Saturday, April 18, 2009

As the democracy matures...

16th April was election time in Hyderabad - a holiday for many private establishments to facilitate their employees to exercise their franchise. It was a nice feeling for me to exercise my vote from my permanent address; I missed the previous elections because of change of address. There's something that made this election different from the previous ones. The awareness and education on the importance of voting, especially for younger generation, who don't relish talking politics. Worth mentioning is the Ads on TV- one by Tata Tea and many other types of awareness campaigns in rural areas. So there was something more than the usual rhetoric and rigmarole.

With each election, the number of parties seem to increase, we seem to move more and more towards coalition governments. This requires sound judgement in positively participating in the process to strengthen our democracy. Being world's largest democracy by itself doesn't mean anything - the challenge lies in evolving the right policies and sustaining our efforts in providing equal opportunities for development through a stable government. It's time we find ways to avoid frequent elections as coalitions may not be able to last a full term, given the fact that each election process drains our exchequer.

The election commission deserves a mention since it's no easy task managing this process efficiently, ensuring that it goes smoothly despite a country as huge as ours, with so many states, union territories that require different administrative different climatic conditions, difficult terrains, threatening situations, till the counting of votes closes and the verdict is announced.
You are in queue...please wait

Do we need to be told this in so many words!

Each time I see people crowding around cash counters or registration booths, my hunch gets re-confirmed - there are two different cultural aspects to queuing - one that holds it in utmost reverence, and the other that simply hates to line up and wait. No doubt we Indians belong to the second one. I tried finding a word that means 'queue haters' to describe ourselves, but sadly didn't succeed. Picture this: hotels, airports, train and bus ticket counters, supermarket billing counters, cinema halls even hospital counters... would we ever queue up unless thus instructed or forced?

Given a choice, every Indian would exercise his or her right to demonstrate their 'egality' by standing next to each other than line-up one behind the other. Rather strange way - it's the same behaviour whether in a star hotel or in a fair price shop. Is this some trait of being Indian, something to do with our culture -uniquely ours- we seem to display unacceptable signs of restlessness, impatience and anxiety when in public, jostling and shoving people, as if this was the best way to show off our might.Though I'm not a stickler for rules and disciplinary action, I always felt queuing is one of the significant traits of civilised societies.

This time it has to do with the school function I attended at Future Kid's School at their premises. As soon as the school staff announced that the parents could collects their passes for the show, all the parents simply crowded the make-shift counter near the school gate, making it chaotic for the school staff. I wish one of them had 'enforced' the queue system. What an example these parents were setting for their kids. This may be a very small and 'insignificant' instance, just observe our behaviour at cash-counters in food court and you will see how we spread 'horizontally' around the corner, rather than forming a straight line! I really admired the 'discipline' abroad, whether it's an eatery or any public convenience...lines make it orderly and manageable, I still remember those long queues of visitors patiently waiting for their turn to use the rest room in the Louvre Museum at Paris.
Beat the heat with cool salads

This summer I'm freaking out on cool melange of fruits,veggies and cereals. I really enjoyed these, so thought I'd share my 'recipes' for a healthy and wholesome diet.

Recipe 1: Cucumbers (unpeeled), pomegranate, musk melon and meusli
Cut cucumbers and musk melon into cubes and toss some pomegranate seeds, top it with meusli for that crunchy bite.

Recipe 2: Cucumbers (unpeeled), apple, carrots and grated beetroot
Cut cucumbers, apple and carrots into tiny cubes, add grated beetroot just before you serve it.

Recipe 3: Watermelons, grapes, cucumbers, pomegranates and pineapples...amazing mix!!! top it with some crunchy Britannia high-fibre or nutrichoice biscuits

Recipe 4: Tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander and moong sprouts...cut tomatoes and cucumbers, add chopped coriander and sprouts, spice it up with some pepper and salt

Recipe 5: Cucumbers and roasted and coarsely ground peanuts....cut cucumbers into cubes and toss in some coarse peanuts, squeeze a dash of lime, salt and jeera powder for that tangy taste!

Recipe 6: Pears, corn, grapes and apple - Cut pears and apple into cubes and mix grapes and boiled corn, add some honeyed cornflakes just before serving it.

There are many more creative and imaginative options to decide what can be 'saladed' fresh and be healthy!