Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tellin' it like it is

A consortium of authorities has recently concluded that all foreign songs are actually Indian in origin. To prove this fact irrefutably, they have presented the following compilation of contemporary foreign songs and their secret Indian origins for all the world to see. Long live India.

Daddy Yankee on the petrol wars (Gasolina):
le gusta la gasolina - Dame mas gasolina.
Is actually: The song of a multilingual potter lavishing family funds on wife Kunthala:
Kunthala, kaasu lena. Kalimann kaasu li, na?
(Kunthala, take this money. You already took money for the clay, didn't you?)

Enrique Iglesias asking you to sing and dance (Baila Mo):
Baila mo.... let the rhythm take you over, baila mo...!

Is actually: A chiding remark passed by Gajalakshmi Vaidyanathan to her husband for scolding their daughter Latha:
Vaiyyalaamo? Latha report cardai paathu vaiyyalamo?
(Can you scold her? Can you scold Latha after seeing her report card?)

Beatles on their French muse, Michelle:
Michelle ma belle, sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensamble, tres bien ensamble.
Is actually: An expression of pride and joy made by M Pachaiyappan on the financial prowess of his foreign returned son-in-law:
Meesai, maaple, sony camera vaangi vandhaan, vangi vandhaan
(My moustached son-in-law bought me a Sony digicam)

Salif Keita in his best tribal dance mix of the decade (Madan):
O laka lama le, O laka lama le,
O laka lama le dja, O laka lama le
Ori taal ma'jeye.. Ori taal ma'jeye...
Is actually: An expression of the frustrations of an irate Shivarudrappa to his artistic son Ramakrishna, with an aside to wife Jankamma on his dietary preferences for the day:
Aye Raama, baro lei! Eshtanth heLli ninge?
Ee drama geema butbuttu sariyaag odho lei
Gorikaalu maadey. Gorikaalu maadey
(Raama, how many times must I remind you to give up the theatrical arena and start studying for your internal board exams which are coming up in a few months time, conducted at the Begur municipal school under the supervision of strict officials? I would like clusterbeans for dinner.)

Cheb Mami singing his heart out in the intro to Sting's Desert Rose:
"Ya leil ya leil wah... yah leil ya leil waaaah.. ya leil wah hos sein didee, ya leil ya leil wah.."
Is actually: An anguished expression of sorrow by a grief struck Papamma bemoaning the disappearance of Samikannu, her spirited husband:
Aiyyyaaaaa aiyyyoo, pootaanda aiyyayoooo
Aiyya nethu kudchtu thaaan Bus-la yeri pootaney
Aiyya varaveyillaiye bus-la yeri pootaaney

(I languish in the absense of my alcoholic husband who left in a bus last night and never came back.)

A mesmerized Tarkan threatening to spring out from the bushes at his lady love and kiss-kiss her (Simarik)
Seni gidi findik kira..n,
Yilani deliginden cikara...n
Kaderim puskullu bela..m,
Yakalarsam... *muah muah!*
Is actually: A passing remark from Mr Munraju of Kyatsandra distt., about a series of unfortunate circumstances that befell his friend Mr Srinivas:
Seenvasa beedhiyal bidda..a..a..a.,
Biddid takshana yedda..a..a..a
Yedmel matte bidda..a...a..a,

Paapa yenaaytho. *Tsk tsk.*
(Mr Srinivas fell and got up repeatedly from the road. Wonder what the trouble is.)

Los del rio on the joys of the Macarena:
A la tuhuelpa legria macarena, Que tuhuelce paralla legria cosabuena A la tuhuelpa legria macarena Eeeh, macarena (A-Hai!!)
Is actually: Fashion advice from Hijra Gulbadan to colleague Reena.
Kal bhi main tumse yahi kah rahi thi Reena
Arre meri baat ko tum thoda seriously toh lena
Apni kameez ko tumhe khud hi hai seena
Hema kare na. (hai hai!)

(Take my advice Reena and stitch your own clothes. Hema tailor is unwilling to undertake small jobs any more)

Now that you know all this, go away and let me be me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sumer is icumen in and I have gone cucu.

i So I finally moved into my lovely flat among the treetops all excited to wake up to the call of the cuckoo through the crisp morning air. Um, didn't quite pan out the way I imagined it would.

Ah, the Indian koel, otherwise known as the asiatic cuckoo. How lovely.
Oh look it's really happy. I am happy too.
Im so glad I am in this bed listening to this wonderful koel. Hi koel.
Yes, very nice.
Err, yes I get it. Another note perhaps?

What a lovely bird. What pleasant cooing in the morning.

4:03 am
Ah poor thing, must have been alarmed last time.
OK that must have been the practice note. This is quite a nice pitch indeed
Yes da raja.
Nee paadu da kanna
Sigh. Koel ki kook nyaari, papiha ki bol pyari. Very good. Now go away and let me sleep. OK? OK.

