Sunday, February 28, 2010

Southerly Winds...

We've all joined facebook groups saying "you know you're from delhi if..." followed by certain defining characteristics of the city and it's people. Interesting and nostalgic.

I've lived in Bangalore for nearly four years now (wow, has it been that much time?) but have never really considered myself a Bangalorean. And this is not just me, a lot of people feel like immigrants here. It's got nothing to do with the city or it's people (mostly - but a few bad apples are present everywhere) but for this inner tug that most people feel for their hometown. Now I've been a Delhite 85% of my life -I've been born there, did my schooling there, college, post-graduation, first job. My family is there as well. I always have that back of the mind thing that all things being fine I will eventually go back to the lovingly abusive city of Delhi. This feeling, ingrained deeply, prevents me from thinking of any other city as home - however good it may have been to me.

But yesterday something happened that made me think about the impact the city is having on me. I was chatting with a friend from IIFT, VJ, and I was asking him whether he's seen the latest movie to hit the screens, Karthik Calling Karthik.

Perfectly innocuous, right?


As I was typing the name of the movie my mind suddenly got stuck in a quandary - is Karthik spelt with an 'h' or without??

Now if I was in Delhi this question wouldn't even register. I mean I had friends with that name and invariably were spelt without an 'h'. But in Bangalore everything, I mean everything, is spelt with extra h's. Whether it is the iconic Marut'h'i car or the inconsequential name Amit'h' - there's always an extra 'h'. It's like a conspiracy by ink makers and printers to increase their revenues (What? it could happen. After all, United Airlines did save USD 400,000 by removing one olive from the salad they used to serve)

So the fact that I stopped to think about it is an indication of the southern winds influencing me. It also made me think of the other subtle changes that may be happening without me realizing it:

1. I like dosas for breakfast. I've also gone to Krishna cafe specifically to have the giant dosa they have.

2. I don't get exasperated by the traffic snarls anymore.

3. I hardly use the air conditioning in my car.

4. At the slight hint of sunlight (sunlight I would've scoffed at in comparison to the Delhi summer sun) I squint my eyes and wear sunglasses

5. I still don't understand Kannada but I am able to fade it out rather then get irritated by it's cacophony (I'm sorry but it is a loud language)

Gulp, Do you think the transformation is complete? I think all I need to do is date a Bangalorean girl to complete the transformation.

What do you think? Is it time for me to go back before it's too late?


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Morphed Memories...

Just time for a quick post. I've been away from the computer / internet for a week (yes, it's possible) and had a couple of thoughts swirling all week which I want to quickly post before reading "And Another Thing" prior to drifting off to sleep...

I went to Lucknow for a couple of cousins' weddings and then to a sleepy town in UP which is my mom's hometown - a single road town called Bharthana. I used to go there almost every second summer vacation till I was in class 9 - 14 years ago (yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not as youthful as my writing may have made you where'd I keep my arthritis pills??)

I had gone anticipating a bit of boredom but I actually enjoyed a lot. Apart from the weddings themselves, it was also great to see the spots of the summer vacation adventures when the days were clear and the thoughts were mostly happy. I had a great time reliving memories of the inside-house cricket, the Nagraj and Super Commando Dhruv comics, the carrom tournaments, the rambling through the huge attic searching for nothing in particular, the two vultures that came and roosted in the nearby Dharamshala which almost made the place out of bounds for us scrawny kids, the evening kite flying (didn't do a lot myself), the neighbour's parrot, the chaats etc etc.

(as an aside, I seem to have a great appetite for rushing back memories)

But there was one very interesting thing about these memories - when these memories were made I was quite small myself. Thus, I had increased the size of most things in the memories as I grew. Seeing the real things was a bit of a reality check. Now, my uncle's clinic is quite big but it is nowhere near the cavernous waiting hall with the doctor's chair inside it that I recalled. Also the hall in which we used to play cricket is pretty big but nowhere near as big as I remembered.

Interesting, the way time morphs the reality in memories.

It's also funny that a lot of people actually remember you even after 14 years. Phenomenal really. And embarrassing because in your rush you've forgotten everyone who still recalls your childish antics. Nostalgic times.

