Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I'm compiling a list of "variations on the theme of happiness". Please join in and compose one of your own! Post it as a comment or send me e-mail and I'll include it on this list. Initials are what I'm using for the moment, but if anyone wants their full name revealed they can ask for it.


I'm as happy as a …

… fruit bat in a mango orchard! (MP)
... a kite on a long string! (MP)
… a starving bear who has fallen into a pot of honey! (EG)
... a grasshopper on a Pogo stick! (GD)
... a hummingbird in a honeysuckle bush! (SN)
... a clam in a spy agency! (DM)
... a dot in a decimal factory! (KR)
... a transparency that didn't get stuck inside the photocopier! (Dr SS)
... a manic depressive with a bottle of pentobarbital! (AA)
... a newborn baby at her mother's breast! (DMM)(= new niecelet! Posted on her behalf by An Admirer)
... a closet-laundress with a new spin-dryer! (SN) (deep ref. to context here ...)
... a Scrabbler who has picked both the blanks! (SA)
... a Lawyer in a litigation-prone land! (VM)
... a Masochist in hell! (SM)
... a cat in a bowl of mice! (NR)
... a kitten in a pile of feathers! (NR)

(the following are all from AA. I tried to remove the numbers but they wouldn't go away in "compose" view and Html is only good when I don't have to fix it)

2. ... a masochist in bed with a sadist

3. ... a virgin on her wedding night

4. ... a paedophile in a kindergarten class

5. ... an agoraphobic in a stranded elevator

6. ... a urolagnic in a pathology lab

7. ... a nymphomaniac in a gang-bang

8. ... a teddy bear with its little boy

9. ... the thumb in a baby’s mouth

10.... George Bush in a B-2 over Baghdad, with his finger on the button

... a sore bum in a sitz-bath! (SN)
... a bat in a belfry! (MB)
... the ink in Will's quill! (SBI)
... the hare beating the tortoise! (SBI)

(all of the following are by AA -- who is definitely winning this blog's Most Varied Definitions of Happiness Prize)(so far)

... honey-bee in a field of thyme!

... baby who’s just had its first taste of chocolate!

... aomeone whose biopsy result says ‘Negative’!

... shopaholic with a stolen credit card!

... an anorexic in Ramadhan!

... a monk in a massage parlour!

... a suicide bomber with his foot on the accelerator!

... an author who’s writing the last paragraph of his novel!

... Charlie Brown after a kiss from the little red-haired girl!

... a fly in a puddle of shit!

(okay, these are from MP)
… a battery in a charger!
… a chick under a wing!
… a firefly in a hall of mirrors! (uhh … CRAZY happy)
… a free electron!
… a nudist on the first day of spring!
… a gas balloon on a hot day!
… a magnet at the North Pole!
… a bull in a Swarovski show room!
… a kitten with a ball of wool!
… as an arsonist in Hell! (heheh)

... a puppy in a splash pool! (RK)

(yet more from AA!)

… an olive in a martini!

… a pig with a truffle!

…. A rabbi with a pork-chop! (Uh-oh ...)

… a kid who’s just learned to cycle (30 seconds ago)!

… a pilot whose parachute has finally opened at 200 feet!

… a constipated lady who’s just had her first shit after 10 days!

… a tranvestite with a new pair of Pradas!

… Christina Hendricks’s bra!

… a guy who quit smoking and just lit up his first cigarette after 6 months!

… someone coming out of Bukhara (burp!)

... a philantrophist reincarnated as santa clause! (Shomu)
... a smile! (Ishan)
... a baby gurgling in bath-water! (Golly)
... Rip Van Winkle after 200 years of sleep! (Anjali)

(more from MP - gotta keep up with AA!)

… a shorn sheep!
… a released kidnappee!
… a new graduate!
… a flag in a high wind!
… a released dove!
… a popped pimple! (yuck!)
… a gushing geyser!
… a fresh-hatched tadpole!
… a cured AIDS patient!
… a successful litigant!
and … an escaped convict!

(OH AAAARGH! More from AA!)
… the worm in a tequila bottle
… a psychopath with a steam-roller
… an epileptic with a drum-set
… a foot fetishist in a shoe shop
…. a sniper in Sarajevo
… someone who’s discovered a wrong credit of Rs 10,00,000 in their bank account
… someone who’s just cracked the Times crossword
… someone who’s just peed in the swimming pool
… Ogden Nash, after finally finding a rhyme for ‘silver’
… the man who broke the bank at Monte Ca-a-a-rlo!

