Stefan and Daisy. True love
Stefan and Daisy. True love


You may not see Daisy (the Princess of Milton Street) poking around the park as much as you once did.  Or sniffing the streets for that matter.

Things are looking up for our velvety-smooth, black, brown and white doggie with the beautiful eyes.

Why, you wonder? Have her mommy and daddy moved? Near some abbatoir filled with delish bones, maybe?

No it’s nothing like that. Nothing so nasty.

But to put you in the picture, I have to shift into reverse, back up a bit so to speak.

For the past four years Daisy has been breaking the hearts of residents, constitutional takers, watchmen, children and casual passerby (everyone except people on two wheelers, whom she likes to bark at and terrorise for no good reason) ever since she arrived at our building a few years ago, a little yelper from nowhere.

She melted the hearts of the people living on the top floor even before they knew it. And before long she was ensconced in their warm bosom covered in kisses, hugs, satin sheets (colour-coordinated), designer food, dream vacations and all.

But what’s love if you can’t share it? Pretty soon everyone else in our building fell in love with Daisy.

My own heart is gooey putty in her paws and she tramples on it every day, leaving muddy footprints all over, but I love it.

My favourite part of the morning is when Daisy jumps into my red, somewhat old Santro for the short ride to my office on Promenade Road. She sticks her nose out the window, whiskers twitching this way and that, catching a whiff of Bangalore in the morning. Once in a while she’ll turn to me and plant one on my cheek. Wagging her tail.

Which brings me to my tale.

For the past few days, there has been no sign of Daisy. The spot beside me on the back seat is empty, and Bangalore’s been smelling quite lonely.

“Where is Daisy? I miss her. The people in my office miss her,” I explained unnecessarily to the watchman. He knows the whereabouts of everyone.

“Oh she won’t be coming with you to the office anymore,” he said smugly. “Those days are over Madam.”

“Whaaaaaat,” I wailed. “Why? What did I do?”

“It’s not what you did, Madam,” he replied. “It’s what her parents did. They have bought Daisy her own car. It’s a brand new, spanking white Chevvy Spark. And it’s called Daisy Cooper. She won’t be needing this,” he said, casting a veiled sneer at my dented and painted daily ride. I could swear his lips curled downwards a little.

So that’s that.

Daisy’s got her own ride. No more driving Miss Daisy, I guess.

radha standing

24 Jan 2012 – Ashreya Mom

When I started reading the book, I got reminded of Mohabatein movie.. strict boys educational institute, you need to cross so many hurdles if need to love or find a partner. Here it’s a girls school. Then there is a arrangement for interaction between the girls and boys school, with a couple dance organized once in a while.

This book talks about a girl from Mumbai , trying to find Mr.perfect from the early age of 7. She tries to get the knowledge from friends, ideas from M&Bs, tries to explore men of different cities, of all ages, sizes. She moves from one city to other, it’s a  crazy ride through Mumbai, Delhi, Beijing, Rotorua and New York. She dreams and starts her adventure ride from a school guy studying in neighboring school, BFF ‘s brothers, a rich urban guy who is father friend, a pianist, a poet, photographer , bar tenders etc. she tries them all only to realize they are no way near to her dream boy, as one squeaky voice, other is a pathetic kisser, one is angry.

She even manages to keep parallel tracks of boyfriends and share the experience with a best friend by her side always. Who wouldn’t like to share and boast her adventure with the men trying to impress her.

One of my favorite incidents is when she tries to take a hitch ride during school days; she gets excited seeing a car stop for her and friend. But when she sees her mother getting down the car..Another statement which I felt true is ,” women find their best friends or can bond with any other women with bothering about age, caste, profession, language etc etc is in restroom. They share their feeling, and gift emotional support to each other.” This has happened to me.

The book is hilarious, simple and takes through a girl’s life in phased manner. The character description is good. You feel that she meets only specimen characters in her life. It brings in thought that women don’t shy away from trying different men before getting the Mr.Right. I personally like this idea. Women being bold in experimenting, and framing the character. I wish, the character was described more strong than the flicked minded


I love debut novels. They’re special. They have to be. After all they’ve remained in the author’s mind long enough and persistently enough to egg her/him to get down to writing them, right? Of course there have been times when I’ve got stuck with really bad apples – incorrect English, the hugest turn off, or amateur writing.. but the risk is worth taking.

That was what made me want to read this one and I’m glad I did.

