Thursday, April 26, 2007
Long time since I wrote people.....Just been so neck deep in trying to find my way around my new beat that I just cant find the time. Today I had to write. The words in my head were becoming too loud, unless I let at least some of them out, I can not rest easy.
In the meanwhile, when I was not writing a story, doing an interview or just getting lost in the maze of work, I have been spending a lot of time in the above place, the Press Club of Bangalore. (The picture doesn't do even an iota of justice to the beauty of the place.)
The Club, adda, PC, call it what you will, it is the place to hang out if you ask me. The club is located bang in the middle of the city, just five minutes walk from the Vidhan Soudha (the seat of the government), the rest of the government offices and my office too. It is inside Cubbon Park, one of the best places in Bangalore. Just one road away is a very busy intersection, with horns honking constantly, vehicles, the crazy Bangalore traffic and the pollution. But inside the club, it is a totally different ambiance altogether. You would never know you are in the heart of the city. The only noise is those of journalists, photojournalists and others calling out to each other, yelling at the waiters or just hanging around.
Over the last few months, I have had the good fortune of meeting and interacting with a tribe of people called photojournalists. I have met some of the craziest, most creative, most disgusting people among them. Some, a very select few, have become great friends. It is with them and some others that I sit in the club once in a while.
Oh it is a great place. Late in the evening, it starts to get a little rough with most people hanging around only for the alcohol. I never make the mistake of going alone after that. But during the day, it is great fun. The waiters, all of whom know the regulars well, have an attitude that is endearing. They fight, refuse to serve you but end up giving you the best deal, very charmingly.
Outside, there are round iron tables and plastic chairs strewn all around. There are squirrels that very boldly climb up on the tables and nibble on your food from one side of the plate, even as you are eating! There is an in-house cat and several dogs. One dog, I am sorry to say, has been christened Mallika Sherawat!! She recently littered. I don't think anyone knows why she was named so.
There is a TV set and an aquarium next to it. There are deep worn out couches and tall wooden boards hanging above them with the names of past presidents and office bearers of the club. There are wrought iron tables, wooden ones too and a grandfather clock. This is just the 'lobby' of the club that I am talking about. Inside the club, I am told, is a library and carrom boards, a bar on the side and a whole lot of other things. I have been inside only once and I don't quite remember.
The food is nothing to write home about, there is forever a layer of smoke in the air from all the thousands of cigarettes that everyone seems to be smoking. But then, it is a nice place, I am told one of the best press clubs in the entire country. Friends catch up, interviews are conducted, hours spent, lemon tea and whisky and beer and bad coffee drunk......It is such a peaceful place, peaceful only in ambiance. There is noise all around, yelling, laughing, friendly fights, just like a very full house. :-)