Sleeep. Bird gone. Must sleep. Slleeeeeeep. Mmmmm.

Shoo birdie, enough. Papa must sleep. Go, shoo.
Oh shut the hell up freakshow, or I'll wring your neck now!
Wail. I cant take this any more
Crash thud (chair flying out of window at source of sound)
Sob Sob!! Mommieeee!!

Several hours and many, MANY Coo's later:
Haha. Hello hello, what is name? I want lolipop.
Yes yes, yesterday only took headbath. Hi Snehalatha. I have 3 cans of buttermilk.
Hahahahaha. Subbanna, please bring my friend Prince Ivan a rosy cheeked apple and some chocolate fondue.

Yes thank you I have officially and truly gone cuckoo.

I love you, my big jamoon tree, but just let me get my hands on your little blue neck, you, you... 'orrible, 'orrible bird!

PS: For those that are curious about the title of this post, look here

Monday, July 2, 2007

Maine aaj tak tumse kuch nahin MAANGA.

Its almost the end of the Mango season and this has definitely been a bumper year. The trees in the garden are groaning with the weight of the enormous fruit they have produced this year. Squirrels and monkeys wear perpetually satiated looks on their faces. My mother, after patiently distributing fruit to all the neighbours for a month, now hurls them at the vacuum cleaner salesman. My brother spent a week talking lovingly to the first batch of ripening Raspuris in his bedroom. When 200 new ones joined them a week later, the love was quickly replaced by panic. He now threatens them daily with early decapitation if they all ripen on him at the same time.

They always say mangoes taste best when the summer has been infernally hot, and sure enough, this year has produced the best mangoes in a long long time. If the west savours wine and cheese, India definitely savours its mangoes. Sensitive, seasoned palates can make out the subtlest of nuances in mango flavours. Old timers can give long detailed discourses on the delicate differences between the same variety of mango grown in different regions in India. I'm getting to be somewhat of an oldtimer myself over the years, so here is a treatise on some of my favourite mango varieties from around Bangalore:

Totapuri: Big and parrot-beak shaped, this mango is best enjoyed unripe with salt and chilli powder. Always reminiscent of summer holidays and fun times in the sun.

Sendura: The first mango to appear in the mango season. Bright red, fibrous and turpentiney, this mango deserves mention only because of the joy it brings to people's hearts at the thought of the oncoming mango season.

Raspuri: My personal favourite. Also an early bird in the season, these round, slightly hook-nosed mangoes are the most popular variety in Karnataka. The fruit is pulpy, sometimes tart and slightly fibrous, though their most endearing feature is their divine floral aroma.

Badami: very closely related to the alfonso, this is a mid-season mango. The perfectly shaped fruit is perhaps the most sought after mango in the south. Dark orange and smooth as silk indside , these supersweet mangoes are the most expensive in Bangalore's markets. Tipu Sultan's famous mango graft- the Srirangapatna Badami - is definitely the best among the badami varieties

Mulgoa: These sweet yellow-fleshed mangoes appear very soon after the badamis. Their amazing sweetness more than amply comensates for their slightly gamey odour and itchy sap.

Ratnagiri: A gracious long mango. Reveals a shockingly red inside when cut. Native to maharashtra, these are quite a delight especially if you want to dress up your dinenr table with some alarming colour.

Mallika: A recent introduction to the Indian market, this is the only hybrid that I will admit into my favourites list. I am definitely partial to floral fragrances in mangoes, and a good strain of Mallika can rival the best raspuri with its slightly orange-pineapple-champa scent.

Banganapalli: Native to andhra, this is a favourite of many, often called the most harmless mango. Banganapallis can be heavenly sweet at their best, and a bit flat at their worst. The skin of the banganapalli is sweet and thin and can be eaten with the mango as long as you remember to wash the itchy sap off thoroughtly.

Sakkarepatna: These tiny little bundles of joy appear on market shelves towards the close of the season. This is a mango that you cannot slice, because it is no bigger than a lemon. The trick is to press it all over and squeeze the juice straight into your mouth (and clothes and feet) :)

Rasalu: Another Andhra variety, this is the big brother of the sakkarepatna. The enormous coconut like mangoes need to be held under a tap while being pressed all over, so that the skin gets a little wet and the sap washes off. You then bite a hole at the bottom slightly towards the right of the seed, and out gushes a whole litre of delicious mango juice. Best enjoyed when sitting in a tub!

Rumani: A sour, turpentiney mango, desired only because of its perfectly spherical shape. More common in Tamil Nadu, this mango is more pretty than tasty.

Neelam: Neelams end the mango season with a flourish. These ochre yellow mangoes pile onto shelves in the market in June. The best neelams are sweet, pleasant- and invarably have a bug in the centre. My honest advice to true mango lovers is to turn a blind eye to the bugs and eat the rest of the fruit, as mango bugs choose only the best neelam flowers to lay their eggs in.