremely proud of his air gun that he got as a sixteen year old from all the money he had collected for his birthday. His mother of course was most upset and told her son that it was sheer folly to have such a dangerous weapon at home.

"Nonsense, Ma," he pooh-poohed her assuring her that it was harmless. Besides, as he reminded her, he was such a poor shot that he never managed to hit a bull's eye even once. Gradually, Jal's passion for guns died out and the gun was brought out on occasion to frighten away the boys who used to used to encroach on his property to knock off the mangoes from his orchard. It soon became a David and Goliath contest with the local lads and their catapults, who loved seeing Jal's red face getting redder as he squinted and took aim, and getting even more florid when he completely missed.

However, one Sunday afternoon, Uncle Jal, totally lost in a post-Dhansak snooze made all the sweeter by the fact that he actually managed to finish the Sunday crossword, was enraged when he saw a group of boys giggling as they took shots at the ripe mangos just outside his window!! This time he got his gun and began firing aimlessly like a crazy coot. The boys ran away as soon as they saw him red-faced and screaming ........all but one who fell down clutching his leg.

The gardener and watchman went running to the young boy who it turned out had been hit by a stray slug! Needless to say, it was the last time my uncle Jal fired his gun for as his mother pointed out : the only time you didn't aim, you actually shot someone - so you'd really better stop!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The C-Food Diet

'No, I'm on a diet.'
'Me too. I'm on a see-food diet.I see food I eat it." (p185)

Steve eagerly grabs the half eaten sandwich on Lucky's plate which she has abandoned because of her diet. All of us women at some time or the other are on some kind of a diet. Particularly after a spot of binge eating like the holidays when good food is hard to resist.

Yesterday evening while walking round the Race Course to pre-empt the calories that we are bound to be piling on, my friend Monica came up with this unique diet : The Chopstick Diet. You can eat all you want, anything you like as many times as you want. But you must do it with ONE chopstick.

Try it. I'm sure it'll work!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays

You know it's Christmas when boys at traffic lights pester you to buy Red felt Santa hats with white pig tails or when all the window displays have cotton wool snow and Santa's reindeer pulling sleigh loads of goodies. With thermacole snow flakes dangling from ceilings and green and red buntings all over the place, radio stations playing Christmas songs, it is hard to miss the fact that Christmas is just two days away.

I love going around town seeing the elaborate Christmas trees and decorations in the shops and hotels in my city. I love going down to the garden to listen to the the Salvation Army's Christmas Carols. I love visiting friends and sharing a glass of wine and Christmas cake or pudding.

Perhaps it is the end of the year which makes Christmas universally appealing or perhaps happiness and joy are just contagious.

Whatever it may be, I'd like to share this joke that I got in the email last week and wish all of you a happy festive season :

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: Nov. 1, 2009
RE: Gala Christmas Party

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols... feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchanges of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees!
Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time!
Merry Christmas to you and your family,
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: Nov. 2, 2009
RE: Gala Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on, we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians and to those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols will be sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.
Happy now?
Happy Holidays to you and your family,
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: Nov 3, 2009
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only", you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?
And sorry, but forget about the gift exchange, no gifts are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and the executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.

Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
DATE: Nov 4, 2009
RE: Generic Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party or else package everything for you to take it home in little foil doggy baggy. Will that work?
Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms.

Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each group will have their own table.
Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table.

To the person asking permission to cross dress, the Grill House asks that no cross-dressing be allowed, apparently because of concerns about confusion in the restrooms. Sorry.

We will have booster seats for short people.

Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.

I am sorry to report that we cannot control the amount of salt used in the food . The Grill House suggests that people with high blood pressure taste a bite first.

There will be fresh "low sugar" fruits as dessert for diabetics, but the restaurant cannot supply "no sugar" desserts. Sorry!

Did I miss anything?!?!?

Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All F*%^ing Employees
DATE: Nov 5, 2009
RE: The F*%^ing Holiday Party

I've had it with you vegetarian pricks!!! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your f*%^ing salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too.. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right NOW!
The rest of you f*%^ing wierdos can kiss my *ss. I hope you all have a rotten holiday!

