08 October 2011



11 December 2010


For the last few months, my creative endeavours have been mostly concerned with visual arts instead of writing. I’ve been working with Photoshop and gif and, most recently, with Windows Movie Maker. I have also been teaching myself to knit Estonian lace, an accomplishment for those with two usable hands. 

My writing has kind of fallen into the bin of things I just don’t make the time for. A couple of dear friends have really been pestering me to write something, anything. Today, there is a heavy rain and I feel like a change, so I will write about an incident on our lovely little farm many, many years ago when life was simple and generally a lot of fun.

I’m not sure I can write this. It’s about the funniest thing that ever happened to me and even thinking about it I can’t stop laughing. It concerns a grumpy, cantankerous nanny goat – they are all grumpy and cantankerous, but this one seemed to have some special chip on her goat shoulders – and a strong, dignified, self-possessed Khalsa lion who was always in control of himself and never let anything discombobulate him.

A lovely Saturday summer’s day on the farm. Mani had decided that I needed a break from my usual routine and that he would milk the goats. I admit I wasn’t too sure that that was a good idea. Mani was a great doctor and very good at doing almost everything, but he was a city boy right down to his cellular structure and the farm was an alien environment to him. I was, of course, raised in the city, but parts of our summers in India had been spent on the family farm, always a welcome relief from the filth of the city. I sort of caught the farming bug then and felt at home on our little farm.

Back to milking the goats. Mani, of course, looked perfect. He had decided to play nihang, I guess, and was wearing a blue chola and a perfectly tied turban. I knew the goats wouldn’t be impressed, but, to be honest, I was. He always – almost always – impressed me. So he took the milking bucket and all 6’ 3” (191 cm) of himself out to the barn.
I sat down in the kitchen to work on my knitting and enjoy a cup of tea and some homemade bread and jam.

For a time all was peaceful. I could hear the happy little birds chirping and the sound of Sandeep and Rosa’s kids playing happily in the back ground when—

Mani came running full speed into the kitchen, screaming as I had never heard him scream before, in a complete panic – (Sorry, I have to stop for a laugh time) – “Shut the door! Shut the door!”

[Freeze frame] Before I continue with the action, I must describe my thoroughly discombobulated husband. His chola had somehow come completely open, his turban was loose and disheveled and goat milk – my wonderful goat milk – my dribbling from his drenched beard. What milk had managed to make it into the bucket was slopping and spilling all over the floor.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t shut the door. All I could do was laugh helplessly. Normally I am a kind person who wouldn’t just laugh at someone in such panicked distress, but this was my imperturbable Mani, the always calm, always perfect Mani Singh with goat milk dribbling down his beard onto his naked hairy chest.

[Resume action] Immediately behind him ran one very determined nanny goat. Determined to catch him and do God-only-knows-what to him. Needless to say, I could not close the door. I was laughing too hard. I think ROFL had not yet been invented, but I was laughing so hard that I was bent over double, unable even to breathe, and actually fell out of the chair onto the floor. ROFL. So there I was, helplessly laughing on the floor – which by now was slippery with goat milk, my husband first glaring down at me and then at the goat and one nanny goat standing, smiling triumphantly at the whole scene.

Goats Don't Belong In the Kitchen!

“If you can stop laughing long enough, get that damned beast out of our kitchen!” Poor Mani just didn’t see the humour of the situation yet. (He would later, of course.) I struggled to my feet and slid over to the goat while Mani made his way to one of the chairs. He was almost there to safety when he slipped and that whole big body crashed to the floor. He grabbed at the table and managed just to catch the end of the tablecloth, pulling jam and bread and tea onto his prostrate body. I am sure that someday, in some remote corner of hell, I will pay for this, but I couldn’t resist saying, “Lo, how the mighty are fallen,” as I picked myself up. The goat meanwhile had started nibbling at a flower pot on the counter and had pooped on the floor. I managed to get her out of the kitchen and back to the barn. She liked me well enough and I suppose that she was content to return home, having had her triumph. 

