Showing posts from April, 2008

The run on rice

When I saw & heard on TV yesterday that the Costco & Sam’s club shops in USA are starting to restrict rice sales and that rice prices (max 20Lbs per customer) have gone upto $20 from $8 per bag, I started to take note. Was this really happening in the wealthy & stable USA? Look at the picture; it is from a Costco store in California (courtesy ABC, AP news). Then my younger son told me that Filipino expat workers were sending bags of rice from Canada to Manila. Blame stories like ‘Global rice shortage due to rice hoarding by India’ started appearing here & there…

Sample some headlines
Thai rice hits new record, feeding food fears
Riots in Africa & Haiti
Americans hoard food as industry seeks regulations
Costco CEO Blames Media for recent run on rice
Rice shortage in Philippines
Bush Orders $200M in Emergency Food Aid
UN: Rising food prices are silent tsunami

Some months back, a local Indian shop owner told us to buy the biggest bag of Atta if we could. When asked why, he sai…

Replying a tag

I have been tagged by Indrani & Nanditha…so here goes

1. Last movie you saw in a theater?
You, Me Aur Hum…Initially I wanted to do a review but then desisted. There were too many around already. Nice movie, both the actors Kajol and Ajay have excelled, the theme is great, the direction could have been better. We were 6 people in the theater…

2. What book are you reading?
Three or four books – Third secret by Steve Berry, Adventures of the artificial woman – Thomas Berger, Malabar kalapam – Madhavan Nair…

3. Favorite board game?
Have not played one in ages, Last was Scrabble I think.

4. Favorite magazines?
Time, PCWorld, Newsweek…

5. Favorite smells?
Vanilla, cilantro, Orange..

6. Favorite sounds?
Look out for an upcoming blog on this subject

7. Worst feeling in the world?
Being considered inferior by virtue of national origin

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
Plans for the day, the drive to the office

9. Favorite fast food place?
Panda Express

10. Future child’s name?

11. …

The torn earlobe and the horse trader

A friend of mine recently changed names from Jayan to John, after five decades of existence on this planet…There was some talk amongst us classmates as to why, how etc especially since it involved just that, a change of name…and that reminded me of a fascinating character from the old times, one who hobnobbed with the gentry of Portugal, Malabar, the Vatican and what not…A boy from Calicut who later changed his name…

Here my friends is another pearl from Malabar history – the story of how a scorned Malayali changed the course of history, starting from a lowly position as the son of a trader Chetty in Calicut, then to a lofty position as the Zamorin’s envoy to Lisbon, a drop to becoming a lowly horse trader in Travancore, to involvement in an incident of a torn earlobe, then providing salvation for the pearl collecting Paravas of Tuthukudi, lending a big hand in the attainment of sainthood for St Xavier, and speeding the decline of the suzerainty of the once powerful Zamorin of Calicut.…

The magic of Hing

I still recall Rama Iyer from Thekke Gramam (South Village), the wizened old Ambi (Palghat Brahmin), no shirt, bent over from arthritis, wearing a discolored single dhoti floating high above his ankles, walking from his agraharam to the post office in Pallavur, umbrella in one hand and the yellow LG bag containing his Chella petti (I should explain – Chella petti or murukkaan petti contained chewing paraphernalia – betel leaves, arecanuts, small steel dubba with chunna – lime etc) tucked in his right arm pit. He would walk, oblivious to the occasional car or bike that whizzed past, sidestepping the cow that was sleeping on the road, looking at the mountains and the paddy fields, and muttering to himself. We would watch, lazily, lounging on the parapet wall, as one is wont to do while on a vacation, the strenuous & vociferous game of cricket having been completed and with the drinks break on….The yellow bag under Iyer’s armpit came to my mind today and I remembered the yellow tin i…

The Staffie Oatie

Takes me back two years - when I used to work in the sleepy town of Stafford at the UK, one or other of my colleagues would prepare & distribute a quick lunch at the office on friday noons for a small sum – stuff like burgers, pasties etc. This was convention, and I was slow on the take actually since they almost always made it with bacon or other meat that I did not quite like, not cooked to my liking at least. After a while the guys stopped asking since they did not have a variation suiting me.

However one day, one of them made something and called me to inform that it was vegetarian, filled with cheese. With great trepidation, I took a look at what he was making, before finalizing my reply. I was surprised; it looked like a limp Dosa actually. Then he put in the cheese, some hot chilly sauce, rolled it up and gave it to me. It was not too bad for a hungry stomach. The chap, a local lad from Stafford, stated that those were called Staffordshire oatcakes or Staffie Oaties. Then h…