Saturday, April 28, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 12: Taste buds explode! Real MANGOES in Oulu!

(Cross-posted on my major blogs.)

I was at the Pailin Restaurant early yesterday waiting for the postman. Around midday, he arrived, bearing two packages.

I waited patiently while Unnop and Pailin opened them - and then came that delicious aroma of fresh mango.

The name of this fruit comes from the Tamil and Malayalam word, manga.

They packed 5 of them them in a plastic bag and I "literally" scooted home. :-)

Annikki was up reading the newspaper. Before she could ask me where I had been, I was in the kitchen, ripping open the plastic bag and attacking one of the delicious mangoes.

This mango, although looking like what is referred to in India as the traditional Polymango, had the taste of a good Malgova.

The Polymango is what every school child in India knows. At the gates of schools all around the countrty used to sit that old man or woman with a basket of green mangoes, unripe ones. For one anna( less than Euro 0.04), they would cut one open, sprinkle in chilli powder mixed with salt. The kids would walk home eating this delicious spicy salt sour mango!

Even thinking of this makes my mouth water.

But this is not what the mango has been come to be known for around the world. The famous varieties in the western world are "Tommy Atkins", "Kent", "Keitt", "Madame Francis", and "Champagne".

In my humble opinion, all these are quite tasteless compared to the varieties we get in India.

The king of all mangoes, for taste, is considered to be the Ratnagiri Alphonso. As a small boy I used to wait for the day they hit the market in Bombay (Mumbai) in May My mother would get baskets of them.

Not many people in India can probably afford Alphonsos today!

But there are many tens of varieties which are actually considerably tastiers than the Alphonso - Bangalora (Kilimooku), Banaganapalle or Banganapalli (also called 'Banesha' or 'Began), Dusserli or Dasheri, Imampasand, Khaderpasand, Langra, Maldah, Malgova, Neelam, Peethar, Rasalu, Rumani, Suvarnarekha, and many more. each one has his or her own favourite and their favourite way of eating their "mango".

The sweetest mango that I have ever had grew in our garden in Defence Officers Colony in a suburb of Madras (Chennai). This used to be an old mango grove before ot was acqyuired by the army to build houses for retiring army personnel. we were lucky to be able to rent a house for a couple of years in this colony.

It was an old tree and the mangoes that it produced was probably a cross between a Rumani and an Alphonso. Each mango, which was bright yellow when ripe, weighed about a kilo and there was just the right blend of juicy content with fleshy content. I used to be offered a lot of money by the professional pickers for the fruit from this tree - but we never gave them up as they were so delicious.

Our daughter, Joanna, was just a few months old when we had the first crop. This was to the horror of the older folks. They considered the mango to be too "heaty" for a small child - whatever that may mean!

Joanna was brought up on the juice of thee mangoes, and I think there were no ill effects!

I digress.

The mangoes we received from Thailand were really delicious. There were 5 and together they weighed 650 gms.

As the photographs below depict, I consumed mine, traditional style, with juice dripping down my palm, in less than a couple of minutes!

I sliced it open and to smaller pieces the way I had been taught as a child.

I cleaned the pieces to the skin, hardly leaving anything on the skin or the seed!

I cannot wait till next week when our next consignment arrives. Hopefully a nice ripe Papaya will also be there.

Yes, we can get anything we like to eat here now in this small town of Oulu!

Thank you Unnop and Pailin for this great service.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 11: Sharing this with you

I thought I would share this with you;

Hello Jacob,

You are getting this e-mail because last May you took the time to thank Stephen Colbert for speaking out at the White House Press Corp dinner. Thank you for that!

A dream has finally come true. After four years of hard work, the first of what will someday be thousands of the most trustworthy portals on the Web, is about to launch. It will be free of corporate/commercial bias, and FREE to the public forever!

Earth Portal ( is the result of 650 of the world's top scientists in 49 countries (so far) coming together to produce the highest quality, non-commercial, non-profit resource for information about our planet anywhere in the World.

Please go there and enjoy the vision video announcing the official launch this Friday.

Tomorrow (Thursday), we will webcast, the press conference in Washington DC at the Press Club beginning at 1 p.m. featuring Jane Goodall, Robert Corell, and Ambassador Richard Benedick among others.

And after the launch, please go back and register there to show your support for this breathtakingly ambitious effort.

Our children deserve no less. Our planet deserves no less.

Please also pass this on to everyone you know who cares about science and the environment.

The Earth Portal is a non-commercial destination on the Web for news, learning and debate about the state and future of our environment. There will never be any advertising on Digital Universe websites and it will always be free.

The Earth Portal will facilitate the emergence of a new community to emerge, directly connecting scientists, journalists, policy makers and you.

Join us and bring your children on April 27th at Earth Portal (

More soon and thanks!


Cliff Lyon
The Digital Universe
ManyOne Networks
Salt Lake City Office

You may also view the Vision Video at:



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 10: An Update

(Cross-posted on my main blogs.)
(Click on images to see enlarged versions.)

