Monday, March 17, 2008

A Chronic Deccan

"Kanna, epdi irke maaa? We miss you da love-raj", cooed the old mutter embarrassingly into the phone, a day after I'd gone missing. "Um harumph, fine." I growled back. I was afraid the airtel man who was secretly listening into our conversation, would cut in and say "Ha ha! Momma's boy!" and hang up. Luckily no such thing happened. After several reassuring coos from the old mutter and a pleasant chat on the current socio-economic situation in south east asia with the old pater, I hung up a happy man. I had run away to Poona because I needed to get de-bangalored for a bit. Besides, there wasn't much happening at work, and everyone I knew in Poona (ie, 1 sainted cousin and 1 long suffering friend) was in town.

Poona in a word, is lovely. Poona in three words is hot and dusty, but word 1 more than compensates for the other three. Lovely food, charming old-worldlines, lots of space, a fairly pleasant nightlife, and plenty of sights to see. The cousin watered, fed and whisked me around town with characteristic cousinly efficiency. The friend stuffed me silly with amti, srikhand puri, and every other imaginable maratha viand until I screamed for mercy . Ok I didn't. I just ate and ate until he ran out of supplies, and then he screamed for mercy.

The non-eating moments in Poona (and they really were only moments), were spent reading a book by the nullah-side, walking through the charming lanes of Tulshibag and Sadashivpet, gawking at the enormous mansions in Koregaon Park, trekking up and down the wooded tekdis in the centre of town, and making plans for the next meal. All in all, a wonderful time. Thanks muchly, o sainted cousin and long-suffering friend.

Back in Bangalore, I took one look at the traffic outside the airport, and almost caught the next flight back to lovely dusty amchi Pune. My dismay was short-lived thankfully, as my auto driver managed to slither through the traffic bottleneck like an oiled cobra.

A blast of cool air hit me as as the auto turned into airport road. I looked out and noticed it was drizzling. Gentle winds were blowing everywhere. The people in the jam were smiling. I was puzzled. What happened to the uncomfortably warm city that I had left barely a week ago?

And then I remembered: The Mango Showers had arrived.

"Ahh", I sighed. Right on time. My favourite season in Bangalore. When the skies explode, wash the streets clean, turn trees green overnight, inspire poetry and make everyone smirk about how lucky they are to live here.

And now, while the rest of the subcontinent slowly begins to bake, all you "vods so great aboud this waather yaar" types can call your relatives in your sizzling hometowns, and tell them what they're missing: Cool, moist evening breezes blowing up your.. err street. Boiled peanuts at Lalbagh on a wet March evening. A half masale sweet after an April shower. Shetty's nippat masala followed by a drizzly open air concert at the Palace Grounds in May.

Do not encourage them to move here. It is enough if they know.
And if the voice on the other end of the line says "Yes da raja, I knnnowww maa. Its reeeelly luvleee, no?", please hang up instantly. I want you to contact your relatives, not mine.


Anonymous said...

Hi there BD. Glad to note that you're back and in the pink. Why not illustrate the wondra-ful Pune with some signature illustrations, I say? Laetus aaalso see yaar.

??! said...

You have been there before? Say, in the old millennium? Because that's when it really was lovely, and tranquil, and old-worldly, and all that. Now it's just another wannabe-metropolis.

Anonymous said...

Nice one on Bangalore. Will quote you on one of my future posts (I keep planning never execute..hmm..)

Never lived in Bangalore, nevere cared for it much, but the way you write about it, makes me want to change my mind. :D

Prats said...

Pune is a lovely place and all you've said about it....hmmm eating can be so much of the only pastime...I should know...all I talked about was the food here and there...
Did you eat the shrewsberry biscuits??? lol

Bangalore rains have brought out the colors in the sky...It has been so beautiful

Kamini said...

What a lovely ode to your city!

10yearslate said...

Aadhr PuNe-daag, bhaaL majaa andhr allee hesr-gLu, matth bus conductor mandhi.

Jangli Maharaj road!

