Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Five Day Fever

Bangalore will now have the world's first roller-coaster for everyday use. The Bengalooru Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is constructing a series of 5 hump-backed flyovers on Sankey Road, all in a span of 5 days. Ingenious Malaysian technology is being used, where interlocking concrete blocks will be assembled lego-style, to create a flyover system overnight. At the end of the 5 day period, Sankey Road will look like this:

The deadline for completion has come and gone though, and I don't see no humps on that road. Not even a speedbump. Since my faith in the BMP is strong and unshakeable, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the flyover was built well in time, but instantly ceased to exist due to one of the following reasons:

(1)The flyover system came to life, logged on to shaadi dot com in search of a life partner, and moved to Scotland.

(2) The Police commissioner felt that the flyovers would cause giddiness, and that anything involving light headedness beyond 11pm was illegal and had to be dismantled.

(3) A passing family of giants needed braces for their dentally challenged children.

(4) Smallsquirrel, self, and other respected Bangaloreans decided that the flyovers were actually donut halves and ate them for breakfast.

(5) The concrete lego blocks were smuggled off to suburban Bombay, where they now house a family of 8 each.

(6) Flyovers No.2 & 3 next to Opus sprouted legs and ran for cover on Karaoke night, and so the entire project had to be cancelled.
In light of the extenuating circumstances above, it is only fair that we forgive poor BMP for its inability to produce the said flyover system in the stipulated time.

We must therefore not lose hope in their ambitious 30km tunnel highway from Minsk square to Devanahalli, and can rest assured that it will indeed be complete by next year, as promised.

BMP, We love you. No, really.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One chilly evening at the Yathiraja Matham

Note: The conversation below is in Kan-Tam (Kannadized Tamil), spoken quite widely in Malleswaram, with dialects as diverse as the families that speak it. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to skip the vernacular and stick with the translations though :)

Anri, Yeggu, ippodhella kaaNrdhe ille? Kaaryon jaasthiyaa?
(What di Yadugiri, haven't seen you in ages. Been busy?)

Ille ma Sheerangu, aar maason Cincinatti-k patpoindhe, chin paNNde haathke.
(No ma Sriranganayaki, I was visiting the younger daugher in Cincinatti for 6 months)

Oh, annual visitaa? Apdi ikka unde haidhi? AvLe paath 5 varshath kitte ardhe.
(Ah, the annual visitaa? How's that daughter of yours doing? Havent seen her in 5 years at least)

Hoon ma, ingthik varthke aiykundille awlaale. Office karyon, pash-haLde schoole, yejmanarde vaaley, adh, idh ant time-e shik-kyundille awLke. Athkey ticket anpichoodra, naangl rand peron poit varthke.
(Yeah, yeah.. You know how it is, Work, children, husband's job, etc. Thats why she flies us up there every year instead)

Adh sari. Naanon yejmanaron hathrathle Minneapolis poit vandhon 6 maasathke. Ande peri paiyon ang ikkandha, gyaapkon ikkardha?
(Oh yeah, I know that one! The old boy and I were just up in Minneapolis for 6 months to visit our older son recently)

Oho aama, anna? Odh paanengl rand pero ange? Thalihe, paapa pathkordhe, phone le vaarthey sholrdhe: athnyeva? Athva engyana alchkund ponana, paiyyon?
(Oh, Yes, no? And what did you two do there? Cook, take care of the baby and talk to relatives on the phone? Or did he take you out somewhere?)

Hoon ma odho Taco Bell ant restaurant ikkardhe, angthik alchkund pona wor na dinner ke. Awnde haath leno jasthi dooron ille ant kaanrna. Namde rajma ikkardhe, athk kothambri sopp pot chapati le shuththi kudthaa. Parvayille, nanna indhe.
(Yeah, we went out once to this restaurant called Taco Bell. Didn't seem very far from his place. They dished us some weird Rajma and corriander wrapped in a chapatti. Wasn't too bad I suppose.)

Adh sari. Naangl yengyon jaasthi poville ma. Thalihe panni, papa-de karyon ella pathkorth-kullye sariya pochi. Paapon rand perkon office le shene karyon ant thonrna. Time-ey shikville engLe angyon appale alchkyund porthke.
(Ah ok. We didnt go out much ma. What with all the cooking, cleaning, looking after the baby and all. Looks like both of them were really busy at work. )

Aamva? Neengl vapas vandh aan pinne rand pero Europe trip patpona ant aaro sholkyundindhaaaa...? (sly smile)
(Well, r-e-a-l-l-y now. I heard they went off on a Europe vacation after you guys came back. (sly smile) )

Oh.. ha ha.. err.. aama ma, paapon, odho break vonon, break vonon ant kirchaadkyund indha appolenme. Naangl innu sheth naal irkunma irndhdhe. Adhe holidayk time ach ant begon anpichoota.
(Oh.. ha ha.. err yes, they were talking about that while we were there. We were infact supposed to stay on longer, but they sent us back early so they could go, poor things.
Aama Ne, nee unde naatpaNde daycare centre le thuNi thochkyund indhe ant kaette....n? (smirk)
But how about you? I heard you were in charge of the dirty laundry section in your daughter-in-law's daycare center? (smirk))

