Monday, 30 August 2010

Indian Champissage and Spas

What is a massage? An online dictionary defines it as

1. the act of kneading, rubbing, etc., parts of the body to promote circulation, suppleness, or relaxation
2. (Medicine) to treat (stiffness, aches, etc.) by a massage
3. to manipulate (statistics, data, etc.) so that they appear to support a particular interpretation or to be better than they are; doctor
massage (someone's) ego to boost (someone's) sense of self-esteem by flattery .

In India various massage therapies and treatments are available. One can choose a common barber shop masseur or a sophisticated, elegant , and expensive massage parlour or spa. In Kerala (South India) there are special ayurvedic or herbal massage centers.
Here is some more info from the web.

History of Indian Champissage (Head Massage)
Massage has always played an important part in Indian life. It features in the earliest Ayurvedic texts, which date back nearly 4000 years. These ancient texts describe that, when used in conjunction with herbs, spices and aromatic oils, massage had an important medical function and could not only “strengthen muscles and firm skin”, but also encourage the body’s innate healing energy.
Today, Indian infants often receive a daily massage from birth until they are three years old to keep them supple and in good health. From three to six years of age, they are massaged once or twice a week. After six years of age, they are taught to share a massage with family members. Massage occurs across the generations in India as an integral part of family life. Indian Champissage™ springs from this rich tradition of family grooming.
Head massage has been practised for over a thousand years. The concept was originally developed by women who used different oils according to the season (coconut, sesame, almond, olive oil, herbal oils, buttermilk, mustard oil and henna) and individual needs to keep their long hair strong, lustrous and in beautiful condition.
Barbers practised many of the same skills with their male clients. They used to visit individual homes, cutting hair and often offering champi (head massage) as part of the treatment. It was customary for most people from the king down to have someone attend to them in this manner.
Treatments offered by barbers differed from the massages performed by women. A champiwas an invigorating scalp massage designed to stimulate and refresh the individual and was not considered part of a beauty regime. The word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindi word 'champi,’ meaning ‘massage of the head.’ Regular head massage, as practised by woman to beautify their hair, was soothing and relaxing. They would use natural oils to keep their long hair strong and healthy.
The barbers’ skills evolved through the ages. They were handed down from father to son in much the same way that women kept alive the tradition of hair massage and grooming by passing the techniques from mother to daughter.
Nowadays, it is very common to go to a barber’s shop, receive a wet shave and have a head massage thrown in as part of the treatment. Head massage can be seen in many locations in India from Calcutta to Bombay: on street corners, in markets and, of course, on the beach.
Like most of his compatriots, Narendra Mehta had grown up with head massage as an integral part of his daily life. It was something to be automatically experienced every time he visited a barber.
However, when Narendra came to England in the 1973 to train as a Physical Therapist, he was dismayed to find that head massage was not generally available. He was also disappointed to discover that the head seemed to be completely neglected even in a full body massage.
Narendra began to miss the therapeutic value of regular head massage. In 1978, he decided to return to India to research the ancient art of head massage. He studied it wherever it was practised: in barber’s shops, on street corners, at the beach and in family homes. He enjoyed being worked on but he couldn’t help feeling that there was something missing.
Although he experienced a slight improvement in well being, the effects were too short lived to be of any therapeutic benefit. Barbers focused on the scalp and women focused on the hair. In addition, everyone who worked with Narendra had his or her own individual technique, which had been handed down and developed through the generations. He decided that he would begin to formalise what he was experiencing and apply his heightened sensitivity as a blind person to discover which part of his body reacted most positively to specific moves.
Soon he arrived at two conclusions:
1. The therapy could benefit by being extended to include the face, neck, upper arms and shoulders ­ areas that accumulate high levels of stress and tension.
2. By introducing an Ayurvedic element into the massage to include work on the three higher Chakras (energy vortices) ­ Visuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara ­ the body’s entire energy system could be rebalanced.
When these two elements were added to traditional head massage, Narendra found he had a holistic therapy, which could be used effectively to treat the whole person. Experience had shown him that working on the head brings tremendous relaxation and relief from stress-related symptoms. In addition, he knew that head massage with oil serves as an excellent hair conditioner. Thus, Indian Champissage™ was developed from an ancient practice to become an excellent contemporary therapy.
This new therapy was introduced at the 1981 ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’ exhibition at Olympia, England, where a total of 179 clients came to Narendra’s stand suffering from headaches and many other stress-related symptoms. They left recharged and relaxed. Exposure to these and countless other clients during the next few years at his clinic and at various exhibitions allowed Narendra to study the effects of his techniques in depth and to revise and expand them.
Indian Head Massage (Indian Champissage™) has received a lot of positive exposure through numerous articles, magazine features, and radio and television interviews since its introduction in the UK. This, together with the obvious efficacy of the treatment, has undoubtedly led to its current popularity amongst health practitioners and the general public as one of the leading complementary therapies in Great Britain. The future of traditional Head Massage (Indian Champissage) is bright.