Still barely in control of myself, I quickly ran back to our house, to the kitchen, hoping to get to a camera before Mani regained his senses. I was too late. He had already run off to the shower. Not before disposing of the goat poop, though.

I started to clean up the mess, leaving him to nurse his wounded pride. After a time, he returned, looking again like Mani, calm, self-possessed and all that, although he was very, very red from blushing embarrassment. Rather sheepishly, he insisted on finishing cleaning up the kitchen, which was very sweet of him. I made another pot of tea and ate my jam and bread and knitted and burst out laughing every time I even glanced at him.

Two things I learned from this:

  1. Bana is not appropriate attire for milking goats.
  2. Goats do not belong in my kitchen.

Mani never offered to milk the goats again. 


Picture credits can be found at:    Goats Don't Belong In the Kitchen

21 September 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY- together they walk the winding roads

Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
Franklin P. Jones

Photograph:  courtesy of Angad Singh
Copyright All rights reserved by Angad Singh

17 July 2010


Tired Lion
Too Tired Squirrel
Tired Cat

Sleeping Panda
Tired Dog
Tired Monkey
Tired Panda
Tired Pandas
Cat Sleeping on Phone
Too Tired Cat
Tired Squirrel
Tired Cat
Too Tired Cat
Gorilla Resting
Tired Polar Bear
Tired Dog
Sleeping Cheetah
Tired Cat and Dog



11 July 2010

An Animation For Simon

My husband asked me to create for him a graphic of Money talks, male bovine defecation walks for his blog.  I came up with this: 

30 June 2010

Deepwater Horizon - What A Lovely Name!

This is a post I hoped I would never write.  As you, my readers, know, I practice the virtue of chardi kala, translated in many different ways, but all having the meaning of eternal optimism and never giving up.  I am still practicing, but it is hard.

No doubt by now you have heard about the massive oil spill by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico in the Caribbean Sea, truly a paradise on earth.  Or at least it was until 20 April 2010.  On that day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - owned and run by British Petroleum - exploded, caught fire and began gushing massive amounts of crude oil into the pristine waters around it.  Eleven were killed and 17 injured.  That was tragic, but it is just the beginning.

The amount of oil gushing into the Gulf is estimated at somewhere between 1,475,000 and 4,200,000 gallons per day ( 5,583,432 and 15,828,729 liters/day).  No one knows how much oil is in this well, how long it can keep gushing.  Years or decades, if it is not somehow stopped.  So far nothing has worked.  In fact, efforts have actually made it worse. 

Here's a nice little thingee to help you calculate.

Those are pretty dry figures for most people, so here's a more graphic look.  This is what the spill looks like right now: 

I realise that most of my readers really can't relate to southern Louisiana, so here is the spill in other locations where I have readers:

If I happened to miss your locale, go to Ifitwasmyhome to move the spill to wherever you live.

Perhaps you'd like to see it as it happens.

If that's not enough to bring it home to you, here are a few oil-soaked pelicans.  I findf this horribly painful to look at.

In addition, massive amounts of methane gas has been released into the water.  This may well turn out to be even more dangerous than the oil.  The methane depletes the water of oxygen, leaving all the sea life devoid of the element that is necessary to all life on earth. It is feared that the methane will cause a dead zone where nothing can live, possibly for decades.  Also, scientists believe that a huge methane bubble is forming under the water.  When it bursts, it could release a tsunami of 20-60 ft (6.1-18.3 m), certainly enough to engulf most of the Caribbean islands.  For more information on the gas leak, go here: 
Gas Leak 3000 Times Worse Than Oil

And, by the way, with our current technology we have no way to cap or contain the methane.  
I guess that's not enough bad news.  It is now hurricane season.  (For those of you in Asia, those are typhoons.) There will be hurricanes. In fact, the first one is blowing right now.  Hurricane Alex did not close to the spill, but there will be another hurricane and another and another.

