…And more in the name of wishing Mr Muthalik’s health in pink!

a small, inspired moment of very naughty inspiration, and here we are today, garnering support from even the BBC. here’s a second opinion piece on the biggest movement of the year…


bloom(er) on!


The most disciplined eating I’ve ever done

Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, more fondly known as MTR, is most definitly a harbinger of the good old days of yore, when the pomp and fanfare accompanying dining was still a matter of importance. And this you can tell just by the larger percentage of gold-decked, gajra-ensconced, sandalwood-smelling gentry in the line that snaked almost till Lalbagh, waiting for the clock to strike 12.30 pm.
When the clock does oblige, an old white haired man shorter than me ( and I’m all of 5’2”, for the record)  in white dhoti and white shirt hanging loose opens the door and ushers everybody in to make another unending, rather silent line at the cash counter. And as he nudged and budged one and all to pin-dropness, he glowered down his long royal nose, and he informed us of the treat that awaited us.

So, we bought our coupons and were directed up a flight of stairs  lined with Thanjavur paintings, to be greeted by another old man perched on his wooden stool of authority, also maintaining the silence and strict discipline that is due to these esteemed halls steeped in spicy tradition. He pointed us to our table in a corner, and we obediently walked to our proximate destiny.

Looking around, it struck me that this unnatural behaviour wasn’t just specific to me, my mother and her sister. Most people seemed unsure of talking in decibels higher than a whisper. And consequently, even big moustached men seemed inordinately giggly. Thankfully, my prayers were answered and the food came around sooner than we expected.

And whatever misgivings I had about overly snobbish places, took flight with my taste buds as the men with buckets coaxed us into overeating like never before. Typical kannadiga food, complete with bisi bele bath and payasam, made for a very memorable meal. And even when you’re replete with satisfaction, and loving it totally, you’ll be dissed into eating some more. They’ll make sure they give you your money’s worth.

A must visit place for all those who visit Bangalore.

Sheer Beer Pressure!

…And so it is saturday night, again. At a loss for what to do, there is always the fallback option, at least as far as i am considered. Pubbing. Pub – jumping – cruising – hopping. Whatever. And top of the charts is Peco’s, on Rest House Road. Just off Brigade Road, this beer spouting little tower has only recently acquired a neon signpost, since it might have finally penetrated the manor’s masters that not a few enthusiastic new patrons on the block are at a loss for its whereabouts…since it was expected that word-of-mouth alone would get you crawling up their steep creaking staircase, in search of your nirvana. Or your next hand-me-down maid/prince..if you like.

So once you do manage to locate it, sandwiched between ‘fashion sense’ and another non-descript bar, and as you manage the crawling towards superior chambers than what first impressions might shock you into sensing, the greasy smiles of the chambermasters, thudding music and whiffs of the many kingfishers and fosters being downed, in addition to a certain ‘herb’ being rolled up and lit to flames, you might be transported into ‘relaxo-world’ (that of the chappal fame, possibly).

The darkness engulfs you, as does the evergreen (in more ways than one) crooning of Jim Morrison, begging you to assist him in his immolation (oh har-de-har-har!), and you can just about make out scattered popcorn, ash on wooden tables, chairs, floors. The ceiling is black as a moonless night, ie, if there is a ceiling. Mirrors and rock legends glare, and simultaneously wink at you, depending on your degree of intoxication, and no, you’re not subjected to a self-study on identity, or crises, or the like. Since, at this particular juncture in time and space, you’d rather fly, and the smiling wizards will help you do just that.

Bob your head, head bang, on tables, sing along, dance on table tops, do whatever you like – there are no rules. They’ll keep smiling through it all. It is another world, a much live-in-able one, despite the 50% diluted with water beer. And of course, they know how to make chilli beef, and keema dosas. If intoxication is not your thing, pay them a visit on a weekend morning, before noon, and you’ll get a reportedly fantabulous buffet. Reportedly, since i’ve never bothered to wake up at that ungodly hour. *shudder*.

Curtailed Flights (on starry starry nights)

the umbilical chord stays forever

the umbilical chord stays forever

“You may leave by the 10 45 cab.” Words that unhooked my heart, and sent it flying as did i, frantically signalling to Preetha, “its time to run, before he changes his mind!”

She obligingly complies, we fly, giggle, soar down the staircase and out onto the the now relatively damp, dark and desolate MG Road. Everything goes into shutdown mode by 10 pm around here. Kingfisher, CNBC, Levi’s and now DNA adverts blink neonly in the twilight of our day. The day that begins, effectively, at 3 30 in the afternoon.

At this hour, there are only the rich car owning suave night birds, the auto wallas who wait for tyres to get punctured, the stray dogs who wait for the tyres to get punctured so the night birds and the auto wallahs may fling away any food they might be partaking of, and two stray women who don’t like tonight’s mess menu, on the road. Although the two stray women might not mind being treated by the rich night birds to rich dinner on 13th floor of Barton Centre, Murphy doesn’t want such things to happen so he makes sure there are no punctured tyres.

