Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dreams shatterd at NIFT

The second and final day at Bangalore was meant to be fun and dreams. Vattu had some wild ideas. His friend from college had managed to get into National Institute of Fashion Technology(NIFT), Bangalore.

In his words- The girls in the campus walked around the campus, in various forms of undress. They thirst for men as the few available in the campus are gay. Dey, if we can manage to get into the campus, rest will be history.

That night I wove quite a lot dreams- dreams full of wicked girls waiting to pounce on men. We got up early. We had to catch the evening train back home. So we checked out of the room. My bag had grown quite heavier, thanks to the purchases. But the excitement was quite good pain relief.

There was a long walk to the college from the main road. There were no trees on the road and sun was quite shiny too. We tried to forget the fatigue by cracking bad jokes. As time went on the jokes became stinky. ‘May be these girls come to this boutique to pose as models. May be the wine shop over there would be the place where the lonely girls get drunk and do their sexy belly dance. May be this fruit shop would be the place they came to get their health food’.

Atlast the brown building came into view. We half walked half ran to the oasis. Our heart sank as we saw the deserted campus. ‘Where are those semi-nude forms?’There was none except for the loin cloth clad guy dressed as Hanuman. To make things worse Kulli was ignoring our calls. I kept my bag and sat down there in front of the college. Vattu went on dialing. ‘Dude, let’s get out of here. I don’t think it’s worthwhile.’ The shattered dreams + the idea of carrying the heavy bag back through the deserted roads arouse all the negative feelings in me. We agreed to wait for 20 minutes.

To our great relief Kulli picked up our call. She had been bathing. The college had instilled some good values in her. She had started bathing and that too at hour/month rate. ‘Hey, where have all the girls gone to? ‘’Guys this is a Sunday. No one would be up from their bed yet. Besides there is a film shooting going on. Come on let’s hit some mall.’

The greatest time pass in Bangalore is to hit a mall. I can’t figure out still why people consider it as very lively. So we walked back through the road this time with Kulli to regale us with her take on ‘drugs’. According to her it’s highly recommended to take cocaine/hashish/marijuana. They help you to access the ‘higher realms of life’ (whatever it means). She had infact plotted a drug testing session with her close buddies (as it’s going to be the first time for her). And she promised to let us know how it went.

So till the evening we roamed around Forum. Most of the time was spent on the book corner, Hallmark. There were intellectuals/pseudo intellectuals pretending to be busy with books. ‘Reading’ has become a status symbol with the middle class. I came across a book, written by a Tamil, which had the picture of a buxom beauty clad in a very low cut blouse drinking out of a skull using a straw. Me and Vattu thought of gifting Kulli this one!

[The train journey back home was very long and tiring. But I managed to finish ‘Age of Kali’. As I sat in the train surrounded by Aiyappas, I could reminiscence with a thankful heart that all went well.]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Exit from Commercial street

While roaming around in Commercial street, Vattu phoned me to say he will be reaching Majestic by 3:30. I glanced at my watch to find it was already well past afternoon. Except for a tea, my tummy was empty and was groaning for food. Vattu would be having his usual quota from Kentucky or McDonald. He has always been crazy about the hapless chicken and much more crazy about the Colonel Sander’s Chicken. Once he nearly fell in love with a girl who loved to eat her chicken raw.

I wanted to try some authentic Kannada lunch. Be a Kannadiga while in Karanataka. I walked around to find a Muslim restaurant. Muslim food outlets are famed for their non-vegetarian delicacies. I got in and then realized I don’t have much idea on any cuisine in particular. But there is always chicken biriyani, which has its own authenticity all over India. Wherever the Biriyani has travelled it has reincarnated in a different form.

The chicken Biriyani that arrived was very different from the one I have been acclaimed to. The Mallus put a lot of leaves, nuts and raisins to make their Biryani fragrant. We liberally take the Raitha (curd salad) to go with it. But the Kannada Biriyani seems to have a big bowl of rice with a huge piece of half boiled chicken and some chilly gravy to go with it. I have a sensitive stomach, and was very reluctant to make our stay in Bangalore unbearable to the sole companion Vattu. So I gulped down a few handful of rice, ate the whole chicken.

