Sunday, April 15, 2012

The dilemma of Chopsticks!

A few days ago, we were invited by our friends to go out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
"Its going to be authentic Chinese food," my friend said.
"Authentic?" I asked. To me, all food that has "noodles" on the menu is authentic Chinese food.
"Yes," he said. "This restaurant is run by a Chinese family, and its all real authentic cuisine."
"Good," I said. "I'm all for it. Lets go."
Once we were there, I realized that my friend hadn't been kidding. It took about half an hour to order. The aroma in the restaurant was delicious and I couldn't wait to start. There was only one problem -- there were no forks, spoons or knives. Only chopsticks! And I don't know how to eat with chopsticks. And I was very, very hungry. My friends and my wife started eating, and they were managing well.  And the food looked delicious. So I tried. But I wasn't very successful. I was chasing the food on the plate with my chopsticks more than eating it! 

The waiter noticed my predicament and slid over with the necessary cutlery.
"Thanks," I said, "I am not good with chopsticks."
"I noticed," he smiled, "I am not either. I grew up here."
"I thought guests did not have the option of cutlery in this authentic Chinese restaurant," I said.
"We do make exceptions for certain guests ," he said, with a wink.
"For guests who are hopeless with chopsticks!" I laughed.

I came home and researched the history of chopsticks. I was amazed at the amount of material available on the net on how to use chopsticks. Most of it is funny, targeted at people who want to appear 'cool' by using chopsticks! Western civilization has moved on, and has adopted Chinese food, but not chopsticks. For those of you who want to be 'authentic', please copy and paste this URL clip in your browser. It is funny, but with a message.

"I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven't yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?!" ~Bill Bryson


Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Friday Fantasy Fallout!

I am feeling a little depressed since early this Saturday. Ever since I checked my Lotto ticket numbers and realized that I was not one of the winners, I felt a little let down. I missed out ....again! And I wanted to use most of the money for charity anyway (after upgrading my house, cars etc. of course!)

All my plans and dreams have sort of fizzled out, and I am getting ready to go back to work tomorrow. But I am feeling better now, since I realized that my chance of winning the lotto was infinitely small. But that didn't deter me from spending some money and start dreaming. I even convinced my wife to go get some tickets! But is it bad to dream a little in midst of our busy lives? I really don't think so, even though the chance of that particular dream coming true was 1 in 176 million! You know, the chance of being struck by lightning twice in a day is about 1 in a 100 million, and for our golfer friends, the chance of back to back hole-in-one on consecutive Par 3(s) by an amateur is about the same! 

But human nature, in general, is optimistic. Some people did win, didn't they? So why not day dream for a bit, even if the chance of making it is exquisitely small. Because one thing is sure -- if you don't buy the ticket, the chances of winning are "zero", and a 1 in 176 million chance, no matter how small, is still more than "zero" . You see, a pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all - he's walking on them!

"Thought is the labor of intellect, daydreaming is its pleasure!" ~ Victor Hugo