‘Men on my Mind’ is nothing if not true to its name. The book traces the adventures of an Indian girl who grows up with… well …. men on her mind since the tender age of 7. From a dreamy pre-teen inspired by M&Bs struggling with her first crush, she grows into a self assured woman gamely trying out all kinds of men for size. She makes her way from Mumbai to Panchagani, Delhi and New York with bits of New Zealand, Fiji and China thrown in for good measure. On she soldiers, always with a BFF by her side for where’s the fun if you don’t have a girl friend to share stories of your sexapades with?

She juggles more than one relationship at a time and takes on one night stands without a scruple. As she says.. ‘What’s the bloody problem anyway? Conscience-shmonscience.’ There really are plenty of men around and ‘I’ve never been able to turn down handsome and rich men’, is her candid confession.

However, ‘The One’ remains elusive. The perfect hunk has a squeaky voice, the perfect boyfreind’s a pathetic kisser, the urbane older man turns out to be a lech, the dapper gentleman has a pigsty of a home, the sexy biker’s an anger maniac, the soulful pianist ends up two-timing her,… sigh! Students, lawyers, violin players, prospective Nobel laureates, photographers, restaurateurs, bar tenders, she tries them all only to discover that it really isn’t easy to find the man of her dreams.

The book is a hilarious take on men and relationships. Here’s a heroine who turns the male-female stereotype on its head. She treats her encounters with men with the flamboyance and casualness generally attributed to men in their dealings with women. Oh she wants true love but she’s fine occupying herself while The One comes along.

The book certainly is a pacey, well written read peppered with hilarious situations and diversely interesting characters.

However, my problem with it is that there are just too many men. Towards the end it gets a bit tiresome and the end itself is a tiny bit of a letdown. I spotted a few editing errors too. Also, there were some sequences that didn’t seem to go anywhere (like the plain Jane episode). Of course since I read there’s a trilogy in the offing, we can hope it will come together and maybe the end is not ‘The End’.

Other than that ‘Men on my mind’ delivers all what it promises. It’s gutsy, sexy, provocative and very very funny. If you’re looking for something light and fun, this is the book to pick up


Bhagya, our resident gourmet chef, mood-lifter, angst buster and housekeeper all rolled into one is still ill. It’s been five days now, and things are falling apart.

Besides bringing in the newspaper in the morning (on crutches), I now have to make my own tea. I also have to count the number of clothes sent out to be ironed and put my empty cereal bowl back in the sink myself.

It’s very stressful for someone who’d much rather hang around Facebook all day or a jazz club all night.

My SO (Significant Other) is a sweet bugger most of the time. He’s been taking us (me and my son Stefan) out to dinner every night. But the tension’s building up, I suppose it’s natural.

Bhagya knows what we want on Mondays (Swedish meatballs), on Tuesdays (Chicken Milanese) Thursdays (Broiled fish with ginger, home-grown oregano and basil) and so on.  No thinking required. I can play Scramble on my cellphone without having to think while I eat.

But waiters in restaurants expect you first to listen to the specials of the day. Comprehend their elegant menus in dim candlelight. Then decide what you want to eat based on information you’ve just been bombarded with.

It’s very easy to get taken in by a, ‘Sautéed butterfly shrimp with lemon-garlic flavoured linguine.’ It sounds delicious, but when it arrives, if the shrimp hasn’t been peeled, it’s impossible to eat a slippery noodle along with the shell of a crustacean in the same mouthful. I’ve seen people spit the noodle and swallow the shell.

So it was with steely resolve to have a good time even if it killed us, and a sense of ‘hit me with your best shot,’ attitude that we went to Sunny’s last night. Yes, the same Sunny’s that Arjun Sajnani and Vivek Ubhaikar have been running for two decades now. A Bangalore institution like Cubbon Park.

Arjun and Vivek were absconding. But Paosei was very much there.

“Oh madam, I’m so sorry,” he said pointing to my stylish blue-and-metal crutches, matching my outfit. He wasn’t asking me what happened, just telling me that he cared. SO would call him a classy guy.

He held my chair and I sat down.

It had been at least three months since we last ate at Sunny’s but it felt nice to be back home.

Menus were placed in front of us. SO, Stefan and I didn’t need to look at the menu. One of the most charming things about Sunny’s is that they don’t keep messing up their menu with new items. A and V understand the importance of the familiar.

“We don’t need to read the menu, we know…” I started to say, and Paosei held up a hand, smiling at me. “Allow me,” he said, dashingly.

“German sausages and Dijon mustard with garlic-flavoured broccoli for you and Sir. Diet Cokes, room temperature for you and the glass filled with ice for Sir. Mint leaves. And for you,” he pointed at Stefan, “Fettucine with chicken breast and fresh lime-soda.”

Our jaws fell open. Stefan gave him a standing ovation. SO beamed.

