Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guetta out of the grounds I say.

We've finally done it. Learnt to go to bed like good children by 9, ie. Even David Guetta couldn't stop us. He tried, I hear. Flailed his arms about and even said endearing things like "India is... 'ow to say... ze best country I 'ave evair visited-uh", in a bid to make the audience stay on. But the audience wasn't convinced. "We love you David", they were heard muttering. "But no. My fother will scold because Monday I have 9th std supplementary exam. Her mother will beat because tomorrow morning-morning Satyanarayana pooje is there. Kindly understand our position. Good night."

That's the real story, but I believe there was an official story that was doing the rounds. It involves palace intrigue, 1412 luggage autos and teleportation. And this is the story that shall now be told for all the world to hear.

So when it was known that the Guetter was slated to perform from 7-11pm at the palace grounds last week (with full BBMP permission, mind it), the Party Machas squealed in delight and spiked their hair in anticipation. The Macha Parties rolled their eyes, rubbed their balding scalps ruefully and downed another pint. The former outnumbering the latter by a ratio of 47:1 thus launched into a mad scramble for tickets. Several tubes of Set Wet were used to distract potential ticket buyers, but not a hair was turned, I hear.

This excitement was not restricted to the macha fraternity. All of Bangalore wanted to be at the Palace Grounds that night. In fact, just so everyone had an international performer to admire, a famous liberal cleric from Pakistan was invited to conduct an Islamic discourse at the same venue.

Really? You ask. Really, I reply. The Bengaluru Polisu in its magnanimity had, in a pathbreaking populist move, approved both applications with its new "COMMAN FRIENDS YENJAAY" red stamp, reserved for such august occasions.

Both parties, unbeknownst to each other, shot off letters of thanks to the dept, expressing satisfaction at the prompt clearance of their applications. The organizers of the cleric's discourse mentioned that its 2 Lakh attendees had a feelin' that the night was gonna be a good good night. The Guetta ghetto sent a thank you e-card to the dept too, appreciating its prompt action and highlighting the various parts of the evening. It would contain a hair spiking segment, a shirt unbuttoning session and finally, a nice long disco-course.

A sleuth from the dept analysed these letters of commendation and put them away in a special drawer marked VIP, for future reference. That evening, when the agent drew the letters out of the said item of clothing for a closer look, he realised with a start that there might be a small issue at hand.

Both events were scheduled on the same night and at the same time. Not a very good idea, he realised. The discourse attendees might not take too kindly to the dulcet strains of 'I want to do the needful to you all night', emerging from 600m away. It wouldn't be fair to expect the Guetta group to Gel with their devout brethren and sisteren next door either.  They'd probably have exhausted a year's supply of product on their own hair already. 

An urgent meeting of both organizers was called. Applications were re-sent and re-stamped. After a civilized exchange of pehle-aaps, a decision was taken to stagger the events thus:

Guetta would do the aforementioned to you all evening only. From 5pm to 8:15pm. There would then be a respectable scramble for the exits, lasting precisely half an hour. The 3000 fans of the Guetta concert would then be teleported home, replaced by 200,000 equally enthusiastic fans from all over Islamic India. After which the benign cleric would take over until 11:30pm. Wishful thinking?

Apparently not. It worked. Like a charm. 203,000 happy people woke up the next day to a bright eyed and bushy tailed world. The newspaper offices wrung their hands in despair as they had reserved 3 columns each, to wail about unruly mob scenes at the venue. The columns were promptly filled up with detailed analyses on the importance of owning at least 6 pairs of aviator sunglasses and a manpurse.

So anybody who has anything to say about Blr Polisu's supreme event coordination techniquesu may kindly eat gobi manchuri.

And hello, what are you doing up so late? Go to bed instantly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The twain finally meet.

“Aye thu blady naansense”, I screeched into the unsuspecting ear of The Eyer, when he suggested we meet up at Lalbagh. “My fother will drive so far or what?” I said, picturing my journey-across-the-seven-seas for our much awaited meetup.

“Shut up now. Basavangudi is central, its you Malleswaram types that are in the burbs.” He said. Besides it’s walking distance for me”, he added helpfully.

“Ohoho, very close to you means what I must do. Trans Siberian Railway and all I cant catch and come to see your face ok.”

“Dude you didn’t volunteer to organize this, so thatsaaal means thatsaal, jhungachukka. You must only come to Lalbagh and meet us, I do not know anything. Besides, it’s your workplace anyway.”

“Ayeeeeee, how very dare you call me a gardener I say?”

“Err, because you are one?”

“Oh correct no? Ok, see you in half an hour.”

