May 8th, 2008


I suppose I should go....?

As a concerned citizen, and as someone who writes for Citizen Matters , I have been invited to a citizens' meeting which will be addressed by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh .

I have, in the past, avoided any meetings where political, like the plague. The reasons are many....I find many politicians an unprincipled, lying lot, not worth the time spent in getting near them.

And the time spent is indeed awesome. No one can ever predict when a pol will arrive to address a meeting; odds are that there will be a huge delay. Today's meeting requirements are that attendees must go some vague house in the vicinity of the hall where the meeting will be held, collect the invitation, and then be in the hall by 11am. To do this reasonably comfortably, I must leave home at 9am. Why can invitations not be given, or attendees' names checked, at the venue? I have no clue, and neither, I think, have the organizers, who must go by the security requirements.

The security requirements....for a wait of several hours (I do not know when we will be allowed to leave after the meeting), one cannot take along one's mobile phone, laptop, or even water (water bottles are the new Evil Thing.) Obviously, no food either, because I might be carrying a Bomb Sandwich. Jokes apart, I must say that we faced far less of difficulties when, in the US, we went to listen to Barack Obama (ok, he is not the President...yet!) There was fairly strict security, but most of it was logical and certainly, mobiles were allowed.

If I can carry my mobile or laptop, I can certainly spend my waiting time quite usefully. But I will have to just sit and twiddle my thumbs, and all the other fingers, for a long while.

Add to this the fact that I am not a professional newshound. Perhaps someone sent from a newspaper would have the "must" factor about this, and would cheerfully resign themselves to half the day being spent in doing nothing much. But I am an Ordinary Citizen...a housewife whose husband has his weekly off today, and with whom I spend less time than I would like to....

So...I think I will finish off the morning chores and decide, in a couple of hours, what I am going to do...

Murphy's Law mandates that if I go, I will feel at the end that it was not worth, and if I don't, I will miss something interesting! After all, how often does a Prime Minister of the country address the Ordinary Citizen directly in a city far away from the capital?

Decision time approaches...I am off to the kitchen to finish the cooking of breakfast and lunch!

What's this fruit called in English?

Here's what we call "Jamun" in Hindi, and "nAga pazham" ("snake fruit"!) in Tamizh...

I liked the way the pushcart vendor has arranged them in a basket of leaves of the rubber tree. You can see part of her scales, a couple of metric weight-stones, and her pretty bangles, too.

The poster under the leaf-basket is for a local mobile phone company.

The taste of this fruit is tangy, slightly astringent on the tongue. A purple tongue always gives away one's partiality for jamun...

Here's the

wiki entry

for this fruit and the tree it comes from. (220813 update).