Allow me to present Paosei, a Bangalore treasure. We need to protect and preserve him at all cost.


Pate Arshia

Come the fifteenth of December, there are aromas that waft downhill on, I kid you not, High Street. It’s in a lovely tree-lined, park-filled secret neighbourhood in Bangalore where people can freely take their nightly constitutional, in short-shorts (men or women), at 10 pm, without fear of reprisal. It could be on account of the abundance of churches in the area, or the over-protective patrolling street dog. Either way, I’m not complaining.

We take our bliss however we can.

I’ve stood under a certain building on said street, nose twitching, trying to identify the smell of freshly roasting beef while separating it from the distinct scent of home-made, goose liver pate. The sweet perfume of ham that has been boiled lovingly in milk for days so it falls off the bone and on to the tongue like a dewdrop off a leaf.

Because when these bouquets start to fill the air, it means only one thing. It’s Christmas time at the home of my friend Arshia.

All year long she is busy organising literary festivals, translating tomes, lecturing at foreign universities and spending her time in lofty pursuits that nourish her brain.

Towards the end of November, her stomach starts protesting. It can take being sidelined, undermined and negated only so much.

She gives in. She pats her tummy lovingly and smiling at her pots and pans, she begins cooking. In earnest. And for several weeks. No one can talk to her or distract her from purpose.

At the end of it all, when finally the roast beef can be sliced paper thin. When the paté is butter-soft and so delicately flavourful that the very gastronomic heritage of Gaul is threatened. When the pork can be picked off with bare fingers, why, she throws a party.

Oh, she tosses in seasonal grapes, stone crackers, fresh carrots, celery, mulled wine, potato chips and other sides to distract from the main attraction. But it doesn’t fool anyone.

I’ve been to Arshia’s Christmas dinner two years in a row.  This year, I asked her if I could bring anything, say a roast chicken. It sounded tame and lame even as I said it. She declined politely saying she’d covered the animal kingdom quite nicely, thank-you-very-much. I took some wine.

I climbed up two flights of stairs on my crutches even though the doctor clearly told me I’d be pushing recovery back a week if I did something at stupid as that.

But I was willing to risk life and limb to eat at A’s Christmas dinner. Which is why I can’t wait for the next eleven months to fly by.

It’s confounding. It’s frustrating. It’s wasteful. It’s meaningless.

And if you’re not from around here, (India that is) you’re probably howling in pain each time the sharp end of one of them sticks you in the finger.

No one’s bothered to explain the mystery to you? No problem. I take it upon myself to unravel the reasons for the Top Secret Security Clearance that surrounds your daily snail mail.

Have you wondered why these envelopes and their contents are stapled so tightly together, often eight or nine times, ensuring that the journey into the content is fraught with peril?

Party invitations in silver and gold stapled so firmly together, that by the time you’ve peeled of the last one, the people have all gone home and the cleaning crew has taken over?

Credit card bills shielded from easy viewing so unmistakably that it can mean only one thing: You don’t have to pay up!

Bank statements sealed so securely, that you can hardly be blamed for thinking they’ve run away with all your money and want to buy a little time before you find out.

Brochures from holiday resorts destroyed by safety measures that seem to say, “Don’t come here. It’s dangerous.”

It’s becoming more and more evident as my mountain of paper mail gets larger each day: There’s a big conspiracy going on in India to keep you away from information that may be useful.

Making Kangaro (the largest manufacturer of staples in India) the only winners in this game of cat and mouse.


By Ayesha Tabassum, Bangalore Mirror, 9 Jan 2013

Author Radha Thomas, who recently released her book Men On My Mind, is known for her quick wit and intelligent sense of humour. So when we asked her to pick the books that changed her life, we had a plateful. She says, “Printed books were very important to me until the Internet came along. Now I read all that I need online, mostly to improve my writing and to make better music. I can honestly say I have the most fun when I’m either writing or singing.“

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged
I grew up with this huge dictionary and from the moment I could read, I loved spending time with it to learn new words to impress my parents, humiliate the sibling and show off to my classmates in school. I still use the dictionary a lot, but these days, it’s online. So much easier.

Roget’s Thesaurus
I liked writing. Starting with poems, then onto songs, then articles as a journalist, columns as a writer and finally, now a book, I’ve always needed the thesaurus. It’s a quick way to improve the quality of one’s output… especially with a deadline. And I can honestly say my life would be insipid without it.

The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter
I don’t know where I got my hands on this book some years ago, but I refer to it all the time.
It’s got all the songs that I love singing. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To is one of my favourites. So is Night and Day.

