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.