Umm.. errr... Ann ma, varme washing machine le adth potkundindhe athnye. Ange adhellaa periya kaaryon ille.
(Umm.. err.. well I .. just loaded the clothes in the machine and dried them out. It wasn't a big deal really... )

Hmm. Paapon. Nee yenmana chollu. Indh vysle ang poi oddhaadrthk badhla, ingye santhoshma irndh filter coffee utkund, kovilk poikund-vandhkund irklaan. Anna?
(Hmm.. Poor you. Eh, but who are we kidding. At our age, I'd rather do filter coffee shots and hang out at the temple here, than slog it out in a foreign land, what say?)

Aama Ne. Namde Malleshwaron thaa gathi namkellaan. Sari, appo vapas pore angthikke?
(Pfft, tell me about it. Malleswaram's the bees knees for the likes of us! When are you going back?)

Sadya (Thank god) ma, naat likely in thee neeyar future.

Nee lucky ma ude. Naa July le wapas ponmaardhe. Thirpyon Taco Belle- gille ant engyana alchkund ponaka adhHaLe kothambri marathk nethaad-vechoot vare.
(You are lucky ma, leave. I have to go back in July. But I swear, if those freaks take me to a Taco Bell again, I'll personally string'em up on their stupid corriander plant* .
*kannada idiom: will string you up on a corriander plant = I am angry but love you too much to wish you any harm

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hungry kya? Carols ga!

The terrible part of last week was that I had to do the million-mile schlep to E-City for a training programme.

The bad part of last week, was that the training programme had a homework assignment! I pleaded with the taciturn trainer to let old men like me off the hook, but my passionate entreaties fell on deaf ears. I was left with no option but to drum out a jargon-filled prez, dressed up with my infamous technical diagrams. Since the trainer didnt die laughing or make me stand in a corner after he saw it, I assumed he'd just eaten bisi bele bhath, or was just plain stupid. Not that I was complaining.

The good part of last week, was a chi-chi-pooh-pooh concert at the Park Hotel dahling, attended by Bangalore's insufferable who's-who. What was I doing there? Well, aside from showcasing my natural talent at being insufferable, I was also playing sound engineer for the evening's performance: A Christmas concert by my music group.

The choir had been rehearsing 3-4 times a week to get this concert together. The first half consisted of excerpts from Handel's well loved Messiah. (You know, the one where the conductor runs 440V up everybody's spines and they go "Haaaaaa-le-lujah! Haaaaa-le-lujah!" in perfect 4/4 time.) Being on a break from singing and all, I was deputed to perform the supremely arduous task of hitting the play and pause buttons between soundtracks. Blonde Swedish counter-tenor, sweet brunette German soprano, and the extremely talented Girl 1 (Mallu soprano, choir director) were in full form, as always. The choir was tight, well rehearsed and comfortable. The mood lightened up considerably in the second half, though the music remained just as tough to perform. Swedish and german carols, jazzed up versions of popular christmas songs, Girl 1 going slightly nuts on "I'll be home for Christmas", and finally, the quick paced, but light-as-air Carol of the Bells.

The wonderful part of last week however, were the free cocktails and hors d'oeuvres after the concert. Yes, I use this word specifically, as I ate like a hors till they were all oeuvre. While wine and cocktails flowed like water, the ardors of my crazy-ass week melted away happily into nothingness.

And the best part of last week was the "order whatever you want on the menu" dinner for the performers, after the concert! Haha! If the poor Park Hotel staff was expecting a bunch of air-kissing, food-picking socialites for light dinner and polite banter, weren't they in for a surprise! Especially when they had to reckon with Bikerdude, the lean (err), mean (uh-huh, oh yeah!) eating machine! Muhuhahaha.

Moral: Never offer free dinner to a hungry choir.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bangalore Winter Cameos

After due diligence and deliberation, I have decided that Bangalore in the winter is what reminds me the most of Bangalore.
And therefore I present below, 15 things not to miss in a Bangalore winter:
  1. The ethereal morning mist on the Sankey Tank.
  2. My naturally botoxed face after a freezing bike ride.
  3. The blue, dew-covered lawns at Cubbon Park.
  4. The insanely pink Tabebuias in full bloom all over town.
  5. Street dogs curled up in little bundles inside dustbins.
  6. The Bangalore Boom inducers - avarekai.
  7. My great-aunt's lovely Christmas pudding.
  8. Hot hot rava rava idli at Adigas.
  9. Missy M in her red sweater.
  10. The artists' walkway at Bengalooru Habba.
  11. Christmas lights on Brigade Road.
  12. Open air concerts at the Palace.
  13. My mother serving bisibele bath and bonda to delighted carollers at 10 in the night.
  14. My numb fingers on the guitar accompanying well fed carollers at 1 in the morning.
  15. And my birthday. Cash, cheques, facelift coupons and trips to exotic destinations accepted, thank you.