Conductor: "pHude chala bhauu!"

Me:"Jee samajh aaee nahin, Hindi mein bolenge?"

Conductor: "#$%%@".

anoushka taraporevala said...

ah so the biker dude is back. your loyal fans were wondering who you had eloped with.

it turns out you were in clone city. dont some parts of bangalore look and feel the same as some parts of poona? east street could well be any of the lanes fluting off mg road, bangalore. and i hope you got to eat some of the divine bhakervadi. and the mava cakes in all the parsi bakeries there. my theory is poona and bangalore are twin cities. what say you?

PREETI said... rained here also in chennai...wat use?juz made the city dirtier and yet i juz luvvv the city n cnt imagine bein anywhere else...i guess itz bangalore for u :)

Bikerdude said...

anonymous: Yuvar vish is my command I say!

?!! Yes I've bene in 2005. Can't help urbanization I suppose. Still very tranquil though, compared to chaotic Bangalore.

nrimaami: Thanks! Yes you did mention before that you didnt take to Blr much. Eh whatchagonnado :)

prats: Yes I did! What a lovely no? espcially for coffee nal adhsi adhsi thinning purposes.

Kamini: Thanks!

10yrslate: You forgot the most funny ones: Sandaswadi and Bhosari. I couldnt believe my ears! Lol about the bus conductor! Yes one auto driver also corrected my pronounciation: "Chauk naahi. Tsau-kuh aahe".

anoushka: Yes I have to agree that they are somewhat related. perhaps not twins but definitely second cousins. Wish bangalore had some of the old worldliness of Poona camp.

preeti: I love Chennai too! Lots of happy memories there. But you're right, good old rickety chatoic Bangytown is still my first choice.

Harishhh said...

mmm.... srikhand puri....
Yech! Now how do I get this drool off my keyboard?! Darn you Biker Dude! Darn you to heck! :P

PREETI said...

Luved Bangalore cuz someone i really luvd ws frm then he passed away n the plce holdz sad memoriez! :-/

Anonymous said...

Verry Nice Da Raaja...glaad you enoyed Your trip Ma

Poojitha said...


Naveen said...

guru..closing statements were the best! :) the way, ondu request saar..don't praise bengalooru too much, we don't want more peepuls coming and settling here please...we have too many already :)

Abhipraya said...

Dude you make Bengalooru look so wonderful just like its in my head but can never say it as well. Thanks Kannaaaa :)

Ranjini said...

you blog...super aagi ide...waaa, i miss bangalore. i feel as passionately about mango season as you do.

narendra shenoy said...

Pune food! I felt like a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous reading the proceedings of the Whiskey Tasters Society of Scotland. The missus has put us on a diet, you see.

BTW, was in Bengalooru last week AND made the pilgrimage to see your underpassu AND spent a drizzly evening in Palace grounds AND pigged out on Bisi Bele Bath. Lovin it.

Siri said...

So true I say, True True vonly.
last weekend at Cubbon Park was brilliantness. Dark clouds on one side and sunshine on the other. What a sight! What a sight! And then, i rode back through Vold Vold Basavangudi under the tree canopy. It proceeded to rain then, Blissness!

Super stud you are BD!

I love Lucy said...

Sigh!I miss the benglur and the mangoes...I made a milk shake out of the two darned ones that we got from one of the stores here and then next thing I know,I am down with the flu.Bah.

Scribbler said...

For one of the 'funny' names up there, it's "Sanaswadi" (i.e. the dwelling named after a Mr Sanas) and not "Sandaswadi" (i.e. a dwelling of toilets!).