Also, unrelated: I'm so thankful for having friends who whack me on my head when I'm doing something innately stupid. And I'm so thankful that I have friends who I can tell the most reprehensible things without being judged. They save me, they really do...


Thursday, February 11, 2010

But I don't want to hear about the Morgans!

Just got back from S and R's place. I'd gone there ostensibly to help out H with making a pitch for some funding he's trying to raise for his venture.

So after exactly 6 minutes discussion where we created one slide on what should go into the pitch, we started watching this movie called "Did you hear about the Morgans" on their big screen TV (pause for jealous rants about the TV)
What a fake movie!

It's one of the most predictable attempt-at-a-romantic-comedy I've seen in a while. And that is also forgivable if the movie is well made! I mean, was this the same Hugh Grant who gave us that iconic Notting Hill? He looks old and jaded. Which is ok, years and the high living he does will get to a man, but he looks like he's doing the movie because he needs the money! He's been through similar roles for most of his career and this last one has him looking bored and uninterested. The dead pan lines in the Brit accent are there but are so predictable that you groan rather than laugh at most of them (a couple are good though)

Sarah Jessica Parker is the female lead of the movie. Now I'll have to admit that I do enjoy watching Sex and the City. I mean I don't follow it religiously but don't mind watching it. Sarah is quite good in the show but here she looks like she's made of plastic. She's just playing a whole bunch of stereotypes which she associates with being a city woman. And to top it all she's looking haggard in most of the movie.

Mix together a million rom-com cliches, add some more stereotypes about 'evil' city people and 'good yet simple' country people, a few cowboys, some shallow emotions - blend together.

No, no - don't bother blending too well. Any which way is fine.

And the result is a weak movie relying more on hope is produced.

Very weak movie.

Joke of the day: You have to read this! :


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Good First Half...

God knows I really needed a good weekend. And for a change, He obliged.

I know, I know, the weekend isn't quite over yet but I'm so glad the first part of the weekend has gone well that I'll share it with you (no, no. No need to thank me. It's my job to entertain you readers). So in a slightly forgotten tradition where I recount to you the adventures of my weekend and you ooh and ah and write comments like:

"What an adventurous and exciting life you live Swapnil!"

"Oh, I wish I did half the interesting things you do on one typical a YEAR!!"

"Oh Swapnil, I wish I was as good looking as you"

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a tad on the last one.

Anyway, moving on (sic), I finally succumbed to my low spirits and left office a bit early on Friday evening. Plans were already afoot to meet DU but they were affected by the little case of she losing her cell phone and hence going incommunicado.

(As an aside, how dependent have we become on the cell phone even to meet up with people? I was actually struggling to remember how humans used to decide on a time and place to meet AND then stick to it instead of constantly changing it based on the current location of the people, traffic, weather and what not, which you constantly check by calling and re-calling the cellphone)

So we (eventually) managed to reach the same point in space and time and after checking out a few cell phone stores decided to ditch necessity in favour of pleasure - umm, decided to get something to eat rather than continue our quest for the elusive phone. Priority was clearly on unwinding after the rather rough week both of us had had.

Finally, the evening got interesting! I have been moping around the house a bit and haven't really tried many new eating places in the last 3-4 weeks.

We went to this place called 64 near my house but had to come out because, I don't know, the menu just didn't seem any different from any continental place you go to.

So next we decided to go to Pizzeria Romano which is actually a multi-cuisine restaurant and not just a Italian place as the name suggests. Now this place is really amazing to look at. Great decor (they have sloping mirrors on the ceiling!). The pictures of the food were sublime and we walked in with extremely high expectations. Actually, we should've gone with lower expectations - though I don't know how low we'd have to go to reach the levels we encountered (especially in context to the exorbitant prices).

Each course and cuisine was a disaster. Over-toasted bruschettas laden with thick cheese (Cheese? On Bruschettas? Really? It kinda kills it's fresh tomatoes appeal)without even a faint smattering of olive oil. We thought we could try some arabian cuisine - again based on the spectacular pictures on the advertising board outside. So falafel was ordered hoping for redemption. Never came. The redemption I mean. Very very ordinary. Nothing to write home or on this blog about.

So we put our head together and by sheer combined brilliance decided that considering the place is called "Pizzeria Romano", we should order a pizza.