The Jazz Fake Book
There are many volumes of this and people used to photocopy it and pass it around before the Internet. It’s a compendium of jazz standards written from the beginning of time. New songs are always being added. Nowadays, with technology, you can not only get the music online, but also transpose it in a different key instantly. Very cool.

Jamie Aebersold’s Jazz Bossa Novas
First there’s jazz, then there’s Latin music. And to learn Corcovado and O Barquinho and other songs, I needed Jamie’s amazing books
with play- along tracks. In many keys. Mr Aebersold’s books have changed many a musician’s life. Certainly mine.


We usually don’t go out to eat mid-week. It’s too tiring. There’s too much traffic and it’s not possible to get up on time the next morning if you’re scarfing the good stuff all night long.

But last night, there was nothing to eat at home. No pasta. No pizza. No warm bread with garlic butter. No medium-rare steak. No bacon-wrapped prawns. No Caesar’s Salad with fresh Parmesan shavings. Nothing at all. Not even Maggi.

Because there was no Bhagya. She who nourishes our gourmet sensibilities with flair and inspiration had been taken very, very ill with a nasty cough and cold. She would have certainly spread her misfortune all over us, had we not packed her off to rest and recuperate in her own house.

Ramjee (my Significant Other) was happy.

“Yes!” he punched the air gleefully. “We’ll go out. Mid-week. To your favourite restaurant.”

I didn’t argue. So straight from work we drove to midtown Bangalore and were ‘a table’ at 7:30pm. (We like to eat early. Someone told us it’s a healthy thing to do.)

The restaurant wasn’t too full, so we got our favourite table.

We placed our order and sat back to sip our drinks and do a little New York Times Crossword on Ramjee’s iPad. That’s how we establish togetherness. The Friday and Saturday puzzles are especially nasty.

The meal arrived and in happy silence we chomped and filled in the squares. Deleted and sipped the Diet Coke. It was lovely.

Suddenly, from the kitchen we saw four waiters carrying a medium-sized chocolate cake, with an enormous lit sparkler that was sprinkling rays of joy in their path. It was headed in our direction, probably to the couple sitting behind us, I thought.

“Oh, someone’s birthday Ramjee,” I said. “How sweet.”

We went back to our crossword. And our dinner.

But the posse of flame-throwing cake bearers stopped at our table and beaming broadly, “Happy Anniversary,” they said in unison and set the fiery dessert down in front of us.

“Whaaa… whooo… howwww…” I spluttered. It certainly wasn’t our anniversary. As I’ve said earlier, he’s my Significant Other, ‘SO’ for short. We aren’t united by name, only emotion. “It’s not our anniversary. It’s not even a birthday. It’s just the maid’s night off,” I tried to explain but I was cut off.

“No, no, no Madam. Don’t be shy! It is your anniversary! Our chef already told us. Somebody called and said so. Please accept this from us,” the head waiter gushed, assuming we were coy.

“Bbbuuuttt,” I began again, and looked to SO for help.

“It’s not our anniversary,” he said smilingly to the waiter. “There’s some mistake. Please take the cake back.”

But then the sparkler had gone out and one of the waiters had pulled it out of the cake. They couldn’t take it back if they’d wanted

I kicked Ramjee under the table, gently of course, since I already have a stress fracture in my femur. “Let’s not make a scene, “ I said under my breath. “Let’s just accept it gracefully. It’s just some mixup.”

“Hmmm,” he replied reluctantly. “But just to be polite you cut a thin slice and I’ll take a bite of that.”

Thin slice? Bite off a thin slice? I didn’t want to argue in front of the waiters who were standing around anxiously to see if we’d be gracious.

We thanked them profusely for their generosity and off they went to confabulate amongst themselves. Something was wrong.

The sinfully non-Atkins chocolate cake with decorative icing that said, ‘Happy Anniversary,’ sat staring at us. It looked heavenly.

“Can we ask for a doggie bag?” I asked Ramjee. For Stefan, my ever-hungry son, not for me.

“No!” he said. “That’s tasteless. Not classy.”

“Oh ok,” I said meekly. But I sliced a huge chunk for myself. I’m not the classy sort.

We settled the bill and thanking everyone noisily once again for their kindness, however misplaced, we left. We walked past the girl at the front desk, the one who takes reservations, and thanked her brightly too. Sugar makes us very pleasant.

“Ohhhhh sirrrrrr,” she said. “I made a biggggg mistake.”

“How? How did you make a mistake,” asked Ramjee. This was getting curiouser and curiouser.

“There is another Ramjee dining with us tonight sir, it is his anniversary. Not yours.”

Poor Mrs. Ramjee. I’ve gone and eaten all her cake.