Friday, May 18, 2018

Ethics and Morals in a Nutshell

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” 

~ Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tête-à-Tête

TÊTE-À-TÊTE
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“Are you from India…?” the girl asked me.

“Yes…” I said.

“Tourism…?”

“Not really…? I am on a lecture tour – but I am seeing the sights also…”

“Oh – lecture tour – you are a Professor…?”

“Yes. I teach Management…”

“Oh. Management…? I studied Management too…”

“Really…?”

“I did my MBA in India. Then – I did my Masters in Management here in New Zealand…”

“If you were already an MBA – why did you do another Masters Course in Management…?”

“Because I want to settle down here in New Zealand…”

“Oh – so you are using the “student pathway” to citizenship…?”

“Yes. How do you know about the “Student Pathway”…?”

“I met a youngster who is keen on settling down here – like you…”

“Oh. Indian…?”

“Yes. He is my son’s school classmate. Like you – he too came here as a “student”. He told me that no one comes here for “genuine education” – they do these courses over here – because – the “student pathway” is the easiest route to residency and citizenship...”

“That’s true. All of us – we migrate to New Zealand using the “student pathway” – first “student visa” – then “work visa” – then “residency” – and finally – the coveted New Zealand “citizenship”…”

“Have you got citizenship…?”

“No. Not yet. Right now – I am on an “Employer Assisted Work Visa”. Hopefully – I will get my “Skilled Migrant Visa” soon – then – after 2 years I can apply for “Permanent Residency” – and then – after I complete 5 years in New Zealand – I will apply for Citizenship…”

“So – you have got it all planned…”

“Yes – I came here 3 years ago – for over one year during my course I was on a Pathway Student Visa – then – for almost one year I was on Post Study Work Visa – searching for a permanent job – luckily – I got a good job just in time – and since then – I am on an Employer Assisted Work Visa…”

“My son’s friend – he told me that the “work visa” phase is most uncertain – he is all stressed out…”

“Yes. Once you complete your course – first you have to find a job within one year – and then – you have to hold on to the job for 2 years…”

“I told him to return to India – but he is desperate to stay here…”

“Everyone who comes here is desperate to stay here at any cost – that’s why we migrants get exploited…”

“Yes – he told me about it – all sorts of menial and dirty jobs – excessive working hours – underpayment of wages – it’s almost like slavery – and he told me that immigrant students are being exploited by employers in their own ethnic communities – Indian Immigrants are exploited by “Kiwi-Indians” – our own people who have settled down here…”

“It’s true – but then – at the end of it all – you get residency – don’t you…? It’s just a question of braving it out for 2 or 3 years to achieve your ultimate aim…”

“He told me that there was even a “cash-for-job” scam – migrants had to pay money to get a “job letter” which was required for a work visa. Of course – I can’t believe that such things are happening here…”

“Of course it is happening – our people are experts at doing all these dodgy things. I don’t think Pakehas do all these unscrupulous things – but then – they are quite reluctant to hire migrants…”

Pakehas…?”

“New Zealanders of European Ancestry – they are called Pakehas…”

“Oh…”

“For us migrants – it is a Catch-22 situation. “Pakeha New Zealander Kiwis” don’t want us – and “Kiwi-Indians” exploit our vulnerability – because they know that we want to stay on here at any cost – in the hope of getting long term residency…”

“About wanting to stay here “at any cost” – my son’s friend told me a story – of course it is quite preposterous – so I didn’t believe him…”

“What story…?”

“He said that an employer told a migrant girl that she would have to sleep with him if she wanted a “job letter” for a work visa. And – the girl was so desperate – that she agreed – and she slept with him…”

“It’s possible…”

“How can it be possible…?”

“Well – maybe the deadline was approaching – and if she didn’t get a work visa – she would have to go back to India…”

“She should have gone back to India…”

“No one who comes here wants to go back – they are willing to go to any extent to stay on here and have a “better life”…”

“Better Life…?”

“Once you get permanent residency – it is certainly a “better life”…”

“Anyway – I don’t believe that a girl will sleep with someone just to get a work visa…”

“The story is true…”

“How do you know…?”

“I am that girl…” 

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Baker’s Dozen


BAKER’S DOZEN
Why Number “13” is called “Baker’s Dozen”
Origin of the Term
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Have you heard of the term “Baker’s Dozen”…?

The first time I heard the expression “Baker’s Dozen” was while playing Tambola – when the Number “13” was referred to as “Baker’s Dozen”.

It may be apocryphal – but the origin of the term goes way back to ancient times.

In ancient times – bakers were subject to severe penalties for short-weighting their customers.

In ancient Egypt – bakers were sometimes nailed by the ear to the doors of their shops if they were caught selling light loaves.

In 1266 – English Parliament passed a law subjecting Bakers to strict regulations regarding bread weight.

The bakers had to strictly comply with this law on ensuring proper bread weight.