Drive drunk and die,

The B*tch from H*ll!!!

Company Memo
FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: Nov 6, 2009

RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and I'll continue to forward your cards to her.
In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.
Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dining with Grandpa

'Four bucks for a cup of f---ing cup of coffee? What the hell? He looked the menu up and down. 'I'll have a glass of water,' he said. Lucky laughed as she ordered two cappuccinos."(P.183)

Steve is not the only one who has been faced with the dilemma of paying an arm and a leg for a cup of coffee.
Meet our Holiday Beverages For most people Starbucks is "Coffee" . There are some die hard fans who actually pick up a cup every single day. When analysed into its bare ingredients, it would seem decadent to pay for just coffee, sugar, milk and some toppings but then, who bothers to go to town when making coffee at home? One cannot deny the joy of having the most extravagant coffees at Starbucks or any other coffee chain that takes coffee to another level.

However, several people ( my own darling indulgent grandfather included) find paying humongous amounts of money for water, cold drinks and simple teas and coffee a bit hard to swallow. I can never forget those occasions when my sister and I would walk into a fancy restaurant every once in a while, dressed in our best, proudly escorted by a beaming Grandpa.

As we settled down at the best table, he would grandly announce to the waiter that we were allowed to order whatever we wanted . Most times we went for our favourite fish and chips with a plain old Coke. While Grandpa sanctioned the food he balked at the price of the cola on the menu. "You can go home and have ten Cokes if you want!" he would bellow , as he proceeded to instruct the waiter to make the freshest fries and get an extra serving of tartar sauce with an ice cold bottle of mineral water !

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clothes maketh the man

"Steve kept his appointment on Wednesday and Lucky laughed when she saw him. It was the first time she had seen him in anything other than prison wear." (P182)

Steve is out on parole and Lucky finds it hard to associate this tough nosed, tattoo artist in"civilised" attire. While clothes are only the extraneous elements of a man's personality, they are a very important means of assessing him . Just as we wear different garments for different occasions ( beach wear for the beach, black tie for a formal event) the style and manner with which they are worn are telling signs of one's personality: an immaculately turned out person reveals a person who likes the good things in life, who is particular about things.

I would like to share some proverbs on clothes and their imortance in judging a man.
Euer maner and clothyng makyth man.
[a 1400 Prov. Wisdom l. 59 in Archiv (1893) XC. 245]
Ffor clothyng oft maketh man.
[c 1445 Peter Idley's Instructions to his Son (1935) i. 82]
Though manners makes, yet apparell shapes.
[1591 J. Florio Second Fruits 115]
The Hood makes not the Monke, nor the apparrell the man.
[1617 R. Greene Alcida B3]
Clothes gave us individuality, distinctions, social polity. Clothes have made men of us.
[1836 Carlyle Sartor i. v.]
Still, it did happen—and it goes some way to show that clothes make the man, doesn't it?
[1933 J. Hilton Lost Horizon 3]
Gem of the day (credit Mark Twain): Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
[2001 Washington Post 17 Dec. C12]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger's Travails - Pedestal to Pillory

Poor Tiger. He is really being taken to the cleaners by the Press and one feels really sorry that he has to face a public that is as eager to tie him to the Pillory as they are to raise him on a Pedestal.

I have received several emails making jokes at Tiger's expense :

"Crouching Tiger, hidden hydrant"

What does Tiger Woods have in common with a baby seals?
They both get clubbed by Norwegians.

That’s the first time Tiger Woods has failed to drive 300 yards

Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree ... he couldn't decide between a wood and an iron.
Perhaps Tiger should have used a driver

I find it's a nightmare driving at 2.05am: sometimes you can't see the Woods for the trees.

Tiger's wife went for him over a birdie.

What was the second worst part of Tiger's car accident?
The police found the driver in the trunk.

What were Tiger Woods and his wife doing out at 2.30 in the morning?
They went clubbing.

What’s the difference between a car and a golf ball?
Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards.

Don't you think he deserves some privacy if not sympathy? Having flown with him just last month, I feel I "know" him more than I did when I had just read about him.

