Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Power of Coco-Cola

Place : Ndola
Country : Zambia

Ndola is on the border of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. This town is 130 kms from the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka. I am currently here sitting in a shack with an old grand-father like computer with dial-up speed worse than 1995 , by India standards ! It’s a run down place which is surprisingly the only Internet CafĂ© for miles !!

I am here on Business. My Business is that of Printing and Packaging. We have been exporting to this country for the last 10 years – but the visits were strictly to the capital city of Lusaka. But a strange phone call got me in a PRO-FLIGHT Company aircraft to the town on NDOLA. PRO-FLIGHT itself is a risky business. This small aircraft that got me here and is supposed to be taking me back in a matter of 4 hours has given me a fright. Mainly due to its size !! It is so small – that in Hindi terms – one haava kaa jokha – and this plane will be swinging to the winds tunes.. !!

Anyhow… The aircraft is the only real civilized thing here. This town moves at its own pace. Now, If I were a poet, I would be appreciating the fact that there is something poetic about such mom and pop towns. If I were someone from Travel and Living, I would be covering the arts and crafts. If I were Shakira, I would be dancing to tunes of Waka Waka ! If I were Angelina Jolie, I would be adopting kids here ! If I were the U.N. Ambassador, I would be asking for fund raising for HIV affected individuals. If I were from National Geographic, I would be clicking photographs of the beautiful people of Africa ! But the reason why I am writing this to you – its because I am THE COMMON MAN. Where according to the UN – every 3rd child dies… This place is unusually painted RED with the colours of GLOBALISATION – COCO-COLA… !!!

I come here to sell medicine boxes. But the capitalist people complain on how our goods reach the interiors only after 3 months. Or how on most days they come as damaged goods. What amazes me is that COCO-COLA fights all these problems on a daily basis, and that too not only in 1 but 76 different countries where it has its operations !!!

When at Business School I read the book, The Bottom of the Pyramid and read about E-Choupal in India… and The micro-credit extended in a country like Burma… I knew it all made sense. But to see it with my own naked eye – the economics of this whole situation amazes me. I think we are going to come to a time where the progress of a village is going to be measured by the fact if every new product launched by Coco-Cola has reached it or not !! Such is the power of an MNC !! Such is the power of GLOBALISATION. !! Such is the power of consumerism !!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

5th Avenue NYC

My sister Dhwani and I stepped out of Central Park and into Fifth Avenue. We felt like tiny ants on the bottom of the forest floor... Here are some pictures from one of my favourite cities in the world NEW YORK !!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Graphite pencil tip carvings

I imagine that Brazilian artist Dalton Ghetti started his artwork in primary school, while listening to boring grammar lectures...

Aren't these pencil tip carvings incredible?!
People are just so darn creative!

Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola & Herbs

4 artichokes
3 lemons, plus 1 lemon
10 ounces mild Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 tablespoon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the artichokes by cutting off the top 1-inch or so. Cut the stem close to the base of the artichoke so the artichoke can sit up straight, and remove some of the bottom leaves. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp points off of any remaining outer leaves. Add the artichokes to the boiling water. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling water. Toss in the lemons. Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the artichokes and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the Gorgonzola, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl stir together the bread crumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the center choke of the artichokes using a small spoon. Stuff the cheese mixture into the center of the artichokes. Place the artichokes into a baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the artichokes. Drizzle the tops of the artichokes with olive oil. Bake until the artichokes are heated through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and serve.

Package your goodies

So, From the time I remember shopping at malls came into being somewhere in 1990's.. i was all but 10 and I remember walking into Shopper's Stop. My favourite thing about shopping there was not the mall experience. But at the end of your fine shopping experience a lovely lady beyond the cash counter asks you if you need it gift wrapped for free !!

So, my passion for packaging my goodies started then. Every little thing I bought - even if it was a small lip balm I got it gift wrapped. if I got 4 things, I would individually pack the 4 things seperately. The job of opening a crisp packing is something i cherish !! It's my best part of receiving anything.

Up until my 18th birthday - my parents and sister would make sure they package everything right. My sister excels at packaging stuff. Her company Creative Chase - info@creativechase.org do some fabulous things for people.