Kerala massage

Here are 2 videos. The second one is very funny - a tourist get a head massage in a barbershop.

Just as a body massage helps to relax the mind and body, a spiritual massage rejuvenates us spiritually. Having a daily Quiet Time with the Lord and corporate worship with other believers give us a spiritual massage.

And your sweet , encouraging comments give me a ego massage, I must add.

I have made a posting on Indian lunches on the SS blog with recipes for KITCHREE AND CHICKPEA CHOLE they are easy. Click on the link.


Later on in the evening 3 disasters took place with the time period of 15 mins.

1. My mini swamp cooler stopped working

2. My washing machine busted. I had to do the washing by hand. A back breaking task. I have a backache now.

3. The stray dog Naughty trie d to dig up our newly planted potatoes.

4. Later on as I opened the fridge an egg fell out an d broke- hate that as they are so expensive.

I feel like humpty dumpty and badly in need of a massage myself.

Friday, 27 August 2010

How not to treat your cat

A MAN from Buffalo in the US allegedly marinated his live cat in a mixture of crushed red peppers and chili - but was arrested before he could eat the pet, the Buffalo News reports.
Police rescued the cat after finding it in the Cheektowaga man's car trunk when he was pulled over for allegedly passing a stop sign on Sunday night.Ferry-Fillmore District officers said they heard the cat crying from inside the trunk and found it in a cage marinating in a mixture of crushed red peppers, chili pepper, salt and oil.Gary L. Korkuc, 51, told police his black and white cat named Navarro had been "mean" to him and he was planning to make a meal out of the animal because it was ill-tempered.He was arrested on one count of cruelty to animals and was also charged with passing a stop sign and failure to signal.Navarro, a four-year-old male, was taken to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where he is being put up for adoption.
What ever was Gary thinking of?. Why couldn 't he put it up for adoption in the first place? Planning to eat a pet is just un-thinkable. I mean this man was living in Buffalo- not Katsville. And now HE is marinating in Prisonville I suppose.
I read recently that a family in Varanasi (North India) has adopted 100 stray cats. They are not rich they say but they manage to feed then rice, milk and fish. They are a Bengali family.
When Sheeba was a puppy she was very playful and annoyed Jimmy our very sober and serious dog. Jimmy was Mama 's favourite and it irked her to see Sheeba irritate him. So she got Papa and me to take Sheeba back to the pet shop and get another dog in exchange.
We were heart broken, but we took her and left her with the pet shop owner. They did not have another puppy in the shop at that time, so they asked us to check the next day.
When we went to the shop the next day the helper ran out and begged take our dog back." She 's been crying ever since you left her here and had nothing to eat or drink, she is upsetting our other animals".he moaned. He said he would give us another puppy for free too.
When Sheeba saw us, she set off such a heart breaking cry that my almost teary Papa picked her up and held her close to his heart vowing never to leave her.
We took her home and trained her. Mama also accepted her. She became the darling of our hearts. My Papa used to call her"My bitia"-my daughter. She wouldn 't let him out of her sight. I am glad she is ours... forever.

