some more of This and That

by Ramesh Mahadevan

Here is a pathetic PJ.

Question: How does Al Gore practise birth control ?

Answer: Al-go-rithmically.

Got it ? I won't be surprised if this hilarious joke makes it to rec.humor.funny.

And here is a trivia question:

What is the actual name of Gabbar Singh in Sholay ? (Hint: It is NOT Gabbar Singh)

"..Hi I am Bob Costas welcoming you to the 2052 Olympics, held in beautiful Peddapuram, India. We are at the Subbarao Memorial Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremonies. Charlie, isn't it a moving sight, with all these countries marching past ? Look at the delegation from the New United Team. Folks, I am sure you recall that just last year North Carolina unified with South Carolina. Oh, Charlie, it is unfortunate that the next two delegations that are marching past were united just a while ago, but not now. Viewers, you may remember that the country Romania split into two countries, Roma and Nia.........

I don't know Charlie, if the host country will win a medal at least this year, almost seventy years after they last won a medal. Their dream team may not even do well in the Gulli Danda competition, since India is a poor country and they can hardly afford these modern titanium tipped dandas...

Charlie, it is a scene to behold. Over six million people in the stadium. They are not just spectators. They live there. And what a human interest story it is Charlie, P. T. Usha coming out of retirement and making it to the Indian Olympic team............."

It must have happened to everyone of you. You have just spent a month of your vacations in India and you are going to return to Amrika tomorrow and suddenly, there is a spate of people who discover your parents' house in India, come loaded with stuff for you to take to their friends and relatives in the USA. A variety of masalas, pappads made out of neem leaves, Vicco Ayurvedic cream, Agarbathis, Cuticura powder ad nauseum. All to be delivered to people you have never met and have absolutely no desire to meet. But the most disgusting thing they thrust on you is a pair of Hawaii rubber chappals.

"Do you know uncleji, you can get these in any drugstore for a dollar in the USA ?"

"Hee hee, my son in law told me he went to ten shops and could not find it. Besides, his size is so weird, he can't find anything in the US. Nothing like Bata Hawaii chappals."

"And it is going to cost me three dollars to mail this. It does not make economic sense."

"My son in law is a big engineer there in New Jersey. He will pay you back."

After I got back, I never sent the slippers, putting it as the three hundredth item on my List of things to do. Sure enough the son in law, who I had never seen before, called me up one day. He didn't mince words.

"Can you send me those chappals soon please ?"

"Why ? Are your feet growing ?"

"No, no see. My old chappals broke. You know, we don't have mochis here. At least, do you know what color they are ?"

"I think the left one is blue and the right one is red."

"Stop kidding. You can just send it with a note that the postage will be paid by me."

"Sure, Then I will also send along a couple of 'Yellow pages' with the slippers if you are going to pay".

Of course, I never did send the pair of slippers. They are now available to the highest bidder from SCI. The catch is, you have to come and get it and if your feet are too big, you should be ready to sandpaper your insteps.

Here is a mouth watering recipe, called 'Abin's fried rice', but actually created by me.

1 1/2 cup basmati rice (no substitute)
1 stick butter
4 onions, cut in large bits, about 3/4 inch to a side.
1 handful raw cashew nuts broken into halves or smaller
1 cup of thawed carrots and peas
2 sticks of cinnamon.


  1. Make basmati rice separately. Add three cups of water to 1 1/2 cups of rice. Bring it to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to low, close the vessel tight and let it simmer for ten minutes.
  2. Microwave (or boil and drain) carrots and peas till done. (About ten minutes)
  3. Melt the stick of butter in a big vessel (dutch oven), fry cashews till brown. Add onions and fry till golden. Add cooked peas and carrots. After a couple of minutes, break two cinnamon sticks into two pieces each and add to the pot. Add one teaspoon of chili powder and salt to taste. Shut off the stove after a minute.
  4. Add the cooked basmati rice to the onions etc and mix, taking care not to break the rice grains. Voila, you got yourself a tasty rice dish.

