Author Archive

Steam Whistle

August 17, 2009

A name like that brings to mind a train driven by a steam engine, which is not incorrect about the background of this beer. There are a lot of really good Canadian beers. Steam Whistle is definitely one among them, a Pilsner.

Notes:  Bread, malt, hay and subtle hops. Lighter body than expected and a little salty near the finish. Very nice to drink and before you know it, you are down the third. Though Steam Whistle is nothing unique, it is better than most (all?)  local popular beers and some European imports in the same league.



August 10, 2009

Driving home from work, I was mesmerized by the darkness of the roads. They were blankets of black, straight and winding (what are the odds!) at the same time. The rhythmic hum of the engine and the radio kept distracting me from the thought of beer and chips I’d have after I got home. Beer is harmless, easy on the liver and lands on the stomach like fluffy flowers. Soft like a newborn’s cheeks, the head of a North Indian who eats dosai with knife and fork, and soft porn.

An idiotic woman driver cut into my lane and an iPod punk took his own sweet time to cross the road, making me miss the green. Just as I got the green again, another idiot pedestrian jumped out from nowhere. I motioned him to go ahead and he smiled at me. That is when I realized how much I feel at home here. This is my home. I live, work, sleep, shit and drink here. This city is as comforting as a mother taking care of a baby, spinning a cocoon of warmth and coolness at the same time, maintaing thermal equillibrium. It shelters and houses me, like Michael Jackson took care of teenage kids.

I am not quite given to homely sentiments. But this city is same and different as Madras, yet it is 8600 miles away.


August 7, 2009

Maha is going green not with recycling but with envy that a woman commended Sriram on sticking to his Brahmin roots. Maha blamed kali yugam (not the Prabhu film one hopes) and suggested writing about the woman and her ilk who agree with the views presented on that blog. Consider the below carefully:

1. Someone thinks that “views” are presented on Being/Empty Hip Flask
2. The insinuation that anyone would agree/disagree with those views.

Presumably, the ilk consists of people with earthy appetites. After all, who can have bigger appetites and who can be more earthly than people from the erstwhile Thanjavur district? Mangayarkarasi would write in her travelogues about the open gutters, dinosaurs pretending to be mosquitoes, outbreaks of filaria and the overpopulation of Iyengars, distinctive of — if not unique to — Kumbakonam.  But that would be unfair to the people of Kumbakonam. Someone should confiscate her free Railway pass and Internet.


August 6, 2009

The bottle says, “Smokehead is a rich, seaweedy and intensely peaty whisky. The flavor is fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt all fighting for recognition.” At first take, the peat overwhelms all other tastes and flavors. If you let the whisky stand for a few minutes, all other notes become more apparent. It kind of grows on you and you get to like the finish.

Notes:  Peat, smoke, tea, cocoa, honey and spicy-sweetness. Peatier than the average Islay malt, I’d think. The wife said I smell of kari kattai and isthiri potti after a few sips.

Going Green

July 23, 2009

The Thamizh pursuit of emigration is as American as the first settlements along Massachusetts Bay. The knowledge economy has changed the direction of the Thamizh journey to the fertile lands of North America, Wal-Mart and second-hand Honda Civics. We are a people occupied with saving vacation days for the visit to Madras or repeatedly entertaining the parents’/in-laws’ pilgrim to the New World and calling on Niagara Falls/Grand Canyon for the umpteenth time.

The land of make-believe has been well-promoted by a generation of Thamizh diaspora exhibiting motorized toothbrushes, electronics and chocolates during their annual trip to Madras. In all honesty, the lifestyle of shopping at TJ Maxx and being hooked to deals on is not spectacular. The receptionist at work who makes just above the median income of this country is prone to possessing a large house in the choicest neighborhood, a Chevy Malibu, the liberty to take vacation days on Fridays/Mondays in the pleasantness of July and the wherewithal to shop at Nordstrom. Is it her conceit or our misfortune that she does not have to remit forex to faraway lands and pay for air tickets to/from the said lands?

