Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Simpson’s story


Did you know? The co-creator of The Simpson’s, Sam Simon, is dying of cancer and he is giving away his millions to help save the earth.

Sam, born Samuel Simon, wanted to be an animator. No wonder he ended up creating one of the most famous and beloved of cartoon families – The Simpson’s. Sam is credited as "developing [the show's] sensibility and with being "the real creative force behind The Simpsons”.

"In the beginning, I was skeptical it could be successful, but I was not skeptical it could be good. I was hoping for 13 episodes that my friends would like. It's a good lesson, isn't it? If you do something trying to make your friends laugh and that you can be proud of, you can also be successful."

—Simon on his work on The Simpsons.




In 1993, Simon left the show because "not enjoying it anymore," and wished to pursue other projects, and "that any show I've ever worked on, it turns me into a monster. I go crazy. I hate myself."

He negotiated an agreement to be credited as the Executive producer in all further shows and to receive a part of the royalty income annually. It wasn’t much in the initial days but as the show’s popularity increased, Simon earned about $20-30 million annually despite not working on the show since 1993


Simon apparently once said,  "When I was there I thought I was underpaid. I thought I wasn't getting enough credit for it. Now, I think it's completely the opposite. I get too much credit for it. And the money is ridiculous”.


In 2002, Simon founded the Sam Simon Foundation which is a multi-million dollar self funded organisation he set up to save strays and homeless dogs. He retrains stray dogs as service dogs in his mansion in Malibu, California, especially to assist the deaf and help soldiers returning from wars to overcome post traumatic stress disorders, thus saving many lives.

In 2012, Simon was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and was given months to live. As the disease spread to various parts of his body, Simon started giving away his millions to charity funding various projects working to save the earth’s animal kingdom which led to him being known as ‘THE SUPERHERO who protects the Animal Kingdom’.


One amongst many of his  ‘Saving the precious animals on earth’ ventures is being the honorary Cove guardian of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

This society was the first to bring to the notice of the world the annual  hunt and slaughter of thousands of dolphins, porpoises and small-toothed whales that occurs throughout Japan from September 1 to March 1 as these creatures migrate past Taiji. This society believes only external pressure from the rest of the world to stop barbaric hunts and captures of Dolphins and whales will make the government of Japan take notice.


We as humans have forgotten the interconnectedness we have to nature and to all life on this planet. As we overfish the oceans and decimate entire families of dolphins and whales at a time, we are destroying the ocean along with them -- an ecosystem that we ourselves need to survive. There are many children, who don't want to see that happen, and they will lead the way, but we all have to do our part and the time to act is now. Sea Shepherd is not just defending the oceans, but safeguarding nature and the planet for future generations,"




As Simon goes about living his last days on earth saving the animals he so loves, he has arranged his fortune to be distributed to various animal and conservation organisations.

The world could certainly do with more people like him. But then Superheroes do not walk the earth ever so often, do they?



(Daddy is the BIGGEST Simpsons fan in our family!)




Hope you are having a great start to the week.


Ginger, Buddy and Shadow



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Did you know?



(Found this on FB)


But it isn’t an old book I’m reading but the kindle version of Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’. Beautiful story that celebrates life in the midst of the horrors of World War II in Nazi dominated Germany.


Grateful for this beautiful evening....smell of the earth wafting from my freshly watered plants, sounds of little children playing in the colony park, my favorite cup of   Golden mango flavored green tea, orange cream centered chocolate cookies, Shadow intently stalking two lizards on the wall, Ginger & Buddy snoozing close by occasionally pricking up their ears at some sound they associate with P getting home....






Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sad Today….


“Many years later as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice”

- the opening line of ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’




It was all about words stitched together by one extraordinary man.

Words that made the world laugh, dream, imagine, invent, argue, learn and love and think. And think how.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez – whose words transcended all boundaries of language and culture. Whose words drew comparisons to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Who was outsold only by the BIble!

Gabo, with your passing an era ends. And begins ‘years of solitude’ for the literary world.





(Gabo’s quotes and pictures taken from the net)


Feeling Sad today…..










Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Omen!


It is one of those days when there are so many things to do and I just have no desire to do ANYTHING! Thankfully, I do not have to be at work today.

All I want to do is curl up with my book and maybe drift off to sleep, if the book will allow that is!


Must be the weather and the fact that I haven’t been feeling very well for the last couple of days. Much as we are trying to hold on to the vestiges of spring, summer is slowly but surely creeping in. Delhi gets dusty at this time of the year as the hot winds blowing east from the deserts of Rajasthan lifts the dust from the ground that hasn’t bathed for a long time now.

