Thursday, June 30, 2005

My recipe for coffee!

Here is how I like my coffee:
Bring to a boil about a half mug of milk (dairy milk is best). Do a "stretch-kaapi-saar" and make it frothy. Boil milk for some time again. Add, no, not sugar, a looooot of decoction (and make ma shout at me about how I am going to ruin my health) and heat the heavenly smelling concoction. Pour into a mug from as great a height as you can without spilling. Sprinkle some coffee powder on the froth and give it to me. I would thank you from the bottom of my coffee mug!

I live on caffine!

Here I go on coffee again! I mean to write about coffee in Madikeri. Before that, a few words about Madikeri. My hometown happens to be a quintessential hill town where everybody knows everyone else, where people love nothing more than poking their noses in the most private matters of your life, where life is just...still, most of the time. But Madikeri is also a pictureque, misty, beautiful place where life tends to be beautiful too, if you are younger than 15 or older than 50.
Note to me: Must dedicate a whole post to Madikeri.
Aah.. where was I? Right, coffee. Kodagu is famous for its coffee plantations and it is the main cash crop in the district. Ironically, the majority of people here drink tea, something that does not appeal much to my palatial senses unless it is authentic lemon tea the way the Tibetans make it. Coffee is rare, probably why it is so bad in most restuarants. I have been to almost every resturant in town (there is a new one, dont have much hopes from it though) and believe me, no chef makes good coffee. The ones you get at the only 3star hotel in town, Hotel Coorg International, smells of smoke and not in a good way. It largely applies to their entire cuisine.
The small hotels can be passed off. Hotel East End is what I call a classy place. It is a renovated Victorian house, has old wooden furniture and doesnt offer much by way of ambience. The waiters are not the polished young men with a smile pasted on their faces like the ones you see in cities these days. They are all old and slow. The owner of the place is a stickler for cleanliness and perfection. The cutlery, though old and chipped off, is squeaky clean. And the coffee...ahhh! THE BEST in town! They make it just the way I want it, strong and frothy. East End is specially famous for its masala dosas, though they are no longer as good as they use to be.
Madikeri is becoming a hot tourist spot because of the remnants of the threat of tsunami in the traditional tourist havens. This conclusion from a few armchair analysts I happen to know. Whatever. But Madikeri seriously lacks a good, clean resturant, something someone from somewhere should remedy soon!
More on food to come.....

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Missed Calls!

The mobile revolution has been simply amazing. I keep in touch with more people than I ever thought possible for a recluse like me. I must admit that this 'keeping in touch' is largely restricted to forwarding dumb jokes and senti stuff which now fail to make even a dent of impact as a result of an overdose of them. But nevertheless, I know what these people are up to and thats what necessary. I love the connectivity that the mobile gives and is today indispensible in life, so much that now the size of my list of cant-get-out-without-these has increased from a one item of my wallet to my mobile.
The mobile is lovely but not the missed calls that come with it. There is something very irritating about missed calls. It is like people who are bored and jobless assume that I am also bored and jobless and think it is very amusing to give missed calls back and forth. People who are acquainted with me seem to think I enjoy this at all times of the day and night, but trust me, I dont. Thankfully, most of my friends dont do this anymore.
Note to anyone reading this: I do not enjoy missed calls. If in the extreme case you miss me, talk or send a message and be distinguished between a friend and a person who doesnt know how to respect other's privacy. I dont respect such people! People who continue to do so are plain.......(what shall I say, I intend this to be a family blog) jerks (for want of a better word).

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Did i mention that I love coffee? Oh right, I just happened to mention that I was an addict!
Ma takes her coffee with spoons of sugar. That I say is the way coffee should not be drunk. Sugar and even milk kills the taste of coffee.
The heady drink has a long history. The life of coffee began in Ethiopia when a shepherd called Kaldi noticed that his sheep became very active after eating some red cherries. The Turks were the first to use it as a drink. It came to India when Baba Budan, an Arab fakir(?), smuggled a few beans and sowed them in the hills of Chickmagalur. Yes, it was the very same Baba Budan whose final place of resting is today the bone of contention between Hindus and Muslims, leading to many calling the place 'the Ayodhya of the South'. Come on, everyone loves coffee and this person gave us that. Thank the Lord he was a smuggler and let him be, for coffee's sake!
Anyway, has some good stuff on coffee with detailed history, recipies and the like.
Cafe Coffee Day: Their outlets are great most of the time. Avoid the ones in the main areas and stick to the 4-table places inside bookstores or malls. These tiny places are great to sit and write or concentrate on doing nothing. The waiters dont bother you and you can sit for hours with good music in the background.
Their coffee is expensive but not way over the top. The blue juice in a tall glass with a loooot of ice is great for a hot day. It has a tangy taste that stays on. I forget what its called though. Cappuchino is good and so is the Expresso. The food is not worth it unless you are desperate. All in all, good place.
Another great place I discovered in Bangalore is Koshys on St. Marks Road. The place is totally devoid of people which is the best thing about it. Music is good, cool ambience. No one disturbs you, the coffee isn't too expensive (its just okay though) and the people who do stop by are not the yo-man-wassup,- me-rocking kind of teen crowd.
Coffee House below Deccan Herald on MG Road has an old world charm. I liked the ambience, reminded me of a homely manager at the front desk, fat with money and happiness who knew each one of the people who came to drink coffee, knew where their kid worked, got invited to all functions.... you know, that time when people had time and when they talked to each other and not into their mobiles.
More on Coffee in Madikeri next time... until then, keep drinking!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I am addicted!!!!!