So strangely enough, I actually empathize with him and hope that he is left alone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Excuse me ?

"I sometimes stay at the office if I have a late meeting, or if the commute is going to be bad. She doesn't ask and she won't suspect." (P.182)

Staying late at the office is the lamest excuse a cheating spouse can give to their partner. Amay had better watch out or he may find his things on the sidewalk like this cheating husband did:


cheating husband picture

It doesn't pay to cheat on your wife. Straying husbands take note, look what happened to this one. Now the world knows he's a rat. Stay faithful, if you know what's good for you.

p.s On the 18th of last month, I was flying into LA to meet with John Burnham of ICM to discuss the possibility of making "Lucky Everyday" into a film. While boarding the aircraft at Dubai, I was surprised to find TIGER WOODS walking ahead of me! Instinctively, I gave him a hesitant smile of recognition and he politely smiled back. We got talking and I was impressed by how charming, unassuming and gentlemanly he was. He even autographed my book. So, when the news broke last week that he was a cheating husband, I was shocked beyond belief that he was the Casanova he confessed to being.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Indian in America

With Lucky settled into a new apartment, she begins a new phase of her life. One which surprisingly enough leads her into an adulterous relationship with Amay.

Do you think she is any different from Viki?

While you ponder, I would like to share this joke I received in my mail today.

An Indian migrated to America, and moved into an American neighborhood; His American neighbor went next door to wish him welcome.
He was shocked to see the man from India in his nice backyard chasing ten chickens around like mad.

"Must be an Indian custom," he thought to himself. Deciding he could put off the welcome till a later date, he went home.
The next day, he decided he was going to welcome the Indian man again.

When he looked through his window, he saw the Indian man urinate into a cup and drink it. "Must be an Indian custom," he thought to himself.

Deciding he could put off the welcome till tomorrow, he went on with other stuff.
The third day, he was determined he had to welcome the Indian man. At his gate, he saw the Indian man with his ear pressed against a cow's big fat butt.

Seeing this, he became angry and went up to the Indian man. "I'm sorry sir, I did want to wish you a warm welcome, but I cannot stand your crazy Indian customs!" He yelled in the Indian man's face.

The Indian man looked confused and answered. "Sorry sir, I think you are mistaken.
These are actually American customs. I was told that in order to be a true American, you have to chase chicks, get piss drunk, and listen to bullshit."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tea time at the hospital

'Have you seen how they cut casts? Millions of dollars of expensive medical equipment and they use a thing that looks like an electric pizza cutter.' (P.173)

A young medical student doing her internship at the local government hospital told me an amazing story. Last week there was a commotion going on at the Nurses station in the Female ward. Being the doctor on duty she asked what the matter was and was told that the expensive autoclave machine was used to make tea.
"What?" she asked aghast. "How could that be?"
"You see that old lady in the last bed?" Well, it seems that she was dissatisfied with the hospital tea and decided to make her own. So just as the nurses shift changed, she got out of bed, removed all the instruments from the autoclave and put her own tea leaves and gave them a good boil!"

So if Lucky thought the plaster cutter looked like a pizza cutter, was the uneducated old lady in thinking that the autoclave was an industrial tea maker???

It just goes to prove the point that one man's meat is truly another man's poison.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Disengagement Dilemma

'I always knew what you deserved,' Amay said, finally looking up. 'You were the one who went chasing after other things.'
Colour drained from Lucky's cheeks.'You're right,'she said, 'and I deserved what I got. But if it makes any difference, I kept the note you left for me. And I still have the ring.' (p170)

Earlier in the book, we find Lucky looking at the ring that Amay had given her. Hurting from a broken marriage, she is obviously regretful of this decision. But youth often clouds our judgement and sometimes the staid, steady and comfortable love is given up for an exotic, unknown and exciting passion.

Getting cold feet before a wedding is not unknown and there have even been unfortunate cases of people being ditched at the altar. However, in this instance, where Lucky just walks away from Amay, was she correct in keeping the ring? Even though it was just a chip of a stone and not the 4 carat dazzler that Viki dazzled her with, don't you think that apart from breaking his heart, she also pinched Amay's pocket? - After all he was just starting out life when he proposed to Lucky.