I made made a post called An Indian Food Scrapbook on the SS blog. Have a look HERE

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Homage to Mother Teresa and Irena Sendler

2010 is the 100th birth anniversary year for two heroic women. One from Albania and the other from Poland. Mother Teresa we all know and revere greatly, her 100th birth anniversary is being celebrated today- Aug 26th.

But I read about Irena Sendler just an hour ago and was so impressed by her inspirational story that I want to pay homage to this remarkable little known woman along with Mother Teresa. We can call Irena, the Corrie Ten Boom of Poland.
Read this CNN report.

A solemn Mass at the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, marked the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth on Thursday.
People from all walks of life gathered at the global headquarters of the order of nuns, which Mother Teresa founded 60 years ago.
"It's a great day of joy for all of us to celebrate the gift of Mother's life," said Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's immediate successor. "Mother who allowed God to live in her has put a bright light in the world, enlightening the hearts and minds of so many people."
Sister Prema, the current head of the order, said, "Mother is a person who till today -- and also for time to come -- will bring people of all walks of life together to serve, to laugh and to be united."
A message from Pope Benedict XVI was read out at the Mass.
"I am confident that this year will be for the church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work of you, her spiritual children," the pontiff's statement said.
Mother Teresa was born as Agnes Gonxha Boiaxhiu to ethnic Albanian parents in Skopje, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910.
She arrived in India in 1929 and dedicated her life to help those in need. She received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1979.
She died in India in 1997 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in October 2003.


Irena Sendler. An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a health worker, she sneaked the children out between 1942 and 1943 to safe hiding places and found non-Jewish families to adopt them.For many years Irena Sendler - white-haired, gentle and courageous - was living a modest existence in her Warsaw apartment. This unsung heroine passed away on Monday May 12th, 2008.
May we be inspired and blessed by the lives of these two torch bearers.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Mouse Trap

I baked a banana cake and have posted pictures on the SS blog
you can see them HERE

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Rakhi- Thread of Love

Today is Raksha Bandhan when sisters tie the sacred thread of love on the arms of their brothers.Sweets and gifts are exchanged between siblings.

The Hindus do a pooja (worship) on this occasion, but people of all faiths celebrate without the religious ceremony. It is a cultural event. You can read more about it on the following link.

This man is a broom seller who goes from house to house selling brooms to housewives.
He has been coming to our place since the past several years.

He is a Muslim man , that is very evident from his features, beard and attire. He carries his merchandise on his head and walks everywhere. Quite an arduous task.
He sells soft and hard brooms. We have to bargain with him as he always quotes an exorbitant price, knowing the ladies will bargain- so its an expected thing. Anyway its quite convenient to buy from him. I suppose he earns 200 -300 rupees a day - $ 5- 7.

It rained heavily this afternoon. Our first real monsoon shower. Our rose plot is flooded.Not that were any flowers at this of the year. There is water logging in various parts of the city and its the hardest for people living in crowded areas and shanty towns or slums. The roads become slushy and slippery and puddles everywhere. I avoid going out after the rains because of this.
I called a computer technician to fix my desk top. It needed cleaning and rewiring etc. This is his motorbike. He is a nice fellow and doesn' t over charge. I gave him his fees , a bag of bananas from the garden and a Gospel tract.
A whole stalk of bananas fell off the tree. I made banana veggie and cake and gave away lots.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Lotsa Bees

Today I went to the ABS Chapel for morning service. Nice change from the usual senario.Its good to visit other churches sometimes and say hello to friends and aquaintances. This was the first time I went to this chapel 's Sunday morning service although I attend special services there.

It rained a little in the afternoon.We 've not had much rain in east U.P. while New Delhi is almost drowning under flooods.

Friday, 20 August 2010

PM Manmohan Singh- The Leader Other Leaders Love

New York: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tops Newsweek magazine's list of 10 world leaders who have won respect and is described as "the leader other leaders love" though India figures at 78th place in the list of 100 best countries.
The Indian Prime Minister was described as a sophisticated former economist, who has played a key role in the country's emergence as one of the rising powers of the 21st century, engineering the transition from stagnant socialism to a spectacular takeoff in the global economy.
77-year-old Singh, who is into his seventh year in office, has played a "key role in India's emergence as one of the rising powers of the 21st century."