The next thing to consider is the ocean currents.  The Gulf Stream is an ocean river that runs from the Caribbean to Europe.

Eventually this oil and methane and all their problems will reach Europe.  They will also travel up the Atlantic coast of North America all the way to Canada and all points north. No one knows how much of the ocean will die.  Certainly a large part of the Caribbean Sea will and it will take decades to recover.  In the meantime the many people who make their livings along the Gulf, either fishing or in the tourist trade, have lost their means of livelihood.  It is even possible that the land they live on will become uninhabitable.  Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana has been alerted that a mass evacuation may become necessary, if a hurricane again hits the state.  It is likely that once gone, the people will not be allowed to return due to the toxic oil and gas along the coast.

The earth is one big ecosystem, based primarily on our oceans.  If a large part of one ocean dies, that will have a cascade effect on the rest of the planet.  How far could this go? Worst case scenario:  Bye-bye.  "Not with a bang, but a whimper."  If you don't recognise those lines, they are the conclusion of T. S Eliot's poem, The Hollow MenBest case scenario:  the southern coast of the United States becomes uninhabitable for a period of time and much of the sea life in the Gulf of Mexico dies, with devastating consequences to the people who now live there.  As it is impossible that there be no hurricanes in the season, we can be sure that the winds will carry the oil throughout the region,  damaging all it touches.  That damage cannot be estimated at this time, except to say it will be extensive.

And what caused all this?  Of course it was British Petroleum cutting corners on safety to save money and increase profit.  It was Pres. Clinton who authorised the deep sea drilling.  It was Pres. George W. Bush who so favoured the oil interests and permitted a lack of oversight to allow BP not to follow the safety measures.  But it was also all of us who are dependent on petroleum, who refuse to cut back on our usage, we who demand more and more.  In the end, if we had not demanded this oil, if we had lost our lust  it, BP wouldn't have been able to make the profit that drove them to build this rickety structure upon the rickety structure of our economy.  So what now?  We have learned why greed is such an evil thing.  Whither our good, green beautiful earth.

I keep thinking about the ending of Dr. Strangelove.  (A great movie.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you see it while you still can.)

Remain in chardi kala, my dear brothers and sisters! 


the fire - United States Coast Guard (via Wikipedia)
the pelicans - Charlie Riedel (AP)
the earth - courtesy of NASA

30 May 2010

Bluestar Massacre 1984 - A Widget

I have made this widget to commemorate the shaheeds of the Bluestar Massacre.

Tribute To The Shaheeds Of The Bluestar Massacre

If you would like to add it to your blog/website, the code can be found at:


Copy/paste that into your site's html. To put it in the sidebar, add it as a gadget using the Javascript/html.

While you're there, feel free to look through that website.  I set it up to thank the people in my life who need thanking.  That most certainly includes you, my faithful readers.   The pages are meant to be read in order and start at the home page:  Thanks, Gurufateh and Chardi Kala. 

20 December 2009


I am having a lot of technical problems with dear old sometimes - 2, and I have decided to bring it to an end.

Not to fear. Every ending is a new beginning, so I refer you to:

sometimes - 3

Please stop by the new location and say, hi.

28 November 2009


I haven't written about Dad in a while; here's about a strange little story near the end of his earthly life.

As I have written before, my Dad died late in 1982, mercifully missing the horrors of two years later. I had returned to our family home to care for him, as he had become quite testy and had decided that only his only daughter could help care for his still abundant kesh (unshorn hair). Mani and Sandeep had followed, leaving the farm in the very capable hands of Ramona, so we were all together there, in my old rooms.

Shortly before his death, he started acting very strangely. At odd times - and for no particular reason - he would blurt out "Cats!" H e had always liked cats and we had always had at least one in the house, but this was really strange.