So you, dear reader, would you advise Lucky to return the ring to Amay at least now?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weighty matters : facts and figures

"She told me that there were three illusions and the third was "position". She said that our bodies were apparitions and one day we would lose them." (P169)

In today's world we spend a lot of time obsessing about our bodies, weight, self image and the like.

Now, before you scroll down to look at her pictures, get a mental image of what you think a woman who weighs 320 looks like...

I'm sure you thought that a woman weighing 320 lbs would be one humoungous lady.

Obviously you were wrong!

This lady is over 7 feet tall which makes her weight proportionate to her height.

So very often, facts can be misleading and the truth is very often different from what we imagine it to be.

The corollary to this : the problem that most of us have is not our weight but our height ! So for an instant slim look, all that is required is a pair of higher heels.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Secret ot Life

"Some time back a friend of mine, Shanti, explained to me that the secret of life was to focus on ourselves. It is about dealing with our emotions, by controlling our thoughts, not hurting others. It is about you, Steve." (P162)

Angered at seeing Lucky hurt, Steve is all ready to take care of the person who mugged her. But Lucky tries to talk him out of it, telling him that he would only land up back in prison. Steve responds by saying that perhaps it is his destiny to be in prison and Lucky tells him that he has the power to change his life.

So, even though Lucky believes that life chooses you, she also believes that you can choose your response to it and make your life the way you want it to be.

There are several gurus through the ages who have unveiled the secrets of life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wise Men and Elephants

"The truth is like blind men feeling an elephant. Never assume that someone else sees the same thing you do" (P.159)

In the ancient Indian folk lore, there were six blind men who came upon an elephant. One of them touched the ear and thought it was a fan, the other touched the side and thought it was a wall, yet another touched the tail and thought it was a rope, another feeling the tusk thought it was a sharp spear, the fourth who happened to grab the trunk thought it was a snake, and the last one who came upon the leg thought it was a tree.

This parable has been captured for all time by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe and memorised by many an Indian school child as "The Six Wise Men of Hindoostan". Every culture has such stories which illustrate how biased truth can be - our opinions of the world are dependent on our perceptions. So in the ultimate analysis what is the truth?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Managing life singlehandedly

"Her right arm was immobilized and in a sling. Dr. Pauling's instructions were terse and clear: the less she moved the better. Any disruption might prevent the nerve from regenerating. She also warned Lucky that the first month was crucial in the healing process. For lucky everything became more complicated - opening and closing the car door, using the telephone, bathing, eating." (P154)

Strangely enough, like my heroine Lucky, I find that life always has people come in to help. Somehow, somewhere that good Samaritan comes to the rescue. But it cannot be denied that a broken arm particularly if it is the one you normally use literally brings your life to a stand still. The simplest of tasks becomes monumental as you learn to you manage life single handedly!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Warding off the evil eye

Just as good luck is necessary for things to happen, bad luck should also be kept away!
Different cultures have different ways of warding off the evil eye.

The Turks have a NAZAR Boncugu an amulet made of glass that wards off the "Evil Eye"

In my city of Mumbai, particularly on the crossroads, little children come up with green chillies, a lemon and a piece of coal strung together so that it can be hung from the cars or near the entrance to your home so that all evil spirits are kept at bay.

The fierce looking mask that will definitely drive away evil spirits that dare enter any home bearing this
This Hamsa amulet is from Jerusalem. The Hamsa or Hand of Miriam protects Jewish children from the Evil eye. The Muslims in this region have a similar Hand of Fatima with inscriptions in Arabic to ward off the evil eye.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wishful thinking

When Amay comes to meet Lucky after her mugging, he asks if he could be the first to sign her cast.
"Sign my cast?'
'It's an American thing. For good luck.' ( P.154)

To re-phrase a popular saying, one can never be too lucky or too rich.

All of us have our special symbols or signs that we look for in our daily lives that will assure us success in our work. An actor going on stage, is wished good luck before a performance by advising him "to break a leg"!