And though the pizza was good, the service really killed it for us. The steward actually dropped a slice (toppings side down) and then instead of replacing the placemat, just wiped it!And then, I missed noticing it, but they actually charged for the whole pizza! That's just really really bad management - it kills any chance of a repeat visit.

So the food was definitely not helping in improving the bad taste (pun intended) of the week gone by, but it was just so good to finally get out of the house and not fester there that I didn't mind too much.

Wrapped up the evening by getting a couple of pints at a new pub nearby called Olio. Recently opened, the place is nice. And the best part was that they didn't rush us out as the dreaded deadline approached. They let us nurse our pints at our own pace and I really liked that about the place.

A good evening, and SO good to go out for a bit.

Saturday dawned nice and early because we had to meet again as DU was to compete in a corporate challenge. She's an amazing singer (mentioned earlier: ) and was representing her company in the contest and I thought I'd go see how such things work (I mean let's be serious, there is no way that I'm ever going to see such events from a participants viewpoint!). After the normal no-cellphone confusion of the morning we managed to meet again and went to the contest in far off Whitefield. It started late but was a good contest with some good singers. DU sang really well, as usual. She sang: You're so Vain.

The contest was really going on and on, and the more we stayed there the more we bought stuff that was depleting the wallet, so we got out and had lunch at this hotel called Zuri. Very nice hotel with good buffet food. Was a good place.

But the best was yet to come!

They have a pool on a terrace midway up the hotel. A brilliant breeze was blowing across it and the sun was just the right temperature. The inviting deckchairs just could not be ignored and we just lazed around for an hour (or two). I'm not sure but I think I dozed off for a while as well...

Ah, to enjoy the beach in the heart of the city!

Really nice Saturday after quite a while.

And tomorrow D is coming down from Mumbai for some work! It's always fun to catch up with her, and it's been a while as well. Should be great!

This type of weekend just couldn't have come at a better time! Yay!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Two Good Boys at Home...

As the loyal readers of this blog know I stay in a nice little house in NGV with a old college friend of mine, PS.

Now, bachelor pads across the world share certain characteristics:

For instance such homes are the picture of cleanliness with spotless floors, clean fans, well made beds with fresh sheets, all shoes arranged in expensive and elegant shoe racks, laundry all done, well dusted windows covered with exquisite curtains, no glass containers containing potent liquids, wardrobes immaculately maintained with clothes arranged by colour, type of garment, occasion to wear that garment in etc etc...

Yeah, right.

So the ACTUAL description of our house, and it is probably one of the better maintained abodes, is..umm..a bit different. Hard as we try, the house does fall into a bit of disarray as the week progresses. (I don't know how girls keep their houses so spic and span. It's an art, I say - a mystery to the male species).

Now normally, we ignore such insignificantly small issues. We live by the principle of live and let live. We don't harm the piles of clothes and bunches of shoes in most rooms and they don't, in turn, harm us.

Thus things were going smoothly as usual when suddenly PS ran into the drawing room.

"Dude, we have a situation."
"what? The geyser's not working again? I'm going to have some really harsh words when that bloodsucking landlord comes for the rent! And..."

"Ho gaya? Main bol lun ab" (done with your blabbering? Can I speak now?) [Implicit meaning - you speak WAY too much mate. Put a lid on it)


"Dad has a meeting in Bangalore. He'll come for a couple of days. Probably stay over for a night or two"

"Food, he's going to bring home food!! Yay!"


(high five)

"But Swap, have you seen the condition of the house?"

"Yeah, it's fine, right?"

"Umm look at it from a parent's eye"

(5 second pause)

"Doomed! We're doomed! When is he coming? How the hell are we going to clean up?? Damn, damn, damn!"

"Ok, relax, we have 3 days"

"Dude, just look at it! We need a week atleast"

"We'll take it on a war footing. Just remember the Hitchhiker's Guide..."

(In unison)


So, needless to say, we spent the next 2 days procrastinating and then spent one early evening AND late evening AND early night AND late night cleaning and hiding stuff.

Update: The visit went well. Uncle was pleased with our living arrangements

Further update: Yes, we got sweets from home. And no, they're not for you. We deserve every single piece of mithai!