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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Is variety the curse of life ?

Variety is the spice of life , is a much abused cliché . 

It starts with food, goes on to clothes and touches every aspect of life.

A random google search throws up this explanation

Diversity makes life interesting, as in Jim dates a different girl every week—variety is the spice of life, he claims.  

After all "Polygamy is the opposite of monotony"

Of course there is no mention of Mary seeking the spice of life. 

What does it mean in day to day life ? Variety in cuisine has come to  mean changing your dietary preference every day from Mughlai to South Indian, Continental to  Thai and so on. Why do you need so much variety; to break the monotony of course. My question  is don't we need a staple diet to build up monotony in the first place. How else can you break the monotony ?

Secondly, no two experiences are the same as  any experience depends on both the subject and the object .

  When you listen to the same music , over and over, you either get hooked on to it or move away from it. No music worth listening to, leaves the listener unaffected. So the next time you listen to the same music, the experience is so different, and when you listen to a kind of music for over 25-30 years, it becomes a unique experience by itself.

Kolaveri kind  of Music comes and goes, but MS kind of music goes on forever. Firstly , it is not monotony as every time you listen, the experience is more intense, and even if it is so, why should I want to break this heavenly monotony.

 Cuisine is one area where spice plays a major role. Here again, if you ask anyone hooked to the delicacy called curd rice with lemon pickle, he or she  would swear that it is not the same experience but every time it tastes better and better.

These days it is fashionable to serve a variety of cuisine in a single meal. The other day, we attended a wedding lunch at a five star hotel and as per norms, there was a lavish spread covering recipes from every region across continents. The diners are not happy with the taste of one region, but help themselves to a micro portion of every dish that looks appetizing. It is not uncommon to have Manchurian, chicken tikka , noodles and dosa punctuated by Thai soup and Chocolate soufflé 

The next day many complained of stomach upset and with so many dishes, it was indeed difficult to identify the culprit. My own reading is that it was the random order of consuming a random combination of dishes that did it.

 In the pre-refrigerator days, the left over, from the day meal could be carried over for the evening, but any food unconsumed in the evening meal had to be given away. I remember the typical call of the beggars who would regularly make their rounds at night to collect these left overs. The housewives also kept aside some food for these people. These alms seekers mostly ended up with small portions of all kinds of food in their bowls, much like what we find on the plates of variety seekers in a five star hotel. 

So much for variety.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Running commentaries and Media Coverage on Rush for Cash

I remember the first running commentary I heard of India - West Indies Test series in 1966. Those days it was not just a novelty, but pure magic to be able to follow live, an event taking place thousands of miles away. But these commentaries, then,  were reserved mainly for sports events. Today every event or even a non-event is telecast live with tadka or embellishments.

Anyone who is a regular spectator of football, tennis or cricket matches would vouch that watching an event live is so different from watching it on TV. What is a cricket match without the crowd hollering for 'fours' and 'sixes' in unison or what is a tennis match that doesn't give you a neck pain following the ball from side to side. There is something very unreal in lying on a couch with a packet of chips watching the players sweat it out.

 I remember the high altitude posts like Siachin where satellite TV had just made its appearance. MTV Grind used to be a popular show among soldiers and officers alike. What can be more unreal than  men clad in layers and layers of warm clothing gawking at the almost naked men and women basking in the sun. These soldiers would not have seen any female form clothed or otherwise and exposed parts of their own bodies for months.

Seeing the media coverage on the current issues that is how I feel, far removed , disconnected and disoriented. We are subjected to day long tale-commentary on #rushforcash. If some rabble rouser goes hysterical, media personnel are not far behind. Once in a while I go out to the town, to see for myself, the situation on ground. Being from a semi rural town, I can hardly connect the real life situation I see, to the TV news running all day.

I think the best coverage from Ground Zero , on the subject was done by Rajdeep Sardesai on India Today. His coverage from various banks followed by his coverage of the Parliament is nicely summed up in his tweet .(hail twitter for the word restriction)

     Whichever way you throw a fat cat , it always lands on its feet, sometimes crushing some hardworking ants under its feet , further softening the landing. Yeh Hai India. Yeh hai Dunia.

Cartoon : Courtesy: