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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