It hasn’t been that bad yet – the dust and the winds- but the dry air is enough to make your skin itchy and flaky and to leave you thirsty in spite of repeated glasses of chilled juices ( that will surely see you heavier by a few pounds before summer’s end!)


Buddy, Ginger and Shadow are blissfully lost in their afternoon dreams. Buddy out in the balcony on the cool floor under the seater, Ginger on one of the larger floor cushions in the living room and Shadow in the utility room near the clothes dryer.








I haven’t quite figured out why he likes that particular spot but may be it has to do with the fact that the early morning sun, after it’s daily ritual of bathing that spot, moves west leaving it refreshed ,cool and shaded for the day. Also adjacent to it is the smaller of my potted gardens in the balcony I use for my gardening needs, which consequently remains far more untidy than the large balcony that is spotlessly clean not only because Buddy uses it’s floors but also it’s our coffee spot!

But from this little garden wafts in the smell of freshly watered earth that is so refreshing it gives you the illusion of being outdoors, which Shadow seems to relish.




Shadow, however, will invariably come lie down next to me the moment he realises I’ve settled down, pushing me with his head against my neck, for a spot on the pillow or the cushion.

Ginger will keep asking to be invited to join me, with sleepy half open eyes, as if she expects me to carry her over to wherever I’m settling down. I wish I could. How I miss that sprightly little puppy doll that jumped up into my arms at the smallest of excuses!!




Buddy, of course, will not budge from the large green balcony. Green because of the larger of my beloved potted gardens that he so seems to love. Unless I’m munching on something. He’d then come sniffing sleepily only to take his bite and go back to snoozing on the balcony, though he’ll keep shifting from the seater to under it to under the large bottle brush plant, trying to find a spot cooler than the last.




When I looked up at the sky this morning through the green foliage of my potted plants, I noticed it was that very beautiful shade of blue that is so elusive in our city due to the dusty haze that you’d have to google ‘sky blue colour’ to remember it, and even then you’d have nothing to compare the shade with unless you have a colour palette!

Even our mundane modernistic apartment building looked to me very much like one of those lovely Scottish castles from yonder years.








May be it’s an omen.

Such a lovely day shouldn’t go waste.

It certainly deserves a good book!







Thursday, April 10, 2014

When one can’t just flip a coin.









Now that Buddy is feeling so much better and his old bouncy – yes, he doesn’t run, he bounces – happy, sparkly self is re-emerging, my mind is slowly losing it’s thick layer of fog, letting in mundane thoughts. Also that the work of the conference is successfully behind me (I will tell you about it next but you must excuse me today for rambling about things I usually do not), so I can safely venture into a routine life that has eluded me for what seems like a hundred years!

Read on, because I do have have some interesting anecdotes for you, but if you must go, then please do so.



Why’s there this huge fixation on religion in our country? Much as we call ourselves a secular democracy there’s no denying the fact that the core of almost every and anything is stitched to religion.

‘Hum aisa nahin karte, hum yeh nahin khaate, hum wahan nahin jaate’ (We do not do this, we do not eat this, we do not go there). The ‘we’ invariably indicating a particular religion, sect or caste.

Being an agnostic, I find this unfathomable and rather irksome.

Take for instance the elections.

Every conversation leading to, surrounding it or remotely related to it is invariable tinged with divisive religious emotions like that is the most important decisive factor when you cast your vote and not issues like women safety or cleaning up our rivers. That one cannot express one’s dissent or support without being dissected mercilessly just because the audience in question at that moment happened to have opinions varied from yours is a very unhealthy situation. My Vote is ‘My Choice’ and it certainly doesn’t have to match yours. But right now in India, if you are from a particular religion or sect you are expected to unanimously agree with the general opinion and vote for a particular candidate or face ridicule and social ostracism!

The other day, I happened to take an auto to go pick up my car from P’s hospital where I’d left it the previous night. Why? That’s another story for another day. The point is, I took an auto and like I always do, I stuck up a conversation with the driver.

‘So, who are you voting for?, I very incorrectly came right to the point.

He wasn’t from Delhi he said, but from Uttar Pradesh, obviously queasy and hoping to avoid my question.

So isn’t he going home to vote?

No, he isn’t because it’s too far.

‘Why didn’t you get your Voter ID card here? The government had made things so much easier for voters this time. You mustn’t let your vote go waste. Don’t you want inflation to come down?’, I embarked on a lengthy mission to educate him about the dangers of not voting.

‘So, if you go home after all, who will you vote for?’, I can be quite relentlessly persistent, believe me!!