I have not been ill or otherwise indisposed. Just very very busy, happy, sad, and going through every emotion that man or woman is capable of.

Over Easter we were especially blessed to know that our three children, Susanna, Jaakko and Joanna, in the UK, were able to get together with their families and also join up with us over the telephone.

This has been recorded on several entries on Susanna's Billinghay Blog with beautifully emotional pictures of all members of the family. They especially enjoyed a buffet lunch at the Lahore Restaurant in Birmingham. Joanna, who has really become quite trim, did say that she did overeat on that occasion. (I must also note that Susanna has also become quite trim - but just wait till they arrive and start consuming their mum's cooking, when they will bloat, like me!)

The grandkids were in their element. Susanna has recorded and put up a few short video clips, using effectively the UTube service.

This has prompted Joanna to think seriously in investing in a better digital camera and to start her own blog - which would be just wonderful for us, the grandparents. Maybe, even Jaakko can be persuaded to start his blog once he gets the old iMac that Susanna is thinking of passing on - Old Macs never DIE. I had promised them my old software, but unfortunately much of te old system software discs are corrupted. Jaakko being an outstanding photographer would certainly add a new dimension to blogging should he decide to take it up.

Last Friday brought Annikki and me much grief when we lost a wonderful friend, a Cathedralite by the name of Behram Badhniwalla, who went by the nickname of Budni. Budni was a couple of years senior to me in school. He stood out as he had been afflicted by polio and was the only boy in school who was on crutches. But that did not stop Budni being one of us. During the latter half of our school years I had an excellent relationship with him.

When I left school, our paths diverged. It was not till 2005 when they came together again. He had been doing almost exactly what I had, in finding his classmates and then making sure that they were kept together.

Introduced to me through our former school Physics Teacher, William Shiri, living in Toronto, Canada, Budni wrote in his first email to me:

from: Behram Badhniwalla
date 21-Oct-2005 10:15
subject Fwd: Hello again

Dear Matthan,

My name is Dr.Behram T. Badhniwalla (Wilson House Batch 57), in school I was 'Budni'!

I used to walk on crutches during our green years.

Of course, I left my disability behind in 1959-60 (Praise be to the Good Lord).

Today my Wife, Carmie and I, have retired, and live in Pune.

From all the Cathedralites of our generation, and many have met u. the common factor is we both are holding on to our flocks!

I am forwarding a message from our teacher Mr Shiri, and I hope we communicate more often!

We have regular get-together of the Pune Cathedralites and shall revert later with more information!

Cheers for Now


From that day we have exchanged many hundreds of emails on topics ranging from sharing pictures of our school friends, sharing our email lists, finding new alumni, our common interests in music, organising class reunions, his idea of forming a health foundation of retired staff and elderly alumni who were not so fortunate financially, and many more. Budni bounced ideas off me. If I gave him the go ahead, he went about his task of rousing the masses.

Not only that, both of us got on like a house on fire. We assisted each other sharing our ideas, agreeing and disagreeing on issues, but above all promoting our "school spirit". Although our styles were different, but the objectives the same.

Budni made everyone feel loved and happy and part of a beautiful family.

On the morning of Friday 13th April 2007, I had two emails from him in the space of just 10 minutes, te first telling me that he would be away from Pune for 10 days and he would take up an issue I had requested as soon as he got back. The second email was about school, pushing the joint working of my Seventh Heaven Blog to be linked with the official school alumni site.

Budni was thinking of what wonders could be achieved if we all worked together.

By evening I received a message from a common friend in Pune that Budni was no more.

When such tragic news reaches me, I become immobile, unable to speak or do anything constructive. Annikki was at my side when I read this email. She comforted me, as she too had learnt to know Budni and his spirit. I was roused to work furiously to let "our flocks" know of the demise of someone who had become my right hand just so much as I had become his left!

The sorrow, grief and the tributes poured in from every corner of the globe. For the past week I have been composing a web page which I will call "A Tribute to Budni". It is difficult, as each time I enter some text or put in a picture, the sadness that flows through my veins makes me realise the frailty of life.

On the same day, we got news that our granddaughter, Asha, who will be 10 in August, had passed her Grade 3 Piano Examination with distinction, 134/150.

Budni, on the extreme left, is crooning at a CAT bash in Pune a few weeks ago.

Susanna put up a clip of Asha playing the piano on her blog, which helped me greatly to face the sorrow of losing a friend, as he was a great musician.

CEO of Codenomicon, Isaac Sundarajan, has been really jet setting. He flew to Cannes to collect the Red Herring Award, flew in to Oulu, flew out to spend Easter with his wife and elder daughter in London, flew back to the US (San Francisco) to prepare for his next year's strategy meeting, and was here, back in Oulu, yesterday.