The witty part came during the payment time. It was so easy to gulp down a few handful of rice compared to getting the change from waiter. He seemed so reluctant in peeling off the notes from his pocket.

I was rushing back to the exit of street, to catch Vattu on time. That was when I stumbled on the church at the edge of Commercial street. It looked so beautiful and serene. There were many faithful around seeking blessings. Serenity in the middle of the mad rush, was a nice surprise. I went in when my shopping bag broke loose spilling all my newly acquired earthly possessions to the ground. I had a tough time arranging them back in.

I managed to get a few photos and said a prayer to the dear Lord that I would survive my time in Bangalore with out any major stomach bug.

I got a bus back to Majestic, with two fatsos on either side. I was fighting off a much needed nap. I tied my bag strings and camera strap tightly to my arms and surrendered myself to sleep.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Indian Scam saga

When I heard the name ‘Radia tapes’, thought it would be some scandal associated with radio towers or may be even import of Rado watches. For those who follow the excerpts of leaked tapes, the tapes are a self realization of how much ‘corruption’ has eaten into the very fabric that holds us together. And after Mrs. Tharoor, it’s the turn of another female power broker who roam in the political and corporate corridors to get caught.

I too have been left open mouthed when the scandal broke in. Still this wasn’t entirely unexpected. The scandal was some casuality waiting for us to acknowledge. But these tapes aren’t exactly bad news. They accuse us as hypocrites for our pseudo-socialism, pseudo-patriotism, quasi-democracy and corporate veneration.

Government is an unrealistic entity and what we see is an unequal struggle of classes. The common man has become too viable and voiceless. The media has sided with corporate and business houses to swing the decisions in their favor. The unholy nexus is never going to stop with a small leak. It has all the more evident that the machinery of governance is totally tilted to one side and imbalance can ultimately destroy it.

I am very well aware of the fact that ‘leaks’ or ‘hidden cameras’ no longer prick our consciousness. Moreover these tapes have vilified many venerated figures and popular beliefs. Brushing all these issues under the carpet and getting on with life is the next best thing for us to do.

A.Roy’s full text on the controversial talk she made in Delhi recently, was available in Outlook. I cannot fathom her thought process nor can I completely agree to her. But I appreciate her guts and resilience. Her words aren’t hollow. She has got substance in her.

The time has elapsed for us to differentiate between India and Indian state. For us patriotism is the soldier holding onto a gun. Development is the big air conditioned corporate houses, honesty is still Narayana Murthys or Tatas and enemy is still Pakistan or China. A few weeks back I read an MP writing out an article against Ms. Roy. For him the only way to develop the tribals is to throw them out of the forest into the slushy, dirty slums of our metros. Please note this is the viewpoint of a member of the ‘ruling class’.

What we need is not development but Evolution.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The commercial street

So I alighted into the Majestic bus depot. I have been to Majestic during the college tours, but I couldn’t recollect much from the landscape except the huge passenger’s bridge. Tired and hungry, I set out looking for lodging. The climate was cloudy and very cool. I managed to avoid the vulturous rikshaw-wallahs, nearly bumped into a hijdah and stood perplexed on the busy roads.

So I reached a place with number of lodges standing shoulder to shoulder. There were some lobbyists there too. Led by their coaxing, I chose one. Vattu’s only demand was ESPN channel (There was going to be an Arsenal match in the evening).
I settled into the dingy room with bathroom tiles on the wall. I browsed through the TV. Overcome by loneliness and sadness, I set out with my camera and bag unsure of where I was headed.

The Commercial street: (pics)
Some cheap purchases were in the top of to-do list. My good friend Zara had told me that I would be getting branded items in the commercial street at bargain prices. And the C street became my random choice for destination.

