So all right, I've been playing hookie for ... umm ... okay, practically all month. But I've been BIZZY! Flexing the culinary muscle. Yes, you read that right: I, hitherto a stranger to kitchens (except as an Olympic-class dish-washer) have been secretly learning to cook a thing or two! It all began with a biryani recipe that my niece Meenakshi taught me in Madras and then, when I'd managed to wrestle it to the ground two weekends in a row, (i.e., I made it twice, on Sundays, the day on which the reigning lord of the kitchen has his weekly half-holiday) steamed ahead and made Channa Bhatura.
Okay! But! These amazements are as nothing compared to the one that has been revealed to me JUST TODAY. Okay, to explain, I have to step back several paces. If the picture at the top of this page is visible, then you already have the context -- i.e., the superlative adventure strip known as Peter O'Donnell's (better known as the creator of that OTHER superlative adventure strip, Modesty Blaise)
GARTH is involved. But here's what you don't know: I used to be a huge fan of that strip.
Undoubtedly, a major catalyst of my fanhood was my elder sister Surya's passion for the strip. She used to cut it out of the newspapers and carefully stick the strips together to make up complete albums -- this, despite our travelling childhood, when keeping track of newspapers and story-lines was quite a challenge -- which could be read like graphic novels. Tragedy struck, however when my sister's entire carefully collated masterpiece was lost by a friend of hers -- and since then, i.e., since the early seventies, we have been severely Garth-deprived.
I have made several attempts to locate a source of the series -- it used to appear in the Hindustan Times (which is the newspaper from which Surya clipped her collection) -- but to no avail, because it was discontinued just around the time I was living an existence settled-enough to be able to consider subscribing to a second daily paper, STRICTLY for the strip.
Enter Penguin(India). While engaged in idle chat with Someone Important there, about one year ago, I happened to bring up the subject of "GARTH: Unavailability To Sorrowing Fans". One thing led to another ... and ... believe it or not, this evening I was told that Penguin(India) is going to bring out a COLLECTED EDITION!!! I am so astonished that such things are even possible (i.e., that one can keep up a silent, long-term, desperate desire for something and actually GET it, at the end of a really long time) -- that it doesn't bother me that actual satisfaction is still several months away in the future. I am willing to be shattered into many joyous fragments just in the contemplation of this knowledge.
And ... okay. That's enuff for tonight!