Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Bangalore

Posted: November 11, 2016 in Rants, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

It has been a decade since I moved to Bangalore. This is the longest I have been in any city so far.  Thanks to my dad’s work, we moved around a bit throughout my childhood and never actually settled in one place. I would open up and make few friends and before I realize, it would be time to pack our living and move on. I spent a good part of my teen years in Chennai. Though Chennai is close to my heart, it never felt like home. And even after being there for years together, I hardly know the place and I could hardly ever say “dho da” effortlessly.

Back in 2006, I was this excited but clueless 22-year old. Never did I think I would end up spending a good whole ten years in this place.There are so many ‘firsts’ associated with this place.  This is the very city where I met the dude.  This is where I first started living on my own with friends. That very first home which we still call ours.  Some of the lanes here remind me of the moments that I want to cherish forever. Those certainly are not the highs and lows. But the everyday trivial ones. Sometimes, I fear if these memories would fade away in to the oblivion if I stop revisiting those places.

I often wonder if it is time to call Bangalore home or how many more years it would take. I never had any qualms in being the `outsider` or to be called one.  But at times, I yearn to be a local of `some place`, to know it like the back of my hand, to root for  it. When such sharp pangs of yearning washes over me, I set out to do what I am best that. And that would be planning, obsessing over it like there is no tomorrow and then proceeding on to the grand finale – forgetting it all together. So my Kannada is still rudimentary, my kitchen is yet to be filled with the waft of Bisi Bela Bath and I am yet to shop and dine in older parts of Bangalore.

 

Freefall

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Rants, The Bloke and I
Tags: ,

Freefall. And that is what 2013 has been like. And December is the cushion that I very much-needed. I wish I had seen it earlier.  There were many a time when I resisted and wasn’t ready to take the plunge, many a time when I held on to a rubble and decided not to budge.

It could have been a carousel ride. A merry one. Probably, in rain. The one that leaves you dizzy with happiness for no apparent reason.  It could have been all that if I had not been so scared and hesitant.  So, I turned it into a roller coaster ride. But hey,  when the belts are on and if you didn’t throw up,  what is not to enjoy about a roller coaster, I say.

What is all the hoopla about, you ask?  So when this year started which always feels like just yesterday, I had few plans for the year. No, not resolution just plans. Nothing fancy. Nothing that required discipline or drastic lifestyle change. Just mundane but uphill tasks like getting a address proof which eventually would be used to get a DL.  Yes, I didn’t shoot for the stars and all that. Just quite simple realistic goals they were. But then as it always happens, the evil universe conspired and planted the idea of buying a flat in The Bloke’s mind. How does that affect the plan, one would ask. Take my word, it does.

“What is so wrong with wanting to buy a house”, The Bloke asked me million times. I had a different answer each time. Or rather a question. What if the bore well dries up or what if the work place moves to another end of the city, I asked.  Up until  a few years back,  I was a nomad. Every few years our life would be sorted out, labelled and boxed and moved to a different city or a different locality and we would start anew all over again and somewhere along the line, I started falling in love with the whole process.

In short, owning a house and settling in is all fun and nice when everything is new and fresh but once they are rusty, old and dusted, I may want to flee but then the fact that I “own” it would stop me but I do not want to be stopped and that is the whole point. And every time I dished out this theory to The Bloke he either scoffed at me or asked me why I would want to run. Grr. I gave up.

While the first half of 2013 was spent in my theories and counter-theories, the second half was spent in making earth shattering decisions of high significance like the color of the wall. Bleh I know and I would have also said “Bleh” but that was before I came across the range of colors. There are zillion yellow shades. Yeah I did other rotten investigations like “How to choose the right yellow paint” and all that and then there were serious investigations like download a pretty image, open in paint, lookup the hex value of the color and then choose the paint with the closest value.! encycolorpedia.com anyone? After all these path breaking discoveries, I decided the shade of yellow from an advertisement that I chanced upon.

After a long wait when the move happened finally, I thought I might miss the house a wee bit given that The Bloke and I, started our lives together in this house but to my complete surprise and disappointment, I didn’t. On the contrary, we missed the small things that were infused in our humdrum existence. The friendly shop keepers who always hand-picked the best drumsticks and coconut for us knowing our puzzled expressions, the street dog that used to pester us for biscuits every time we stepped out and the happening chai shop.

Now, I think both of us have moved a wee bit from our earlier stances. The Bloke kind of understands my theories and I think I see his rationale.

