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.