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Musings

Payasam for the independent Indian


On 15th of August 1947, the British left India. Atleast that’s what we like to believe.

Consider the following:

At a geopolitical level, we stand fragmented, perhaps permanently disabled, fighting against our neighbours, with whom we share a common heritage.

At an institutional level, we inherited a corrupt bureaucracy that mostly enjoys fat salaries for warming the bench; a political structure that upholds the time honoured divide and rule policy; large organisations that spew communal hatred to further their own interests; and a system of reservation for ‘backward’ castes which is supposed to end discrimination, merit be damned.

Even at an individual level, given that we want to teach kids only English (along with other European languages); dream of an MBA from a foreign university; drool shamelessly at NRIs during family get-togethers for matchmaking; and are obsessed with ‘fair skin’, I wonder, are we really independent?


Meanwhile, yesterday, I made some payasam on occasion of a birthday—of a very interesting person. He is quite dark skinned and born to a community regarded as ‘Other Backward Classes’. He has a luxurious palace, but give him beaten rice and he’ll be absolutely thrilled. He used to steal butter as a kid, but I believe he has outgrown that, what with today’s salted low fat, low sodium stuff on sale.

He didn’t have any fancy MBA, but that didn’t stop him from leading a small group of warriors to victory over a mighty army.

His name is Krishna. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Oh you have! Quite the ladies’ man, no? Please do take a generous helping of this aval payasam—a delicacy made from beaten rice, milk and jaggery.

Aval Payasam
Happy birthday, Krishna!
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Stories

Happy Independence Day


Connaught place, now named Rajiv Chowk, was constructed by the British around the same time other structures including the Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Parliament building were being constructed. Together, these structures were a symbol of Imperialism. It was a show of strength for the colonists, and many people were displaced to make way for the construction.

However, soon after the completion of buildings, the second World War broke out, followed by the Indian Independence movement.

Today, CP, as it is fondly called, is a hub of commercial activity and a favourite hang-out place for thousands of people, including yours truly. 

Last month, on a cool cloudy day, I went to meet a friend at CP. The breeze was strong and little drops of monsoon rain were beginning to fall. We looked at the center of the circle. 

Flying high overshadowing the past, and looking over our shoulders, the Indian tricolour was at its finest.

Wishing you a very Happy Independence Day.

Jai Hind!