Pointless

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Rants, Uncategorized
Tags:

There is oodles of work to be completed but I don’t want to even list it out. I feel drained and my mind is all foggy, I am content lying down, doing nothing.  A cup of coffee might do the trick, I think. But there isn’t any milk at home. So here I am. No, not for the milk but for the trick that I mentioned. The Bloke is in the next room on a call. He seems to be slogging through tall mounds of work. I wonder how he manages to be awake. Aren’t you awake as well, you ask. Well, when it comes to sleep, we are at the two different ends of the spectrum. He sometimes even dreams about sleeping!  While I’m mostly insomniac and sleepless,  The Bloke is usually knocked out even before the lights are out. This precisely is the reason you should have girl pals around! Even in the middle of night, they would patiently answer your silliest questions like “Are you awake?”. So while The Bloke is in his REM state, I twitch and toss listening to all unearthly sounds outside which happens mostly to be the sound of dogs barking. What is so unearthly about it? If you have been sleepless for couple of nights, you would know exactly what I mean. They sound almost like a well co-ordinated orchestra. No, I am not kidding. What starts as random dogs growling at equal intervals proceeds on to chorus after sometime and dies down in the wee hours of morning and the change is so gradual that trust me, at times you can guess the time based on it. No, I am not exaggerating. Anyway, I digress. So, you see why I am so surprised that he is awake. I am all set to take my sweet revenge. I am in a rush to laze and slip into that enticing sleep.  I think, it is all Karma and for once I am happy about it 😉 .  I hope the call continues until the chorus lasts!

The Bloke finished his post graduation few months back. With that The Bloke’s two years long ordeal came to an end. Or, so I thought. The last two years whizzed by in a haze with whirlwind of activities and suspense and with days merging into each other and punched with deadlines.  While The Bloke endured all of that, I had the best time of my life.  There is just nothing comparable to the joy of relishing your dinner watching a pack of men gobble up their food and swot for the exam. And even more priceless is the pleasure in asking the inevitable question, “How many more chapters to go?”. Ya, I am wicked that way ;).

While The Bloke slogged, I savored the campus, walked around the roads and deserted paths, sometimes aimlessly and at times, in search of the best spot to sit and read a novel – in short, I had all the time to stand and stare and probably, I cherished it all the more since everyone around me were  caught up in a web of chores that they had to tick off from their list and I had none other than to follow my will.

Add to this,  the coffee served in the campus is one of the best, brewed exactly to my liking and that was all that I needed on cold foggy mornings and on rainy afternoons. Err.. Okay, let me admit, the weather was just an excuse, I just couldn’t keep my hand off that heavenly coffee  and the low price that I had to pay for it was a bonus ;).  And The Bloke is such a big fan of the buttermilk served here along with the meal that he didn’t believe me when I told him that it is just yogurt, water and salt and every time he drank it with his heart’s content, he set me off wondering about his north Indian roots. For the record, now all that he has to do is to slurp the Rasam and eat that curd rice and pickle and I can christen him as south Indian ;).

I had my share of embarrassing moments as well in campus . Once a foreign student shoved a sheet of numbers in front of me and asked me to explain it to her. I could feel her helplessness and yet for a moment, but the very situation tempted me  to try my luck at fishing out  theories out of thin air and explaining to her. But thankfully, better  sense prevailed and I squirmed in my seat until I made it clear that I don’t study there.

So even though we were counting quarters, days and exams all the time and were exuberant once The Bloke finished off his last exam, there was a part of me that cringed. The only consolation was that we could drive to the campus any day but so far it never happened at all since The Bloke just detests driving through the heavy traffic.  After the 3 months hiatus, I happened to visit the campus last week along with The Bloke with some miscellaneous errands as an excuse. We drank gallons of coffee, walked on the rustling leaves listening to the sound as they cracked beneath our feet and just like any other farewell we bid adieu with the same old thought – “Time flies”!

I was never the same again!

Posted: March 21, 2013 in memoirs, Rants
Tags: , ,

‘No wedding-ring, I see. Ah! Good-night!’

My heart broke into million pieces when I read that. I don’t know if it was  the sarcasm behind those words or my rage or the concealed implications behind it or if it was my age that made me break into tears when I read that line. The ensuing life of Oliver Twist was much more teary and grime and though the fairy-tale ending made up for most of it, the heartless remark made by the doctor remained etched in my mind like forever.

Books hold a magic of their own and can deliver hope and laughter and at times, leave you scarred. And sometimes, for no reasons, some inconspicuous  things stick out of the book and catch up on you alter you for eternity. Sounds familiar?

Do you remember how the book, “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” unfolds? Holmes explains to his dear Watson the difference between seeing and observing and how he notices the not-so-obvious unlike Watson and questions him on the number of steps leading to the hall and with ease, Holmes proves his point. I read this without batting an eyelid and no points for guessing what happened next. Yeah, in that sweltering summer of ’96, I ran out of my house, all the way down the stairs, counting it! At that time, I was this teenager who was hoping to be hit by an adventure. No, the adventure never happened. No one went missing in the neighborhood. No, not even the dog and there never was any mystery to be unraveled. But, I still count steps whenever I am in a new building and every time unconsciously, the conversation between Holmes and Watson plays in my head. Crazy? Yes, I know. And I still desperately hope for that adventure.

