Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Food on the Streets

It would be sacrilegious to my creative mind if I didn’t write today. After raining everywhere else in the state, the monsoon has finally hit Bangalore. It has been pouring since last night. The worst is that it starts raining just when I am about to leave office. Tonight I had to splurge on the luxury of an auto to avoid getting wet. (Don’t even get me started on Bangalore auto drivers! Eesh! They are….anyone who has traveled in an auto here would know) On the way home, I saw, or rather whiffed the smell of corn being burnt and couldn’t resist picking up one. The guy didn’t bake it well, but as I was biting into it in the warmth of my little home, I felt I just had to write about street food.

Corn being burnt on hot coals is one street food that is quite typical to Karnataka (don’t really know about other states). The wrapping around the yellow corn is taken off and the corn is smeared with lemon juice, salt and pepper or chilli powder and is placed on coals until is almost burnt. When well done, you can suck at salt and chilli for hours. The yellow corn gets stuck between your teeth and your hands get soot on them, but the taste makes all these little things inconsequent.

And then there is the eternal favourite chaat food that you will find in every other corner. Must say this about Bangalore, people here simply love eating out. No where else have I seen so many eating places doing so well. Coming to chaat, there is one cart that sells paani puri, samosa chaat, masala puri and the rest of the fare just opposite my office. Divya and I go there all the time. It tastes horrible out there but we don’t have better options. Sanman nearby (excellent coffee there) makes chaat too but there is something very undesirable about eating chaat in the confines of a restaurant. The chaat-wallah near the High Court, on the way to the Press Club makes fantastic chaat items. Another great place that I keep recommending to people is the Calcutta chaat store near Swastik Circle in Seshadripuram. It is this obscure little shed behind a now fancy eating place. I have never had better chaat anywhere else. The people there came from Calcutta many years ago, still don’t understand Kannada but make some mouth watering variations of the usual stuff you get.

There is a place in Malleswaram where gulkund ice cream is sold. Not really street food, but it’s a tiny shop and you need to stand on the footpath and eat. Gulkund is dried rose petals soaked in sugar syrup and makes a gooey paste. You get a bowl of this, topped with two scoops of vanilla or strawberry ice cream and dry fruits and a huge dollop of butter. Absolutely sinful!
There is something about street food that has always drawn me to it. Back at uni, a friend and I would hog on pani puri whenever we were in the city. This was from those mobile paani puri places; a stool, a big pot, a bucket to wash plates, a red cloth to wipe hands, plates and what not and the puri in a big plastic cover made up the “shop”. Utterly unhygienic but man it tastes good!

The thing about street food is that hygiene is the last thing on your mind while eating there. I agree it is not very clean, but my logic is that when you eat at hotels, you can never be sure the kitchen is clean, so what is the difference? Street food is cheap (the best part!), often tastes divine (if you know the right places) and somehow makes you feel happy to be alive and glad to be living a beautiful life.

Best had with my best friend by my side! :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New One

Dear readers,

Do check out http://thoughtsthatcomeby.blogspot.com

That's my new blog, still under construction, though I have started posting.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Thought

At one o'clock n the night, I get this thought. From what I know, from what I have felt, from what I have seen, the one truth that I know is that love, when it is true, is pure, immeasurable, unrestricted, untainted and definitely not bound under the names given to it, not bound by the names and rules that society chooses to impose on it. Love, between any two people, in any form, is the only true thing there is, the only real in a world of distorted reality.

Man, I get quite philosophical sometimes, don't I? ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Thought

Just a thought that passes my mind every once in a while when I think of certain people, things or events.

I never cease to be amazed at the fortitude of a human being to move on, no matter what happens in life. The worst tragedies, the hardest heart break, the supreme joy, all pass by. What remains is survival, through it all, despite of it all. Life simply goes on and so do people, even if they sometimes do not wish to.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Postcards From Bangkok

Thought I would share some pictures with you, my dear readers. These are a few from my first trip abroad. I went to Bangkok recently. It was an official trip, a very hectic one and I hardly got to see anything at all. But a bit here and there, I managed to observe life there, buy a camera and shot these with it. There are more to come, along with some stories......

The first two pictures are from the Suan Lum Night Bazaar in Bangkok. This bazaar goes on till around midnight. Mostly has a lot of souvenirs, mainly for the tourist crowd. The first picture was a doorway that looked beautiful and the second one is of a little babe who was the daughter of one of the shopkeepers. I asked if I could take a picture because I found her very cute and she all too willingly posed, apparently the hand sign means 'I Love You', I wouldn't know.

The third one is a picture of one of the roadside vendors from whom I bought a pair of beautiful black apsaras. I just had to take his picture because he was flirting outrageously with me while bargaining. I am generally very bad at bargaining but I loved doing it in Bangkok. Most barely understand English and use a calculator to punch in their price for an item. You then punch in how much you are willing to pay and it goes on till you huff and walk away and the shopkeeper calls you, tries to talk you into paying a few baht more, the usual. But I found the people very very sweet and always willing to smile, something so rare in a place that is so full of tourists.

The fourth picture is one of a performer at the Siam Niramit show, a pantomime that portrays the life and culture of Thailand. It is one the best shows I have ever seen and deserves a full post written on it. Until then, these few pictures with a promise of more updates......I sign off.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hurting Like Hell

Ouch! Actually eeeeeeeyyaaaaaooooooooo is what I feel like screaming. I want to go into a sound proof room and yell my lungs out, or maybe I will just sit in my office and scream, nobody would really mind. I want to yell because I am in pain, because despite what I thought was my good sense, despite knowing it would hurt I got my nose pierced. Oh sure it is looking great (I must admit immodestly) and I have been getting a lot of rave reviews online and in the real world but people it hurts!

There was a special personal reason why I got it pierced. All my life I had sworn that I wouldn't get my nose pierced and there I go, getting it done! But there was a reason and the pain is definitely worth it.

Body art has always fascinated me, although from a safe and painless distance. Tattoos, part of every civilisation, always made me think of its age-old connotations. For years I wanted a tiny little tattoo of the symbol of infinity, a little horizontal eight but ma simply freaked out when I told her the idea. A very dear person yelled at me too when I thought about it again last evening. I wanted to get a piercing yesterday but really mustered up the courage this morning. It hurt bad, though the guy who did it was amazingly good at his job. I know have a little silver and white stone stud, it looks pretty but I reiterate here, it hurts! :-(

The guy, Simon, was telling me and my friend that people come to him to get their tongue and other unspeakable parts of their body. He was also telling us about this one customer of his who has 25 piercing in each ear (where is the space?), 15 above each eyebrow, about 5 on his nose and a few running down his neck! I mean, WHY? Why on earth? Its not fashion, its not hip or hep, its plain ugh!