It was one of my favourite Pat Boone numbers. Aaaah - nostalgia.'On a day like today'.... but that's where the lyrics end as reality kicks in savagely. It's a weird day. Almost pre-monsoony. I can spot rain clouds on the horizon. How strange is that? And there are war clouds looming across the border. It is not looking good. Zardari's on the run - or should be. The Generals are restless. Nawaz Sharif looks ready to assume control. The Long March sounds ominous. Anarchy appears to be round the corner. Holbrooke is making all the right noises about America's 'concern'. It seems somehow stage- managed and phoney. From India's point of view, this is not a great development. No matter what those Generals claim night after night on Arnab's show, democracy looks doomed in Pakistan. The Begum in Bangladesh is equally insecure. Sri Lanka is permanently on the boil. What more do we need? Tibet and the Chinese to perform the Dragon Dance?
At such times I turn to the one constant that always guarantees comfort and provides an instant fix - food. I have taken to crushing fresh Mahableshwar strawberries into my lunch -time lassi. These strawberries are the real thing - small, succulent and sweet. They don't look as sexy as their pumped up cousins - the botoxed variety that's imported and pricey. But they sure as hell beat them hollow in the taste stakes. My salad is getting adventurous , too. Pears, iceberg lettuce and rocket leaves, combined with walnuts and pumpkin seeds, lavishly doused with classic French dressing. Oh, I forgot ... shavings of Parmesan cheese on days when I am hungry - really, really hungry. Try it. Chef Abhijit Sahai who used to be with I-Talia, the splendid Italian restaurant at the Park Hotel in Bangalore, introduced me to this combo years ago. Well, the talented chef has moved on and is poised to open his own restaurant later this month. He claims it's India's first that serves molecular food and authentic Spanish tapas. I'll let you know just how authentic after I sample his fare.
I'll be addressing the Indian Association of Secretaries and Administrative Professionals (established in 1970) later this evening. I've chosen to speak about - women!! What else?? The focus being on how women can make themselves heard MORE EFFECTIVELY and fight back when attacked. I'll be carrying our S.I.T.A. Sena posters with me.What is astonishing and disappointing is that not a single political party so far has thought it important enough to spell out an agenda designed to address and aid this specific constituency. Do women not count??At all?? Girija Vyas, who heads the National Women's Commission, spoke so casually about ' women-related issues', she actually reduced women to a mere statistic, on Karan Thapar's incisive show last week. She sounded like her last priority was doing something CONSTRUCTIVE for her own kind!!I am convinced an enlightened man would do a far better job than this lady whose heart is obviously not in what she's doing. Oh dear, oh dear...the mood is getting gloomier. How long can I continue to make the weird weather an alibi??