(When reheating the next day, do it slowly, because the butter would have congealed)

You know someone has been in this country for a long time, the moment they start dropping names. And this gentleman, who was visiting us and who happened to be the friend of a family friend of a friend of a .... was one of them.

"Mr. Abid Hussain, the Indian ambassador, I know him very well. Abidji is a great intellectual. You know the Pakistani ambassador's name is Mrs. Abida Hussain and people often confuse the two ambassadors. Auntie, my wife, knows Mrs Abid Hussain very well....."

"You are talking about Mira Nair ? I know that girl very well. Her father and I are family friends. He is in the jail administration in Orissa. ... And Satyajit Ray. I know him very well. But you know, he can be obnoxious and arrogant sometime when you talked to him in person. But he is a great filmmaker..."

"And Hargobind ? I know Hargobind Khurana very well. He and I and some other guys were the original bunch who started the Indian Federation in this country. I know everyone on the East coast. ....I was just talking to my great friend in India the other day. He is in the planning commission. I know him very well....And Deb Chatterjee, the Samaritan, I know him very well."

A few days later, we were talking something technical at work and somebody mentioned the name of this Indian scientist in New Mexico who is working on corrosion of exotic materials. That scientist was sure enough Uncleji ! I butted in. "Oh, him. Dr. Varma. I know him VERY WELL. We just had dinner the other day ....." I must be very old too.

I get all my India news from SCI. In fact, I get all my Pittsburgh news also from SCI. But here are a couple of news items from India which weren't discussed at all on SCI.

  1. Indian telephones is considering 'metering' local phone calls. That is, the longer you talk, the more you pay for the call. The metering kicks in after five minutes. Predictably, this has created a lot of negative reaction, given how much desis love chatting. Some concerned consumers have even filed a suit in some court. Anyone knows the latest ?
  2. When the ill fated Bhuddha statue was finally reclaimed from the lake in Hyderabad, it was consecrated ceremoniously. Among the distinguished guests who showed up was Mr. Gupsonim Dupka, the viceroy of Bhutan. The state government was surprised that the viceroy did not call on the governor, nor observed other protocol. So when they contacted the External Affairs ministry, they discovered that the Kingdom of Bhutan did not even have a viceroy. But the mystery man was a guest of Telugu Desam party, ran up a huge hotel bill, hogged the limelight and even posed with N. T. Rama Rao. Now, understandably everyone is silent about the 'viceroy' and the popular belief in Hyderabad is that the viceroy is actually an itinerant merchant selling woolen sweaters on the streets of Thimpu, who just made a fool of all the people for a few days.

    I travel a heck of a lot. One of the most amusing places that I have visited is a country called Monaco. I was half expecting to see a huge factory in the middle of the country, churning out Monaco Gluco biscuits and physicists hanging around outside the casinos doing Monte Carlo simulations.

    Central to this small country is a royal palace, with T shirt shops right on the palace grounds. There were several menacing looking cannons and cannonballs, all strategically pointing toward - downtown Monte Carlo ! At around noon every day, the 'Change of palace guards' takes place for the tourists. Ten of the burliest bums with beer bellies march awkwardly to a tune and swap places with ten other bums. When I was there, the princess had called up a tabloid and announced that she was pregnant out of wedlock and the father was a palace bodyguard, giving a whole new meaning to the word 'bodyguard'. The citizens of the principality, among the richest in the world, had one more embarrassment.

    Also, peppered along the country, which is only slightly larger than my living room, were several huge and ugly statues. (The only place where I had seen more grotesque statues was on the campus of BITS Pilani) There were statues of 'Cigarette smoking woman', 'Sitting woman' and 'Adam and Eve'. Whoever sculpted the 'Adam and Eve', in his moment of sculptural humor, also appended the stone Adam with bronze genitals.

    As usual, thanks to a few unnamed guys for some materials I had used in this post.