(*gasp, pant, wheeze* these are from MP)
… Galileo Galilei seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time!
… Isaac Newton being hit by his apple!
… Edmond Hillary at the summit of Everest!
… Hellen Keller saying her first word!
… Marie Curie discovering X-rays!
… Andrew Wiles solving Fermat's Last Theorem!
… Robinson Crusoe seeing a human footprint!
… Frodo when he wore the Ring!
… Max returning to his room in Where the Wild Things Are!
… Alice eating mushrooms!

(Oh NOOOOO! More from AA!)
… a kid with a new box of crayons!
… a monkey on a mango tree!
… an accountant who’s finally got his trial balance to balance!
… the bouncer in a whore-house!
… Ronald Reagan with a giant bottle of jelly-beans!
… Morarji Desai in a pathology lab!
… someone who’s just signed his first 8-figure cheque!
… someone who’s just farted in a bathtub!
… a 4-year old at a birthday party!
… the cherry on top of an ice-cream sundae!

(and these are MP's last and final set!)
… a water molecule returning to the ocean!
… salmon returning to their spawning grounds!
… ruby-throated humming birds making it across the Bay of Mexico!
… a queen bee at the peak of her inaugural flight!
… all of Bombay at the start of the monsoon!
… whooping cranes displaying!
… polar bears at the start of the next Ice Age!
… an emperor penguin at his mate's return!
… a porcupine nailing another tiger in the mouth!
… a novelist recovering from a hard-disk crash!

... a nose in a book! (EG)

... a Clintern! (JD -- who explains: "Clinton getting into an intern")

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Night Blooming Cereus

These photographs were taken by me, all on the same day (June 10th), from around two in the afternoon till maybe nine at night. The flower's common name is NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS. The link takes you to the Wikipedia entry on the plant's family, which includes this flowering species as well as the one that produces DRAGONFRUIT. The botanical name of this particular plant is most likely Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or Gooseneck cactus. The related variety, cultivated for the fruit, is called Hylocerus undatus.

I wrote a blog entry about this some years ago, because I was totally blown away to discover that there was any kind of link between this beautiful and very short-lived flower and the fruit -- perhaps because I associate the fruit with Southeast Asia, having eaten it for the first (and only) time in Singapore. Most people who have seen or know of the flower do not associate it with the fruit AT ALL. But if you compare the strangely zoological appearance of the flower's bud, it is easy to recognize the shadow of the fruit's shape in it.

The flower doesn't last the night and by morning, it looks like a pale pink bat-carcase. My sister got her plant from a friend who said they had never seen the flower blooming but had heard it was spectacular. In my sister's house, it has bloomed so often it's like a regular cabaret! Sometimes a dozen blossoms will all go critical in the same night. She says they don't bloom very often, but more than once a year.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Got this list from the Incomparable Anvar Alikhan. Good reading. I freely confess that my household in New Delhi gets only one daily newspaper and that one is ... the last one on this list. 'Course, I'm not exactly living at that address these days, so maybe that lets me off the hook? On the other hand, where I'm living now, I don't get ANY newspapers. *sigh*


  • The Times of India is read by people who think they run the country.
  • The Economic Times is read by people who think they own the country.
  • The Bombay Samachar is read by people who do, in fact, own the country.
  • The Hindu is read by people who think the country should be run by the government of another country.
  • The Statesman is read by people who remember the time the country was run by the British.
  • The Telegraph is read by people who think the country should be run by Mamata Banerjee.
  • The Mid-Day is read by people who think the country should be run by the people on Page 3
  • The Hindustan Times is read by people who think that Delhi is their country.
  • The Malayala Manorama is read by people who think that their country is Kerala (or Dubai, they're not sure which).
  • The Tribune is read by people who believe that India lives in its villages.
  • The Dainik Jagran is read by people who actually do live in those villages.
  • The Pioneer is read by 223 people, but nobody's quite sure who they are.
  • The Deccan Herald is read by 219 people, but at least we do know who they are.
  • Saamna is read by people who don't give a shit about the country, all they're interested in is who runs Shivaji Park.
  • The Asian Age is not read by anybody, but it's useful to wrap your shoes in when you 're taking a trip outside the country.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


I've just had a shot at playing a super charming online game called THINGDOM at the Science Museum website (UK based). I learned of it via this week's edition of the BBC's ClickOnline feature WEBSCAPE, anchored by the ever-resourceful, tireless and always user-friendly Kate Russell (I'm convinced that she is at least PARTLY electronic -- and I mean that in the best possible way).

THINGDOM is aimed at children, and is a very cute, easy-to-play game to teach the principles of genetics. Go on! Play it. Make things. And help them make even more things.