Many people believe that finding a penny on the street or a safety pin means some good news is on the way while walking over a crack in the pavement or having a black cat cross your path means something bad is going to happen.

The Irish believe that finding a four leaf clover signifies good luck while the Dutch believe that finding a spotted beetle will bring good luck.

People also make a wish on a fallen eye lash, blowing it away after making the wish. If it flies off, the wish comes true and if it stays stuck on your wrist, you can be sure that your wish will not be granted!

Some people believe that walking under a ladder is bad luck and walking over a crack in a pavement is not very lucky!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Lucky Escape

"Funny how the smallest decisions can change your life. What if I'd stayed for dessert? What if I'd just gone home instead of shopping?" (P.153)

Time and time again, I've noticed that a spur of the moment decision can indeed alter life's course. Last year for instance, my friends and I made a last minute dinner plan. I was all set to go when suddenly my young son grabbed me round the waist and told me to stay home with him.

"But why?I'll be back soon, " I promised him.

"Please ma, just tonight don't go, na?"

My boys are very independent and never make such demands on my time so I thought I'd indulge the younger one and humour him a bit. I called my friends and cancelled. They were none too happy and teased me that I was becoming a typical Indian mother - pandering to my son's whims. I laughed off the jibe and proceeded to go ahead with whatever plans my son had planned to spend the evening.

Later on in the evening, the servants came rushing into the den and asked me to put on the TV News. What unfolded, is now familiar to all those who watched the terror attack unleashed on an unsuspecting Mumbai on 26th November 2008.

A chill went down my spine as I recognised one spot as our familiar watering hole. With trembling hands, I punched in the number on my cell phone and was relieved to hear that they were all right.

I hugged my son in relief and thanked God for looking out for my friends.

" Since you cancelled,"they told me, " we decided not to go along to the Oberoi but to hang out at the Club instead."

What a lucky escape then! I kept thanking my stars that I'd decided to stay at home! I couldn't stop hugging my son as I realised how close I was to losing everything! Not only me, but my friends too !If we had gone on with our dinner plans, I may well have been running away, petrified or worse still, holed up in absolute fear.

So, it would seem that my one decision saved all our lives!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Code of Thieves

An hour or so after the doctor left, two policemen came in. They wanted a brief statement. Had lucky seen her assailant? Yes. Did she want to sign a complaint? Yes. ( P.152)

Lucky had been assaulted and her bag had been taken away from her. Unfortunately in this day and age, bag snatching is quite a common urban crime . I too once had my bag snatched from me in the middle of a crowded street and was left shocked and standing helplessly looking at the thief run away.

Fortunately, I didn't have much stuff in my purse but I knew that my driver's licence , a few credit cards , club membership cards and loyalty cards were in the wallet. After I reported the crime to the local police station, a friend told me that within days my purse would be returned to me without the cash but with all other things intact.

Seeing my look of disbelief she told me that she had had a similar experience and eventually her purse did come back minus the cash. "It is the code of thieves," she explained to me. "They don't really want to inconvenience you. They just want the cash!"

Hardly expecting to get back my purse let alone the contents, I proceeded with cancelling the cards and getting a new drivers' licence and new identity cards made for the various clubs and organisations I belonged to.

Just when my new credit card arrived, I found a funny looking envelope in my mail box. I opened it and found all my stolen credit cards and licence returned to me!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bedside manners

Dr. Pauling sighed, looked at her clipboard and said, Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the break severed a nerve in your hand. The good news is that we reattached it and there is a good chance that it will regenerate and you will regain the use of your hand." (P151)

Bedside manners are important in dealing with patients. There are several instances of patients relatives attacking doctors particularly in our government hospitals which are understaffed and overworked. Very often these irate relatives not only get violent but also vandalise the hospital. This has led to a special class being introduced in Medical colleges : How to handle patients and their relatives. Young medical students are taught the importance of being empathetic and breaking the news gently.