Bakers who were found to be “cheating” their customers by selling underweight bread were subject to strict punishment, including fines or flogging.

At that time – it was difficult to make bread loaves of a precise uniform weight.

So – the bakers customarily added a 13th loaf to each box of a dozen (12) loaves they sent to the shopkeepers who sold the bread to customers.

Since the price of bread was linked to the price of wheat – the law regulated the weight of bread – not the number of loaves in the box.

This thirteenth loaf would ensure that the box of dozen loaves was not below the prescribed weight.

Thus – customarily – in a “Dozen” Box of bread sent by the bakers – there would be 13 loaves (Baker’s Dozen).

Probably – this is the origin of the expression “Baker’s Dozen” for the number Thirteen (13).

Dear Reader: Do you know of any other reasons for the term “Baker’s Dozen”...?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Election Day in Girinagar – Humor in Democracy

Humor in Democracy 

Election Days are here again. 

And – I remembered this story...

ELECTION DAY IN GIRINAGAR 
Fiction Short Story
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

ELECTION DAY IN GIRINAGAR – A Spoof By Vikram Karve 

This happened many years ago when I lived at a place called Girinagar near Pune.

“I want the day off,” Sushila, our maid, asked my wife.

“Why?” my wife asked.

“We have to vote. Today is election day,” she said.

“That’s good,” I said.

I was quite surprised at Sushila’s eagerness to vote  because Sushila was totally illiterate.

Yes  she lived just a few kilometres away from a modern city like Pune (often called the “Oxford of the East”) – yet  like so many others  she could not read or write.

But her keenness to vote indicated what a vibrant democracy we were.

“Who are you going to vote for?” I asked, in jest.

She told me a symbol – “I am going to vote for XXX symbol,” Sushila said.

“But why?” I asked.

WE have decided,” she said.

WE” meant her husband.

Apparently  her husband had gone for a “meeting” – and it was decided that the entire neighbourhood will vote for XXX symbol.

“So you vote for XXX symbol every time,” I asked her.

“No  last time we all voted for YYY symbol,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because “WE” had decided,” she said.

Of course  she did not know anything about the ideology of the  political parties to which the symbols XXX and YYY belonged.

It was none of her business.

Before every election  it was the men who had a meeting  and it was decided who to vote for in the election  and  the women dutifully complied.

(Of course  the men had a “leader” who guided them in these matters)

Like Sushila’s husband  most of the men in that area were drunkards who lived off their wives’ earnings.

But all that did not matter.

In the patriarchal society that prevailed, the women dutifully obeyed their men, even if the men were good-for-nothing drunkards.

So  in Sushila’s family of 7 voters (she, her husband, her two sons and two daughters-in-law, and unmarried daughter)  all would be voting for the symbol XXX which had been “decided”.

Added up  it was quite a large number of votes in the locality  and since they all of them voted en-bloc for a certain “symbol”  it was quite a sizeable “votebank”.

A few more such solid vote-banks could ensure victory in the election  as the victory of the XXX candidate proved.

Around 3 PM in the afternoon we saw Sushila standing near our gate.

“Have you voted?” I asked her.

“No,” she said.

“Voting time will be over soon. Why didn’t you vote in the morning?” I said.

“They haven’t come to take us,” she said.

They haven’t come to take you? What do you mean?” I asked.

A friend of mine who had come over and was hearing the conversation said to me: “Don’t you know? Someone has to come and take them to the polling booth in a vehicle. And then – they have to be given some inducement to vote  here the incentive is mostly a bottle of liquor for the men – these guys and their families will vote only after the men are given a bottle of liquor.

After some time  I saw a van arrive near our gate. 

The van had come to take all them for voting. 

And so – they all went to cast their votes in the election.


EPILOGUE

In the evening we saw Sushila’s husband and her sons lurching in a drunken manner on the road.

We observed that most of the men were drunk that evening  after consuming the liquor being distributed freely on election day  as an incentive for them to vote.

It was obvious that liquor was flowing freely on election day (though strictly speaking  it was a “dry day”)

At night  when Sushila came to work  we saw tears in her eyes.

She said that her husband and her sons were drunk – after drinking all the free liquor distributed on election day.

Sushila’s husband had thrashed her  he bashed her up – as he always did when he was drunk.

And now – one of her drunk sons had beaten up his young wife too.

“See what you did...?” my wife said to Sushila, “you voted for the person who gave liquor to your husband and sons – and what did you get in return – your husband got drunk and he beat you up – and – your drunk son beat up his wife – in fact  most of you women must have voted for those who are causing you more harm than good.”

What an irony...!!!

Why did Sushila vote for someone who caused her more harm than good...?

Yes  why do people vote for someone who causes them more harm than good...?

That is the moot question of democracy.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
 

Korma – Easy to Cook – Tastes Delicious

HOW TO COOK MUTTON KORMA 
A Simple Recipe 
By 
VIKRAM KARVE 
Dear Reader: Let me delve into Foodie Archives and pull out my recipe for one of the first dishes I learnt to cook as a young boy...