In an article titled "The Leader Other Leaders Love", the magazine said the economist-turned-politician Singh, engineered the transition "from stagnant socialism to a spectacular takeoff in the global economy."
"But it's Singh's unassuming personal style that really inspires awe among his fellow global luminaries, who praise him for being modest, humble, and incorruptible," the magazine said in the article.
It also quotes former International Atomic Energy Agency director-general and Egyptian presidential challenger Mohamed ElBaradei as saying that "the soft-spoken Singh is the model of what a political leader should be."
Besides Singh, British Premier David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz al-Saud also figure in the list.

However, India figures 78 in the list of 100 best countries in the world with a score of 55.70 out of 100.
The rank was based on five categories of national well-being, education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment.

Dear friends I have written new post on the Scarf Sisters

blog. It has a simple recipe for an Egg Curry

You can find it HERE


Please pray for my sister Sonia. She has a lump in her throat. Had a test done yesterday. They poked three needles into her and drew out stuff. Very painful and scary. The test report will come next week. She lives far away in the state capital. We are anxious for her.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

New Moon Rising

Yesterday I went to a Muslim shop and in the ante room I saw the shopkeeper 's wife reading the Quran holding her sleeping grandson on her left arm. I photographed her surreptitiously with my cell phone and edited it into a sepia shot.. It seems as if both granny and baby are praying. The baby was fast asleep. Made me smile. This year Ramadan fasting began on August 12th. Below is a description about Ramadan taken from The Telegraph website. (India has a very large Muslim population)

In the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which the first verses of the Qur'an are said to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, participating Muslims refrain from drinking, eating and sexual activities from dawn until sunset.
Fasting is intended to teach Muslims the virtues of patience, humility and spirituality, and is carried out as an offering to God.
In the Qu'ran, Allah proclaims that "fasting has been written down upon you, as it was upon those before you".
Participants rise in the darkness to eat a pre-dawn meal called “sahur”. They must stop eating and drinking before the dawn call to prayer, and must not break their fast until the fourth call to prayer at dusk.
Muslims are expected to start observing the fasting ritual once they reach puberty, as long as they are healthy.
The elderly, the chronically ill and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups are expected to try to feed the poor instead.
People who are travelling long distances do not have to fast – nor do pregnant or breastfeeding women and those who are menstruating.
During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance on new problems, and ask for help in refraining from everyday “evils”.
They are expected to perform their religious duties with greater diligence than usual and to reflect on the teachings of Islam.
Participating Muslims are encouraged to try to read the entire Qur’an during the month of Ramadan. They must strive to maintain pure thoughts and avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.
The holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, which is called called Shawwal.
When fasting is over, celebrations are held and Muslims go to their mosques in their best clothes to say the first Eid prayer.
Later, they give out presents to children and greet their friends and families. Food is donated to the poor and a feast is held in the evening.

Dear friends thank you so much for your
prayers, caring messages and concern.
God is good. The clouds are parting
and I am receiving the needed help,
counsel and moral support
from strong leaders.
Something I require very much.
Tough decisions and actions
have to be taken but with
godly people on our side
we will ride over this storm.
Sometimes it takes an earthquake to
bring the cracks in the wall
into focus.
Some weeds have to pulled out and
branches pruned,
metaphorically speaking.
So I thank God for the turbulence.
I covet your prayers
for wisdom , strength and discernment.

These days I am also posting entries on a group blog called SISTERS OF THE TRAVELLING SCARF.

An apron has been travelling all over the world and whoever receives it writes about their lives and cooking illustrated with photographs. Miss Apron, as we call her has journeyed through 3 continents and now it is my turn to host her and about my life and cooking.Please do visit us HERE if you are interested in Indian cooking and chat.

Cry....cry I let a little girl use my computer to do her homework and a virus crept in. I wanted to use some pictures saved on it and also scan some pages but I can 't until I get it cleaned up . I am using my laptop , so its not too bad. I regret the extra expense to get the computer fixed up though. Anywhere between $10 -20.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Hunger and Thirst

lotus flower animated candle
My dear friends thank you so much for your prayers, encouraging words and exhortations. I have emerged out of the 'dark time '.