Discussing the relevance of this new subject in Medical education a doctor friend narrated a funny story:
One day while making rounds in the ICU, the nurse told me that old man who was in the bed wasn't doing too well and that I should break the news to his young wife.I asked his wife to step outside the room and told her straight off that I didn't like how her husband looks. I was shocked when she replied,

"Well, neither did I. But he's rich, and he's really good with the children."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nursing story

At the hospital, following a quick x-ray, Lucky was rushed into surgery. When she awoke it was morning and Alec and Susan were sitting on chairs by the window, sound asleep. She drifted back to sleep and later a nurse woke her up to give her medication for the pain. Lucky said she didn't need it, but the nurse insisted and injected Lucky with a shot of morphine." (p.150)

Several years ago when I was hospitalised for a minor surgery, I used to get annoyed by my nurse who insisted on waking me up for my pills.

"Why can't you give them to me when I am awake?" I asked.

"Madam," she told me in all earnestness, " I can't fool around with the dose. Doctor says you must take your sleeping tablet!"

Monday, October 19, 2009


My heroine Lucky Boyce is fortunate to have a name that can be pronounced easily in America. Many Americans have a problem with Indian names that are not only unfamiliar but difficult to pronounce. It is no wonder then that Harinder becomes Harry, or Vikram becomes Vik.

But sometimes our names can present a problem.

I remember the time I was sitting out in the garden of my cousin's house when the neighbour came by the fence. In a typically friendly American way, she called out to my cousin and they began exchanging pleasantries across the fence.

Suddenly she tells my friend :

"You know I'm having problems addressing the guy next door. He's the new Indian who moved in last week. I don't know how you say his name"

"Why," said my cousin," its simple enough! Mr. Dixit ( dick - shit)."

"That's just it!" she commented. " I can't bring my self to say it."

"Then call him by his first name."

"That's worse," she replied, " Can I go say Hi Gopi ( go- pee) ?"

"Well, he can't help it can he?" asked my cousin and we wondered whether he was going to change it to something that would be more American.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Diwali

On this Festival of Lights, Lucky wishes all her readers a very Happy Diwali. This traditional Hindu festival which marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya after a long and eventful fourteen year exile signifies the triumph of good over evil.

May all of you enjoy the festive season!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A proverbial Quiz

"I guess you really can't judge what's inside a person by how he is on the outside." (P.143)

Here are some common proverbs that are missing a word. Can you complete them?

  1. Look before ___ leap
  2. Make hay while the ___ shines.
  3. Money is the root of ___ evil
  4. Nothing succeeds ___ success.
  5. The bigger they are, the ___ they fall.
  6. Opportunity seldom knocks ___.
  7. Rats desert a sinking ___.
  8. The early bird ___ the worm.
  9. Still waters run ___.
  10. The best things in life are ___.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Exercising Officially

"Mike's atorneys drew up the papers very quickly and Lucky arrived at the office late on a Friday morning to sign them. Mike had refurbished a small private office for her and they met there. Lucky tried out the ergonomically designed chair and the new teak desk Mike had imported from Thailand. She turned on the computer and was pleased to see that it was the latest Dell professional desktop edition." (P.143)

Like Lucky, many of us spend long hours at the computer whether in the office or at home. What starts out as an hour at work, soon becomes another and yet another till we find that we have not moved out of our seat for even a bit!

Before we know it, we have problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, spondylitis, slipped disc, eye strain or just plain and simple pins and needles.

These simple exercises ( stretches actually) will help in making your computer time less stressful!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Comparing Yoga and drinking - what a joke !

Yoga plays a major role in Lucky's life as it helps her find not only peace but also a vocation. I received a mail message on the benefits of Yoga by drinking ( obviously a joke) which might bring a smile to your face, especially when you are struggling with a body contorting twist or trying to stand on your head!

Research confirms that drinking gives you the same benefits as yoga


Position of total relaxation.


Position that brings the sensation of peace and calm.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

This position
calms the brain and heals tired legs.


Position stimulates the midirift area and the spinal comumn.


Excelent for back pain and imsomnia.


Excelent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.


Great excersice to stimulate the lumbar area, legs, and arms.

Ananda Balasana

This position is great for masaging the hip area.