Simple Curry  Mutton Korma  Easy to Cook  Tastes Delicious
Long back  in the late 1960’s  or early 1970’s I think  in Bareilly  we once went for a meal in a restaurant called Rio  if I remember correctly. 
(I wonder if Rio Restaurant still exists in Bareilly)
As everyone ordered chicken and veg dishes  I wanted to have mutton that day. 
And  in the list of the usual mutton dishes  I spotted Mutton Korma  and  I decided to eat it. 
Being an inquisitive person  I wanted to know what “Korma” meant. 
So  I asked the cooks over there what was the meaning of “Korma”.
They told me that: 
“Korma” means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)
Is this a fact...? 
Can some culinary expert tell us more about this – is this true  or is it just a myth...? 
If you google “Korma” – you will see that Korma” is defined as a mildly spiced Indian curry dish of meat or fish or vegetables marinated in yogurt or curds. 
But – I will stick to the definition that the cooks in Rio Restaurant Bareilly told me almost 50 years ago that Korma means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)
RECIPE FOR MUTTON KORMA
I was curious  so the cooks allowed me into the kitchen  and they let me see this simple dish being prepared.
This is the first non-veg recipe I learnt  and I used to make it often  because it is simple and straightforward to cook. 
In fact – I have learnt most recipes by watching the dishes being made in restaurant kitchens  and later – when I was in the Navy – I used to observe talented Navy Cooks prepare typical Navy Cuisine Dishes in Ships Galleys. 
Now coming back to Korma – let me share the recipe for a simple Mutton Korma with you. 
In a nutshell – Korma is a braised dish – the meat is first fried in spiced sauce (comprising masalas and pastes)  and then  it is stewed slowly in a closed container. 
So – first let us start with frying the masalas, pastes and mutton.
Place a thick bottomed vessel on your stove  add a generous quantity of pure ghee – yes – pure ghee (clarified butter)  switch on your stove – turn on the heat – and – heat the pure ghee till it is hot. 
(I never pressure cook meat  as I feel  slow cooking brings out the taste best) 
Add the whole masalas [tejpatta (bay leaf), choti and badi elaichi (small and big cardamom), laung (cloves), dalchini (cinnamon), kali miri (peppercorn)]
Saute the whole masalas – till they start crackling.
Then – put in lots of finely chopped onions  and fry the onions till brown and crisp.
Add ginger-garlic paste, red chillies  and fry till the moisture evaporates.
Then add the mutton pieces  and stir lightly  and gently roast the mutton in its own juices till dry. 
Now add whipped curd (yoghurt)  and let the mutton cook in the curd  stirring very slightly from time to time.
When the gravy becomes dry  and starts sticking to the bottom  lower the heat  add water to cover the mutton. 
Then  cover the vessel  and simmer on slow fire  stirring once every few minutes. 
If required – you can add a bit of water so that the mutton does not stick to the vessel. 
Cook slowly  till the mutton is done 
You must keep sampling to see that the mutton is done to your taste – and the cooking process should take between 20 to 40 minutes – depending on the quality of mutton – and how you like it done. 
When almost ready  add salt to taste  sprinkle a little cardamom powder for flavour – and give a final simmering boil to the curry – take off from the fire – and then  as a final touch – garnish with fresh green coriander leaves.
The Mutton Korma is ready to eat with chapati, roti, pav, or rice  whatever you like. 
I used to like cooking and eating Mutton Korma.
It is simple to cook  no fancy laborious time-consuming preparations and marinades – it is not too spicy  korma tastes nice and mild  and the dish is ready to eat in less than an hour. 
KORMA – What is the true meaning of Meaning of Korma”...?
About the “turmeric” part  will someone please enlighten us...? 
Is it true that Korma means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric) – as the cook in Bareilly had told me 50 years ago...?
I cook korma without Haldi (turmeric)  but I have seen recipes of korma which include turmeric. 
Try out this simple dish – you will relish the freshly prepared delicious steaming mutton korma with piping hot chapatis/rotis/phulkas or fresh fluffy pav or buns/bread or even rice. 
You can improvise a bit – add cashew paste to make the Korma thicker and yummier – or like they do in South India – add coconut milk to get a distinctive “Coastal flavour.
I love a vegetarian dish called Navratan Korma too – it is nice and sweetish.
I don’t know how to make Navratan Korma  but from the taste  it seems that Navratan Korma too doesn’t contain Haldi (turmeric) 
So maybe  the definition of Korma as told to me by the cook in Bareilly is correct: 
Korma means Gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)...” 
Happy Cooking and Blissful Eating...!!!
VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This is an “experimental” recipe – so try it at your own risk. I suggest you vary the Exact Quantity/Proportion of ingredients as per your culinary experience and taste.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
     
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.