Unwittingly caught in the crossfire was our celebrity guest - Krish Attack, who magnanimously postponed his flight back to Chennai to hang out with us, after smashing his way through a maha funda presentation at IIMB. After some frantic calls to ascertain his whereabouts, we finally located him, suitcase in hand, appropriately clad for the Bangalore chill in a three piece suit.

After a couple of “mad or what?” looks directed at the Eyer and I, who were busy clawing each other’s eyes out deciding which Lalbagh gate to enter, he cleared his throat. The Eyer and I stopped in mid claw and looked back at his rapidly reddening complexion.

“Err, I have seen Lalbagh before you know”, he ventured timidly, peeling off 7 layers of winterwear. “My parents took me there as a kid.”

“So, err.. what shall we do then?” said the Eyer, dismayed at his grandiose plans of a botanical tour of the gardens being dashed to the ground.

“Eh, lets eat”, we all said in chorus, and whirled the car around to our first stop in the gastronomic tour of “the place where the other people live” – Basavangudi.

First stop: New Modran Hotel. “Do not put leg on Chair. Do not wash hand in plate. Do not yodel. Do not sing mainstream Telugu film songs while chewing”, read the sign above where we sat, as we waited for the famous modran hotel thatte-idli to arrive. Meh. It was salright. Sorry Eyerboss. Veena shtore rules. Aaa nexxxxxt…

My smirkiness died a quick death however, when we stopped at our next venue: Shettr angdi (appojite New Modran Hotel). After making us chomp through an interestingish tamota-slice, The Eyer pulled out his trump card. He whispered into the Jabba-the-hut-like proprietor’s ear. Jabba guffawed, gave us the up-and-down, rubbed his palms together and went to work: on Shettrangdi Special Andre Speshhhhhal Butter Gulkand.

“Whaaaaaaaaaat?” I hear you loyal Bhagyalakshmi Butter Gulkand loving Malleswaramites scream? “How very dare you, Bikerdude”, you sob? Well sadly, Shettru has only one word to say to you. “Mwah.”

First came a gob of butter. Then a slather of gulkand. Then the mixed fruitu. Familiar enough, no? But no. That’s where Bhagyalakshmi stops and Shettrangdi starts. On went the murabba (murabba??? Yes) followed by nuts, candy, more fuits, chaat masala (No! Yeah? Yeah.) and finally a dollop of butterskaachu icecream!

Enoughaaaa? No. On the top of the butterskaachu went more chopped nuts and a glazed cherry. Whaaaaaataylovely!!!! Jabba handed it over with a flourish and 12 seconds later, fini! What a beauty I say! Sorry ma Bhagyaakshmi, you lose. Ok? ok.

Next stoppu: Subbamma angadi. While Attack stocked up on 564 packets of kodbale and chakli, I settled for the mind numbingly spicy masala vadey. Good stuff. Well done Subbamma, wherever you are, smiling down upon us with a plate of dynamite-nippat in hand.

With about minus 10 minutes to spare for Attack saar to catch his flight, we managed to teleport him straight into a vayu vajra, from where with his superior Web 2.0 skills he managed to re-program the check-in-lady’s brain to jettison him through an open cockpit window into the flight as it was taxiing off to Chennai.

So- um yeah. Basavangudi. Hmm. Some possibilities there I agree :)

Many thanks to Eyer saar for smiling stoically through all manner of abuses hurled. I am suitably impressed ok? ok.

Attack saar, kindly come nesht time I say. I will feed CTR benne masale and veena idly and you only decide.

And as for you Bhagyalakshmi, I have only one word to say:



PS: Aa yes, I'm back, hello. (famous last words)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jack for all trades

“Ah! You’ve inherited my Number One”, said granny when we moved into our new home in her backyard. What she alluding to was yellow, strong smelling and exactly what you were thinking of: A small innocuous variety of Jackfruit that she’d planted in the corner of her garden, now the driveway to our home.

In the twelve years that we’ve been here, Number One has faithfully yielded smallish yet absolutely delicious crops of crisp, non-fibrous fruit- the best I’ve ever tasted. This year however, it’s gone crazy. Over 30 huge fruit dangle obscenely from various parts of its long spindly trunk. We think the extraordinary yield is because it’s finally managed to pierce through the crown of the heavy mango tree that had been shading it all these years.

The produce from Number two, a much heavier yielding though marginally less crisp variety in our backyard, has always been reserved for friends, visitors and colleagues. This year, the thought of dealing with the bumper crop from both the trees is enough to make us all ignore them steadfastly, rather than deal with the sticky mess of cutting them down and processing them.

At work, this time of year has always been eagerly anticipated. All my chakka*-starved mallu colleagues at work would wait eagerly for the season, so I could bring and dump some yellow goodness on them. “In my nayteew, we used to get like this oLLy. My andy used to make jaam with jayckfruit, yinnow, chakkavaratti?” They’d say. “Blurgh yes. Notte quiteh my favouriteh”, I’d think.

