When Google Googles

Traditions can be really important. They bridge the gap between the past and new. But then again, it is also considered an explanation for acting without thinking. And traditionally speaking, nothing dies easier than traditions. Or rather, we have a tradition of dying traditions! Without realizing we do end up forming new traditions. We just like to call it we-won’t-listen-to-you-oldies. But guess what, this tradition of rebelling traditions is the longest tradition that has ever existed, and will remain until you go on the other side of the table! Take that!

Anyway, all this tradition crap was just to enable myself to start a tradition of my own! Oh yeah, I can do it, because, umm… it’s my space, you know! So every year google is going to come up with questions for doodle for google contest, and like last year, I am going to answer them here. But I have to give it to google. For someone who gets bombarded with silliest, whackiest, mindless questions like ‘can you raise your IQ by eating gifted children’, google does seem to have the most sensible questions. And you know what a more sensible thing to do is? – is to make children their search engine.

By the way, I did not make that question up. It is true! Another reason to ask children.

Anyway, so this year’s question for the contest is – If I could teach anyone anything, what would it be?123

  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Act.

If anyone could teach anything to India, this should be it. We have spent way too long on talking, planning, discussing, throwing things in the parliament to get anything done! If only people who “ruled” this land went to school, they would know – Actions speak louder than words/slogans/election speeches.

  • Relax.

Talking about India – Oh hello, Pakistan! Generally, we believe that Tu-Jaanta-Nahi-Mera-Baap-Kaun-Hai is a very Delhi thing. But from where I see it, the India-Pakistan tiff is pretty much the same thing. Nobody wants to act, but both want to leave the “kurukshetra” with a bloated ego.

Only Pakistan doesn’t know to not pose the question to your own father! D’uh!

  • Talaq. Talaq. Talaq.

This is not what a husband following Islam should tell his wife, but an entire community should to this system! Divorce the triple talaq, and stop gloating in your male ego, men! It’s definitely not about “religious sentiments” in this case. And trust me, Allah will definitely approve of your progressive attitude.

  • Breathe.

In the humdrum of life, very few remember to breathe. Be in this moment, enjoy it to the fullest. Take a deep breathe in, and you will know how pungent and foul the air around you is! Only then, may be, for the sake of your own lungs, you will take measures to purify it. It will cleanse your mind, body and soul. Promise.

  • Parallel Park.

As for me, I would love to teach the good people of India the difference between a parking space and a jigsaw puzzle. The rule remains intact even though you just need to grab a bite- or chai to be precise. Theek hai rickshaw-wale bhaiya?

PS- Read the tradition bit again.

FooDie

Once upon a time (oh, yeah that is how long back it seems), there used to be news, then there used to be breaking news, and then there used to be OMG-I-am-so-appalled kind of breaking news. But now in this day and age when just about anything is discussed at prime-time, and multi-tasking of an It-Baba by manufacturing not so swadeshi fashion garment in Swades makes it to the headline, it is not appalling that news no more is appalling. Amidst all the brouhaha created by media and/or social media about anything and everything happening around us, very rarely does some piece of news still manages to appall me!
Although I know statistics, in general, are as accurate as the Indian meteorological department is about the weather forecast, one of the statistic that caught my eye, and really pained me, was about how India wastes approximately 67 million tonnes of food every year – a number higher than the national food output of countries like Britain. This amount is enough to feed the entire population of Bihar for a full year. And trust me if we keep Bihar well-fed, we will probably be successful in reducing the collective aggression of this country by one-half!

2-cartoon-sumantabaruah-unep-wed-2013This statistic is gloomy- especially for a country that has more than half the population starving (even if we don’t count all the people on diet). Just to put things in perspective, the value of food lost amounts to Rs.92, 000 crore, nearly two-thirds of what the government spends under the National Food Security Programme to feed 600 million poor Indians with subsidised rations. That’s a lot of food!

There are lots of reasons for this situation.

A lot of this food is wasted even before it reaches the consumer. Because of no storage or cold storage facilities, redundant transportation mechanism, food sorting, etc. So basically half the produce doesn’t even reach the market, and the rest half is washed, coloured, dented and painted, before it reaches us!

This brings me to another major reason for food being wasted- how it looks! A lot of fruits and vegetables do not look “up-to the mark”, hence the vendors find it very difficult to sell them, and they eventually deteriorate and are thrown away! We are spoilt for colours in this time of fashion-supermarket, that we want our apples also to be that perfect shade of Red! Not, “Red” Red. But Red!

While our farmers do not have storage facilities, we do. And hence we stock up on all the food that we think we might for the next fortnight, if not less. But two days later, someone not so important remarks about how our weight has increased by OMG 500 grams!! While we don’t throw away the packaged food that we have – for stress eating of course- but end up throwing a lot of this stored food eventually.

And finally, something that all of us can practice every day three times a day is-Take what you eat. Eat what you take! Nothing is worse than affording, buying, cooking and then wasting food!

Dear Ganpati Bappa,

It is always great to have you! We were all prepared to welcome you with immense love in our heart, and even more traffic on our streets. I think you must have had a bumpy ride till the pandals/home – with an undercurrent of very melodic honking sound, I am assuming you would understand our yearlong plight. What? You don’t find honking melodious. You just don’t have an ear for it, I say!

We welcome you by reciting many shlokas and a couple of aartis’ which essentially mean that Ganesha is the lord who provides joy, takes away sadness, and removes all obstacles in life. I understand that some of us may not be trained singers, and thus, the offbeat singing can be a tad-bit problematic, but that’s our way of testing the relevance of “obstacle remover” God! Ha, take that!

Well well Bappa, I am not sure if I am looking at removing larger-than-life issues like solving the Kashmir problem, letting women decide what they should or should not wear, or increasing the collective IQ of the Indian bureaucracy. I mean these problems seem too big to be solved, even for the greatest Vignaharta of all times. But if you could help us fix the smaller day to day obstacles, like taking the clutter on the streets and the people who clutter with you, there will definitely be less clutter in our life then!

ganpathi-and-fuel-1Since a few of your idols have already been immersed, you would know that out water bodies are not really umm, safe, and can suck the life out of the dead as well. I mean for people who hop, skip and jump over with life as if it were potholes, we deserve a better death. But alas, as you can see, there is no sign of the promised Moksha for us!

We anymore do not invoke you for auspicious beginnings, but for completion of what has been started years ago. Nor for deliverance from the cycle of birth and rebirth; only from the unending cycle of laying and re-laying of pipes and pavements. I understand that amidst the Niagara of noise and preposterous display of devotion, it may be a little difficult for you to hear my prayers, but I promise you, next year I will make use of the recently launched very “innovative” air pods, to help you multitask while listening to my never-ending rant.

Anyway, how has your stay for the past one week been? Now that we are half way through the festivities, I am already getting withdrawal symptoms!  There won’t be any more ‘Selfie with Bappa’ contests on twitter, or sale on extra-large products to mark the festival of a God with extra-large heart on any of these merchandise websites. And obviously I being an extra-large girl with an extra-large heart but extra-small budget, am sad, for one!

But today when I look at you looking at me, we both creators of each other, I sense there is one thing we both can definitely be grateful for – Modak!

Happy Holidays, Bappa!