Royal Garden Menu

We spent the evening together at Michelle's new Indian Restaurant, The Indian Cusine Section of Royal Garden. The last time he had been there, he had said he wanted food as hot as "Jacob's". Michelle and crowd only address me as "Mr. Matthan". So Isaac was a bit disappointed.

This time, Michelle's brother, Philip, dished out a really superb Chicken Vindaloo and a spicy lamb off the bone curry, which both of us relished. This was followed by some Guju Tea, which is laced with Indian spices.

I think the levels of spice in Michelle's Indian and Chinese restaurants will have to have new labels - "Joanna's level" (which is our daughter Joanna's taste buds saturation point and super not), and then "Mr. Matthan's level", which is only slightly lower, but does bring a fair amount of sweat onto the forehead.

Isaac and I sat and chatted well into the evening. Michelle and Philip regal led us with stories of their life in restaurant business. they were surprised to hear from Isaac that "Indian Chinese" is the "in thing" in California - so Philip has promised to didh this up for us on our next visit!

Friday, April 06, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 09: Heaps Reunion

I received this email:

Dear Jacob,

Last week I had lunch with Ajay Varma and he gave news about you.

I got onto your blog and got your email.

I do not think we have ever met since 1970 or so. Last time we met was in Delhi when you and your wife had come over to our house in Hauz Khas.

I have now retired from the service in 2002; my last posting was as Ambassador to Switzerland as also to the Vatican. I was based in Bern.

I am now settled in Gurgaon and now working as Senior Vice President of Osian's - Connoisseurs of Art Pvt. Ltd which is a unique company which deals in art and culture.

I am planning to be in London from the 25th of April for about three weeks. I will be with my son and would call you to have a long chat.

Warm regards to you and your family,

62er Niranjan Desai

It will not be long when the Heaps, 62er Niranjan and 63ers Ajay and me, as we were known during our time in college will be chatting away, probably as a Conference Call on Skype. Maybe, even in our old age we may be pesuaded to get up to some mischief!

Great to be in touch again, Niranjan.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

KTWV 08 Issue 08: Yesterday and today...

(Cross-posted on all my main blogs.)

It was a great day, as all days are great these days.

Birthday greetings started pouring in from 4 am Finnish time starting from Toronto (59er Hasnain Chinwalla) and Australia (nephew Chacko Kovoor, son of Malli and Thamban) and reverberated around the globe - Chennai (Anand & Shalu), Mumbai (56er Ubi, 59ers Ashok Kapur, Ramesh Mirchandani, Piloo Tata, Percy Mistri, Nihal Kaviratne, Naubir Mohindar, Elijah Elias (Ooky), etc.), Billinghay (Susanna, Chris and Asha), Hewcastle (Joanna, Tony, Samuel and Daniel), New York (59er Ellis Hayeem), Milano (69er Barbara Mont Ros), Washington D. C. (59er Arvind Thadhani), Serbia (62er Ranko Ivancevic), and ended ending back in Toronto when 59er Viney Sethi, in the company of our Physics Teacher, Willie Shiri and his wife Pushpa, and 59er Hasnain regaled me with the happy birthday serenade.

The quartet thought I would not recognise their voices after so so many years. But Viney's was so identifiable and crystal clear (but not quite the old Elvis-like) as also the rich tenor-bass voice of Willie was easily identified, as he had sung behind me in the choir stalls of St. Thomas's Cathedral in the 50s.

These greetings were combined with hundreds of well-wishers from all across Scandinavia.

Such beautiful messages, such beautiful cards, such beautiful email greetings.

I felt awed by such an outpouring of love and friendship - that makes living one more year waiting for the next birthday, really something to look forward to!

The first to wish me was Annikki, who stayed up till 4 am, just so that she could show her appreciation of our ageing together as I woke up.

And the last to greet ME was again Annikki, who prepared a delicious cake - fruit salad and cream, which was being watched over by our most hawkish cat, Iitu! She (the cat) licked the platter clean. (I was out most of the day attending various public events and only got home around half past nine in the evening for our evening together!)

Michelle, the Chinese Calcutta Restaurateur opened her new Indian Restaurant (The Royal Garden) today. I enjoyed my super spicy Madras Curry for lunch and later brought home a Rogan Josh for Annikki and Mika.

Pailin carved me a watermelon as a gift.

Pailin gives me the carved watermelon as my present.

In between, the many Thai families who have adopted me as their father and grandfather, celebrated my birthday with Pailin carving a beautiful watermelon as one of their many gifts to me.

Heikki, Emilia and Päivi.

Eija, Eric and me.

Päivi, Eija, Eric and Heikki.

The organisers of the UN Anti Racism Week helped celebrate the public occasion by toasting the successful week with a closure meeting with a raspberry cream cake!

Old and young friends kept my mobile phone ringing, making it a day that I will remember for many years ahead.

Thank you to all of you, many whom have gone unmentioned in this blog entry - but I do remember all of you and your good wishes.