The people who had been extremely hostile came to me this evening asking for forgiveness with a complete change of heart. They realized that I have been very patient with them otherwise I could get them evicted from their house and had I reported their behaviour to their boss and superiors their job and ongoing education would have been in serious jeopardy.

They were very apologetic and promised not to repeat their offences again.I had to deal with them very firmly, mincing no words. I don 't enjoy disciplining grown ups. But with the responsibility God has entrusted me with I have to do it. Church discipline is necessary.

Through this experience the words from Jesus ' sermon on the mount burned into my heart.
Matthew 5
3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Do continue to pray for me, although I have forgiven them, it will be hard for me to connect with them spiritually as the wounds they have inflicted upon my soul are very deep.I need time to recover from them.Can anyone guide me how to?

Monday, 16 August 2010

Walking Alone

Please pray for me . I am facing a very spiritually oppressive and difficult situation. The Lord has comforted me. I need Him more and more.

The following devotional from Joni Earckson Tada blessed my heart.


But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.--Isaiah 40:31
Eagles are solitary birds. They never fly in flocks. At times God asks us to forego human companionship to experience divine fellowship so that later, we have the strength to give to others. "God seeks eagle-men," writes Mrs. Charles Cowman in Streams in the Desert. "No man ever comes into a realization of the best things of God,who does not, upon the God ward side of his life, learn to walk alone with God."
Scripture is replete with such men: Abraham living in a tent; Moses herding sheep;Paul alone with God in Arabia. God then often takes those whom He has sheltered in solitude and thrusts them out to minister to others.
Author Caryll Houselander writes of these eagle-souls:
There are those who must live, as it were, in other men's hands; whose success,even if it be of a spiritual order, must be paid for in a suffering of poverty far more terrible than material poverty, a poverty of not having themselves, not having anything of their own - not time, or solitude, or their thoughts, or even their senses: their hearing filled always with other men's troubles, their eyes with the face of other people's sorrows...

Many times you may feel there is no rest: hurting people call you on the phone or appear at your door; your children clamor for attention and love; your spouse wants to spend time with you when you have no time; your boss adds to the piles already on your desk. Only someone who has spent solitude with God can respond as an eagle,mounting up with a reserve of energy provided by the Almighty. Quiet time with Him isn't an option; it's a necessity.
* * * * *
Father God, teach me to come to you for strength when I feel as though I have none.In this way, I'll have strength to dispense love and care on others.
Joni and Friends

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Jai Hind- Happy Independence Day India

School children in New Delhi (our national capital) rehearsing for the flag hoisting at the Red Fort. They are dressed in the colors of our flag

The rest of the photos are from different parts of the country showing people 's enthusiasm. (Courtesy IBN Live)

August 15th - India 's 64th Independence Day
Happy Independence Day to my countrymen all over the world.

Do watch these videos.
This the fast developing modern India

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The heat, dust, struggles and tears of India

This is India to write home about.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Notes Left Behind.

Notes Left Behind is the true story of a six-year-old girl named Elena and her battle against brain cancer. In her last days she showed a community how to love and how to live. Written through the eyes of her parents, Keith and Brooke Desserich, as a remembrance for Elena’s younger sister, her daily story tells one of humility and inspiration as she lives each day, one at a time. In her short time she painted a masterpiece that would hang in an art museum, she accomplished a truly spectacular series of wishes that she alone created, and she inspired a cause that remains today to help children everywhere in their fight against brain cancer.
In Notes Left Behind, Elena’s parents struggle to resolve their contradictory impulses to both fight Elena’s cancer at all costs, and to realize the inevitable outcome that awaits their daughter. Through it all, they rediscover what it means to be a family and what it means to live. The journal is candid and sincere in its treatment of deeply personal and tragic events and is a reminder to parents everywhere to appreciate and savor every precious moment they have with their own children.