As the cliche goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. But we have perfected the art of landing on this side always. The Thamizh man in Madras working at Tidel Park has millions of people to subsidize his undeserved income. He can have a three-bedroom house in Kancheepuram district and dare to call it Madras. The contrast between him and us is painful: Chilli Chicken and Kingfisher beat Nachos/Potato Boats and Budweiser any day. Riding a Pulsar in chaotic roads is perhaps more respectable than driving a Corolla in the right-most lane. And being the forward caste is infinitely better than playing the role of a visible minority.

-Alan Smithee and I

Guest Post III

July 9, 2009

The author is India’s eminent blogger and libertarian thinker who writes at Tasmac cutting. Empty Hip Flask is blessed to publish his writings.

As India’s leading blogger, I am inclined to pretend I watch American television channels and programs that may or may not be aired in India. My ability to search and embed YouTube videos is invaluable.

Moving on to Indian television, I’m hooked to the gay version of Vayalum Vazhvum. This is going to be one reality show where I’m going to feel sorry for the winner though he will be marrying into the same sex.

Housewives III

June 29, 2009

“Whatever happens will be for the worse. Therefore, it is on our interests that as little as possible happens. ”  — A wise drunk man

Time was women with degrees on Aurangzeb and Shakespeare did one of the below:

1. Marry a clerk working for Indian Railways, settle down to: knitting, making cute artifacts with empty Parachute thenga ennai dabba and nylon threads, and other domestic chores. Travel around Mayavaram on husband’s Railway pass, visit extended relatives and kshethradanam to navagraha sthalamsin the erstwhile Thanjavur district, praying for husband’s promotion through officer exams and pay commissions.

2. Go on to become IAS/IRS officers. Somehow, knowledge of Aurangzeb’s shaving habits and Romeo and Juliet is useful for administering government and its revenue.


3. Marry a successful man affluent enough to eat roasted garlic in balsamic vinegar and wash it down with Shiraz. Only because that is what metrosexuals do. Trot the globe, use up terabytes of storage in Flickr with photos of solitary sparrow sitting on an abandoned ship, long shadows and magnified flora.

4. Indignation as a way of life: Talking about feminism, libertarianism, liberalism and lavadaism. Blogging about/talking openly about menstrual cycles is the fashionable indicator of liberated feminism.

Microfiction VIII

June 10, 2009

He had the bottle of whisky hidden in the storeroom, behind a box of cereal. When the wife was gone for more than a few minutes –to get her eyebrows done or to take her evening shower — he quickly poured a drink and gulped it down. That worked. Till the in-laws arrived.

Then, he stopped caring. The rasam saadham and the glass of whisky were often seen flirting with each other.


June 3, 2009

The authors of the blog are jointly shocked that the blog has a following to the levels of neyar viruppam.

There are several stories about Corona and the wedge of lime that comes with it.

1. In Third World Mexico, there are a lot of insects and the lime wedge keeps them out. Americans imported Corona along with the lime and mass-marketed it.

2. The lime really complements the beer.

3. Mexican do not drink the Corona with lime and the stupid Americans do not need a reason to do anything.

4. Mexicans don’t drink Corona at all and laugh their ass off at Americans going ga-ga over it.

I do not know which of the above is truest. My dealing with Mexico is limited to the stereotypical story about the hotel room’s broken airconditioner in 105 F and a cancelled air ticket because of the recent outbreak of swine flu.

The other author of this blog thinks Corona is among the most drinkable beers this side of the Atlantic. I do not see how. But then, taste of alcohol is in the mouth of the complulsive drinker.

Notes:  Smells awful. Very flat and weak at most moments.  No taste other than subtle hops.  The lime does not make things better or worse. Goes down smooth and fast, like orange juice. Highly overrated.


May 30, 2009

Europe’s primary achievement in the last half-century is: it is on the way to the New World and has airports for transit. In particular, I don’t think the Dutch did anything useful or consequential in the last two centuries. They almost make up for it with Heineken.

Notes:  Initially, mustard and pepper. Then, grain, corn and malt. Then, touches of citrus and sourness at the finish. Medium body and goes well with almost any food.