I guess he realised this, for he finally ventured, ‘MadamJi, hum to Samajwadi ko hi vote dete hain’. (Madam, we usually vote for the Samajwadi party’.

Kya matlab ‘dete hain’?

‘What do you mean ‘we usually vote for’? Who tells you whom to vote for? Have you not noticed the wreckage in UP? Are you still voting for Samajwadi party?

Almost in a whisper he said, ‘Haan, is baar to saare Hindu waale sab BJP ko hi denge’ unsure of where I was leading this conversation. ( Yes, this time all the Hindus are going to vote for the Bharatiya Janata party)

There it was once again, the Hindu –Muslim sentiment!

AAP ko kyon nahin?, I countered. (Why not the Aam Aadmi Party?)

He braked, turned back to look at me excitedly and asked ‘aap Aam Aadmi party ko denge, Madam?’ (Are you voting for the Aam aadmi Party, Madam?)

By then I was at my destination and escaped with a ‘Why not’, but he left me wondering if he was a AAP supporter and like so many common people had his hopes pinned for a much needed change on this new party with grand promises and if AAP can actually deliver.

Today is the BIG day here as Delhi goes to the polls. There has been no dearth of reminders to go vote –SMSes from the Chief Election Commissioner, radio, TV and newspaper inserts and even poll related paraphernalia for sale – hair and sweat bands, bags, cups, balloons, earrings, stickers and posters that will invariably be outdated at 6 PM today evening but this hasn’t deterred young voters with little knowledge of the political realities of India from buying and flaunting them.

With over 30 000 cops with the latest tech devices geared up to guard the Capital and extension of poll timings by extra 2 hours, Delhi is all set to go decide who wears the crown.

Only it isn’t all that easy for one to decide who one should ink one’s finger for!

There’s Modi and the BJP who have been all over the newspapers never for one morning letting you forget their promise of a safe stable government and women empowerment.

But loud vitriolic speeches that inspire passionate emotions of religious and castist division or that which take derogatory potshots at women from the opposition aren’t ‘safe’ and definitely belie ‘stability and women empowerment’. History shows that a leader who inspires inflammatory emotions of racial differences instead of calm confidence, peace and respectability can be perilous.

Then there’s Rahul Gandhi and the Congress.

The other day I happened across a FB update by a young volunteer at a local Animal NGO. She, on her way back from work, ran across RG at a traffic crossing in Race Course. It was around 10PM and Rahul was out with his three adopted street puppies for a drive, windows down and the three dogs sticking their delighted faces out into the cool night air. Before the light turned green and RG drove away into the night, the young girl had her moment of excitement chatting to him about the dogs and the work she does. Later, she couldn’t stop gushing about ‘the handsome Congress VP’ and declared her vote for him!

The Gandhi charm is legendary. It has long been rumoured that apart from its innate ability to fetch votes, it is also perhaps the single most important reason why the oldest and largest political party in India is irrevocably in awe of the dynastic Gandhi clan. The young Gandhi scion, with his charming dimpled smile and polished manners (not to mention adopted street dogs) could easily waltz into the hearts of and glean votes from many a young Indian voter but the likes of me who have had their hearts beating for nearly four decades now, know better. At least, we think we do!

As more and more Indians are getting to realize the damages done by dynastic governments (Books like ‘Durbar’ by Tavleen Singh that I’m reading at the moment haven’t helped matters for Rahul Gandhi!), the wish to see the loss of inheritance has deepened.

So then, one is left with AAP. The Aam Aadmi Party – the party for the common masses with its illustrious Kejriwal, grand promises of instant change, the immediate connect with the poorest of the poor.

A lot of expectations, hopes and optimism were associated with AAP till just a few months back. It still is – I’ve seen poor rickshaw pullers who hardly make Rs.500 per day make donations to party funds- but after it’s government’s 49 day stint in Delhi, I’m not so sure anymore. Too young to be written off, too young to be unanimously upheld and quite full of everything the common Indian has been vying to hear, AAP minus the histrionics, could be the choice of many an Indian.

But the key words here are ‘Minus the histrionics’!

So here one is, back at square one!

There’s NOTA of course, the provision of ‘None of the above’. (NOTA, introduced in the EVMs –Electronic voting machines- that allows you to reject all the candidates if you do not deem any of them fit for your vote but still let’s you exercise your right ensuing it isn’t misused by a proxy.)

Or maybe, one should flip a coin.

Oh wait! Even a coin has just two faces unlike the chameleon colours in Indian politics.

Well, all this pondering hasn’t made me any wiser. And I do need to go vote. It’s so hot outside. What am I wearing? Almost as difficult to decide. Sigh!