Then, we and the auto wallas are left at each other’s mercy. Again, we soar as high as our flat wooden soled cappis can take us, amid wails of ‘auto! auto?!’, hoots, songs sung to attract the attention of the ladies, to the haven of chicken, otherwise known as KFC.

KFC, on Brigade Road, is another happening place. Outside, is parked a car that belongs to the 60s, with a man at the wheel, who’s probably singing in his head, “I wish i was a punk rocker, with flowers in my head,” with friends leaning in and one particular punk, past his expiry date, asking in tones that might be directed at all people on Brigade Road, “Dude, have you been to the latest Floyd concert?” The other punk has a joint dangling from his lips, which seems to be as old as he himself was, going by the remaining strands of grey on his head. He spies us, the old pervert, dunks his head inside the car window, and stage whispers – “dude, women!”

We bolted in some confusion, wondering if crossing the street to KFC had led us to another planet called Mars, the absence of femininity in the neighborhood was conspicuous.

Inside KFC, amid frying pans and oils and fountains of Pepsi, stood about a gang of blonde chinky boys – the blondeness put KFC’s lighting to shame, and made them look like cloned ‘Dollies’. loose shirts, ties with skull-print, pierced lips, underlips, brows and whatnot, and shifty looks in the slits of eyes made them unlikeable to me – which is a first, since i generally admire the whole lot. No discrimination intended.

And as we made our way out, loaded with cholestrol dripping yummy goodies (salutations colonel Sanders!), and as the beggar (the only other woman ‘out’ that night) and dogs hounded us for food alike, and as we crossed the street to buy Pree’s Classic Milds (60% of which, in Dr Pree-thha’s theory, i smoke, all passively, so she wants ME to pay), it dawned on me, that it’s only hunger that would make women mad enough to roam the streets at that ‘ungodly’ hour. Unescorted, i mean.

Why? Why o why o why?? Why do men leer and grin like its Christmas or their goddamn birthdays when they see women out on the road at night? Why do my ‘well-wishers’ want me to not go out in the dark because it is unsafe? why do men have to make it unsafe? why is women’s honour such a big deal? why do men, as a dangerous cannibalistic tribe, have to make women all feel like they’re being preyed or being readied for devourment, once the sun is down and they dare to step out on their own? why does the social animal aspect of being human forget all the social-isms and retain the animal hood, like wolves on a spree?

We walk to one such group, with their yellow and green automotives ready to whisk us away, and the gleam of recognition in their eyes, as they quote our address to us with question marks, we contemplate backing off. With no other options around, and still haggling prices, we get in and the auto driver put on his headphones. Music always went well with driving. When we reach our residence, the man, takes off his headphones and considers it fit to advise us on the undesirability of loafering about on roads at 10 in the night.

The audacity of my ‘well-wishers’ is beginning to piss me off.

Brigade-ier than thou

It’s been exactly two months since i landed in Bangalore. (Or Bengaluru, if we are being nomenclaturally correct.) It has also been exactly two and a half years since i first set foot, and my eyes, on Brigade Road – that supremely popular, commercial, heavy on traffic and human population, little street between MG Road and Residency Road. Brigade Road is actually much bigger than just a little street, but my awe relates to this tiny section alone.

And why should that be, you may well ask. Unless you count the transcendental, breathtaking moment i had when i did see it for the first time, there really is nothing markedly epiphanous about it. And no, the beer and rum came only much later. But there was something about it, a certain aura that it possessed and exuded at 9 pm on a monday evening, that made it eye-catching and, well, breathtaking.

It is actually just another commercial street – and more Chandni Chowk than Orchid Street at that. But there are showrooms of Gas, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas and the like, on both sides of the street. And squeezed between the big, high-end showrooms, are the tiny shops selling everything from hand bags to booze. what makes it shine is the lighting. the place glows after sundown. literally and figuratively. it is the glow that any commercially and materialistically rich, and aspiring for more, place (or person) has.

And a place is also made by the people that frequent it. If Khan Market in Delhi is hip and happening mostly because of the South Delhi crowd that makes it so, then Brigade Road is fashionable because of the smartly dressed, well-turned out (i sound like i am 60!), gorgeous looking, polished epitomes of what we call ‘beauty’. yes, beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, but really, in today’s world of moh n maya, there don’t remain many who can escape shiny distracting objects.

So, in addition to sheen and shiny eye candy, what this place also offers is laidback-ness. Two Cafe Coffee Day’s spill out onto the pavements, in what seems to be some form of aspiration to be Italian. Then there are the fine dining places, the fast food places, the booze places (Peco’s baby! yeah!), the dance places, the sutta places and the lets-just-stand-around-n-look-at-the-‘chinkies’ places.

hooboy! what a smooth blend of culture, retail therapy and joblessness. No, you can’t blame me for having my breath taken away. It is beauteous, this place, oh yes it is.  

brigade road, after sundown.