The good thing about Bangalore is you can easily survive without Kannada- thanks to the multi-racial population. But I found out that the typical Kannadiga is very much (and unnecessarily) passionate about his language. I got into a bus with a friendly aunty as the conductor. I asked her to inform me when my destination is reached. As reply I got a lecture in Kannadiga. I listened attentively to capture any similarity to Hindi or Tamil. In the end she waved her hands furiously, which I rightly interpreted as the sign to alight.

The C-street turned out to have two faces to it. The older clogged version where the goods are dusty and arranged in a mess. In the street parallel to the old quarters, you get to see showrooms of branded western outlets. Here you get the out of sales stuff for a discounted price. In the older side you get branded items too at even cheaper price- but rumored to be stolen/smuggled.

I spotted a mosque and temple in close quarters- a strange site in a communally high voltage place like Karnataka.

Most of the traders I came across in the old quarters were Muslims- in their round cap and long beard. They were least interested in bargaining. The ‘Fixed price’ board was hung over most of the goods. I came across a BATA show room with obscenely low priced shoes. There was a virtual stampede as people rushed into get whatever they could.

I walked around carefully, clicking pics when I accidentally stumbled into the more posh part. The shops were bigger, cleaner and air-conditioned. The sales guys were very cultured, English speaking, young and handsome. Even the crowd was different- with old middle aged people looking for cheaper stuff on the other side. Here crowd had cash and were looking for some outlet to burn it.
The shopper in me got excited as I saw my Arsenal colours hanging. I lost complete control and ended up burning the wallet for my siblings

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The way to Bangalore

Apologies first: I have been inactive here for some time because the writing machine had to go to the cleaners.

The pre travel hiccups:
The biggest challenge of the day was to get out of the office in time, as my train was at afternoon. As expected a totally unexpected issue came up holding me to my seat. Thankfully my friend Antony bailed me out by giving me a lift home. There I did a quick pack up and left for the station.

‘KochuVeli’ station was situated bit towards the outskirts. I hadn’t been there before and to make matters worse, a passer-by made a gross miscalculation in terms of the distance and I had to make a long walk with the heavy back pack. Thankfully I was well ahead of time and managed to board the train.

Just before the train started off- the first jolt came in the form a phone call from Kuruvi. Nikhi was suspected to leave the town that evening. Nikhi was the focal point in our Bangalore visit. I tried to reach him and there was no response. The mood started dipping. Towards the evening Nikhi’s pull out was confirmed.

There was a flow of disgust and shock. I wanted to get out of the train at the next station and go back home. Since I take my travels a bit seriously, calling it off pains me a great deal. And it is not the first time this was happening to me.

The person who might have salvaged the trip would be Vattu. He was unperturbed at the new development. That might have egged me to go on.

Lesson1: When you start off on something, don’t expect many to back you up.
Well then, I often wondered why old mates show very little enthusiasm when a get together is planned. Some thing I have got to comprehend is the life at college is over and everyone have got their own lives to live.

The train travel.

The train was termed as ‘Poor man’s chariot’. It’s a super luxury mode of air conditioned travel at a cheap price.

I was at my depressive self until a family boarded my cabin. They too were bound for Bangalore. Although I was in no mood for a conversation, I quietly observed them. There was a brand new dad with brand new baby and its mother. He belonged to the affluent neo-rich young IT middle class of the day. He had made a great living at such a young age, which was unthinkable a few years ago. So there was a certain sense of self confidence in him and this reflected even in his dealing with his parents.

His mother was talking to another women on the hardships they had to undergo growing two kids. The times when money was a hard substance to find. The guy was taking his parents along to his workplace, as there was no one to look after his new baby. And it seems his parents were not much happy about it.

The train pulled into the Yeswantpur station in the morning. I had befriended a lonely guy and made up a virtual map of the city in my mind. The lonely guy was kind enough to accompany me to the bus station, so I will not fall prey to the rikshaw-wallahs.

Thank god for the lonely guy.

The green rural outskirts

The city landscapes appearing

About Me

My photo
Shakespeare,Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Lincoln never saw a movie,heard a radio or looked at TV. They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. Thay were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.