Delhi, phoenix city

Delhi, phoenix city

I can’t think of a better title for Delhi than describing it as the phoenix city: one that rises from the dead to live again and again. And I can’t think of a better man to illustrate the city than the architect Cyrus Jhabvala, husband of novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabwala. It is dedicated to their three daughters.

A camera tells the truth, be it beautiful or ugly. It has no emotional attributes. On the other hand, an architect who is also a gifted artist can pour his emotions into what he draws. His love for Delhi has surfaced sky-high since he migrated to New York. He has made sketches of old monuments as well as present-day Delhi with its filthy bazaars and car-choked roads which bring the city alive. The only word I can think of, which suits the sketches, is spectacular. I recommend that all those who love their Dilli should acquire Delhi, Phoenix City (Ravi Dayal and Penguin India), no matter what it costs: You can turn over its pages again and again without ever getting bored and say to yourself: “This is my city, I belong to it.”


“Fingerprinting is a useful system of biometric identification,” Professor Shigoemi Koshimizi told a press conference at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, but fingers are often covered in grease or dirt, which makes fingerprinting unsuitable for mission critical applications. Facial recognition, retina signature and voice recognition also depend on environmental factors, such as lighting or ambient noise, so we have recently developed a new and more versatile form of biometric technology. We call it a “butt fingerprint”, and it could soon be used to protect your car against would-be criminals.

“Unlike other biometric technologies, butt biometrics does not require any special environmental conditions. We use a seat pressure map to generate a web of thirty-nine indices which identify a subject’s buttocks, then embed it in the car driver’s seat to prevent car jacking or car theft. If the car doesn’t recognise the driver’s butt as belonging to its owner the engine stalls. Tests so far have been encouraging, with an error rate of only 1.1 per cent, and the same technology could be used in offices, to automatically log employees on to their computers or generate a ‘foot map’ as a key for accessing secure rooms or buildings.”

(Courtesy: Private Eye, London)

War on USA

President Obama was sitting in his oval office in USA wondering whom to invade next when his telephone rang. “Hello, Mr. Obama! a heavily accented voice said, “This is Gurmukh from Phagwara, District Kapurthala, Punjab... I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!”

“Well, Gurmukh,’ Obama replied, “This is indeed important news! How big is your army! ‘Right now, ‘said Gurmukh, after a moment’s calculation, there is myself, my cousin Sukhdev, my next door neighbour Bhagat, and the entire Kabaddi team from the Gurdwara. That makes eight!

Obama paused, ‘I must tell you, Gurmukh that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command.’ ‘Ohh, ho! Main kya ji....’ said Gurmukh, “I’ll have to ring you back!”

Sure enough, the next day, Gurmukh called again.

‘Mr Obama, it is Gurmukh, I’m calling from Phagwara STD Booth, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some infantry equipment!” ‘And what equipment would that be, Gurmukh?” Obama asked. “Well, we have two combines, a donkey and Amrik’s tractor.”
Obama sighed. ‘I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 15,000 tanks and 14,000 armoured personnel carriers. I also have increased my army to 1-1/2 million since we last spoke,’ “Oh teri...’ said Gurmukh. ‘I’ll have to get back to you.’ Sure enough, Gurmukh rang again the next day.

‘Mr Obama, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne... We’ve a modified Amrik’s tractor by adding a couple of shotguns, sticking on some wings and the pind’s generator. Four school pass boys from Malpur have joined us as well!

Obama was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. I must tell you, Gurmukh, that I have 10,000 bombers and 20,000 fighter planes.

My military complex is surrounded by laser-guided surface-to-air-missile sites. And since we last spoke, I’ve increased my army two million!’

“Tera Bhala hove oye....,” said Gurmukh, “I’ll have to ring you back. Sure enough, Gurmukh called again the next day. ‘Kiddan, Mr Obama! I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war.’

“I am sorry to hear that,’ said Obama, ‘Why the sudden change of heart” “Well,” said Gurmukh, “We’ve all had a long chat over a couple of lassi’s, and decided there is no way we can feed two million prisoners of war!”

Now that’s called Punjabi confidence.

(Contributed by Paramjit S Kochar, New Delhi)

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