The Tam gumbal would pipe up from random corners of the office “Bunrotti palaa* you have eatena? Supera irukkum”, they’d say. “What on earth possessed anyone to name a village Bun-rotti?” I’d think.

“Aiyo maraya namma oorinalli idral yenth-enthadhella maadthaare gotha? Happala, huli, pallya, chipsu.. Ohh halasina hannu* illadhe jeevanave nadiyuvudilla(I use it as a facial scrub daily. It's great for my skin), my Mangalorean friends would go. “Slurrp, ngn”, I’d go.

“In Vizianagaram, jeshtu oui are getting beshtu panasa* andi”, the Telugu bunchu would remarku. “Yes, commaan, let us vizit-the-nagaram”, I’d thinku.

“Kamaal hai yaar”, my northie frands would add. “Yahaan pe averybody is eating ripe? Hamare yahaan kathal* ki subzee banti hai.” (In Norththth na, we use iskin of jeckfruit in geography class as relief map of himalayas yaar.) “What next? Bhindi ka halwa?” I’d think. Wouldn’t put it past my Madras paati though.

“Plaa-mushu* na yenna nu theriyumo?” She’d begin sagely. “Yen maamiyaar aathulai adhukku nanna kadugu thaalichu thoenga, gueenga ellaam pottu masichu shaapuduvaa. Bhaama maamiyaar aathulai athai rendu eeda vadhakki….” (Lost me at plaa-mushu) At which point I’d go “Mushu mushu haashi deo malai lai.”

Last year, an oldish gentleman walked in from the road and helped himself to a fruit off Number One. He was making slow progress down the road thanks to the weight and prickliness of the fruit. “But, aunty gave it to me”, he said with a practiced expression of goggle-eyed innocence when we caught up with him. Aunty (my mother), who under normal circumstances would have paid him to get the fruit off her hands, quickly snatched it back from him. She did not take kindly to people her age calling her aunty.

As for this year, I don’t think we can pull off ignoring the bumper crop any more. The trees are groaning with the weight and the squirrels are making rude noises at us while they tunnel through the ripening fruit. We’ve already commenced negotiations with Numbers One and Two in an attempt to convince them not to ripen too quickly (or ever). I’m also making a Tibetan-style endless-loop CD with the words “Must deal with jackfruit”, set to a tinkly contemplative tune to play while the family sleeps.

If all the above doesn’t work, we’ll need some help. Any volunteers? Be fair warned that you will have to deal with the cutting and scooping yourself. We’re too posh for all that soht of thing dahling.


Chakka, panasa, pala, kathal, halasina hannu = Jackfruit
Pala mushu = baby jackfruit (cooked as a vegetable, looks suspiciously like mutton!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Peer Sahib for lunch

“Ootakke Peer Sahib untu.  (We’re having Peer Sahib for lunch), squeaked the timid Sumangala, my grandmother’s long suffering cook from Udupi, as I walked into the kitchen.  “Wha..?” I asked.  She took in a deep breath, closed her eyes and looked like she was about to pass out.  This of course, was no cause for concern as it was her normal way of starting a new paragraph.

“Peer Sahib”, she said mournfully.  “Chapatiya mele tamta, seeju, ella haaki bishi-bishi maadi koduvudhu, gottillavo?”  (Tomato and cheese on a chapatti)

Ah.  That. “Yes, please!”  I told her.  My super cool grandmother had been talking about making pizza for a couple of days and yay!  She’d finally gotten around to doing it!  Hers was the best recipe in the whole world.  All the quirky things she did to her ingredients made the pizza even better.  She’d grind up tomatoes and onions in the mixie and stir them about in a buttered wok with a bucket of cream and lots of love and affection.  She’d then hand mushrooms, capsicum,  carrots, cauliflower and anything else she could find to the waiting Sumangala who’d sigh and dip them in bisneeru (hot water) for exactly a minute.  “It’s called blawn-ching dahling”, she told me once when I asked her if she was crazy.  “Gets the raw taste out of them da raja.”  Mhaha. 

A generous smear of the sauce went on the pizza base (bought fresh from Vijaya Bakery), three tons of veggies went on top, and finally the piece de resistance:  Good old fashioned Nilgiri’s cheddar.  About three cows’ worth. 

On the verge of collapse, two such pizza towers would be placed gingerly in granny’s aluminium dabba oven that Sumangala would sighingly dust out and place on top of the gas stove.  My brother and I would stake claims on the pizzas we wanted.  The top one would get all melty and yum, while the bottom one would turn black at the bottom and go crrrunchh when you bit into it.  We wanted both, so granny dearest would dispatch us off to the dining table, where we sat twiddling our thumbs impatiently until the pizza arrived. Through granny’s good offices, we’d each receive one half of both pizzas: two quarters burnt at the bottom and two quarters melty on the top.  We’d shriek with joy and tuck in. 