Image courtesy – wikipedia

It was in ’94, when I read the book, Pinocchio.  And guess what might have caught my attention in that book?  Strangely, it was the act of wishing upon the north pole star. We were in Delhi at that time. And our house opened into the terrace.  And many a nights, I used to gaze at the starlit sky and make wishes. I could never make out the north pole star so, I mostly ended wishing upon every other bright star. 😀 But thankfully, with years I grew out of this.

ps: This was inspired by daily prompt

Midnight in Paris

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Rants
Tags: , ,

If you had assumed this post to be travelogue with beautiful pictures of narrow alleys and stone monuments of Paris then let me warn you, this is far from it. This probably is going to be a highly incoherent post, with really obscure relation to the movie, “Midnight in Paris”. If you have seen this movie, you will probably be able to make out this really obscure connection and for those who haven’t watched it yet, there is a choice, you can either read the synopsis in wikipedia and probably be inspired to watch it or you can put up with my narration and dismiss it off ;).

So without further ado, the movie follows the life of a dreamy and laid back writer on a visit to Paris. One night, after he is completely drunk, he joins a set of ‘strangely’ dressed people in a old model car and to his pleasure, he realizes that he has been transported to past era, which he adores and incidentally his debut novel is centered on a man working in a nostalgia shop.  In the past era, he meets literary figures like Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and many others (Obviously, I have no clue of these ‘many’ other literary people of the past except the first two I mentioned),  he gets his manuscript reviewed  and manages to fall in love as well! After  few twists and turns which include a broken engagement and a hint of  probable new love, all is well once the protagonist realizes that it is the present where he is meant to be.  The highlight of the movie is the protagonist’s obsession and fascination for the by-gone era.

The last one line is what the post is all about. Or rather the last one line is what the post is supposed to be though I have no idea if I will be able to justify the connection.

Midnight in Paris – pic courtesy : wikipedia

When I listen to elderly, by that I mean those who were in their adulthood in 70’s and 80’s, (Yeah go ahead, heave a sigh of relief), they mostly quote the emergency period as the most knee jerking incident or the controversial time.  Rewind by another 30 years and you had the freedom movement which filled most parts of my 10th standard history book.  Though,  later I realized or rather was made to realize how biased and incomplete it was.

See, the past was filled with incidents and twists and turns that could fill a complete history book.  And how in many cases, the commoners were part of it. Wouldn’t it be amusing to see how the nebulous date sheet that you discarded into the waste basket, made a mark in history due to some jaw dropping worth incident.  Even better, if you had been part of it.

I long for the past, the past where there was a wee bit of struggle, the kind of struggle that would make you stronger and would keep the flicker alive within you, the kind that you wouldn’t succumb to and would make you happier and content at the end of day,  yeah, I know I’m choosy about the kind of ‘struggle’!

But just like the protagonist, I’m back to the present and as I hit the keypad vehemently, life goes on.

ps: I agree, there have been many ‘incidents’ in the past two decades but weren’t they all heart wrenching and  involving a huge dose of personal tragedies? Here, I long just for those incidents that would get into the history books, the ones that can be rejoiced and retold with drama, enthusiasm and with a glimmer of content and victory!  Err… I know it is all quite obscure! But didn’t I warn you?

The witness

Posted: February 3, 2013 in memoirs, Rants
Tags: ,

While the country was going through massive transformations under Narshima Rao in 1991, the kitchen of my ancestral home tucked away in the tiny village was not left far behind. We kissed the wood stove good-bye. Kitchen counters were installed and we got LPG! Few cupboards were installed on the wall. The dim lights were replaced. My grandmother, probably was in awe. Amidst all this, there was one thing that didn’t change, the one that witnessed all the change along with my grandmother and aunts. The radio.

The radio stood there on top of the wooden shelf with a layer of folded blanket underneath. It was to stay that way for ages. My grand mom used to start her day quite early with a cup of filter kaapi and the radio. Once the knobs were turned and the antenna adjusted, the radio would embark on its new day.  As the music filled the kitchen we savored the soft Idli, dosai and Pongal. While the radio crooned, we hummed in unison. It had a soothing effect.

While the cousins and I ran in and out of the kitchen and my aunts sweated and mopped their brows, the radio stood there in the shade, well sheltered. It was our indispensable companion in the kitchen.  The mood of the grown ups was so governed by the songs. In turn, the radio reflected the flavors of the kitchen – the turmeric smeared on the ridges along the circumference of the knob and the aroma of sambar podi all over.

For over a decade and a half, the radio witnessed it all – moving of me and my cousins into teens and our increasingly sparse visits, the much-anticipated and celebrated weddings and age taking its toll on my grandparents, albeit unnoticed by all. But my grand mom remained her cheery self  and so did the radio.

Last week I happened to attend a cousin’s wedding. I was so close to my ancestral place and yet couldn’t visit.  As I passed through the adjoining villages,  to my astonishment,  memories of days long past came back to me, in excruciating detail –  the doors,  the pillars and the beautiful ridges, the aatu kal, the unused wood stove, the radio and many others.  I yearned for all of them and I wished they yearned for me the same way!  I wished I had left a mark.

*aatu kal – grinding stone