Tuesday, December 02, 2008

thimakka of the trees

the dreams are lucid these days. i put it down to the weather. last night thimakka of the trees made an appearance. i wish her well. and the 400 odd banyan trees, she calls her children.

Friday, September 26, 2008

bellis bhavan

at the very pretty foot of a monster rock where tigers, elephants and minor earthquakes roam, lives the bellis. under attack from tea bushes on all sides, 'chinna dorai' hurries his manservants about the place, pauses to pluck a weed from his sprawling lawns and contemplates on which bathroom he will use today.

memories of wrinked dostoevskys and fierce football battles mingle with the smells of a coming harvest as the bellis sits bewildered at his somewhat erratic computer. meanwhile a lone nilgiri thar stares on curiously.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

super das and the invader

super das - little known off-road driver. loves bananas and bad roads. invader - bolero, mahindra. i want one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

tri colour tramp

subhash chandra bose from davangere makes his annual pilgrimage to bangalore every august. as he marches down m.g. road, proudly waving the tricolour, with a legion of flags and bharat mata merchandise all over him and in his bag, he quickly picks up a tail of curious onlookers.

"they won't let me anywhere near the high court or the legislative assembly," he complains. and in bucolic disbelief he asks you pointing at his half-a-football-field sized flag, "how can they not let her in anywhere in this country". he wants to meet the chief minister. he has a bone to pick.

he insists he isn't a clever sales pitch. the money he makes selling flags, badges and other tokens of allegiance barely covers his costs. it's more about a small town fella telling the big city boys about all the people who fought tooth and nail for the freedom we all take for granted. choke. choke. "tomorrow," he tells the gathering. "i will be bhagat singh".

Friday, August 08, 2008

"the king of mysore pak"

tucked away in the bustle of balepet is sri venkateshwara sweetmeat stall - no branches. the gentleman who set up this landmark destination for the sweet toothed also holds the distinction of introducing to the world, mysore pak as we know it. while the harder and porous version was the find of an ingenious cook in the erstwhile maharaja of mysore's kitchen, the more refined mysore pak that dissolves as soon as it makes contact with your tongue was entirely this establishment's improvement.

and for the last 70 years, sri venkateshwara sweetmeat stall - no branches, has held fort as the foremost makers of special mysore pak. imitations abound and the tamil folks true to their DNA, even tried making this very kannada sweet their own. they call it mysure pa. and even throw in fancy packaging. needless to say, they're not even a patch on what the tiny grimy 8x8 balepet hole in the wall offers.

orders pour in, expectedly from our techie expat brothers in the US and the UK. but sri venkateshwara sweetmeat stall - no branches also counts abdul kalam, jaffer sharrief (who shouldn't be going anywhere near anything with so much ghee), the late dr. raj and chiranjeevi among its patrons. the otherwise non-descript corner chokes on a wide array of automobiles from rickshaws to the swankiest sedans as the faithful queue up for thier manna at rs 280 a kilo.

occasionally a peasant from north of the vindhyas turns up having heard so many compliments about the condiments and is shocked to find the place so small and unassuming. he then typically proceeds to further display his complete ignorance of the exquisite by enquiring if by meat in sweetmeat they actually mean meat? just for these folks, tucked away behind the legions of mysore pak trays is a little dictionary that elucidates. sweetmeat - Noun. A sweetened delicacy (as a preserve or pastry)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


execution by python. tattooed virgins. african love school. jungle manhood rites. male geisha girls. russian roulette with diesel trains. macabro - see the world in the raw. stripped bare before your startled eyes.

rub-a-dub sky

tea bushes tearing through my track pants. an out of bounds wildlife sanctuary tantalizingly close. the vague musty smell of an elephant. good company and a blue sky. i hate my cubicle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

shola stich

i've broken a forest dept. law as well. sneaked into eravikulam national park this last week for the view of a lifetime. shola stretching as far as the eye could see. and niligiri thars roaming the horizons. staring nervously at us trespassers. as we stared back in awe at a sight seldom seen by human eyes.

click pic for bigger pic

lionfish redux

haha. lionfish had to make a reappearance. turns out, local watering hole, maya - was a little in the dark and caught on the wrong side of the law. living corals and all that exotic fish in a smallish glass box is a no-no as far as the forest dept. is concerned. i would have appreciated some amount of thought on the effects of erratic neon lighting, all that bad muzak and all kinds of blotto folk staring, tapping, etc at those poor things as well. run lionfish run. you're free.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

my name is ozymandias, king of kings...