But Bikerdude, I am from Pune, lived in Bangalore for a year and can't forget the Mango showers I enjoyed last year... reading this made me want to run back to my home in Ulsoor... I do miss Bangalore. Shit, I just realised that. Now comes predicament.

mem said...

ive lived in bangalore most of my life. moved away for a bit (just a tiny bit really!) moved back recently and totally shocked - by the mad traffic, madder crowds, the heat!
reading your blog serves to bring some of the loouv back :)
(but an hour in the KR puram traffic snarly takes it away :( )

Bikerdude said...

harishh: Heh sorry boss, next time hodaga nimgu ond dabba srikhand tartene.

preeti: Sorry to hear that. Maybe you should move back and build some new happy ones!

anonyMa: Ingeyuma? :)

poojita: Yes? KoopteLa? ;)

naveen: True. maybe we can admit some in on hotness or intelligence grounds.

abhipraaya: Uyyo thanks I say. Sometimes I feel Im in some pink bubble of my own praising this town to the skies, when everyone around can only say terrible things about how it's become. To me it's just as exciting as before, perhaps in a different way. Ah well.

ranjini: Thanks ma. Mango season isnt until june though, so make plans and come. These are just the Mango Showers (essential for flowering). I suspect that this years Mango crop wont be as huge as last year's though.

narendrashenoy: Oho excellent. Bisi bele bhath means thats all :)

siri: Thanks ma! Yes Cubbon Park is at its element when its cloudy and drizzly.

I love lucy: Uh oh. Too bad I say. Come off quickly and eat some here in a couple of months.

scribbler: Oops sorry! Thanks to the heavy 'N' in sanaswadi I misheard it :P I love your city too, I think we need to exchange cities for a bit.

mem: Oh yeah the KR Puram traffic can defly get you down. Wish you could move to some of the older parts of town. I know that its tough to find reasonably priced accomodation inside the city these days, but I think its worth the adidtional expense (and commute time). PS: If you've lived all your life here, haven't you noticed that the hottest season in Bangalore is Mid March to Mid April? So don't worry, it will cool down very soon!

mem said...

yes yes kr puram is terrible. But i live near rajajinagar and work in whitefield so all parts of bangalore i get stuck in. whatay pain.

But yes there are many wonderful things that are banaglore, the things you talk about in your blog, the things for which i moved back in the first place!

But im still in shock with so much increase in everything- stores cars people offices. Everything is multiplied

Preeth said...

Just when you get disgruntled with the city, it pulls out the trump card. Now who can resist this kinda weather I say. Even at this very moment, when I read this, its dreamy outside. And my personal favourite is, when it threatens to rain for long hours but does not let go. Utopian.

Usha said...

That was as fresh as those mango showers.
Speaking of mango showers you should have seen my yard the day had showered mavadus all over. There goes my dream of having nice avakai oorugai this year.

Pri said...

put growing up in forest story fastly.

Anonymous said...

are you tam/kannadiga/gult/mallu

Bikerdude said...

mem: yes, truth to be told there's nothing that can be done except grin and ear it what to do..

usha: Well you know the old jungle saying: When life rains mavadus on you, add a little salt, turmeric, oil, mustard paste and leave them in a jaadi :P

pri: Its horrendous ma. Still editing I am.

anon: Sounds like an amul chocolate question, so I will reply in an Amul chocolate voice: "Alllll...." :)

Bikerdude said...

preeth saarey: totally, no?

Penguin said...

The weather outside while I read this in gloomy Singapore is just pathetic. Yes, it is raining here also, but it has none of the magic and the joy of the Bangalorean rain. How I wish I could run back home now, and take my Scooty for a spin. Che!

Sanchia said...

Thank you so much. I have just spent half a morning reading bits and pieces of your blog instead of working and am so delighted with it. You almost make me love Bangalore -- reminding me of what I like about it (the feeling, even if not all the same places you mention) -- and then I remember all the things that annoy me about Bangalore and go right back to the beginning, at which point I stand, struggling to like Bangalore.
(Ex-Bombayite, then Hyderabadi, now Bangalorean, by the way)

Jahnavi said...

really dude, b'lore rocks! everytime return after a long journey, the cool breeze tells me im back home... even if i'm fast asleep. loved ur blog! :)

Ashwin said...

Bikerdude, U rock man :D

SpaceMonkey said...

Yep foodie town Pune is. Overwhelmed with nostalgia, I is. Sniff, sniff. said...

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