Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Danger in the streets

There are several CEAT Tyre commercials like this one--where someone is not paying attention and someone else has to brake quickly to prevent an accident, but this one is the least comical.
And really, the traffic isn't comical--it's serious out there.

Drive safe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We are with you

After twelve days of fasting, the protesting is over.
Now there is no marching or slogan shouting. The main rally grounds are deserted.
Who won?
Supposedly Anna Hazare and his followers.
What did he win?
That remains to be seen.

Anna, called by some a "recently minted saint", proposed a bill for the parliament on anti-corruption and then took up a hunger fast.
The support for him was quick, loud and surprising.
To be Indian was to support Anna, "We are with you!" shouted people in trains, buses, parks, and at rallies throughout the city.

The protests reached my neighborhood also. Most of the marchers were middle aged, but there were also the young.

The hunger strike is over. So now what?

It takes more than words and a pledge to not give/take bribes.
It takes more than popularity to make a policy change that alters a nation.
It takes more than following the methods of Gandhi to demonstrate character.
It takes more than promises for true change.

Candles, flag waving and slogan shouting may be good at gaining attention--but it doesn't get to the root of the problem.

I'm not convinced that twelve days of not eating and becoming really popular are what cause people to value integrity.
I think a change of a much bigger nature is needed--a deep change of heart and of national character and values.

What was really won?
That remains to be seen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Exotic vegetables

I bought exotic vegetables.
I didn't know I was shopping in the exotic section of the produce, but that's how my receipt listed my purchases.
What did I buy?
Zucchini and yellow summer squash.
I found them amongst the asparagus and broccoli--the produce that gardens and farmers markets where I'm from are full of this time of year.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ride through the mall

Today I went to a mall that was so big, it had golf carts going back and forth to take people from one end to the other. Apparently we looked like we needed a ride.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kite flying

The skies were full of kites and the rooftops were full of people.

But we couldn't make our kite fly.
We gave it to these kids and they did a way better job.
This is what independence day is for--kite flying.
Or watching others have fun with it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bitter gourd

My neighbor wanted to share with me. What did she want to share? Some bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon.
Whatever you want to call it, it looks like a bumpy cucumber and it tastes...bitter. Awful bitter.

But she'd fried it to death and I almost couldn't make out the bitterness--it did catch up to me later, though, and stay with me for hours.
She explained all the bitter gourd's good health properties to me. Good for thinning the blood, diabetes, something something.
And she sent some home with me.

I tried to convince someone else to eat these treats for me. You know, a cultural experience and all. Eat the bitter gourd to say you've tried it.
I was unconvincing.

My neighbor waved at me from the balcony today and said to come over. I wonder what she'll have for me to try next.

Indian Bitter Melon

Resembling a bumpy cucumber, Indian Bitter Melon is much smaller than Chinese Bitter Melon, only 4 to 5 inches in length. The grooved yellow-green to dark-green skin holds a fibrous, seed-filled core. The lighter the color, the milder the taste. Its slightly sour flavor becomes quite bitter upon ripening. This bitter or quinine flavor is often combined with garlic or chili. It is used in soups, curries, stir-fry, or can be steamed and braised.

Indian Bitter Melon
Indian bitter melon

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paying the debt

I had an idea.
If the US debt to the penny as of today is $14,620,196,583,424.20, and the population of the US is 313,232,044, with about 20% being children--let's make it 25% just to be safe--leaving us with 234,924,033 adults, then if every American pays $62,233.72 the national debt will be taken care of.

But aw shucks, I don't have that much.
A trillion has about three more 0s than I remembered it having.
$6,223.37 for the next ten years?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Art imitates life

I think that when it's small, this photo taken from the roof-top looks like some painting by Picasso.

This is his 1903 painting, Roofs of Barcelona.

Green view

My neighbor has a very green view.
She saw me up on the roof in the afternoon taking pictures and called me over to see what it looks like from her side. Having always wanted to see what the park, the Lotus temple, and the world looked like from over there, I went and hung out on her balcony for a while.

She gave me chai and namkeen. She let me see what it looks like to look out onto my balcony from hers. She told me about her days in the railroad company, how she worked there for 38 years but has been retired for nine years.
Now she comes here for the quiet and for health reasons. Kind of funny to come to Delhi for quiet, but where she is, there is certainly a very green view over a quiet park in a city full of cement.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stacking bricks

It's kind of fascinating to me how you can stack brick on top of brick on top of brick, and then it's possible for person to live on top of person to live on top of person.
Rectangles of brick that make up rectangle boxes of rooms that separate us from one another and give us some semblance of our own space and privacy.
Delhi: as far as the eye can see is
brick stacked on brick stacked on brick--person stacked on person stacked on person...