Watch this video. Such a soul stirring story of a 6 year old girl. Her short life speaks volumes. Try to get her book. She was so brave in the midst of her pain and suffering and so loving and thoughtful. Oh, I want to read this book too. God provides inspiration in such amazing ways.

This is a video about her book

You can check out the website HERE

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Peepli Live - Reporting live from the real India

Peepli Live is a much talked movie about to be released in India on August 13 . It is very different from the usual glamorized Bollywood love stories. It displays the heat an d dust of an ordinary Indian village and the struggles of the farming community.The video of the movie trailer is in Hindi, but here you can catch a glimpse of the heat dust and tears of rural India. I am sure it is available with English sub titles or voice over.

Here is a review published in The Times of India


Enter Peepli, a small village in the hinterland where a farmer duo, Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) are struggling to hold on to their land. Threatened by extreme poverty, they fall upon a novel plan. Natha decides to commit suicide to avail of the Rs one lakh compensation package doled out by the government. But before he can do that, the news spreads like wildfire.

The unknown hamlet soon becomes the favourite hunting ground for the voyeuristic news channels, hungry for TRPs, unscrupulous politicians, eyeing their vote banks, fumbling bureaucrats, foxed and clueless about the strange turn of events...Can the farmer's family hope for succour? Is India equipped to handle its swelling population of forgotten and marginalised citizenry? Does Natha survive? Good questions....

Movie Review:

And that's the bottomline of Peepli Live, a small little film, that showcases the real India without glossing over the contradictions of our fumbling-bumbling democracy or getting overtly sentimental about garibi (poverty) and the attendant grime that goes with it. Refreshingly, the film unfolds like a hard-hitting satire that turns its tongue-in-cheek gaze over almost all that's incongruous in contemporary Indian society: the rural rot, the yawning rural-urban divide, the vote-bank politics, the out-of-sync bureaucracy, the we-give-a-damn political class, the TRP-lusting media and the total insensitivity towards real people, real problems, real solutions for a real India.

So, we get to savour this delightful scene where the caretakers of the Indian state try to prevent Natha's suicide by gifting him a `Lal Bahadur' (read hand pump water pump) without providing for the requisite funds for its fitting. Needless to say, the hand pump lies unused in the destitute farmer's courtyard and doubles up mostly as a plaything for the village urchins. Then again, there's a local politician who tries to gain mileage by gifting him a colour TV, quite like Marie Antoinette's famous blooper: 'If they don't have food, give them cakes!' And finally, there are the state officials who go through their entire gamut of garibi-hatao (end poverty) schemes, only to realise there is nothing tailor-made to prevent a farmer from committing suicide.

All this while hordes of television news channels have descended onto the non-descript village and transformed it into a comedy circus, complete with cameras that intrude right into Natha's house and try to do an expose on his poop as well. It isn't really difficult to recognise the various real-life TV journalists who are good-humouredly spoofed at in Peepli Live. And nobody should actually take offence, because it's all such fun, despite being a serious indictment of India's skewed development schemes.

The high point of the film indeed is its smart and sassy script. But more than all this, it's the life-like portrayals that add a refreshing authenticity to the film. Handpicking the actors mostly from Habib Tanvir's famed Naya Theatre troupe was indeed a coup for debutant director Anusha Rizvi. The show stealers here are Raghuvir Yadav, Omkar Das Manikpuri and Farrukh Jaffer. Jaffer's old and acrimonious mom act is absolutely brilliant, even as Natha's face mirrors the pain, anguish and confusion of a simpleton trapped between the contradictory pulls of a hungry family on the one side and an uncaring state -- and polity -- on the other. The music of the film deserves a special mention, with folksy lyrics and tunes by Indian Ocean, Nageen Tanvir, Brij Mandal and the rest. Just a word of caution: The film does tend to get repetitive midway and the story goes a bit low on the emotional conflict of Natha and his family, leaving them mostly as bystanders in the circus that revolves around them.

But by and large, Peepli Live is a lively and living document on the `other' India, that lives beyond the neon lights and the cruising metros. Another ace up Aamir Khan's sleeve! This time as producer of a film that has loads to say, without being boring and didactic.