Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tie the Perfect Knot

Last Sunday, I wore a tie after a gap of about five years. The last when I wore a tie was I took a break from my journalism career and tried my hand in a bank. Amongst all the discomforts that I endured whilst there (though I admit I gained a lot from working there too, so no regrets, really!), having to wear a tie everyday was almost up there on the list. Having to shave everyday was not far behind. From the freedom to wear jeans and T-shirt to getting away without shaving for more than two days (I usually shave on alternate days), imagine the culture shock I must have endured when I was asked to wear a tie, daily. My uncle that time had taught me to tie- what we Indians call- the samosa knot. I quickly bought some six to seven ties from Westside to go; all different colours and patterns to go with my various trousers and shirts. Reluctantly, though, but over a period I think I adjusted well to ties and did not mind. But come evening- and even during lunch- I longed to take it off, I remember. My colleagues had warned me against even so much as loosening my tie during lunch should our boss catch us; a severe reprimand would follow. So tie it was, from 9 in the morning till as long as we were in office. I used to rush to office, be there at 8.45 am, put my bag underneath my desk, take out my tie, rush to the bathroom, wear it and be at my desk sharp before 9 am. Many people prefer to not to take off the knot complete,and hang the tie with the loose knot and wear it subsequently. I don't like that; I prefer to take it off completely and then tie it afresh the next time. My uncle says that a perfect samosa knot is one that comes off in one action- and smoothly- and does not get entangled.

So when the occasion came to wear a tie came last Sunday, I dreaded. Luckily, the internet came to my rescue. These days, there is nothing that the internet cannot help you with. The solution? Youtube, what else! There are ample of videos out there to help you wear a tie. There are different knots. Youtube videos are also embedded on private websites that show you to tie just about any knot there is to be tied. I discovered that the samosa knot (the knot, when finished, looks like a small samosa)- the most complete tie-knot- is called the Windsor Knot in English. This is the knot I used to tie when I was working in that bank, but obviously because of its complexity and the fact that I do not wear ties even on formal occasion (a nice formal shirt and contrast colored pair of trousers is more than enough for me), I had long forgotten. I usually feel stuffy in a tie, though they also make one look very smart. But you need to wear a jacket over it, else just a tie doesn't much look good. And since I am not much of a jacket person, I never felt the need to wear a tie............until last Sunday.

My cousin's son engagement was held and as per tradition, the groom's family gifts formal clothes to close family members. Accordingly, my cousin gifted me a suit and so a tie had to worn with it. A Windsor Knot (I've graduated from samosa to Windsor already) is amongst the most-advanced tie knots, so at first it is a bit daunting and looks complicated. But I found this video quite useful as it gives instructions, slowly, and a good demonstration. Here it goes...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Order books on

This one deserves a mention, so here it goes. If you are in India and wish to order books and DVDs online, I can recommend you a fantastic online store. It's called Flipkart and it's website is This is India's answer to the popular US-based online store Amazon. About two months back, I ordered a book that wasn't available at popular book shops in Mumbai, including my favourite Strand. Amazon had it, but as usual their shipping charges are a killer for shipments outside USA. Then, one of my office colleagues recommended me Flipkart and I placed the order. I made my payment through internet banking (really fast and one of the most convenient ways to pay bills of a large variety) and within minutes- or seconds perhaps I don't exactly remember- I got a confirmation. The book was at a very reasonable price.

Two things that I love about Flipkart:

  1. Shipping of orders worth more than Rs100 is free. This works out much better than Amazon where in many cases, shipping is almost 1/3rd the cost of the item itself. 
  2. Customer support is top class. You can either call them up to inquire about your order (in case of late deliveries or anything else) or you can write to them. They pick up your phone and they reply to your emails and are very prompt in getting back. I also write to them occasionally to check about a merchandise that is currently not on sale on the website, and they respond promptly. 

Strong Spirited Esther Vergeer

Mint's story on Esther Vergeer, the #1 ranked wheelchair women's tennis player. The girl is on an amazing winning spree; 401 consecutive match wins and counting, 146 singles titles in addition to 126 doubles titles. This is her story and also about wheelchair tennis

Sunday, January 16, 2011

'Weak' security

There is something not quite right in the way the Amby Valley resort, Lonavala, seems to have reacted in the recent arrest of one of their own security guards for allegedly raping one of the hotel guests. The unfortunate incident took place in December 2010. The story published in Sunday Mid-Day ends on the following note:

When contacted, Gulam Zeeshan, spokesperson for Aamby Valley, said, "I am aware of the arrest of Chaudhary. He is a poor and weak man. He cannot overpower a woman. The police is victimizing him."

Weak man who cannot overpower a woman? Really? That's who a so-called luxurious and expensive resort appoints as their security? From the looks of it, the police seems to have nailed the culprit, but even if, for a minute, we assume that the police is wrong, who employs such a "weak" security guard who "cannot overpower a woman"? Ofcourse, that is hardly a qualification for strength, but surely hotels are expected to have capable security who can prevent unfortunate incidents. If a security guard cannot overpower a woman, how is he going to protect a hotel full of guests, especially one that charges a princely sum. To hear of hotels appointing such "weak" guards in these troubled times is spooky; we have not forgotten 26/11.

Meher Mahino, Ava Mahino and Adar Mahino: The holy trinity of Zoroastrian calender

Zoroastrians- or better knows as Parsis and Iranis of India- have a separate calendar. We look at the English calendar of course, but we al...