This position, for ankles and back muscles.


Tones the body, and builds flexibility and helps get rid of 'stress'.

Of course, I'd much rather advocate YOGA to drinking and would recommend several of the Yoga websites I follow on this blog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Parsi Sari

"While Lucky was trying on the boots, she noticed a pretty young Indian woman in a red and white sari with an armload of packages struggling to keep track of her bags and her children while arguing with a salesman who had obviously not understood what she was looking for. What caught Lucky's attention was not just the saree but the particular style of sari the woman was wearing. It was a gara, a Parsi sari." ( P. 137)

Garas are traditional silk saris worn by Parsis on special occasions like weddings and Navjotes ( similar to the Christian Confirmation). These six yards of chamois silk are exquisitely hand embroidered in silken thread. What distinguishes this sari from other saris is the heavy embroidery
See full size image
in which birds,weeping willows, tendrils and cranes twist and bend with infinite grace and fields studded with roses and peonies, jasmine and chrysanthemums. Within their folds the Parsi gara(as the sari is known), jhabla or jackets and kor or borders carry not just aesthetic images and cameos “painted with a needle” but tales and legends, myths and journeys of the Parsis, even the mystery of theKhakha or “forbidden stitch”, an embroidery stitch of such complexity that, according to legend, its execution can make the practitioner go blind

Traditionally, these saris were brought home by Parsi men travelling to China on business and who would bring home these treasures for their womenfolk. Garas were India’s first “fashion sari” in which “Anglicised” Parsi ladies stepped out to meet British memsahibs. Soon the gara became a must at all Navjots and a part of every Parsi girl’s trousseau, as well as a badge of Parsi identity.

The original gara had silk floss embroidery in white and occasionally in pastel shades on sal gajji silk, which was generally purple, red and black in colour. The embroidery was delicate and colour nuanced; often as many as 20-30 shades of a single colour thread were used to express one flower! The stitches were satin stitch with variations of extended, bound, voided and embossed as well as French knots. The Gujarat mochi stitch and zardosi from the Deccan were also incorporated while ari is now being used. A gara can take up to a year to create with many embroiderers working on one frame. Each is a “specialist” in one motif, which could be floral, a butterfly, bird…

However the symbols and motifs of each gara tell a story. The fleeing Parsis brought Persian symbols like the cypress tree, chakla chakli or contradictory birds, represented with delicacy. The Zoroastrian culture’s reverence for nature represented by trees and flowers, plant and fish life, the divine fungus, the bird of paradise and 30 flowers representing as many angels are other significant motifs while the lotus and peacock brings the fragrance of the Indian soil in which Parsi culture blossomed. While the Raj flavour incorporated floral baskets, the Chinese pheria stitched in vignettes of Chinese court life, beautiful gardens and flowers such as peony, rose, chrysanthemum... Some or all these motifs fill up a typical gara or jhablawith an overriding feel of harmony, richness, grandeur and delicacy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being in someone's shoes

'The finest Moroccan hand-tooled leather,'the salesman assured them. 'The shoes are manufactured in Italy, but the leather comes from a very small village. The leather is cured by local artisans according to an ancient family tradition. The process takes three years. And there are no chemicals involved- the process is wholly organic. This is why there are only four colours available. The manufacturer has an exclusive contract. They are very expensive.' (p.138)

Lucky was quite surprised when the stranger in the shop unhesitatingly bought these expensive shoes. Shoes do serve a greater purpose than just protecting one's feet - they also enhance an outfit.Which is why, when people travel, they always carry a special pair to wear for formal occasions.

This reminds me of the time when my friend Ann was coming to Mumbai for just 24 hours to attend a very formal function. Because her best shoes came in a very fancy box, she had to carry a check-in bag instead of a normal carry-on bag. Unfortunately, for her the bag, was checked onto the wrong flight and the poor lady had not only no shoes to wear but no clothes either!!

Since the function was slated to start much before the shops opened and it was too late in the night for her to shop for anything, she had no option but to make do with my stuff..........