...look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

phantom rock

tucked away in a corner of kerala is the erstwhile home of the ghost who walks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 07, 2008

can jump will jump

roheenda pulls a kneivel

training day

i further my flash fetish.

bal talk

"next time, don't bring your camera. bring a cheque."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

light load

"turn your lights down low. pull the window curtains in. don't let the moon come shining in. into our lives again."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

eshu on a hill

some 15 crosses dot a nottoofaraway hill. they once looked out over fields of gold. now they lord over rusting mining gear and a somewhat unhurried people who will gladly let you know, "there's nothing left to see here."

Friday, June 27, 2008

gates open at eight

black dog. green grass. good life.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

fast lady

this last weekend's highlight was one turbocharged driver who was particularly unforgiving on the braking. the result was a brake failure with serendipitous timing.

after the somewhat dampening discovery that we'd lost our brakes along the way, wise counsel prevailed followed by a small detour to the nearest mechanic. a near nanogenarian, resembling an oracle in his obscurity of thought, behind rayban aviators and an impeccable safari suit, narrowed down the problem. "it's the brakes." gee, thanks. but a greased clique of mechanics nodded with unbridled awe.

turns out, we'd driven in to a garage run by the one time royal mechanic of the maharaja of mysore. and this all-knowing owl was the only one trusted with the maharaja's harem of automotive pleasure.

and one stellar specimen, fast lady, from the maharaja's harem shone brightly in a heady mix of her original paint job and warm diffused sunlight in one nondescript corner of raj auto garage.

Friday, May 09, 2008

banavasi - one old temple please

an ancient pillar towers out from the earth, a sore middle finger of defiance. sticking it in the face of two and a half millenia, a perennial muggy forecast, untiring invading hordes and the odd graffiti maniac.

all around the madhukeshwara temple, time has overridden an ancient city and all its good sense. but within madhukeshwara's modest perimeter, history puffs on unabated. a time bubble that refuses to be pricked.

two thousand five hundred years! you've got to try and fathom how long that is while you sip on your refrigerated bottled water and simultaneously wonder why your aircon seems to have given up all together. meanwhile all those years ago in banavasi, some royal chap had the native good judgement to build an impressive behemoth of a temple out of stone. while the world swelters outside, inside madhukeshwar it's a lulling cool.

banavasi is not a discernible dot on most maps. a fall from grace for what was once an ancient centre of civilization. while in more far flung circles, man was still crawling on all fours and foraging for berries, closer home in banavasi one of the world's foremost metropolis flourished. perhaps that was hyperbole. but if you were to breathe the wind that still blows through banavasi's only survivor from those times - the madhukeshwara temple, you'd have to say - wooooh.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

fat cat

mustafa, the cat who knows too much, makes a reappearance. he's grown in years and kilos. but scratches, purrs and assaults all kind of inanimate objects with much the same gusto.

Friday, May 02, 2008

mela mêlée

deep in the bovine hinterland of north kanara, a perennial calm rests easily on the jungles, the gurgling brooks, the potholed highways and the occasional traveling mela as well.

the mela company master howls the attractions of the day into a megaphone. crackling over the din of a creaky giant ferris wheel, a hundred kids howling for another ride and the curious onlooker's incessant pan chewing, he manages those statutory few words in the local tongue. "banni banni banni." and they all flock to the ticket counters.

basavanna had no milk in her udders for the past week. the crops are dying and taking the farmers along with them too. but everything is forgotten as an entire village lines up with a shiny 5 rupee coin each, to stare in awe at half a dozen barnumesque women pour each other cups of tea, stitch a frock, knit a sweater... all this with only their feet. le filles s'en foutent.

bed a hardworking appetite with bhel from the cart. wash down the day's vagaries with slightly suspect watermelon juice. spend your life's savings on an inflated cat. cry tonight. laugh tomorrow. i'm back. because i'm broke.