(An aside: For some unknown reason, his favourite was Kitty, a very stupid cat; one of the few cats I have ever disliked [a hint of jealousy, perhaps?]. He was very sad when she died shortly after our wedding in 1970. I think he overfed her on wedding feast food and it was too much for the 15 year old fatty.)

After a time, it dawned on me that he was playing "senile" to tease us because except for that and being a bit cantankerous, OK, more than a bit, he was his usual self, clearly in full possession of his senses. But I couldn't figure out what he was trying to accomplish. He never did anything just to be silly. He always had some reason for what he did, even if it made sense only to himself.

Surprisingly, it was Lilly who gave us the answer. Although a good Jain, Lilly loved the theatre as long as the play had no "blue" components and contained (almost) no violence. One day, she came running in with a magazine, all excited. "Mai! Mai! Cats is coming to Broadway!" I gave her a puzzled look. Her grammar was always impeccable. "Cats is" just wasn't Lilly. Seeing the look on my face, she laughed.

"Cats is this most wonderful musical that's been running in London." What Dad had been referring to became crystal clear. He shared Lilly's love of theatre. "I so much wanted to see it, but I thought I'd never get the chance. Now it's coming to Broadway!" Her face fell slightly. "I suppose it's sold out for a long time, though."

"No doubt." I heard Dad's booming basso profundo and realised that he had ambled in unheard. "No doubt. I had to pull a lot of strings to get the tickets. Couldn't get opening night, but only a little while later. Tickets for us and Lilly, too." He was trying his best to look and sound serious, but he was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled an envelope out of his pocket. The envelope held five, third row centre tickets to Cats at the Winter Garden Theater. (Admission: I didn't remember the theatre's name; I had to look it up.) Lilly squealed and Dad looked very pleased with himself. He had not purchased a ticket for her husband Raj, but he hated the theatre and would be happy to be excluded. Besides, he and Dad avoided each other, the irresistible force and the immovable object.

(Another slight aside: Dad liked most people, but there were a few he just couldn't tolerate. Among this group was Lilly's husband, a Hindu (Kshatriya, he would be sure to inform you) named Raj Singh. [Yes, it was a strange marriage, but this is not the time to write about it. They were happy, even if no one else was.] Dad had good reason to dislike him. He had this belief that Sikhs were Hindus with long hair, in fact a part of the military wing of Hinduism, under the command of those of his varna (caste, sort of), of course. And his having the surname Singh only made matters worse. Raj and I have had a long-standing dispute about this, put to rest only at Lilly's death. It was her last request; what else could we do?)

As the season to go approached, Dad was getting weaker and weaker and it became clear to all of us that he was not up to a trip to New York. Still, he so much looked forward to going that none of us had the heart to tell him. One day, just a few days before his death, he had me sit beside him and he said, "Dear daughter, you remember about Cats?" I nodded. "This old body is all used up and it's almost time for me to go home to Satguru. I won't be making any more trips to New York in this frail, old shell." He had been sitting back, relaxed; suddenly, he sat bolt upright. "I made too much effort and spent too much money on those tickets for them to be wasted! I insist that you must go. And you must enjoy yourselves. This body won't be there, but I will. It'll be my last adventure before I go home."

I admit I was holding back tears, but I couldn't let him see that. "Will you be sitting in your seat there with us?"

He burst out laughing. "A disembodied soul need pay no admission and needs no seat." He lowered his voice. "Give my ticket to that bastard Raj, if he'll take it. Tell him it's a gift from the old Sardar who lived a Sikh and died a Sikh and will never be a Hindu, but who is generous even to those who try to dishonour him." The thought was really typical of Dad, who loved the grand gesture, although I had never heard him call anyone a bastard before.

So Dad died. We went to see Cats. All of us, including Raj. We had a grand good time. I still don't know if Dad was there with us, though.
I have a sneaking suspicion that he might have gone straight home to his beloved Guru Ji.

Betty Buckley from the London production of Cats