Yes, I am an addict. I have come to looooovvveee coffee so much. I call myself an addict as it shocks people and I live for that! Super strong sugarless coffee is what gets me going. just love it!
Akashvani is great. I have great fun. Great people, friendly and so helpful. For some added attraction, there is this cute guy with a smile that makes me drool. No ulterior motives though, please note. Not interested in such extra-curricular activity for the moment. Will leave that to my friends for now. But no harm in appreciating beauty. I know few people with such a happy, innocent smile. This guy is cute in a chocolate-boy kind of way, could be called a friend and has one of the best smiles I have ever seen! Thats that then!
I am considerably okay now. Still hurting but better than before. I have some great friends who keep in constant touch with me, I am very busy with work, still have a lot of holidays left, home atmosphere is very condusive... life is good again!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Heart, Brave Be Thee!

I have fallen in love with movies lately, old, new, serious, dumb, plain timepass, you name it and I would probably have seen it. My quota is one movie per day. At present, I am going through the classic English movie stage. Watched Braveheart yesterday. That Mel Gibson is a hottie is just one of the many reasons why I loved the movie. They dont make movies like Braveheart anymore. There is love, passion, violence, betrayal... the whole deal. The film is about how Mel takes revenge for the murder of his wife. The fight turns into a war against England for the freedom of Scotland. Mel is betrayed and is about to be executed after being tortured. He is asked to beg for mercy but does not relent. Finally he struggles to say a word, the word is a last warrior's cry for "FREEDOM". It is the most touching scene I have ever seen. Gibson has in his hands a piece of cloth embroidered by his dead wife. The crowd is silent as his head is chopped off.
If you have tears in your eyes, you will shed them here.
The movie brings back old world ideals like love and courage and sacrifice and honour. The love Mel feels for his wife and the passion for revenge and freedom that drives him could only be described, inadequately nevertheless, in superlatives. Circumstances have made me one of the biggest cynics ever. I do not believe that thing called love exists anymore. What you see these days are just varying degrees of lust, compromise and tolerance and attachment. Someone has rightly said that love is like a ghost, everyone talks about it but noone has actually seen it! As far as I am concerned, love is extinct and all the more better if a lot of distance is put between that idea and me. But Braveheart made even me, the High Priestess of Cynisism, want desperately to believe that maybe such a thing really exists. Maybe a lot of us have to look for it throughout our lives, like the search for Atlantis, but then again, it is like God. You dont have to see Him to believe. Faith is after all believing in that which you know to be untrue. Love is all about believing and in keeping the faith. So maybe I need to explore the idea that it might be 'out there'.
One last word, I loved the music in the movie. The Scottish pipes are fabulous, seems to take you to the Scotland of the 13th century. All in all, Braveheart has, to an extent, restored a teeny-weeny bit of my faith. A high5 to Gibson for just that.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Political Activity

Much to my mother's chagrin, I loooovveee politics! She doesnt get it, nor do my friends. she wonders why I cant just love Shahrukh Khan or Tom Cruise. Well, I used to, I LIKE them still. But I am half a journalist already and I already love to hate politicians and the stupid things they say. the profession is such, you know. You need to know what's with the world. And politics is a great stress buster. I usually roll on my bed laughing at the Great Indian Political Drama played out at regular intervals on the ubiquitous 24-hour news channel stage.
My family is one that eats, laughs and fights together. We try to maintain peace but when something political comes up, it is a no rules, no holds fight. Ideologies become thicker than blood. Ultimately, we are all "right" but that doesnt stop us from accusing every party in town of ruining the country.
A year from now, I am entering politics. No, am not contesting, that's only for criminals, illiterates and the otherwise jobless! I will officially start telling others how we are letting funny people rule us. Political analysis??? I am not sure if Indian politics is so complex as to require serious analysis. Not that I dont intend to do some!! Politics out there is getting really good. Mom's sure going to rue the day she got me to read newspapers and encouraged my debates. I for one cannot wait!!!!