When granny wasn’t making pizza, we’d drag her off to the best pizza place in town then – Casa Picola.  Just the sight of the menu with all those names: Tia, Maria, Julia, The God Mother…, would drive us insane. Uff. The twitchy-nosed French proprietrix would pause by each table to make sure things were okay, while my brother and I steadfastly ignored everything else but the pizzas in front of us. 

But this was in Bangalore on our summer holidays.  Back in Malluland nobody had ever heard of pizza.  “Nge?”  (Eh?), said the shopkeeper when my mother asked for pizza base.  “Illa.” (Well m’dear lady, we’ve run out of stock, but let me place an order with Harrods London, with whom I have a running account with and procure some for you.  It might arrive next month by container ship fresh from London), he said, when we described it. 

Crestfallen, Mommie dearest decided to make do with what Trivandrum could offer then.  She marched into Milma Dairy and asked for cheddar cheese.  “Cheese illa butter unde”, (Ah cheese.  Cheese, you say?  That lovely thing that was invented in a Bactrian camel’s intestine?  Hmmm… Chweeeeezzze.  Käse.  Fromage.   Somebody stop me), said the man at the counter.  We got the message and left.  We finally found some at Jayaram bakery.  Good old best-in-the-world Amul.  

Back home, Amma followed granny’s recipe to the tee.  Err, except for the blanching, the cream, the tomatoes, the asparagus, mushrooms and cheddar cheese that is.  She’d learnt from Mrs. Krishnamurthy next door that a pressure cooker with sand in it does the same thing as a dabba oven on a stove.  “Yaaay”, we said, and ran to the Guptas’ garden next door, where a pile of sand had been freshly delivered to construct a toilet for Anandavalli, their maid.  We rushed back home, sand in hand, to find that Amma had managed to make a white naan like thing out of maida and was piling it up with tomato puree and oooh…! onions.  She then grated the Amul on the top and after a quick prayer to Melkote Selvanarayana, put a layer of sand at the bottom of the pressure cooker, placed the pizza gingerly on top of it on a plate, and closed the lid. 

Amma had to throw away the pressure cooker after that.  “Aiyo, yenk irkra problems onna renda?” (Wo to be in Ingilaand, drrrrinnnking Ingiliss beerr), she asked Melkote Selvanarayana, as she scraped the melted bakelite handles of the cooker off the stove top and retrieved the incinerated pizza from inside. 

We bought a Bajaj round oven after that.  It would heat everything up nicely to about 40 degrees, but do nothing about melting the cheese on top.  “It’s the cheese, not the oven da kanna”, she’d say as pizza after lukewarm pizza emerged out of the oven with intact layers of grated Amul on the top.  We even tried paneer, which, aside from refusing to melt, also tasted like imported pencil erasers without the pineapple flavour. 

Granny’s dabba oven retired in the early 90s, as did our Bajaj round, after a decade of absolute uselessness.  We now a have fancy microwave-cum-convection-oven-cum-dishwasher-cum-three-piece-orchestra-cum-massage-lady that sadly does nothing for me or the pizza.  And as for Pidsa Hut- Gidsa Hut with all their cheese-filled crusts, oregano-girigano, jalapeno-gilapeno and what not, I have only this to say:  

Fbbthbbp. Give me my melty- crunchy, granny-made Peer Sahib any day. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

And the sordid saga continues..

Ah hello hello Im still alive.. Err and still sufferring from writer's cramp. So in the meantime, please to have

Bengaluru Blahnteru - Part Sthree:

Over by two coffee at the Byadara Bomma Instt of Technology canteen:

Recorded for posterity at 42/C, 20th Cross, 15th Main, Malleswaram

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Benglur Talkies Part Thoo.

Ah yayes, by popular demand,

Bengaluru Blanhteru Part Bleuh

Heard at CTR, Malleswaram.

Heard at a leading Koramangala hospital...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Benglur Talkies

Hello hello peeps, sorry for the sepulchral silaans. This time, at the insistence of this mad person, I am going to torture you with my first talking blogpost. Gaaaaahahahaha. So kindly have it, Part 1 of:

Bengalooru Blahnteru
(Secretly taped snappy snippets of day to day Benglur talku)
PS: If you have a dodgy internet connection like I do, you might want to hit the pause button and let them buffer a bit before listening...
1. Heard outside the Basavanagudi NRI association..

2. Secretly captured on cellular phone at Lounge de la didah.

3. At Lunchtime in Electronics city, Phase II