But now, apart from the gift I get from my sister - nothing is packaged : ( i hate having grown old for this reason. I have picked out some ways you can probably package your gifts or goodies. Maybe, you can even give me something : )

Paris v/s New York... Illustrated

An NYC transplant from Paris, graphic designer Vahram Muratyan, copes with culture shock by creating a lovely blog of simple graphics showing how the cities compare and contrast. Pitted against each other are Le Pain, La Peste, Le Tip and more in this friendly feud.

Grape, Goat Cheese and Onion Baguette

I found a lovely and unexpected combination of flavors - grapes, onion, vinegar and goat cheese together are something that I will definitely return to again.

Ingredients (makes 15)

- 1 baguette
- 7 ounces (200 g) soft goat cheese

{ salsa }
- 18 ounces (500 g) red grapes
- 1 red onion
- fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper

Slice the baguette and toast the slices quickly in the oven until crispy. Chop the grapes and onion. Finely chop some parsley. Mix in a bowl and add in red wine vinegar. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread a generous layer of goat cheese on the bread slices. If the goat cheese seems too stiff, mix in a splash of milk to make it more spreadable. Spoon a big spoonful of grape salsa on top and serve.

{ recipe adapted from sprouted kitchen }

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fortune Tellers

Fortune Tellers...
In 2009 – I was told by sept 2009 I would be married ! Could u imagine me at 22 being married ? Ofcourse I would have loved to have a boy friend, but certainly not be married !! Then sometime in sept 2009 – a tarot reader told me beginning November is my 9th year and its going to be raising hell for me !! And it has come partially true... And then some other tarot reader told me .. im not gng to be friends with one of my best friends.. and true to the word – we r rocking so hard on a boat that turned over last night on a rough patch !!

Do you believe in fortune telling ??

In Tokyo – my friends and I went to this Shinto Shrine called the Sensouji temple – wherein we had to pick up these fortune sticks from a box full of them. Then we had to locate a box with the corresponsding number on it. When we open the drawer from the hundreds on there – we can pull out a piece of paper which would have our fortune written on it.. !!

Ranging from "Daikichi (excellent luck)" to "Daikyo (great misfortune)," and gives advice about specific subjects, such as heath, marriage, travel, business and study. In ancient times, Japanese often used lotteries to learn God's will on important matters of national politics and festivals, and the current style of Omikuji is said to have originated 900 years ago. Nowadays, most of people draw Omikuji just for fun.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Fighting Spirit

So imagine diving straight into something and not knowing what you are getting into – and half way in you meet the demon ! Has that ever happened to you ? I got into a friendship – and i think straight from my heart – till the demon confronted me 5 months ago ! Yes – its been 5 months since i have been in deep waters struggling to keep my head above the ground. And last night I had the sinking feeling – which is not the first time I have felt this in 5 months – But I was stuck long enuf in the deep shit to realise this is not me !! When did I learn to Give up ?? People around me know to have the fighters spirit... !!

It’s when i saw these amazing China that I realised what i am going through – like this tea cup – inorder to know the entire demon – you just need to sip the entire tea to get to the bottom of everything !! So i did – and I found out – the foundations of this friendship is WEAK. And I have 2 ways out of here. I either get out of it completely – or fight for myself. I am a fighter – but my friend doesn’t want to be my friend anymore... and so I quit this friendship. Because in the end you will not remember the harsh words of an enemy , but remember the silences of a friend !!

Have you ever run away from a friendship ?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Love !

So I got the much awaited call this morning. I knew it was coming. But i did not know it would be so fast. Winter Love I tell u !! My Best Friend – im not naming which one ( I have to keep this secret !) is getting married... I am ecstatic. We pretty much grew up together. We spent so much time together... and we discussed all the time - what our partners would be like. And my friend’s partner fits the description exactly. WORD FOR WORD
We all grow up making a list of the perfect partner. The last person I dated was completely opposite to that LIST .. no regrets – it helps you find out what you really want, really !! Which also makes me wonder – Does you partner/ spouse fit that bill ?? Now, not the one which you re-structured to accommodate him / her – i’m talking about the one you made when you first got to know what LOVE is... ! Or are you still trying to figure out what to put on the list ?? What do you think should be on this list anyway ??


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