So all for the sake of her fancy, formal shoes, the poor lady had to suffer the ignominy of being on stage in someone else's clothes and shoes

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Shopping at Mangaldas Market.

"The streets were packed with last-minute Christmas shoppers. The stores had slashed prices and harried salespeople were rushing to and fro trying to appease multiple shoppers at the same time. The thronging crowds and the steamy heat of the stores suddenly reminded Lucky of the Mangaldas fabric market and the raucous stalls on Fashion Street in Bombay. True they were different in appearance but the atmosphere was the same - the frantic impatience of the shoppers , the hurried, terse sales pitches, the general chaos." ( P.137)

Mangaldas Market is the largest indoor cloth and dress material market in Mumbai. There are hundreds of stalls where you can buy beautiful material from the finest silk saris to raw cotton. Open Monday to Saturday 11.30 am to 8 pm

While the convenience of shopping in an organised store cannot be denied, there is an undeniable charm of shopping in the local markets of Mumbai. Mangaldas Market, is one of the most fascinating wholesale textile markets I have visited. Right in the heart of this bustling city, the merchants have tiny stalls set up in a space which has textiles specific to the lane. Thus you have one end of the market where you can get furnishing fabrics, another where you get sarees, and another that specialises in "Uniform" material ( i.e. fabric for making uniforms for schools , policemen etc) , lanes which have "fancy material" for making fashionable garments for women, Shirting for men, undyed fabric, pure cotton, bales and bales of fabric almost every conceivable texture and count.
The shop keepers sit on mattresses, covered with clean white sheets, leaning against fat bolsters, and call out to you while you pass through the narrow lanes , " Sister, what you want? saree? dress material? " If you do happen to stop, they will tempt you with a hot cup of tea which is delivered by the tea boys running through the market, or a "cole drink" as they call any fizzy soda..........
One can literally spend hours in this fascinating maze of colour and organised chaos.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Make Butter Chicken

(p.136) As a special treat Mike took Lucky to a recently opened Indian restaurant just off Broadway.

Since Indian food is so popular the world over, especially the famous Butter Chicken , I thought I'd share this special recipe with you. I have taken this recipe from VIDEOJUG which has the most amazing easy to cook recipes.

To Make Butter Chicken

How To Make Butter Chicken : Butter Chicken Recipe. A delicious chicken dish that can be made as hot or as mild as you wish - a perfect meal for curry lovers who want to keep it simple. Taste our Butter Chicken recipe.Butter Chicken Recipe. A delicious chicken dish that can be made as hot or as mild as you wish - a perfect meal for curry lovers who want to keep it simple. Taste our Butter Chicken recipe.
Weights & Measures:
Preparation Time:
20 minutes
Cooking Time:
20 minutes

You will need…

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 220 g can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander or spinach, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large frying pan
  • 1 spoon
  • 1 tray
Step 1:

Season the chicken.

Begin by seasoning the chicken with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Step 2:

Heat the oil and begin to fry the chicken.

Using a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and add the chicken.
Step 3:

Fry for 3-4 minutes.

Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes until it turns a golden-brown colour.
Step 4:

Remove the chicken.

Take the chicken out of the frying pan and put it aside.
Step 5:

Melt the butter.

Use the same frying pan to melt the butter.
Step 6:

Fry the onion with the cinnamon.

Now add the onion and cinnamon and fry together in the pan.
Step 7:

Add the remaining ingredients.

At this point add the crushed garlic, crushed ginger, turmeric, chilli powder, almonds, peeled tomatoes, tomato paste and the natural yoghurt. Stir all of the ingredients together and mix thoroughly.
Step 8:

Bring to the boil and cook.

Bring the ingredients to a boil and stir for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 9:

Add the chicken.

Put the chicken back into the pan and combine with the other ingredients.
Step 10:

Add the fresh coriander.

To compliment the dish, add the coriander (or fresh spinach if you prefer) and mix with the sauce.
Step 11:

Serve while streaming and eat up!

Spoon the chicken and the sauce onto a large serving dish and serve with rice and naan bread. A perfect curry dish that goes down well with an icy Asian beer.
Please do follow this link for other yummy recipes :

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